Margarita Mooney received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University.
Her book Faith Makes Us Live: Surviving and Thriving in the Haitian Diaspora (University of California Press, 2009) was based on nearly two years of ethnographic fieldwork among Haitian immigrants in the U.S., Canada and France. She argues that religious narratives, especially those about transformation and redemption, provide real meaning and hope in what are often difficult conditions. However, Mooney also finds that successful assimilation into the larger society varies from country to country, having less to do with these private religious beliefs than on cooperation between religious and government leaders.
For her current research project, Mooney interviewed 26 young adults in nine different states across the U.S. who have undergone traumatic life events. She is particularly interested in the types of cultural narratives and social structures that empower people transcend their vulnerabilities and build a resilient society.
Mooney’s work both builds on and extends critical realism. Critical realism is a philosophy of social science that argues that good social science should distinguish ontology (the study of being) from epistemology (our knowledge of the world).
Visit her website at http://www.margaritamooney.com.