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Jeff Livesay

Professor/Department Chair

Research and Teaching Interests

The Emergence and Nature of Generative Social Theories
The Notion of Social Capital and Its Policy Implications
The Social Production of the Narcissistic Personality
The Social Theories of Jurgen Habermas and Anthony Giddens

I teach in the areas of social theory, social inequality, social movements, and historical sociology (in particular, about the nature of modernity and postmodernity and the question of the transition between them). My research interests include criticizing and extending the ideas of several contemporary social theorists (Giddens and Habermas, in particular), examining the effects of the current debates about social capital and civil society on both public policy and social theory, the nature of the nonprofit sector, and the effects of an array of ongoing social changes (globalization, the spread of information technology and the simulation of reality, the decline of the nation-state, the rise of identity politics, etc.) on social life and on the discipline of sociology.

While I am especially eager to work with students interested in theoretical and conceptual questions or in issues related to the analysis of social movements, social change, and social inequality, I am open to students working in a wide variety of sub-fields of the discipline.


"A Fair Wage for Staff in Colorado," Academe (2006).

"The Duality of Systems: Networks as Media and Outcomes of Movement Mobilization," Current Perspectives in Social Theory, vol. 22 (2002).

"Some Reflections on Experiential Education," in Teaching Sociology at Small Institutions, Eric Godfrey ed., (1998), Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.

"Liberalism, Post-Marxism, and Democratic Theory," Review of International Political Economy, vol. 1 (Fall 1994).

"Post-Marxist Theories of Civil Society," Current Perspectives in Social Theory, vol. 14 (1994).

"Structuration Theory and the Unacknowledged Conditions of Action," Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 6 (May 1989).

"Normative Grounding and Praxis: Habermas, Giddens, and a Contradiction within Critical Theory," Sociological Theory, vol. 3 (Fall 1985).

"Habermas, Narcissism, and Status," Telos, no. 64 (Summer 1985).

Regular Classes


SO107 -- Inequality

SO334 -- Social Theory

SO290 -- The Nonprofit Sector

SO370 -- Modernity and Postmodernity


    B.A., Social Relations, Harvard University
    M.A., Sociology, Duke University
    Ph.D., History of Consciousness (Sociology), UC-Santa Cruz