I am an assistant professor of sociology at New York University Abu Dhabi. Previously, I have been a Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University's Institute for International and Regional Studies, a visiting research scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and a postdoctoral researcher at NYU Abu Dhabi.
My current research agenda focuses on the dynamics of social contention. This contention might be violent, such as insurgent attacks in contemporary Afghanistan, or more subtle, as when aspiring labor migrants and recruitment brokers negotiate contract terms under information asymmetries. I am especially interested in the relational aspects of contention, ranging from the construction of exclusionary discourses to how networks can endogenously motivate acrimonious social relationships. My research is based on insights gained during fieldwork in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it currently draws on network and computational textual analyses, as well as networked digital field experiments. I teach courses on research design and computational textual analysis for the social sciences.
What is radicalism and how does it affect the lives of radicals? My research takes initial steps towards a theory of radical discourse, then uses this theory to shed new light on the everyday lives -- and deaths -- of radicals. It also helps distinguish between political radicalism and related discourses.
Papers and book manuscript in progress
How do efforts to combat insurgencies inadvertently fuel further conflict? My research explores how state-building and "hearts and minds" campaigns can increase turmoil by (unexpectedly) reshaping the social hierarchies and boundaries within local communities.
“Aid, Exclusion, and the Local Dynamics of Insurgency in Afghanistan”, 2018, by Daniel Karell and Sebastian Schutte. Journal of Peace Research 55(6):711-725. The pre-print version is here, the online appendix is here, and the blog version is at PV@G.
The Nils Petter Gleditsch Article of the Year Award (2018), Journal of Peace Research [announcement]
“Ethnicity and Nationalism in Afghanistan in the Post-2001 Era”, 2016. Introduction to special issue commemorating the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001, by Daniel Karell. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 16(3):456-459.
“Ethnic Political Mobilization in Contemporary Afghanistan, an Interview with Abdul Rahman Rahmani”, 2016. Interview included in a special issue commemorating the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001, by Daniel Karell. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 16(3):510-517.
NETworks and text
How can social scientists study the joint evolution of social life and culture without collapsing one domain into the other? I synthesize two rapidly developing, and, up to now, unrelated methodologies -- computational textual analysis and longitudinal network models -- into a novel analytic approach. This approach offers unique theoretical and empirical opportunities for studying socio-semantic networks and the sociology of culture.
“Socio-Semantic Network Evolution: Linking Topic- and Longitudinal Network Models”, by Daniel Karell and Michael Freedman. Under review.
How does the recruitment of labor migrants work? To better understand the process of recruitment -- particularly for labor migrants working in Gulf states -- I am conducting research in Pakistan to uncover the actors and series of relationships that make up labor recruitment.
The project is supported by funding from the Research & Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration Program.
Ethnicity & nation
How do communities excluded from a prevailing national narrative conceive of themselves as part of the nation? Which social and material resources do they use to craft notions of inclusion? I examined the creation of sub-national identities -- or, varieties of a master national narrative -- in a multi-year project involving native-born Muslim Spaniards living in Spain's two North African exclaves, the cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
“Ethnicity, Citizenship, and the Migration-Development Nexus: The Case of Moroccan Migrants in Spain's North African Exclaves”, 2014, by Daniel Karell. The Journal of Development Studies 50(8):1090-103.