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Paul Lichterman

Professor of Sociology and Religion

Contact Information
E-mail: lichterm@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3533
Office: KAP 352

LINKS
Curriculum Vitae
 

Biographical Sketch

Paul Lichterman’s specialty areas include culture, religion, civic organizations and social movements, politics, qualitative methodology, and theory. His first book, The Search for Political Community (Cambridge University Press, 1996), investigated different styles of grassroots environmentalism in the U.S., their strengths and drawbacks. His second book, Elusive Togetherness: Church Groups Trying to Bridge America’s Divisions (Princeton University Press, 2005), compares the ways that nine religiously sponsored community service groups tried to reach out to other community organizations and low-income people and build new social ties in the wake of welfare policy reforms. A lot of Paul’s research asks how people practice active citizenship and define public issues in a socially unequal, culturally diverse society. Paul also theorizes how culture shapes action in everyday life, and how people in turn use culture, and he writes on the logic of qualitative research. Paul has won Best Article awards twice from the ASA’s Section on Sociology of Culture, for work in American Journal of Sociology and Theory and Society; the book Elusive Togetherness won the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Pacific Sociological Association, and Honorable Mention from ASA’s Section on Sociology of Culture. His work is translated into French, Dutch, and Italian. With grants from National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, Paul is studying the different ways that public organizations define and act on housing issues and homelessness. The study involves an innovative combination of methodologies including ethnography and network analysis, and ultimately will include a cross-national comparison.
 

Education

Ph.D. Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 5/1992
M.A. Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 12/1983
B.A. Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 6/1981
 

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Professor of Sociology and Religion, University of Southern California, 12/05/2008-  
Associate Professor of Sociology and Religion, University of Southern California, 08/16/2004-12/05/2008  
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 04/22/2004-05/30/2006  
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 01/01/1992-04/21/2004  
 

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Visiting Professor, Université de Paris VIII, 05/01/2010-05/28/2010  
Visiting Fellow, Princeton University, Center for the Study of Religion, 2001-2002   
Annenberg Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, U of Pennsylvania, 1994-1995   
 

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Paul Lichterman's research areas include culture, religion, politics and social movements, civic organizations, and theory. He has studied environmental movement organizations; lesbian and gay activism; religious community service organizations, and social movement coalitions, networks and nonprofit organizations that address housing and homelessness. He pursues this research to understand how people practice active citizenship and create broad social ties in a diverse and unequal society, and how different kinds of public organizations embrace or shun different ways of defining social problems.
 

Research Specialties

culture (public culture, civic and political culture, organizational culture), religion, political sociology, civic engagement, theory, qualitative methodology, ethnographic methods
 

Funded Research

Contracts and Grants Awarded

Strengthening Qualitative Research through Methodological Innovation and Integration (National Science Foundation), Chris Weare, Paul Lichterman, Nina Eliasoph, Nicole Esparza, $104,997, 09/01/2010-12/31/2011  
Paid civic engagement: Young interns in the age of the nonprofit (Spencer Foundation), Paul Lichterman, Nina Eliasoph, $39,525, 01/01/2010-06/30/2010  
The Dynamics of Civic Relationships (National Science Foundation), Chris Weare, Paul Lichterman, Ann Crigler, Nina Eliasoph, $125,000, 10/01/2007-12/31/2008  
 

USC Funding

Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences/Provost. Dynamics of civic life: addressing homelessness in Los Angeles and Paris: This pilot research project investigates how civic organizations in Los Angeles and Paris define the problem of homelessness and craft responses. It will inform my main study of housing groups., $15,875, 07/01/2008-06/30/2009  
 

Other Funded Research

Pew Charitable Trusts, through the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, Two-year seed grant to develop and initiate research project on civic engagement and institutional change in Los Angeles. My project funded research time during the academic year and a research assistant. It was one of three research projects in the working group I directed, titled "Religion, Community Life, and Institutional Change," all funded by Pew. , $35,000, 09/15/2005-08/16/2007  
 

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

Center for Religion and Civic Culture, 09/2004-12/2007: executive board member; working group director
 

Conferences and Other Presentations

Other Presentations

"Sybil and the strong silent type", Blog discussion on The Immanent Frame website, Social Science Research Council, http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2010/03/31/sybil-and-the-strong-silent-type/ , 03/31/2010  
"Religion's Reputation", Blog discussion on The Immanent Frame website, Social Science Research Council, http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2010/02/10/religions-reputation/ , 02/10/2010  
""Beyond Beliefs"", The Immanent Frame, Blog on Secularism, Religion and the Public Sphere, Social Science Research Council, New York, 09/05/2008  
 

Publications

Book

Lichterman, P., Potts, C. Brady (Ed.). (2008). The Civic Life of American Religion. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Lichterman, P. R. (2005). Elusive Togetherness: Church Groups Trying to Bridge America’s Divisions. Princeton University Press.
Lichterman, P. R. (1996). The Search for Political Community: American Activists Reinventing Commitment. Cambridge University Press.
 

Journal Article

Lichterman, P., Reed, I. (2014). "Theory and Contrastive Explanation in Ethnography". Sociological Methods and Research.
Weare, C., LIchterman, P., Espara, N. (2014). "Collaboration and Culture: Organizational Culture and the Dynamics of Collaborative Networks". Policy Studies Journal.
Lichterman, P. (2012). Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings. Sociological Theory. Vol. 30 (1), pp. 15-36.
Lichterman, P. R. (2008). "Religion and the Construction of Civic Identity." American Sociological Review. American Sociological Review 73(1)83-104 (Feb. '08).. Vol. 73 (1), pp. 83-104.
Lichterman, P. (2007). "Repenser la "critique" dans la sociologie culturelle états-unienne : remplacer la démystification par une solution pragmatique.". Tracés: Revue de Sciences Humaines. Vol. 13 (2), pp. 73-89.
Lichterman, P. R. (2006). "Social capital or group style? Rescuing Tocqueville's insights on civic engagement". Theory and Society/Kluwer Academic Publications (Kluwer). Vol. 35(5/6), pp. 529-563.
Lichterman, P. (2006). "Circulation de la religion sur la place publique locale aux États-Unis.". Sociologie et Sociétés. Vol. 38 (1), pp. 31-54.
Lichterman, P., Eliasoph, N. (2003). "Culture in Interaction" (co-authored with Nina Eliasoph), American Journal of Sociology 108(4): 735-794 (January). American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 108 (4), pp. 735-794.
 

Honors and Awards

Honorable Mention, Best Article Award, Sociology of Religion section, ASA, 2013  
Provost's award-ASHSS program, 7/2008-6/2009  
Visiting Professor, Universität Erfurt, 6/1/2009-6/18/2009  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Distinguished Book Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2006-2007  
Fulbright Award, Senior Specialist at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 11/2006-12/2006  
Distinguished Scholarship Award, Pacific Sociological Association, 2006  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Honorable Mention, Best Book competition, Amer. Sociological Asoo. Section on Culture, 2006  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Best Article Award, Section on the Sociology of Culture of the American Sociological Association, 2005  
Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Center for Study of Religion, Princeton University, 2001-2002  
Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, Best Article Award, Section on the Sociology of Culture of the American Sociological Association, 2001  
Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999-2000  
 

Service to the University

Other Service to the University

Co-Director, Religion and Public Life seminar, monthly campus-wide workshop, with attendees from around southern California; sponsored by Center for Religion and Civic Culture, 2008-2009   
Director, interdisciplinary research cluster titled Religion, Community Life and Institutional Change, funded by Pew Charitable Trusts and organized by Center for Religion and Civic Culture., 08/2005-05/2007  
 

Service to the Profession

Editorships and Editorial Boards

editorial board member, Qualitative Sociology, 09/01/2010-  
member, Comité Scientifique (consulting editorial board), Tracés, 02/2007-  
consulting editor, American Journal of Sociology, 10/2004-10/2006  
 

Professional Offices

Co-organizer, Political Culture Research Network- ASA Section on Culture, 09/1994-  
 
 
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