Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Matty Lichtenstein

Postdoctoral Fellow in International and Public Affairs

Biography

I am a sociologist studying social welfare policy, family, and cultural and organizational change. My primary research focuses on how state and professional organizations shape gendered, racialized, and socioeconomic inequalities in American maternal and child welfare. I earned my Sociology PhD at University of California-Berkeley, where I worked with a team of undergraduate assistants to construct multiple datasets of historical administrative and journal data related to the child welfare and medical fields. My broader scholarly interests include the politics of the welfare state, risk regulation in social work and medicine, and cultural conceptions of parenting and health. My work has been recognized by the ASA Political Sociology section, and I have published articles in the American Journal of Sociology, Qualitative Sociology, and Sociological Methods and Research.

Research

My research falls loosely into three streams. My dissertation-based book project, Punitive Protection: The Transformation of Child Welfare and Perinatal Regulation in the United States (1935-2000), investigates evolving cultural and administrative norms in American welfare governance, tracing the intertwined development of child and perinatal protective policies from 1935-2000. I am working on several collaborations related to this theme, including projects on maltreatment-related fatality rates, the racialization of medical reporting of substance exposed infants, and risk assessment in child welfare. In research related to culture, politics, and religion, I have studied educational regulation, demonstrating in an article forthcoming at the American Journal of Sociology how advocates for non-compliant religious schools use legitimizing tactics to negotiate for state support. I have also published on religion and organizational change, and I have researched gendered forms of resistance during the Holocaust. In a third methodologically-focused research stream, I have co-authored an article on large-scale qualitative methods, inspired by my interest in how the application of diverse data sources—archival, administrative, and legal—can explain the complex institutional factors that underlie social inequities.

Publications

Lichtenstein, Matty. “Legitimizing Discourses: Hasidic Schools, Non-Compliance, and the Politics of Deservingness.” American Journal of Sociology, forthcoming March 2022 (127:5).

Lichtenstein, Matty and Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana. “Contextual Text Coding: A Mixed Methods Approach for Large-Scale Textual Data.” Sociological Methods and Research, February 2021. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-019-9414-6

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