Cook-Martín's work as a political sociologist focuses on understanding migration, race, ethnicity, law, and citizenship in a global perspective. He is the author of Scramble for Citizens (Stanford University Press, winner of the American Sociological Association’s Thomas & Znaniecki Best Book Award) and Culling the Masses (Harvard University Press, American Sociological Association’s 2017 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award and the 2015 Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award). Cook-Martín is the Chair-elect of the American Sociological Association's International Migration Section.
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Demonstrates that migration control has been an uneven historical accomplishment of states that faced the dilemmas of making citizens and attracting workers in a context of increased migration flows.