Grad Students

Neil Gong

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I'm an urban ethnographer who studies health, law, and inequality. My dissertation and book project, Mind and Matter (under contract with University of Chicago Press), is a comparative ethnography of public safety net and elite private psychiatric services in community settings. Broadly, it investigates how inequality shapes clinical practices and everyday life. As a methodologist, I am concerned with the potential and limitations of comparative field research, and am co-editing a volume on this topic (under contract with Oxford University Press) with Corey Abramson of the University of Arizona. My previous empirical project examined the social organization of a "no-rules" fight club, and I have published on the sociology of violence, the body, and masculinity.

Fields of Study

medical sociology, urban sociology, law, knowledge, mental health, ethnography


Peer Reviewed Publications

Gong, Neil. (2018) Seeing Like a State Athletic Commission: Multi-Case Ethnography and the Making of 'Underground' Combat Sports. Ethnography. 

Gong, Neil. (2017) 'That Proves You Mad, Because You Know it Not': Impaired Insight and the Dilemma of Governing Psychiatric Patients as Legal Subjects. Theory and Society.

Gong, Neil. (2015) How to Fight Without Rules: On Civilized Violence in "De-Civilized" Spaces. Social Problems.

Winner of the ASA Body and Embodiment Section Graduate Student Paper Award


Gong, Neil. (Under Contract.) Mind and Matter: Madness and Inequality in Los Angeles. Chicago, Il. University of Chicago Press.

Abramson, Corey and Neil Gong (Under Contract). Beyond the Case: Competing Logics and Practices of Comparative Ethnography New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Grants and Awards

UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2018-2019

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, 2012-2016

Elena and Greg Davis Foundation Grant, 2011-2012

UCLA Department of Sociology Fellowship, 2011-2016

Fulbright Fellow, The University of Hong Kong, 2009-2010


 Stefan Timmermans, Hannah Landecker, Rogers Brubaker, Aaron Panofsky, Joel Braslow (History and Psychiatry)


C.Phil, Sociology, UCLA 2015

MA, Sociology, UCLA 2013

BA Honors, Individualized Study, New York University, 2008