Philip Lewin received his PhD in sociology from the University of Georgia in 2014. He is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Florida Atlantic University. His areas of expertise are in cultural sociology, rural poverty and marginality, political economy, environmental sociology, and social theory.
Lewin’s research examines the cultural contours of persistent poverty, political domination and environmental suffering. He recently completed a nine-month long ethnography in Central Appalachia, where he examined how residents think about and cope with economic hardship, rural inequality and cultural stigmatization; how local politicians—many of whom engage in open corruption—present themselves to community members, and how community members, in turn, perceive and evaluate their governance; and how Appalachians have processed the rapid growth of mountaintop removal mining, a method of extracting coal that has devastated the regional environment. In the past, he has conducted research and published papers on how youth carry out social protest by participating in subculture.
Lewin is currently working on several manuscripts related to his research in Appalachia. They explore, respectively, the ethics of using immersive ethnography in order to study social suffering; the social structure of rural political regimes; the cultural politics associated with coal production; the political epistemics of rural conservatism; and the symbolic violence associated with national economic and political policies that envision Central Appalachia as an internal colony.
Lewin teaches undergraduate courses on cultural sociology, youth subcultures, the sociology of work and labor movements, and sociological theory. At the graduate level, he teaches qualitative research methods and a seminar on the political economy of culture. In some way or other, his classes focus on providing students with analytic techniques and concepts that help them to better understand their lives; make empowering decisions; understand the hidden significance of their everyday practices; and effect the changes that they seek in the world.
In addition to his teaching and research, Lewin co-organizes FAU’s Workshop on Sociological Research with Phillip Hough and Farshad Araghi. He also moderates the blog Participation and Its Discontents, which is associated with the Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. He is an active member of the American Sociological Association, the Southern Sociological Society, the Appalachian Studies Association, and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. When not researching and teaching, Lewin is often found playing in punk bands; cycling; traveling; engaging in community activism; and hanging out with his dog, Lola.
Lewin, Philip. Forthcoming. “Political Participation, Demobilization and the Problem of Community Embeddedness.” States, Power and Societies.
Lewin, Philip. Forthcoming. “Embodying the Postmodern Self: Ecstatic Ritual as a New Mode of Youth Identity Work.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction.
Lewin, Philip and Tim Gill. 2012. “Propagandhi and the Politics of Subcultural Resistance.” Pp. 391-415 in The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social Life, edited by Shawn Bingham. Plymouth, UK: Lexington Books.
Lewin, Philip and J. Patrick Williams. 2009. “The Ideology and Practice of Authenticity in Punk Subculture.” Pp. 65-83 in Authenticity in Self, Culture and Society, edited by Phillip Vannini and J. Patrick Williams. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.