Ben Bradlow is a sociologist of cities, democracy, and inequality. He is an affiliate of the Research Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2020-2021 in the Weatherhead Scholars Program. In 2019-20, he was a Visiting Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
His research asks: Why are some cities more unequal than others? Why do government institutions reproduce or reduce urban inequalities? When and how does democracy transform the organizational resources available to racialized and economic groups who aim to exploit or overcome urban inequalities?
His current book project compares the divergent politics of distributing urban public goods — housing, sanitation, and transportation — in two global mega-cities after transitions to democracy: Johannesburg, South Africa, and São Paulo, Brazil. In 2021, this work was selected for three honors, including the winner of the Best Dissertation Award in two different sections of the American Sociological Association: Comparative Historical Sociology and Collective Behavior & Social Movements. It was awarded an honorable mention for the Best Dissertation in the Social Sciences by the Brazil Section of the Latin American Studies Association. The research for this book was supported by peer-reviewed grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Program, and the Brazilian Studies Association.
His research articles have been published in Social Forces, Theory & Society, City & Community, International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, International Development Planning Review, and Environment & Urbanization. He has published essays in public-facing outlets including the Boston Review, Bloomberg’s CityLab, the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage, The Conversation, the Atlantic Council, Africa Is A Country, and Eurozine, as well letters in the Financial Times, The Economist, and the New Yorker. He received a PhD in Sociology from Brown University, a Masters in City Planning from MIT, and a BA in History (with high honors) from Swarthmore College.
At Harvard, he teaches courses on Comparative Urban Political Economy, Sociology of Climate Change, Sociology of Development, and Sociology of Poverty.