This is the professional website of Brian A. Hoey–cultural anthropologist, ethnographer, and author.
I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 2002. In the fall of 2007, I became an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University.
My ethnographic research encompasses a number of themes including personhood and place, migration, narrative identity and life-transition, community building, and negotiations between work, family, and self in different social, historical, and environmental contexts. Longstanding interests in career change, personal identity and the moral meanings of work lead to my project as a postdoctoral fellow from 2004-2007 at the Center for Ethnography of Everyday Life (an Alfred P. Sloan Center for Working Families) on “New Work,” unconventional arrangements of work, family and community life explored by so-called free-agents of a post-industrial economy. My research has focused increasingly on health outcomes (both physical and psychological) shaped by a different abiotic, biotic, and cultural factors at the individual and collective levels.
My project in Northwest Lower Michigan has explored non-economic or “lifestyle” migration where downsized and downshifting corporate workers relocate as a means of starting over. As a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia, I studied the contested nature of constructing personally and culturally meaningful space within the process of creating imagined and intentional community in far-flung agrarian settlements within a government migration program. My most recent projects have considered how therapeutic ideals are attached to particular physical settings–including purposive communities that range from 19th century moral treatment asylums to today’s new urbanist developments. I am also continuing work concerning migration, community development, and economic restructuring here in the Appalachian region of the United States. Despite a recent history of often bleak economic conditions and an continued mixed prospects, the communities surrounding Marshall University are, in many ways, perfect places to conduct research on new forms of work, entrepreneurship, community building, and the marketing of place according to emerging cultural and economic models that may stand in sharp contrast to the dominant order of the Industrial Era. In an area where plant closings and grim economic forecasts became commonplace over the past several decades, innovation which challenges conventional wisdom should not surprise us. Innovation is often born of necessity.
This page is a gateway to more detailed information about my teaching and research. You may follow links from the top this page to begin your exploration or find material topically by using the Site Search. I hope you will find the information here helpful and interesting.