My scholarship interrogates the significance of social categories as they mediate myriad opportunities and constraints in the everyday lives of immigrants and ethnoracial minorities. I utilize diverse methodologies, data sources, and theoretical perspectives to investigate how ascriptive social categories (race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.) and their corresponding symbolic boundaries are activated, reinforced, and contested within organizations, politics, and popular culture, among others. My current research program consists of three streams: 1) immigrant organizations, 2) immigrant politics and civic participation, and 3) the sociology of music.
To view my recent and earlier academic publications, please visit my Google Scholar page.
Immigrant-led and immigrant-serving non-profit organizations form the institutional and organizational infrastructure for an immigrant community within a host society. Immigrants often develop their non-profit organizations to serve the needs and interests of co-national communities in destination societies and extend their reach to their country of origin. Through a multi-year study stemming from my doctoral research, I have studied the organizational infrastructure of Pakistani immigrants, the largest Muslim immigrant group in London, Toronto, and New York City. I deploy a mixed-method comparative design to compare the overall composition of three distinct Pakistani immigrant organizational spaces. I maintain an empirical and theoretical focus on the organizations as primary objects and units of analysis. Accordingly, my scholarship uses the size and composition of an immigrant group's non-profit sector as primary data to analyze how different environmental contexts correspond to similarities and differences across three Pakistani organizational contexts. In addition to exploring compositional variation, I also examine how Pakistani immigrant organizations endured similar organizational-level stigmatization across the three cities. I find that the stigmatization of ascriptive group-level markers such as race, religion, and nationality is multi-scalar and can therefore manifest as an organizational-level stigma against immigrant organizations.
2021 Chaudhary, Ali R. ‘Ascriptive Organizational Stigma and the Constraining of Pakistani Immigrant
Organizations.’ International Migration Review. 55(1):84-107.
2020 Chaudhary, Ali R. & Luis E. Guarnizo. ‘Capacities and Constraints: Pakistani diaspora organizations in Toronto and New York City’ in Dennis Dijkzeul and Margit Fauser (Eds) Diaspora Organizations in International Affairs. Routledge Series on Global Institutions. London: Routledge.\
2018 Chaudhary, Ali. R. ‘Organizing Transnationalism and Belonging among Pakistani Immigrants in London and New York’ Migration Studies. 6(3):420-447.
2016 Chaudhary, Ali. R. and Luis Eduardo Guarnizo. 2016. ‘Pakistani Immigrant Organizational Spaces in Toronto and New York City.’ The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 42(6):1013-1035.
Beyond immigrant organizations, my scholarship further examines how civic engagement can be fostered and constrained at the individual level. As a measure of immigrant integration, scholars have long been concerned with understanding the opportunities and challenges associated with immigrant participation in domestic and homeland-oriented civic participation. Over the past two decades, sociologists made great strides in interrogating the determinants and intensity of migrants' cross-border activities. This work has produced lively debates concerning transnationalism as a phenomenon and heuristic tool for migration studies. My research seeks to extend this rich scholarship by examining the relationship between domestic and homeland-oriented political participation among immigrants in Europe and Asian-Americans. In a series of articles using data on migrants in Europe, I find compelling complementarity between domestic and homeland-oriented political actions among politically motivated migrants. Accordingly, these analyses emphasize the significance of contexts of departures and the need for migration scholars to consider how homeland, bi-lateral, and geopolitical contexts are simultaneously fostering and constraining immigrants' local, national, and transnational political activities.
2018 Chaudhary, Ali. R. ‘Voting ‘Here’ and ‘There’: Political Integration and Transnational Political Engagement among Immigrants in Europe.’ Global Networks 18(3):437-460.
2021 Chaudhary, Ali R., and Quan D. Mai. ‘Educational Place, Simultaneity, and Civic Participation in Asian America” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. 7(2):111-128.
2019 Chaudhary, Ali. R. and Dana. M. Moss. ‘Suppressing Transnationalism: Bringing Constraints into the Study of Transnational Political Action.’ Comparative Migration Studies. 7(9):1-22.
2019 Guarnizo, Luis Eduardo., Ali R. Chaudhary and Nina Nyberg Sorensen. ‘Migrants’ Transnational Political Engagement in Spain and Italy.’ Migration Studies 7(3):281-322.
I have recently been developing a new research stream in the sociology of music. I am interrogating the significance of ascriptive categories (e.g., race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.) as they mediate music production, performance, and consumption in modern societies. This research stream currently has two strands. The first strand entails studies examining how racial and gender boundaries are activated and reinforced through the historical production, advertising, and consumption of musical instruments. While sociologists have examined how the various actors within the commercial music industry used race to classify and categorize artists and genres differentially, less attention has been given to the centrality and significance of musical instruments as antecedent boundary-making cultural objects. I posit that advertising and the production/consumption cycle of musical instruments were critical antecedent processes whereby racial and gendered boundaries were activated and reinforced around notions of white masculinity. The symbolic boundaries constructed relative to musical instruments—and the musicians using them—were later activated as racially bounded genres of music (e.g., Rock n' Roll, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, etc.). Using the case of the mid-20th century ascendance of the electric guitar, I examine how segregationist-era practices and philosophies in modern U.S. advertising contributed to the erasure of Black Celebrity guitarists from advertising materials and the emerging electric guitar consumer cultures. Findings from this study appear in a recently published article in Sociological Forum. I am expanding this historical research by examining how electric guitars and turntables are visually depicted in the 21st century through a popular internet search engine. The visual images of these two instruments reflect contemporary homologies between material objects (musical instruments) and socially constructed ascriptive categories and groups.
The second strand in my sociology of music research stream examines the short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on working musicians in the United States. Like other creative workers, musicians have long been associated with temporary contract work and precarious employment. The various social distancing measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the most prolonged stoppage of live performances in modern human history. Musicians relying on live performances were effectively prohibited from "working" and rehearsing with other musicians. In an earlier study, I developed the concept of "racialized incorporation" to analyze inequities in self-employment. I am using the same concept to examine how the suspension of live performance impacted the economic and social well-being of musicians and to what extent the impacts varied by race, immigrant generation, instrument, and U.S. state of a primary residence. Using nationally representative data from the U.S. Current Population Survey and an original database of working musicians and in-depth interviews, this project examines how working musicians endured the short-term effects of the pandemic-related suspensions of live performances in 2020 and 2021.
2022 Chaudhary, Ali R. ‘Paint it White: Segregationist Logics in Adverting and the Electric Guitar’, Sociological Forum. 37(1):133-154.
2015 Chaudhary, Ali R. ‘Racialized Incorporation: The Effects of Race and Generational Status on Self-Employment and Industry-Sector Prestige in the United States.’ International Migration Review. Vol.49 (2):318-355.