Lecturer in Sociology


Ph.D. in Sociology, University of California, Irvine, (expected) July 2019).

M.A. in Sociology, University of California. Irvine, March 2015.

B.A. in Psychology, University of California, Irvine, December 2010.


Zaib Tufail will be earning her Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Irvine in July 2019. Her research interests lie at the intersection of economic sociology and social inequality. Much of her work examines how households use their credit. She also studies gender inequality within organizations cross-nationally.

Her dissertation examines the impact of financialization and welfare institutions, as well as social class membership, on credit consumption at the household level, both within the United States and in the European Union nations. She finds that divergent social classes make use of available credit in distinct ways. Upper class households deploy available credit instrumentally in order to invest in financial markets; middle class households use debt for status-based consumption, while poor households use most of their credit to finance their education. Thus, credit becomes a vehicle which exacerbates existing economic inequality.

Her most current project extends her dissertation work, exploring how millennials use their money and credit differently in the wake of the Great Recession. She traces out what appears to be a shift moving away from a culture of finance to one that deemphasizes individual ownership and investment in favor of a more cooperative orientation.

Zaib currently lives in Irvine. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, painting, and taking in the occasional symphony or ballet. Zaib looks forward to starting at CI in August 2019.

Select Publications

Polletta, Francesca, and Zaibu Tufail. (2016). "Helping Without Caring: Role Definition and the Gender-Stratified Effects of Emotional Labor in Debt Settlement Firms." Work and Occupations 43(4): 401-433.

Tufail, Zaibu and Francesca Polletta. (2015). “The Gendering of Emotional Flexibility: Why Angry Women are both Admired and Exploited in Debt Settlement Firms.” Gender & Society 29(4): 484-508.

Polletta, Francesca, and Zaibu Tufail. (2014). "The Moral Obligations of Some Debts." Sociological Forum 29(1): 1-28.

Representative Courses Taught

  • SOC 300 Social Stratification
  • SOC 303 Statistical Applications in the Social Sciences
  • SOC 310 Research Methods in Sociology


Economic Sociology, Social Inequality, Financialization, Sociology of Gender, Quantitative Methods, Social Network Analysis, Credit & Debt.

Back to Top ↑