Robert Fairbanks is a Lecturer and Fellow in Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a full time National Staffer for the American Federation of Teachers, having previously held positions as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago and a Visiting Professor of Sociology at Bryn Mawr College. His fields of interest include urban ethnography, political economy, urban studies, welfare state theory, and critical social policy analysis. Professor Fairbanks teaches courses on urban poverty, the political economy of urban development, and the history and philosophy of the welfare state. His research focuses on the ways in which informal poverty survival mechanisms articulate with the restructuring of the contemporary welfare state and the political economy of cities. His book How it Works: Recovering Citizens in Post-Welfare Philadelphia (University of Chicago Press, 2009), is an ethnographic project that examines how unlicensed, unregulated drug and alcohol recovery houses operate as street-level anti-poverty strategies and mechanisms of governmentality in postindustrial Philadelphia.