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Mary Ebeling

Mary Ebeling, PhD

Associate Professor of Sociology
Graduate Faculty Member, Communication, Culture &
Department of Sociology
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Office: 3201 Arch Street, 285


  • PhD, Sociology, University of Surrey, 2006

Curriculum Vitae:

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • Emerging Technologies and Biocapital
  • Media and Democratic Cultures
  • Radical Social Movements
  • Sociology of Markets
  • Political Sociology
  • Ethnographic Methodologies

Research Projects

  • Two-Year Colleges and the Invention of Nano-Labor: Between Promise and Possibility. Co-Principal Investigator. A collaborative research project with Dr. Amy Slaton (History & Politics, Drexel University) with support from the Nation Science Foundation (NSF) investigating technical education in nanomanufacturing and the links to the development of a nanotech-based economic sector in the Philadelphia region.
  • Translational machines: Nanobiotechnologies in two postindustrial regions, Philadelphia and Milan. Principal Investigator. Collaborative research with Prof. Paolo Milani (Physics, University of Milan) on technological transfer in the nanobiotech sector as it is emerging in Philadelphia and Milan. Support provided by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Faculty Development and Equity, Drexel University.
  • Pharmaceutical advertising and ethnography of marketing. Principal Investigator. Support provided by the Advertising Educational Foundation, New York, NY.


Mary Ebeling is associate professor of sociology and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Drexel University. Mary is an ethnographic sociologist and researches the intersections of marketing, health, biomedical science and digital life. Her new book, Healthcare and Big Data: Digital Specters and Phantom Objects (2016, Palgrave Macmillan) is focused on data brokers, data mining, marketing surveillance, private health data, and algorithmic identities.

Her work has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the European Union (5th Framework Programme). She has been awarded a Regional Faculty Fellowship at the Wolf Humanities Center at the University of Pennsylvania for the 2017-18 academic year.

She collaborates with scientists, artists and urban farmers to reimagine presents and futures, particularly Paolo Milani, Rachel Ellis Neyra, RAIR, the Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia and alternative art spaces and collectives, such as Beta-Local in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Konsthall C in Stockholm, Sweden, and several artists’ collectives in Philadelphia including Grizzly Grizzly and Vox Populi.

More information about Mary can be found at:

Selected Publications:

  • Healthcare and Big Data: Digital Specters and Phantom Objects (Palgrave, 2016)
  • Ebeling, M. and Amy Slaton (2016) “Promise Her Anything: Education for Work in the American ‘Nano-economy’ International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice and Peace, Volume 5 (in press).
  • Ebeling, M. (2014) “Marketing Mediated Diagnoses: Turning Patients into Consumers,” in Jutel, A. and Dew, K. (eds.) Sociology of Diagnosis: A Guide for Practitioners. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Ebeling, M. (2011) "'Get with the Program!': Pharmaceutical marketing, symptom checklists and self-diagnosis," Social Science and Medicine 73 (2011): 825-832.
  • Ebeling, M. (2010) “Marketing Chimeras: The biovalue of rebranded medical devices,” in Aronczyk, M. and Powers, D. (eds.) Blowing Up the Brand Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture. New York: Peter Lang Publishers. Pp. 241-259.