Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Matty Lichtenstein

Postdoctoral Fellow in International and Public Affairs


I am a sociologist studying social policy, gender, and health. Broadly, my work focuses on how categories of risk are constructed and institutionalized in American welfare and health governance.  My current book project examines how state and professional organizations shape gendered, racial, and socioeconomic inequalities in American maternal and child welfare. In related lines of research, I study the rise in US maternal morbidity rates, racial inequity in medical reporting of substance-exposed infants, and risk discourses in maternal health and child welfare. I have also published on the politics of educational policy advocacy, communal and organizational change, and mixed methods research, and I have a forthcoming book chapter on how American child welfare evolved into a form of poverty governance. My work has been recognized by the ASA Political Sociology section and supported by multiple fellowships and research grants, and I have published in the American Journal of SociologyQualitative Sociology, and Sociological Methods and Research.


Lichtenstein, Matty. “Legitimizing Discourses: Hasidic Schools, Non-Compliance, and the Politics of Deservingness.” American Journal of Sociology, May 2022 (127:6). DOI: 10.1086/719926
** Best Graduate Student Paper Award, Political Sociology Section, American Sociological Association, 2021.

Lichtenstein, Matty and Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana. “Contextual Text Coding: A Mixed Methods Approach for Large-Scale Textual Data.” Sociological Methods and Research, February 2021. DOI: 10.1177/0049124120986191

Lichtenstein, Matty. 2019. “‘Younger People Want to Do It Themselves’ - Self-Actualization, Commitment, and the Reinvention of Community.” Qualitative Sociology 42(2):181–203. DOI: 10.1007/s11133-019-9414-6