Adam Reich

Adam Reich

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

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About Adam

Reich’s research focuses on economic and cultural sociology. He is interested in how people understand their class and status positions, the ways these understandings are mediated by the organizations of which they are a part, and how such understandings preserve and, occasionally, unsettle existing inequalities. He is currently working on a project about, and in collaboration with, the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), a voluntary association made up of current and former Walmart associates.


In the News

Adam Reich's research on Wal-Mart stores in under-served communities discussed by "A Study Reveals a Disturbing Trend about Walmart Locations across the U.S.," Business Insider, August 30, 2016.
Adam Reich's research on Wal-Mart stores in communities of color discussed by George Joseph, "Walmart Gets Its Worst Yelp Reviews in Black and Latino Neighborhoods," CityLab, August 30, 2016.


With God On Our Side: Labor Struggle in a Catholic Hospital (Cornell University Press, 2012).

Argues that unions must weave together economic and cultural power in order to ensure their continued relevancy in the postindustrial world. Discusses how unions must engage with workers' emotional investments in their work and contend with the kind of moral authority that Santa Rosa Hospital leaders exerted to dissuade workers from organizing, as well as connect labor's project to broader conceptions of the public good.

Selling Our Souls: The Commodification of Hospital Care in the United States (Princeton University Press, 2014).

Discusses the contradictions inherent in one particular health care market – hospital  care. Explores the tensions embedded in the market for hospital care, how different hospitals manage these tensions, the historical trajectories driving disparities in contemporary hospital practice, and the perils and possibilities of various models of care.

"Disciplined Doctors: The Electronic Medical Record and Physicians’Changing Relationship to Medical Knowledge" Social Science & Medicine 74, no. 7 (2012): 1021-1028.

Explores the effects of the electronic medical record (EMR) on the power of the medical profession. Discusses twenty-five in-depth interviews with administrators and physicians across three departments of a large, U.S. integrated health system. Analyzes variation in the extent to which practitioners’ professional identities are reconciled with bureaucratic subordination across the different departments studies.

"Contradictions in the Commodification of Hospital Care" American Journal of Sociology 119, no. 6 (2014): 1537-1575.

Examines the different moral-market understandings and practices in the context of a single market-based organizational field. Highlights the contradictory character of processes of commodification, as different historically institutionalized ideas conflict, in different ways, with the market logic that increasingly organizes the field as a whole. 

Hidden Truth: Young Men Navigating Lives In and Out of Juvenile Prison (University of California Press, 2010).

Argues that young men's participation in crime constitutes a game through which they achieve “outsider masculinity.” Illustrates how these same youths are forced to reconcile their criminal practices with a new game and new “insider masculinity” enforced by guards and administrators in prison.