Omar Lizardo

Professor and LeRoy Neiman Term Chair

Contact Information

Email    olizardo@soc.ucla.edu
Office  290 Haines Hall
Phone  310-267-5438
I do empirical and theoretical work at the intersection of multiple fields.

These include cultural analysis, historical sociology, institutional and organization theory, culture and consumption studies, social theory, cognitive social science, and network science. My theoretical work deals with general issues in classical and contemporary social theory with an emphasis on the link between practices, culture, cognition, and institutions. One major strand of my empirical work deals with the relationship between social position and cultural taste at multiple levels of analysis (e.g., individual, institutional, cross-national) and time-scales (from contemporary to historical). The primary focus of this research seeks to account for patterns of cultural change, especially those related to institutionalized forms of cultural stratification and inequality. An emerging strand of my recent work aims to bring techniques for the formal analysis of culture to the measurement of patterns of taste and cultural consumption. 

I have also contributed to various research streams at the intersection of Sociology, Physics, Computer Science and the study of complex systems more generally, all of which have come together under the banner of "Network Science'' in the last two decades. This work deals primarily with the dynamics of social tie formation and decay, and with the influence of personal attributes and behaviors on tie formation and dissolution. Papers in this stream have appeared in high impact interdisciplinary journals and have been awarded funding by the National Science Foundation (2008-2012), the Army Research Laboratory (2013-2018), and the National Institutes of Health (2014-2018).

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University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), Ph.D. in Sociology, 2006.

University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), M.A. in Sociology, 2002.

Brooklyn College, City University of New York (Brooklyn, NY), B.S. in Psychology, 1997.


(with Michael Strand), American Sociological Association Section on Theory Theory Prize for Outstanding Article for “Beyond world images: Belief as embodied action in the world” (Honorable Mention), 2017.

(with Jessica Collett), American Sociological Association Section on Emotions Recent Contribution Award for “Embarrassment and social organization: A multiple identities model” (Honorable Mention), 2015.

(with Robert Fishman), American Sociological Association Section on Comparative and Historical Sociology Charles Tilly Best Article Award for “‘How macro-historical change shapes cultural taste: Legacies of democratization in Spain and Portugal,” 2014.

(with Aaron Striegel, Shu Liu, Lei Meng, Christian Poelleabauer, and David Hachen) Best Paper Award at The Fifth ACM Hotplanet Workshop, Hong Kong 2013.

American Sociological Association Section on Theory Lewis Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting, 2013.

American Sociological Association Section on Culture Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article for “How cultural tastes shape personal networks,” 2008. 


Principal Investigator, Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NS-CTA), “Influencing, Agitation Propagation, and Social Contagion in Empirical Networks and Data-Driven Models.” United States Army Research Laboratory, $180,000 (2016-2018).

Principal Investigator, Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NS-CTA), “Social Dynamics, Opinion Spreading, and Influencing in Social Networks.” United States Army Research Laboratory, $165,602 (2014-2016).

Investigator (with Nitesh Chawla [co-Investigator], David Hachen [co-Investigator], Tijana Milenković [co-Investigator], Jessica Payne [co-Investigator], Aaron Striegel [co-Investigator], and Christian Poellabauer [co-Investigator]), “NetHealth: Modeling the Co-evolution of Social Networks and Health Behaviors.” National Institutes of Health (R01 HL117757-01A1), $2,913,061 (2014-2018).

Principal Investigator (with David Hachen [Lead-PI], Jeffrey Liew [PI], and Aaron Striegel [PI]), “Using Smart Devices to Capture the Emotionality of Offline Communication.” National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Grant, $100,000 (2013-2014).

Principal Investigator, Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NS-CTA), “Social Dynamics, Opinion Spreading, and Influencing in Social Networks.” United States Army Research Laboratory, $84,714 (2013-2014).

Principal Investigator (with Aaron Striegel [Lead-PI], David Hachen [PI], and Christian Poellabauer [PI] ), Division of Information & Intelligent Systems, Social-Computational Systems Program, Research Grant Award (#0968529): “SoCS: Explorations on the Effects of Pervasive Networking on Social Relationships and Resource Planning.” National Science Foundation, $748,825 (2010-2012).

Principal Investigator (with Zoltan Toroczkai [Lead-PI], Mark Alber PI], Nitesh Chawla [PI], and David Hachen [PI]), Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Dynamics of Human Behavior Program, Research Grant Award (#0826958): “DHB: Longitudinal Analysis and Modeling of Large-Scale Social Networks Based on Cell Phone Records.” National Science Foundation, $749,271 (2008-2012).

Selected Publications

Omar Lizardo. 2018. “The mutual specification of genres and audiences: Reflective two-mode centralities in person-to-culture choice data.” Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts. 68: 52-71.

Omar Lizardo and Dustin S. Stoltz. 2018. “Max Weber’s ideal versus material interest distinction revisited.” European Journal of Social Theory. 21: 3–21.

Michael Strand and Omar Lizardo. 2017. “The hysteresis effect: Theorizing the regularity of mismatch in action” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 47: 164–194.

Ashwin Bahulkar, Boleslaw K. Szymanski, Nitesh Chawla, Omar Lizardo and Kevin Chan. 2017. “Influence of personal preferences on link dynamics in social networks.” Complexity Article ID 4543563. doi:10.1155/2017/4543563.

Omar Lizardo. 2017. “Improving cultural analysis: Considering personal culture in its declarative and nondeclarative modes.” American Sociological Review 82: 88-115.

Omar Lizardo, Robert Mowry, Brandon Sepulvado, Dustin S. Stoltz, Marshall A. Taylor, Justin Van Ness and Michael Wood. 2016. “What are dual process models? Implications for cultural analysis in sociology.” Sociological Theory 34: 287-310.

Omar Lizardo. 2016. “Why ‘cultural matters’ matter: Culture talk as the mobilization of cultural capital in interaction.” Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts 58: 1-17.*

Graduate Students