Daphne Demetry

Area(s) of Interest:  Culture, Organizational Theory, Economic Sociology, Consumers and Consumption, Entrepreneurship, Food Studies, and Ethnographic Methods

Dissertation Title
"Episodic Organizations: Survival and Continuity of Pop-up Restaurants and Underground Supper Clubs"

Current Research
Daphne is currently conducting an ethnography of pop-up restaurants (temporary restaurants that take place in people’s homes and other unusual locations) for her dissertation which broadly examines temporary and project-based organizations.

My research and teaching interests include culture, organizational theory, economic sociology, consumption, and entrepreneurship. I investigate these issues primarily through ethnographic methods and the case study of the culinary industry.

My dissertation work investigates a central paradox of organizational studies: how does an organization maintain continuity when the environment it inhabits is in perpetual change? To answer this question I investigate what I call "episodic organizations," defined as a repeating, temporary and project-based form of doing business. I examine two archetypal episodic organizations that have gained increased attention in the culinary realm: pop-up restaurants and underground supper clubs. These organizations are temporary social dining establishments which operate in non-restaurant spaces, akin to a paid dinner party. I am studying the puzzle of pop-up and supper club endurance: how does an episodic organization endure and thrive despite its transitory nature? I draw from ethnographic participant observation and interview data across Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and San Francisco to examine the mechanisms that enable episodic organizations to maintain flux and stability. In addition, I investigate the entrepreneurial transition from running a pop-up or supper club organization to a permanent business.