Brandon Vaidayanathan


Brandon Vaidayanathan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Rice University. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Business Administration from Canada and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. His work broadly examines the relationship between culture, religion, and economic life in diverse national contexts.

Much of his research focuses on how cultural phenomena bear implications for the study of ethics in business, medicine, and science. His research on philanthropy, published in Social Forces, Sociology of Religion, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, demonstrates the primacy of non-deliberative practices (i.e., habits and routines) over deliberative factors (i.e., ideologies and principles) in explaining how religion fosters generosity. His research on Indian call center workers, published in Work, Employment, and Society, examines how norms of professionalism enable resistance to exploitation but hinder organizational commitment. In a publication in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, he examines how professional cultures generate ethical challenges during medical socialization. He is currently revising his first book, Mercenaries as Missionaries: Global Religion and Global Professionals in Bangalore and Dubai, which examines how and why corporate professionals in rapidly globalizing cities sustain starkly opposing moral orientations in the realms of work and religion.

His ongoing post-doctoral research with Elaine Howard Ecklund at Rice University includes a cross-national, mixed-methods study of ethics, religion, gender, and family among scientists in eight countries (U.S., U.K., France, Italy, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Turkey), and a major mixed-methods study on attitudes towards science issues among the US general population and religious communities (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian). These projects contribute important insights on ethical challenges faced by scientists and on Americans’ moral evaluations of science and technology.