Eliza Benites-Gambirazio

About Eliza Benites-Gambirazio

Eliza is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at the University of Arizona. 

Her current work focuses on the real estate and residential dynamics of the Tucson metropolitan area, and more specifically on the practices of market intermediaries (developers and realtors) in structuring housing demand and supply. 

Her dissertation examines the work of real estate professionals on the housing market and highlights how their professional activities contribute to influence transaction outcomes such as pricing, product and neighborhood preferences, affecting market shape and functioning. Based on 2 years of ethnographic observations in a school of real estate and two real estate companies and seventy interviews with real estate agents, the study explores the formal and informal socialization of agents through a set of norms and rules to behave as market professionals; the use of social relationships to profit-making ends; and the participation of agents in the process of creating symbolic and market value by influencing preferences and prices, generating important implications for social and racial segregation. At the intersection of cultural, urban and economic sociology, this work sheds light on the dynamics of a market with intermediaries to refine our understanding of housing inequalities.

With more than 8 years of sociological expertise, Eliza has implemented a variety of research projects linking urban dynamics and economic issues. 

She is an active member of the Research Unit iGlobes created in 2008 by the French National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Arizona. Under the direction of Dr. Franck Poupeau, she carried out with a team of European researchers innovative research to better understand the field of water politics in the Western United States. Drawing upon historical research and qualitative investigation, this research highlights that water ressources and land acquisition are subject to growing interests from a variety of professional and political groups - farmers, developers, water managers, but also local elites - trying to conciliate the legal imperative of water management in an arid context and the continual search for growth. The research addresses the conflicts and alliances build between different groups of actors demonstrating 1) the interactive day-to-day functioning: alliance between developers, consulting firms and municipalities for urban development and projects; 2) the practices of developers to fit their bigger intent of controlling water through the creation and management of their own water companies, the use of water storage and credits. The various studies published shade light on the strategies – the creation of shadow governments for example – these groups employ to navigate water and land acquisition. 

While at the Universidad de Chile, she also conducted research on Transantiago, the new public transportation system in Santiago de Chile. Her research looked at the process of modernization through interviews with policy makers, elected officials and public employees. Through participant observation in buses and informal interviews with bus users, the research also analyzed the reception of the new transportation system by its inhabitants, raising issues of social change and cultural adaptation provoked by a new mode of urban mobility as well as the memories created around the old system of transportation.  

As part of her masters at the University of Arizona, Eliza carried out a quantitative research on the residents of gated communities in the United States, their socio-economic and ethnic demographics and their concerns around security and housing conditions.

Research Interests

Stratification, Economic sociology, Urban sociology, Culture, Housing, Environmental Sociology


Selected Publications

Forthcoming with F. Poupeau, B. O'Neill, J. Cortinas, M. Coeurdray and E. Rios, Water Conflicts: Scarcity and Policy in the American Southwest (under contract at Routledge)  

2018. « Le travail des femmes agents immobiliers aux Etats-Unis. Le genre comme compétence » (The work of women real estate agents in the United States. Gender as a skill), Regards Sociologiques, n°52, pp. 32-45.

2017. « Un travail sous tension. Les agents immobiliers américains entre affranchissement des contraintes salariales et marchandisation » (Working under pressure. The American real estate agent between independence and commodification), Tracés. Revue de Sciences humaines [En ligne], 32 | 2017, mis en ligne le 18 mai 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/traces/6838

2016. 1st author with M. Coeurdray and F. Poupeau. "Une promotion immobilière sous contraintes environnementales. Les logiques sociales du périurbain dans les Desert Cities de l’Ouest étasunien", Revue Française de Sociologie, vol 57 n°4. http://www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-sociologie-2016-4-page-735.htm 

  • 2018. “Property Development under Environmental Constraints. The Social Logic of the Peri-urban Form in the “Desert Cities” of the American West” (Translation in French of the original article), Revue Française de Sociologie.

2016. Book review "Sylvette Denèfle (dir.), Repenser la propriété. Des alternatives pour habiter," Lectures [En ligne], URL: http://lectures.revues.org/21418

2016. “The Social Logics of Urban Sprawl. Arizona cities under environmental pressure” in F. Poupeau et al., Water Bankrupcy in the Land of Plenty, New York, CRS Press Taylor and Francis, pp. 119-137. 

2016 with A. Serrat-Capdevilla et al. “Bringing all the stories together: Beyond the Tucson case study” in F. Poupeau et al., Water Bankrupcy in the Land of Plenty, New York, CRS Press Taylor and Francis, pp. 397-411.   See http://www.unesco-ihe.org/sites/default/files/water_bankruptcy_in_the_land_of_plenty_final_-_flyer.pdf

2014. "L’importance du quartier à Chicago et ailleurs," Métropolitiques, February 21st, 2014. URL: http://www.metropolitiques.eu/L-importance-du-quartier-a-Chicago.html

2013. Book review "Monique Membrado, Alice Rouyer (dir.), Habiter et vieillir. Vers de nouvelles demeures," Lectures [En ligne], URL: http://lectures.revues.org/12460

2012. "Politiques urbaines et justifications écologiques. Note sur les centres-villes durables en Amérique Latine." Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 195(5). 

Eliza Benites-Gambirazio's picture

Contact Information

Eliza Benites-Gambirazio
Office: Social Sciences 426

Courses Taught

Currently a Research & Teaching Fellow at SciencesPo

Taught at SciencesPo:

- Grandes Enquêtes Sociologiques (1st semester) 

- Introduction à la Sociologie (2nd semester)

Taught at the University of Arizona:

- Introduction to Sociology (SOC101)

- Sociology of Happiness (SOC357)

- Work and Society (SOC326)

- Environmental Sociology (SOC307)