ⓘ Omar Lizardo


ⓘ Omar Lizardo

Omar Lizardo is a sociologist, LeRoy Neiman Term Chair Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, formerly Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and the co-editor, with Rory McVeigh and Sarah Mustillo, of the American Sociological Review, the flagship journal for the American Sociological Association. According to one commentator, he "has a history of grappling with important ideas in an innovative and insightful fashion" and is a widely cited author in numerous sub-fields of sociology. He is specifically known for his work at the intersection of cognitive science and sociology of culture, but also social networks, organizational sociology and sociological theory. He is a former contributor to the popular sociology group blog, orgtheory.net. and one of the co-founders of the group blog culturecog.


1. Biography and Career

Lizardo was born in New York City, but spent most of his childhood and teenage years in La Romana, Dominican Republic. He graduated from Brooklyn College, CUNY with a B.S. in Psychology. He received MA in 2002 and PhD in 2006 from the University of Arizona both in sociology. He completed his dissertation under the supervision of Ronald Breiger, Kieran Healy, and Erin Leahey, titled Globalization, World Culture And The Sociology Of Taste: Patterns Of Cultural Choice In Cross-National Perspective. Lizardo also co-authored several articles with Albert Bergesen while at Arizona.

During his time as a professor of sociology at Notre Dame, he was an External Member of the Centre for the Critical Study of Global Power and Politics at Trent University. He has also served as a faculty fellow at Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. He was also a faculty member of iCeNSA, the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications at Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame, he was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2012, and to the rank of Full Professor in 2016.


2. Awards and Recognitions

In 2005, as a graduate student at the University of Arizona he won two separate American Sociological Association ASA section awards with co-author Jessica Collett. Best Graduate Student Paper Award from the ASAs Section on the Sociology of Religion for their Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion paper Why biology is not religious destiny: a second look at gender differences in religiosity and Best Graduate Student Paper Award from the ASAs Section on Emotions Rec for their Social Forces paper Socioeconomic status and the experience of anger.

In 2008, he won the Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article in Cultural Sociology for his American Sociological Review paper entitled How cultural tastes shape social networks. In this article, Lizardo confronts the "traditional network model" in which cultural taste formation and transmission is shaped and determined by social networks, and instead asks "whether cultural tastes and practices themselves have an independent effect on social structure conceived as patterns of network relations." He concludes that "popular culture" is characterized wide appeal and ease of incorporation and is therefore associated with more weak ties i.e. used to bridge, while "highbrow culture" is more exclusive and serves to strengthen close ties i.e. used to fence.

In 2013, Lizardo won the Lewis Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting, which is "intended to recognize a mid-career sociologist whose work holds great promise for setting the agenda in the field of sociology.” His remarks, delivered orally at the 2014 meetings of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco, were subsequently published as an online pamphlet by Alison Gerber, entitled The End of Theorists: The Relevance, Opportunities, and Pitfalls of Theorizing in Sociology Today.

In 2014, with co-author Robert Fishman, Lizardo won the Charles Tilly Best Article Award of the ASAs Section on Comparative and Historical Sociology for their American Sociological Review paper How macro-historical change shapes cultural taste: Legacies of democratization in Spain and Portugal.

In 2015, along with co-author Jessica Collett, Lizardo received an honorable mention for the ASAs Section on Emotions Recent Contribution Award for their Social Forces paper" Embarrassment and social organization: A multiple identities model.

In 2017, along with co-author Michael Strand, Lizardo received an honorable mention for the ASAs Section on Theory Prize for Outstanding Article for their Sociological Theory paper Beyond world images: Belief as embodied action in the world.

In 2019, Lizardo was elected a member of the Sociological Research Association.