Professor Kim Pernell was recently confirmed as the Sociology Department’s latest Canada Research Chair. This honour recognizes Professor Pernell’s academic achievements and her contributions to the emerging field of economic sociology. As a scholar early in her career, Professor Pernell received a Tier II Canada Research Chair which identifies her as an “exceptional emerging researcher” having the potential to lead in her field.
Professor Pernell came to the University of Toronto in the fall of 2016 after completing her doctorate in Sociology at Harvard University. Both her work at Harvard and the work that she is doing now speak directly to many of the most pressing questions and active debates in economic and organizational sociology. In particular, her research seeks to understand the organizational processes, cultural frameworks and institutional conditions that facilitate risky, ineffective, and harmful behavior, especially in financial markets.
Pernell currently has three lines of research. In one line, she examines the development of the regulatory systems that constrain or enable undesirable bank behavior. In another line of research, Pernell studies the rise and spread of risky financial instruments. In her third line, Pernell asks how recent changes in the structure of North American financial systems have contributed to trends in socioeconomic inequality. All of the strands of her research contribute to understanding the interaction between institutional and cultural frameworks, and the outcomes of such interactions for economic and social well-being.
Pernell has already been recognized for her excellence within the field. Remarkable for a scholar who has only recently completed her doctorate, Pernell has already published in two of the flagship journals of the discipline. She has also presented her research on panels at some of the most prestigious academic conferences in the field, including the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics.
Pernell is poised to be a leader in several fields. Her work cuts across sub-disciplines, including organizational sociology, economic sociology, law and regulation, political sociology, cultural sociology, and transnational sociology. She contributes to understandings of how modern regulatory regimes develop and change; how risky practices and activities come to rise and spread in financial markets; and how changes in banking and finance contribute to the reproduction of social inequality today. Beyond its academic importance, her work is also valuable for policymakers in Canada, the U.S., and for financial markets at a global level. With the Canada Research Chair, Pernell will forge even more connections with Canadian and global actors in the world of finance and bring her insights to a wider range of stakeholders to influence policy and effect change.
Professor Pernell is the fifth faculty member in the Department of Sociology to receive a Canada Research Chair. She is preceded by Professor John Myles who was a Canada Research Chair in the Social Foundations of Public Policy and Professor Monica Boyd who held the Canada Research Chair in Immigration, Integration and Public Policy. Professor Scott Schieman currently holds a Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health and Professor Ito Peng holds a Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy.