Dan Lainer-Vos

Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Sociology
Dan Lainer-Vos
Email lainer-vos@usc.edu Office HSH 307 Office Phone (213) 740-1082

Research & Practice Areas

Nationalism (Jewish and Irish), Diaspora Politics, Economic Sociology, Sociological Theory, Historical Comparative Methods, Science and Technology Studies, Charisma, Conscientious Objection


I did my undergraduate studies at Ben Gurion University, Israel. From there I continued to Columbia University where I completed my dissertation with distinction in 2008 under the supervision of Gil Eyal. My early research centered on the link between citizenship and social movement strategies. I compared the strategies deployed by conscientious objection movements in the United States, France and Israel. My dissertation research centers on nationalism studied through the prism diaspora communities (Irish Americans and Jewish Americans). By examining instances of contacts between diaspora groups and homeland communities, I trace the technologies and discursive mechanism that enable these “fragments” of the nation to cooperate and create flows of resources that are essential to the existence of national movements.


  • Ph.D. Sociology, Columbia University, 1/2009
  • B.A. Behavioral Science, Ben Gurion University, 6/1999
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2008-2009

    Other Employment

    • Faculty Fellow, Casden Institute, 08/2010
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    My research examines the formation of national attachments among Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans. I look at concrete instances where national entrepreneurs try 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 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 fundraising as secondary and dependent on prior identification, I show that fundraising 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 recently 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 15th 16th 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.

  • Gifts and Endowments

    • Marcus Center Fellowship, (American Jewish Archives), $2,500, 2013-2014
    • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture International Fellowship, (Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture), $5,000, 2013-2014

    USC Funding

    • ASHSS grant writing mentorship program. The Israel Lobby and the Making of US-Israel Relations: This study examines how a heterogeneous cluster of organizations and individuals, now commonly referred to as the Israel lobby, came to play an important role in shaping US policy in the Middle East, $2500, 2013-2014
  • Conference Presentations

    • American Jewish History and the Curious History of the Israel Bonds: Philanthropy, Investment, and the Construction of Diasporic Attachments. Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, University of Southern California, 2008-2009
    • Manufacturing National Bonds: Gift Giving, Market Exchange and the Construction of Transatlantic National Network. , Politics of Markets: Controversies, Tools and PoliticsLecture/Seminar, London School of Economics; UC Berkeley, Invited, University of California, Berkeley., 2008-2009
    • National Bonds and the Organizational Construction of Diasporic Attachments and or Assimilation. , Immigrants and their Homeland ConnectionsLecture/Seminar, Department of Sociology, UCLA, Invited, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008-2009
    • The Construction of Transatlantic National Bonds: Some Comparative Insights from the Cases of Ireland and Israel. , Annual Meeting of the American Sociological AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA, 2008-2009
  • Book

    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2013). Sinews of the Nation: Constructing Irish and Zionist Bonds in the United Statesnited States. (John Thompson, Ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Journal Article

    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2014). Brothers’ Keepers: The United Jewish Appeal and the Construction of Jewish American National attachments in the United States. Socio-Economic Review. Vol. 12 (3), pp. 463-488.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2014). Masculinities in Interaction: The Coproduction of Israeli and American Jewish Men in Philanthropic Fundraising Events. Men and Masculinities. Vol. 17 (1), pp. 43-66.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2014). Israel in the Poconos: Simulating the Nation in a Jewish-American Summer Camp. Theory and Society. Vol. 43 (1), pp. 91-116.
    • Lainer-Vos, D., Parigi, P. (2013). Miracle Making and the Preservation of Charisma. Social Science History.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2013). The practical organization of moral transactions: gift giving, market exchange, credit, and the making of diaspora bonds. Sociological Theory. Vol. 31 (2), pp. 145-167.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2013). Boundary Objects, Zones of Indeterminacy and the Formation of Irish and Jewish Transnational Socio-Financial Neworkstwork Theory. Organizational Studies. Vol. 34 (4), pp. 515-532.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2011). Manufacturing National Attachments: Gift Giving, Market Exchange and the Construction of Irish and Zionist Diaspora Bonds. Theory and Society. Vol. 41 (1), pp. 73-106.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2010). Diaspora-Homeland Relations as a Framework to Examine Nation Building Processes. Sociology Compass. Vol. 4 (10), pp. 894-908.
    • Lainer-Vos, D. (2006). Social movements and citizenship: conscientious objection in France, the United States, and Israel. Mobilization. Vol. 11 (3), pp. 277-295.
    • Best Article Published in Socio-Economic Review (Honorable Mention), 2015-2016
    • Viviana Zelizer Best Book Award of the Economic Sociology Section of the ASA (Honorable Mention), 2015-2016
    • Mark Granovetter Best Article Award Honorable Mention, Economic Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association , 2013-2014
    • Outstanding Published Article Award, Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section of the American Sociological Association, 2013-2014
    • 2010 Theda Skocpol Dissertation Award, 2009-2010
    • Robert K. Merton for best dissertation written in the Department of Sociology, Columbia University, 2009-2010
  • Office Hours

      Monday : 9:00-11:00