Brian McCabe

Brian J. McCabe is Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University.

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He holds secondary appointments an adjunct instructor in the Regional and Urban Planning program at the School of Continuing Studies; a core faculty member in the program on Justice and Peace Studies; an affiliated faculty member in the Department of African-American Studies; and an affiliated faculty member in the McCourt School of Public Policy.


McCabe is the author of No Place Like Home: Wealth, Community and the Politics of Homeownership (Oxford University Press, 2016). In the book, he unpacks the challenges of strengthening communities through homeownership as owning a home has emerged as the core vehicle for building wealth in the United States. Although homeowners are more engaged in their communities, their involvement often centers on protecting property values to the exclusion of other common goals for their communities. By tracing the origins of our commitment to homeownership to the early-twentieth century, the book offers both a contemporary analysis and historical perspective on the enduring place homeownership holds in American society.


Currently, McCabe is working on a new book manuscript about the voucher lotteries used to ration housing assistance in the Housing Choice Voucher program. While more than 2.3 millions households receive assistance through this federal program, millions more linger on waitlists, or are unable to access those lists altogether. Drawing on interviews with officials at more than fifty housing authorities, as well as administrative data from the program, the book manuscripts asks how housing authorities exercise their discretionary authority to serve low-income households, and what types of consequences result from a system that selectively distributes assistance.


Building from this research, McCabe is currently working on a new project (with Eva Rosen, McCourt School) about the racialized geography of evictions in Washington, DC. He is also continuing an ongoing project (with Jennifer Heerwig, Stony Brook University) on Seattle's Democracy Vouchers program, an innovate public financing program for municipal elections.


Since coming to Georgetown, Professor McCabe has published in numerous journals, including Social Forces, Sociological Science, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, City & Community, the Journal of Urban Economics, Contexts, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Housing Policy Debate, and the Journal of the American Planning Association. He regularly presents research at the American Sociological Association, the Urban Affairs Association and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. He is a member of the editorial board for the journal, City & Community.


At Georgetown, McCabe teaches courses on urban studies, neighborhood inequalities and quantitative methods for social research. These course offerings include The City: Approaches to Urban Studies (SOC-209), Neighborhoods, Poverty & Inequality in Washington, DC (SOC-221), Gentrification, Justice and the Future of Cities (SOC-222), Public Housing: Theory and Practice (SOC-223) and Statistics for Social Research (SOC-203).


McCabe graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 2002. He completed a Masters degree in urban geography at the London School of Economics in 2004 and a PhD in the Sociology Department at New York University in 2011.