David Pettinicchio. Credit: Ian Patterson.

David Pettinicchio

Associate Professor

David Pettinicchio joined the Sociology Department as assistant professor in 2014. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2012, Professor Pettinicchio took a two-year position as sociology postdoctoral fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. At UTM, Professor Pettinicchio currently teaches Measuring the Social World, Crises, Health, and Disability, and Disability, Politics and Society. He has recently published in Gender and Society, Canadian Public Policy, The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, Canadian Review of Sociology, and the Journal of Consumer Culture. His book, Politics of Empowerment (Stanford University Press), examines the back-and-forth dynamics between political mobilization and policymaking. He is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Disability (Oxford University Press) scheduled to be released in 2023. His work has also been featured in popular press including the Toronto Star, The Conversation, The Globe and Mail, USA Today, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post.

As a political sociologist interested in health, inequalities, culture, race, gender, and disability, Professor Pettinicchio studies the development of political constituencies and their ongoing interaction with a variety of social institutions. More recently, he has embarked in a nationwide study about how policy responses to COVID-19 shaped public perceptions about government and policy. Part of his focus is the way in which people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic and the effects on mental health. Continuing with his focus on social inequalities, Pettinicchio is also working with a graduate student examining how fashion and cosmetic industry insiders in different cultural contexts think diversity should look and how diversity is received by consumers. Drawing from production-consumption dynamics, he seeks to identify mechanisms that lend sustained support for diversity campaigns while uncovering more pessimistic views of diversity around race, age, sexuality, disability, and body size – that these are merely performative and that brands either “get woke or go broke.”

Ph.D. (Sociology, University of Washington)
M.A. (Sociology, McGill University)
B.A. (Sociology, McGill University)


Books and Edited Volumes

Lewis Brown, Robyn, Michelle Maroto, and David Pettinicchio, eds. Forthcoming. The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Disability. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pettinicchio, David, ed. 2021. The Politics of Inequality. Research in Political Sociology, Volume 28. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Pettinicchio, David. 2019. Politics of Empowerment: Disability Rights and the Cycle of American Policy Reform. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications (since 2019)

Maroto, Michelle and David Pettinicchio. 2022. “Living on the Edge: Disability, Health, and Experiences of Economic Insecurity during COVID-19.” Sociological Inquiryhttps://doi.org/10.1111/soin.12504

Pettinicchio, David, Michelle Maroto, and Jennifer L. Brooks. 2022. “The Sociology of Disability-Based Economic Inequality.” Contemporary Sociology 51(4):249-270. https://doi.org/10.1177/00943061221103313

Foster, Jordan and David Pettinicchio. 2021. “A Model Who Looks Like Me: Communicating and Consuming Representations of Disability.”  Journal of Consumer Culture 22(3):579-597. https://doi.org/10.1177/14695405211022074

Maroto, Michelle Lee, David Pettinicchio, and Martin Lukk. 2021. “Working Differently or Not at All: COVID-19’s Effects on Employment among People with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions.” Sociological Perspectives 64(5):876-897. https://doi.org/10.1177/07311214211012018

Pettinicchio, David and Michelle Maroto. 2021. “Who Counts? Measuring Disability Cross-Nationally in Census Data.” Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology 9(2):257-284. https://doi.org/10.1093/jssam/smaa046

Pettinicchio, David, Michelle Maroto, Lei Chai, and Martin Lukk. 2021. “Findings from an Online Survey on the Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 on Canadians with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions.” Disability and Health Journal 14(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2021.101085

Pettinicchio, David, Michelle Maroto, and Martin Lukk. 2021. “Perceptions of Canadian Federal Policy Responses to COVID-19 among People with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions.” Canadian Public Policy 47:231-251. https://doi.org/10.3138/cpp.2021-012

Maroto, Michelle and David Pettinicchio. 2020. “Barriers to Economic Security: Disability, Employment and Asset Disparities in Canada.” Canadian Review of Sociology 57(1):53-79. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cars.12268

Pettinicchio, David and Michelle Maroto. 2020. “Combating Inequality: The Between- and Within-Group Effects of Unionization on Earnings for People with Different Disabilities.” The Sociological Quarterly 62(4):763-787. https://doi.org/10.1080/00380253.2020.1820918

Maroto, Michelle, David Pettinicchio, and Andrew C. Patterson. 2019. “Hierarchies of Categorical Disadvantage: Economic Insecurity at the Intersection of Disability, Gender and Race.” Gender and Society 33(1):64-93. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243218794648

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Social Policy; Political Sociology; Social Movements and Disability
Current Courses
SOC222H5, SOC350H5, SOC429H5