Kay’s research examines the political and legal implications of regional economic integration, transnationalism, and global governance. She is interested in understanding how civil society organizations – particularly labor and environmental movements, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits – respond and adapt to processes of regional economic integration and globalization. Kay has advised the International Labour Organization Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the United Farmworkers of America, and has testified before the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor's Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.
No Jargon Podcast
In the News
Argues that social entrepreneurship has done little to impact the problems it aspires to solve and has risen to popularity despite a lack of evidence for its effectiveness.
Explores classic approaches to the regulation of employment that solidified in the period following the world wars. Explores how unions and collective bargaining, labor and employment laws, and social partnerships are, and will continue to be, important institutions in many countries. Reimagines old and new ideas for the governance of work and employment in global, digital, post-industrial, and rapidly changing economies and societies.
Shows how new fields can emerge through field encroachment, whereby shifts among overlapping fields create structural opportunities for the ascendency of new fields, which may adapt logics borrowed from adjacent fields to construct legitimacy.
Develops a revolutionary model for helping doctors and clinicians in New Mexico to treat hepatitis C. Discusses how It spread around the world to address numerous chronic diseases and how with the COVID-19 pandemic, it found its moment.
Examines scholars and practitioners' understandings of culture in relation to health interventions. Provides a descriptive and analytical starting point for scholars interested in understanding the theoretical and empirical relevance of culture for health interventions, and sets forth concrete recommendations for practitioners working to achieve robust improvements in health outcomes.
Argues that unions are dealing with the crises presented by neoliberal economic integration by entering new political coalitions and nontraditional advocacy areas – particularly relating to immigration, environment, and trade – in an effort to increase their relevance, influence, and allies. Examines how the North American Free Trade Agreement helped politicize unions to move beyond traditional workplace-centered struggles and engage in broader and more diverse political struggles linked at the domestic and the transnational level.
Argues that NGOs and their medical humanitarian projects are more likely to succeed when they adjust how they interact with different types of states through processes of interest harmonization and negotiation, and offers a theoretical model for understanding how these processes occur across organizational fields.
Contributes to a panel discussion addressing the sociological relevance of Sebastião Salgado’s work as well as documentary photography in general.
Examines the compelling enigma of how the introduction of a new international law, the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), helped stimulate labor cooperation and collaboration in the 1990s. The article offers a theory of legal transnationalism – defined as processes by which international laws and legal mechanisms facilitate social movement building at the transnational level – that explains how nascent international legal institutions and mechanisms can help develop collective interests, build social movements, and, ultimately, stimulate cross-border collaboration and cooperation.
Examines why and how environmental activists, despite considerable political weakness and disproportionally few resources, won substantive negotiating concessions that far outstripped labor achievements during NAFTA's negotiation. Outlines the mechanisms associated with the structure of field overlap—alliance brokerage, rulemaking, resource brokerage, and frame adaptation-that enable activists to strategically leverage advantages across fields to transform the political landscape.