My second project, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (award #1921260), investigates how organizations make individuals legible and the implications of those processes for markets, inequality, and everyday life. Specifically, I focus on a case of breakdown: financial identity theft. Using mixed qualitative methods—including over 100 interviews with victims and professionals, hundreds of hours of observation in industry and nonprofit settings, and analysis of regulatory and organizational documents—I show how unique identities and “accurate” personal financial data emerge from potentially fraught negotiations between technology, expert judgment, and consumer subjectivity that can burden consumers and expose them to financial hardship and insecurity.


Brensinger, Jordan. 2023. “Identity Theft, Trust Breaches, and the Production of Economic Insecurity.” American Sociological Review. OnlineFirst. Accepted version.

Brensinger, Jordan and Gil Eyal. 2021. “The Sociology of Personal Identification.” Sociological Theory 39(4): 265-292. Accepted version.


“Who Should be Responsible for Personal Data?” August 17, 2021 in collaboration with Change Machine.

Media Coverage

“His Identity Was Stolen Once. Then, It Happened Again. Why Didn’t His Bank Believe Him?” April 28,2021 in Refinery29