Urban Sociology, Race & Ethnicity, Gender & Sexuality, Health, Ethnography


My research examines everyday experiences of marginality and precarity, particularly as they play out in urban spaces, urban economies, and community institutions. My main book project, Making it Work: Entrepreneurialism at the Margins, offers an ethnographic portrait of precarious work to force a reconsideration of the entrepreneurial role as it intersects with various forms of hardship and marginalization. This work offers much needed specificity in an economy where all work is increasingly precarious, and it offers insight for cities looking to address issues of poverty and inequality by locating previously overlooked avenues to support the livelihood of marginalized workers.

I am also interested in examining the role of gender and sexuality in ethnographic research. I have published on the nature and role of intimacy in ethnography and I am currently co-authoring a book, What’s Gender got to do with it? Deepening the Ethnographic Imagination.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

  • Orrico, Laura A. 2017. “Let People be People: Everyday Substance Use in a Public Work Site.” Qualitative Sociology 40(3): 311-330.
  • Orrico, Laura A. 2015. "Working the Boardwalk: Trust in a Public Marketplace." Social Psychology Quarterly 78(3): 228-245.
  • Orrico, Laura A. 2015. “Doing Intimacy in a Public Market: How the Gendered Experience of Ethnography Reveals Situated Social Dynamics.” Qualitative Research 15(4): 473-488.
  • Timmermans, Stefan, Laura A. Orrico, and Jasmine Smith. 2014. “Spillover Effects of an Uninsured Population.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 55(3): 360–374.    

Courses Taught

  • Urban Sociology
  • The Philadelphia Research Experience
  • Research Design and Methods