Mustafa Yavas

Postdoctoral Associate Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BSc Bogazici University; MSc Bogazici University; PhD Yale University

Research Areas: Economic Sociology; Political Sociology; Sociology of Work; Social Networks


Mustafa Yavas is a sociologist focused on economic and political sociology with strong interests in inequality, work & occupations, social movements, and social networks. He uses both qualitative and computational methods including in-depth interviews, social network analysis, computational text analysis, and agent-based modeling. His previous research focused on various boundary processes in social, economic, and political settings, including status homophily in social networks, residential segregation by income, and collective identity formation in social movements.

Building on the insights from these studies, he is currently working a book manuscript, tentatively titled “White-Collar Blues? The Making of the Transnational Middle Class in Turkey,” in which he explores the intertwined processes of globalization and class formation. Focusing on the quality of work life of Turkish business professionals and managers in Istanbul and New York City through more than 100 in-depth interviews, he follows the members of this differentiating stratum through the employment life course: i) selection into, ii) surviving within, and iii) opting-out of high-prestige, high-salary jobs at transnational corporations. Contrary to the implicit assumptions of common sense and much sociological research, this project problematizes the careers and lifestyles that underpin the elite workforce in general and the transnational Turkish middle class in particular. Capitalizing on how so-called “Good Jobs” can endow some occupants with a discouraging quality of (work) life, he extends alienation theory to cover not only the working class but also the middle class, including its upper and transnational fractions.

His other current major project aims to map the field of political opinion in contemporary Turkey and its change over time. This study focuses on the role of media in the rise of authoritarianism by combining computational text analysis with social networks.

Mustafa received his BSc and MSc in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University and briefly worked as an engineer before starting his PhD in Sociology at Yale University.