Erin Metz McDonnellErin Metz McDonnell

Erin Metz McDonnell (PhD, Northwestern University) joins the Notre Dame faculty as Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology. Her research interests span governance, state administration, development, elite migration, international comparative sociology, and classical social theory, with her work centering on West Africa.

Her book manuscript, “Subcultural Bureaucracy,” examines niches of effective governance within conventionally weak states in low-income countries, combining a comparative approach with a case study of state administration in Ghana.

She finds that not only does administrative capacity within states vary, but also that the conditions that support niches of Weberian-style bureaucracies in countries such as Ghana are quite different from those in the West.

Since McDonnell’s scholarship brings sociology together with political science, business, and economics, among other disciplines, she was drawn to the Institute’s interdisciplinary environment.

“My research engages ideas about state capacity in low-income countries, which intersects with important questions about the political preconditions for effective development,” she says. “Kellogg and the Ford Program are an ideal environment for me, bringing together thematic attention to government and development.”

“Of course,” she adds, “I am thrilled to be a part of a growing group of scholars at Kellogg whose research focuses on Africa.”