Professor Nespor's research interests have been spread across several areas in recent years, but revolve around teachers' work, inter-institutional linkages, the place of schooling in urban political discourses and methodological issues related to studying these topics.
For example, what kinds of pressures do the economic transformations of the past decade place on teachers? Declining government funding, school district budgetary shortfalls, struggles to pass levies, increasing costs of college education, mounting consumer debt, stagnating pay, and the rest may or may not be obvious influences in an elementary school classroom, but all have implications for the conditions of teaching, the operation of teacher labor markets and the viability of teaching as a career.
How do the tools and concepts that political leaders, city administrators and school officials use to situate schools in state, city, and neighborhood contexts, influence the ways they formulate the problems of urban education?
How are "opportunities to learn" distributed across city landscapes and in what forms are they accessible in different regions of a metropolitan area?
How are the inter-organizational ties of institutions at different levels of the school system - the connections of elementary to middle schools, middle to high school, and secondary to post-secondary - being reshaped by national policies?
In particular, Professor Nespor is interested in what might be called cross-level 'policy-borrowing' or downward-propagating institutional isomorphism - the ways that monoponistic ties among institutions create pressures for organizations at earlier levels of the system to shape themselves in terms of the premises and practices of organizations at future levels (e.g., how high schools shape themselves into preparation systems for post-secondary).