Contact Information:

Maria Akchurin

Department of Sociology

Loyola University, Chicago

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining LUC, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research/Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. received my Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 2015 and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University from 2015-2017.

As a comparative political sociologist, I study social movements, the history of policy change around socio-environmental issues, and the consequences of social mobilization, with a regional interest in Latin America. My current research agenda centers on how people make sense of and organize politically around socio-environmental issues, especially water, and the conditions under which organized collective action has an impact on political, socioeconomic, and environmental outcomes. I am partial to a comparative approach using qualitative methods including archival research, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic observation, though I am also interested in mixed methods that combine qualitative and quantitative approaches.

My book project, based on comparative research on urban water and sanitation services in Argentina and Chile, traces the history of private sector involvement in the sector in Greater Buenos Aires and Greater Santiago, and analyzes the conditions under which organized collective action by activists and other policy outsiders influences how water and sanitation policies are implemented. In a related project, I have been studying community opposition to mining projects, primarily in northern Chile. I have also studied how mobilization led to the introduction of the legal rights of nature in Ecuador (published in Law & Social Inquiry), and how women’s activism contributes to gender earnings equality in cross-national perspective (published in the American Sociological Review, with Cheol-Sung Lee). 

I enjoy collaborating with other scholars, including in interdisciplinary contexts. At Tulane, I coordinated the Mobilization, Extractivism, and Government Action (MEGA) research network headed by Eduardo Silva. MEGA recently published a special issue on Mega-Projects, Contentious Action, and Policy Change in Latin America in the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

I am also currently one of the editors of States, Power, and Societies, the ASA political sociology section newsletter. I was previously a graduate student Associate Editor for the American Journal of Sociology and a newsletter editor for Sectors, the ASA sociology of development section newsletter.