Ellen Berrey

ABF Researcher

Ellen Berrey is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and an affiliated scholar of the American Bar Foundation. She has previously been on the faculties of the University at Buffalo, SUNY and the University of Denver. Her research brings insights of cultural sociology to the study of inequality, race, law, and organizations. How do organizations interpret and implement policies aimed at correcting inequalities, such as affirmative action? How do they navigate legal constraints and political opposition? How do they mobilize cultural ideals, such as diversity and fairness, to support their objectives? She approaches these topics from an interpretive perspective, using ethnography and mixed methods to understand how people make meaning in politics and social life. Her work to date is divided into three major streams: the symbolic politics of diversity, employment discrimination law, and decision-making and race in college admissions. She is launching a new project on entrepreneurialism and the politics of sustainability. Her first book is The Enigma of Diversity: The Language of Race and the Limits of Racial Justice. Her book, Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality, is co-authored with ABF Research Professors Robert Nelson and Laura Beth Nielsen.

Learn more about Professor Berrey at ellenberrey.com.