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Neil M. Gong

Postdoctoral Fellow of Sociology, University of Michigan
Chapter Member: Michigan SSN, San Diego SSN
Areas of Expertise:
  • Inequality
  • Health Care

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About Neil

Gong's research focuses on inequality, with particular interest in mental health care and social services in urban settings. Overarching themes in Gong's writings include how resources shape treatment provision, how cultural ideals of freedom operate in American institutions, and methodologically, how to best link rigorous qualitative research to other research methods. In a previous project, Gong researched a variety of "underground" combat sport and fighting subcultures.

Contributions

In the News

"How Andrew Yang Can and Should Advance Racial Understanding," Neil M. Gong (with Xiaohong Xu), San Francisco Chronicle, December 12, 2019.
"Open Forum: Save San Francisco’s Board-And-Care Homes — and Then Fix Them," Neil M. Gong (with Alex Barnard), San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 2019.

Publications

Beyond the Case: The Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography (edited with Corey Abramson) (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Considers how to best draw comparisons between sites, groups, or cases in ethnographic research. Advances a pluralistic vision of when and how different field research approaches can be most useful for different types of mixed-methods research.

"Between Tolerant Containment and Concerted Constraint: Managing Madness for the City and the Privileged Family" American Sociological Review 84, no. 4 (August 2019): 664-689.

Finds public safety net psychiatric providers may tolerate potentially negative client behaviors like drug use if contained in the right locations, as the goal is keeping people in housing and out of jail. Finds elite private care providers, on the other hand, engage in tighter surveillance and control of behavior because they have a contrasting goal of recovery and rehabilitation.

"“That Proves You Mad, Because You Know It Not”: Impaired Insight and the Dilemma of Governing Psychiatric Patients as Legal Subjects" Theory and Society 46 (2017): 201-228.

Notes recent mental health policy has argued that "impaired insight," or the idea that mental illness renders some people unaware of mental illness, is grounds to restrict psychiatric patient's rights for their own good. Examines the history and science behind the concept and finds it scientifically dubious, and argues that it must be heavily scrutinized before it is used in policy or legal debates.