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Mariana Craciun

Postdoctoral Fellow, Science in Human Culture, Northwestern University

  • Fields of Study
    • Professions and Expertise
  • About

    Mariana Craciun is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Science in Human Culture Program and Sociology Department at Northwestern University.  Her research examines how social actors make selective and strategic use of different forms of knowledge (e.g. experiential, abstract, affective) to build up their legitimacy and competency within structural and cultural constraints.  Her projects span the fields of medical sociology, the sociology of professions, science and technology studies, and immigration.  In her dissertation, she examined how professional psychotherapists assert expertise and authority in a medical context dominated by concerns for “evidence,” and financial viability.  She drew on extensive ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews, and compared the work practices and ideologies of psychotherapists adopting either a cognitive-behavioral or a psychoanalytic orientation.  She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Chasing Freud's dream:  Psychotherapy between science and emotion, that complements this ethnographic picture of talk therapy with a historical and institutional analysis of the field.  She argues that changing norms around what counts as "data" inside and outside the therapy room have been highly consequential for contests of dominance between psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioral orientations.  In addition to this work, two other projects (the latter with Jason Owen-Smith) examine how actors make use of various forms of knowledge to gain credibility in two very distinct contexts:  Romanian immigrants making sense of the racial landscape of the Midwestern United States, and scientists testifying in congress on the topic of stem cell research.

  • Education
    • M.A. University of Michigan, 2009
    • B.A. University of California, Los Angeles, 2005
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Medical Sociology, Science and Technology Studies, Immigration, Social Theory
  • Dissertation Title
    • Embodied Expertise: the Science and Affect of Psychotherapy
  • Dissertation Committee
    • Jason Owen-Smith, Genevieve Zubrzycki, John Carson, Renee Anspach, George Steinmetz