Amy Kate Bailey’s research is oriented around questions of racial inequality, with a historical line that focuses on racial violence, and a contemporary area that examines the role of the US military as a stratifying institution. Her recent work interrogates the relationship between community-level socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and the rate of military enlistment. She has identified a typology of communities with differing levels of enlistment and explores the link between residential segregation and enlistment, and how that varies depending on the race of the enlistee. From a neoliberal perspective, the military as a major employer of working class adults, and key institutional mechanism for redistribution of public resources to “deserving” individuals.
Her faculty scholar project, “Transition to Adulthood for Working Class Youth: Institutions and Informal Practices in Local Communities”, extends this conceptual framework to examine enlistment in concert with competing institutional options available to young adults from working class backgrounds, and shifts the scope of her inquiry from nationally-focused comparative work to an in-depth examination of community-level institutional processes and normative social practices.