Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center.
Ph.D., Princeton University
Alexandra Murphy’s research uses ethnographic methods to examine how and in what ways the new suburban context of poverty is changing the experience of being poor in the U.S. Based on three and a half years of fieldwork in one poor suburb outside of Pittsburgh, PA, Murphy’s work considers how the unique features of the suburban built environment, organizational landscape, and political structure shapes the everyday lives of the suburban poor and the ability of suburban institutions (e.g. local nonprofits, the municipality) to connect with metropolitan-wide resource networks. This research has been supported by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and featured in news outlets like The New York Times and Atlantic Cities. Other work considers differences across suburbs and between cities and suburbs in capacity for antipoverty social service delivery.
Murphy, Alexandra. 2012. ""Litterers": How Objects of Physical Disorder Are Used to Construct Subjects of Social Disorder in a Suburb." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 642(1): 210-227. DOI. Abstract.
Murphy, Alexandra, and Danielle Wallace. 2010. "Opportunities for Making Ends Meet and Upward Mobility: Differences in Organizational Deprivation Across Urban and Suburban Poor Neighborhoods." Social Science Quarterly, 91(5): 1164-1186. DOI. Abstract.
Murphy, Alexandra. 2010. "The Symbolic Dilemmas of Suburban Poverty: Challenges and Opportunities Posed by Variations in the Contours of Suburban Poverty." Sociological Forum, 25(3): 541-569. DOI. Abstract.
Murphy, Alexandra, and Katherine Newman. 2009. "Children and Work." In The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion edited by Richard Shweder. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.