Dan Lainer-Vos

STS Faculty

Ruth Ziegler Early Career Chair in Jewish Studies and Assistant Professor of Sociology

Phone: (213) 740-1082
Office: KAP 352
I study the formation of national attachments using insights from Science and Technology studies. I look at concrete instances where national entrepreneurs attempt to mobilize diaspora groups in order to identify the mechanisms developed in the process of nation-building. I am writing a book that compares the Irish and Zionist attempts to raise funds from their respective diasporas in the United States during the 1920s and 1950s respectively. The book centers on the difficulties involved in generating concerted action when the groups that make up the nation have little in common, and identify the innovations introduced to overcome these difficulties. Specifically, I explore the mechanisms devised to secure a flow of funds to the homeland (charitable donations and, later, quasi-philanthropic state bonds). Using the concepts of gift-giving and market-exchange, I show how these mechanisms, when successful, result in increased emotional and financial investment in the national project. While research on nationalism typically treats fund-raising as secondary and dependent on prior identification, I show that fund-raising is an organizational mechanism that can be used to create and reinforce national attachments. In a separate line of research I examine the encounters between national entrepreneurs and diasporic subjects in a Jewish-American summer camp and an Irish Gaelic Athletic club. Once again, I use these settings to examine the practical difficulties that arise when national agents meet potential members of the nation (diaspora groups), and identify the practices and discursive mechanisms that allow members of these two groups group to maintain their belief in the unity of the nation despite ongoing tensions and differences between these groups.

Lastly, with Paolo Parigi of Stanford University, I started a research project that re-examines the issue of routinization of charisma using structural networks methods. Long ago, Max Weber positioned charisma and the routinization of charisma at the center of his theory of domination. Weber outlined several ways through which routinization can be accomplished, centering primarily on the stabilization of the relationships between the charismatic leader and her staff. Weber realized that charismatic forms of authority usually compete against existing structures of domination and he argued that charisma tends to disrupt these forms. We examine the canonization of saints by the Catholic Church during the 16th 17th centuries to show that under certain conditions, charismatic routinization can be accomplished through a process of co-optation that is not disruptive but actually reinforces existing structures of domination.

Anne Balsamo
Daniela Bleichmar
K. C. Cole
Manuel Castells
Antonio Damasio
Susan Forsburg
G. Clinton Godart
Deborah Harkness
Katie Hasson
Andrew Lakoff
Dan Lainer-Vos
Paul Lerner
Shrikanth Narayanan
John Brooks Slaughter
Mark Thompson