My core research program is centered around studying contested fields of deviant behavior. There are three main pillars to this effort. First, I conduct case studies of gray markets to understand how unsettled legal structure shifts power arrangements between state and non-state actors, leads to the emergence of new technologies of social control, and influences the practices of stigmatized organizations. Second, I take a comparative approach to analyzing the cultural dynamics of political violence to reveal the social logics of terrorism and illuminate the factors that lead to specific forms of state-sanctioned punishment. Third, I study companies that privately contract with prisons to understand how the incarcerated and their families are exploited by the commodification of the carceral experience. In my approach to these topics, I commonly integrate formal models of cultural analysis with more traditional interpretive methods. I have expertise in several approaches to computationally-assisted content analysis including topic modeling, correspondence analysis, and visual criminology.

Research on Gray Markets

Kinney, Alexander B. 2023. “‘Cannabis Businesses Are Being Good Contributors to the Community’: The Regulated Cannabis Industry and Cannabis Normalization in the United States.” Crime & Delinquency. doi: 10.1177/00111287231193989.

Kinney, Alexander B. 2023. “Sumptuary Administration: How Contested Market Actors Shape the Trajectory of Policy When Regulated under Fragmented Governance.” Law & Policy 45(4):507–29. doi: 10.1111/lapo.12216.

Kinney, Alexander B. 2022. “Surveillance, Social Control, and Managing Semi-Legality in U.S. Commercial Cannabis.” Social Problems spac037. doi: 10.1093/socpro/spac037.

Kinney, Alexander B. 2021. “Embedding into an Emerging Money System: The Case of Bitcoin.” Sociological Focus 54(1):77–92. doi: 10.1080/00380237.2020.1845260.

Kinney, Alexander B. 2019. “The Extra-Institutional Logics of an Emerging Market Field: Values and Practice in the Bitcoin Experience:” Social Currents. doi: 10.1177/2329496519880314.

Research on Political Violence

Puetz, Kyle, Andrew P. Davis, and Alexander B. Kinney. 2021. “Meaning Structures in the World Polity: A Semantic Network Analysis of Human Rights Terminology in the World’s Peace Agreements.” Poetics 88:101598.

Pfaffendorf, Jessica, Andrew P. Davis, and Alexander B. Kinney. 2021. “Masculinity, Ritual, and Racialized Status Threat: Examining Mass Shooter Manifestos Using Structural Topic Models.” Sociological Inquiry 91(2):287–312. doi:

Kinney, Alexander B., Andrew P. Davis, and Yongjun Zhang. 2018. “Theming for Terror: Organizational Adornment in Terrorist Propaganda.” Poetics 69:27–40. doi: 10.1016/j.poetic.2018.05.001.

Research on the Commodification of Prison Experience

Please email me for my working papers in this area.