Fabien Accominotti

Position title: Associate Professor of Sociology

Email: accominotti@wisc.edu

8111 Sewell Social Science

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Research Interest Statement:

My work, which lies at the intersection of cultural sociology, economic sociology, and stratification research, explores the formation of status hierarchies and how they fuel inequality in society. Empirically, I focus on unsettled fields, uncertain markets, and complex organizations, which I use to study how we come to view different people as unequally valuable, and how this affects their outcomes. I have written on the emergence of cultural hierarchy as a dimension of social class in Gilded Age America, the construction of value beliefs in the art world, and processes of consecration that entrench faith in hierarchies of worthiness. In recent research I examine how postindustrial forms of work expand workers’ occupational identities in ways that both entrench and undermine old occupational status hierarchies. Another ongoing project uses experimental designs to show how, in a variety of social settings, the quantification of merit through ratings and scores fuels inequality in the rewards received by the winners and losers of meritocratic contests. Prior to joining UW-Madison I taught at the London School of Economics, where I remain a faculty affiliate at the International Inequalities Institute.


Ph.D., Columbia University,  2016

Departmental Areas of Interest:

Culture, Social Stratification, Economic Sociology, Organizational and Occupational Analysis, Methods and Statistics, Comparative-Historical Sociology, Class Analysis and Historical Change, General Social Theory, Social Psychology and Microsociology

Other Campus Affiliations:

Faculty Affiliate, Institute for Research on Poverty

Faculty Affiliate, Center for Demography and Ecology

Recent Publications:

Hénaut, Léonie, Jennifer Lena, and Fabien Accominotti. 2023. “Polyoccupationalism: Expertise Stretch and Status Stretch in the Postindustrial Era.American Sociological Review 88(5): 872-900.

Accominotti, Fabien, Freda Lynn, and Michael Sauder. 2022. “The Architecture of Status Hierarchies: Variations in Structure and Why They Matter for Inequality.RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 8(6): 87-102.

Summers, Kate, Fabien Accominotti, Tania Burchardt, Katharina Hecht, Liz Mann, and Jonathan Mijs. 2022. “Deliberating Inequality: A Blueprint for Studying the Social Formation of Beliefs about Economic Inequality.Social Justice Research 35(4): 379-400.

  • Morton Deutsch Best Article Award, International Society for Justice Research, 2023.

Accominotti, Fabien. 2021. “The Aesthetics of Hierarchy: How Algorithmic Classifications Legitimize Inequality.” British Journal of Sociology 72(2): 196-202.

Accominotti, Fabien. 2021. “Consecration as a Population-Level Phenomenon.American Behavioral Scientist 65(1): 9-24.

Accominotti, Fabien, and Daniel Tadmon. 2020. “How the Reification of Merit Breeds Inequality: Theory and Experimental Evidence.” LSE International Inequalities Institute Working Paper Series 42: 1-37.

Accominotti, Fabien, Shamus Khan, and Adam Storer. 2018. “How Cultural Capital Emerged in Gilded Age America: Musical Purification and Cross-Class Inclusion at the New York Philharmonic.” American Journal of Sociology 123(6): 1743-1783.

  • Charles Tilly Best Article Award, ASA Comparative-Historical Sociology Section, 2020.
  • Honorable Mention, Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, ASA Consumers and Consumption Section, 2019.

Public Lectures and Podcasts:

Polyoccupationalism: The Unexplored World of Workers’ Occupational Identities.” Work in Progress Blog, April 2024.

Interview with the Storm Research Center.” EM Lyon Business School, December 2023.

Meritocracy at Work: How the Architecture of Evaluation Shapes Inequality.” Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, March 2022.

The Architecture of Status Hierarchies and Why It Matters for Inequality.” Down the Research Rabbit Hole Podcast, January 2022.

A Theory of Consecration: Revolution, Hierarchy, and Inequality in the Market for Modern Art.” Collège de France, May 2021 (in French).

The Statistical Symphony.Especially Big Data Podcast, December 2017.