Alexander B. Kinney

About Alexander B. Kinney

Alexander B. Kinney is a sixth year PhD Candidate in Sociology. His interests mainly lie in exploring the foundations of institutional change, understanding the the process of field transformation, and studying the diffusion of technology in gray markets situated at the boundaries of law. His dissertation explores the dynamics of the cannabis industry as it transitions towards operating in a fully regulated commercial market. This includes how cannabis entrepreneurs negotiate contradictory regulations and unclear norms through the use of temporary, "provisional" institutions designed to provide both immediate support for business activities and become obsolete over time. Currently, he is working on understanding the implication of surveilling institutions in gray markets and how cannabis entrpreneurs negotiate competing mechanisms of oversight on their businesses. He is a recipient of the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award (DDRI) to fund this project which will be used to conduct a national survey of cannabis entrepreneurs in order to understand which types institutions are diffusing broadly across the industry thereby becoming legitimated, and which types of institutions are crafted in response to local contexts and are candidates to fade away. 

If you are looking for access to the Survey of Cannabis Professionals in the United States click here.


Areas of Study

Crime, Law, and Society, Field theory, Gray Markets, Semi-legitimate Industries, Emerging Financial Instruments.

Selected Publications

Kinney, Alexander B. Forthcoming. “The Extra-Institutional Logics of an Emerging Market Field: Values and Practice in the Bitcoin Experience.” Social Currents

Kinney, Alexander B. Forthcoming. "Embedding Into a New Money System: The Case of Bitcoin." Sociological Focus.

Kinney, Alexander B., Andrew P. Davis, and Yongjun Zhang. 2018. “Theming for Terror: Organizational Adornment in Terrorist Propaganda.” Poetics 69:27–40.


Alexander B. Kinney's picture

Contact Information

Alexander B. Kinney
PhD Candidate
Office: Social Sciences 416A