Associate Professor of Sociology
The City College of New York and
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Katherine K. Chen is an organizational researcher. She is an associate professor of sociology at The City College of New York and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY). Her research and teaching interests include organizational theory, behavior, and culture, work and occupations, work and family, economic sociology, consumer studies, and social movements. She earned a PhD at Harvard University and an AB at Stanford University.
Selected publications and works in progress about Burning Man
- Chen, Katherine K. 2009. Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
- Awarded the 2011 Best Book prize for Outstanding Book in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA).
- Awarded Honorable Mention for the 2011 Max Weber Award of the Organizations, Occupations, and Work (OOW) Section of the American Sociological Association.
- Reviewed in Administrative Science Quarterly (2010), American Journal of Sociology (2010), Contemporary Sociology (2010), Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society (2011), Journal of Consumer Culture (2010), and Nova Religio (2011).
Selected peer-reviewed academic articles *
- Chen, Katherine K. 2016. ""Plan Your Burn, Burn Your Plan": How Decentralization, Storytelling, and Communification Can Support Participatory Practices." The Sociological Quarterly. 57(1): 71-97
- Chen, Katherine K. 2013. "Storytelling: An Informal Mechanism of Accountability for Voluntary Organizations." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 42(5): 902-922.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Organizing Creativity: Enabling Creative Output, Process, and Organizing Practices." Sociology Compass 6(8): 624-643.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Charismatizing the Routine: Storytelling for Meaning and Agency in the Burning Man Organization." Qualitative Sociology 35(3): 311-334.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Artistic Prosumption: Cocreative Destruction at Burning Man." American Behavioral Scientist 56(4): 570-595.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Laboring for the Man: Augmenting Authority in a Voluntary Association." Research in the Sociology of Organizations 34:135-164.
Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013. Free PDF available for dowload here.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2011. "Lessons for Creative Cities from Burning Man: How organizations can sustain and disseminate a creative context." City, Culture and Society 2(2): 93-100.
This is a PDF of this article prior to publication. If you do not have access to a library with this journal, please email a request for a PDF of the actual article to katherine [at] enablingcreativechaos [dot] com.
- Chen, Katherine K. and Siobhan O'Mahony. 2009. "Differentiating Organizational Boundaries." Research in the Sociology of Organizations 26: 183-220.
Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2010.
This is a PDF of this article prior to publication.
* If you do not have access to a library with these journals, please email a request for a PDF of the article to katherine [at] enablingcreativechaos [dot] com.
- Chen, Katherine. 2005. "Incendiary Incentives: How the Burning Man Organization Motivates and Manages Volunteers." Pp. 109-128 in AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man. Eds. Lee Gilmore and Mark Van Proyen. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2015. "Prosumption: From Parasitic to Prefigurative." The Sociological Quarterly 56(3): 446-459. Invited commentary on George Ritzerís "Prosumer Capitalism."
- Chen, Katherine K. 2009 "Authenticity at Burning Man." Contexts 8(3): 65-67.
Letters to editor in response to "Authenticity at Burning Man".
- Chen, Katherine. 2003. "Coordinating contributing members: how the Burning Man organization forms an 'alternative' artistic community in the Nevada Black Rock Desert." Pp. 56-61 in People Shaping Places Shaping People Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Proceedings 34. Eds. Julia W. Robinson, Kathleen A. Harder, Herbert L. Pick, and Virajita Singh
- Chen, Katherine K. 2010. "Burning Man" entry for the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ed. George Ritzer.
- Chen, Katherine K. 2015. "Burning Man." entry for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies. Ed. Daniel T. Cook and J. Michael Ryan.
Selected general publications
- Chen, Katherine. 2003. "Burning Man lights a fire: The Nevada desert event doesn't just produce art, it produces citizens." Voted best article at in the fray.
- Chen, Katherine. 2003. "Growth at Burning Man: An Anthropological View." Blacktop Gazette: Decompression Issue 2(3).
- Chen, Katherine. 2002. "The Alternative in the Desert: On the Burning Man Organization." Alumni Quarterly Colloquy: 16. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Harvard University
- Chen, Katherine K. "Why Newcomers Can't Ruin Burning Man" Invited op-ed.