Dr Aliya Rao

Dr Aliya Rao

Assistant Professor

Department of Methodology

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Key Expertise
Work, Gender, Family, Qualitative Research Methods

About me

"As a qualitative researcher, one of the most exciting aspects of my methods is that I get to be a part of people’s lives for a period of time. It was an immense privilege for me that I was entrusted with this honour by the families I interviewed [for my book, Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment]. It was a pleasure to get to amplify their experiences."
- Dr Aliya Rao reflects on her favourite piece of research as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations. Read the full close-up with Methodology faculty.

Aliya Hamid Rao is an Assistant Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology in the Department of Methodology and a Faculty Associate at the International Inequalities Institute. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.

Research interests

Aliya’s research agenda is broadly in the areas of work, gender, and family. She draws on qualitative research methods – specifically interviews and observations – to understand how economic risk and employment uncertainty permeate and shape people’s subjectivities, gendered practices, and social relationships in the institutions of work and family. In current and ongoing work, Aliya operationalizes employment uncertainty as unemployment.

Central to this is her book, Crunch Time: How Married Couples Confront Unemployment (University of California Press, 2020), which shows how comparable men and women have starkly different experiences of unemployment. Men’s unemployment is seen as an urgent problem while women’s unemployment – cocooned within a narrative of staying at home – is treated like a non-issue in their families. The book illuminates the interactional mechanisms that sustain gender inequality at a time that is ripe for dismantling these.

For more information, please visit Aliya’s website: www.aliyahamidrao.com

Expertise Details

Work; Gender; Family; Qualitative Research Methods

Journal articles

Rao, Aliya Hamid. 2022. "Relational Work in the Family: The Gendered Microfoundation of Parents’ Economic Decisions." American Sociological Review, 87(6), 1094–1120

Rao, Aliya Hamid. 2021. "Gendered Interpretations of Job Loss and Subsequent Professional Pathways." Gender and Society 35 (6): 884-909

Lareau, Annette and Aliya Hamid Rao. “Intensive family observations: a methodological guide.” Sociological Methods and Research. Online First

Rao, Aliya Hamid. 2020. “From professionals to professional mothers?: how college-educated, married mothers experience unemployment in the US.” Work, Employment and Society 34 (2): 299-316.

Wynn, Alison and Aliya Hamid Rao. 2020. “Failures of flexibility: how perceived control motivates the individualization of work-life conflict.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 73 (1): 61-90.

Rao, Aliya Hamid and Megan Tobias Neely. 2019. “What’s love got to do with it?: Passion and inequality at work.” (Equal authorship). Sociology Compass 13(12).

Rao, Aliya Hamid. 2017. “‘You don’t dare plan much’: contract work and personal life for international early-career professionals.” Research in the Sociology of Work 31: 429-453.

Rao, Aliya Hamid. 2017. “Stand by your man: wives’ emotion work during men’sunemployment.” Journal of Marriage and Family 79(3): 636-656.

Rao, Aliya Hamid. 2015. “Gender and cultivating the moral self in Islam: Muslim converts in an American mosque.” Sociology of Religion 76(4): 413-435.


Rao, Aliya Hamid. (2020). Crunch time: how married couples confront unemployment. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.