Philip Lewin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia, where he will complete his Ph.D. in June 2014. His research examines the dynamics of political participation, environmental exploitation and persistent poverty in rural areas. He is especially interested the role that ethnography can play in the study of inequality and political domination. A manuscript regarding the ethics of immersive ethnography is currently under review, while a shorter piece on ethics is forthcoming.
His dissertation, titled “The Social and Moral Order of Rural Poverty,” consisted of a nine month-long ethnographic community study of “Shale County.” Located in Central Appalachia, it is one of the poorest counties in the nation. The community is also plagued by coal-related environmental blight and political institutions that are ineffective and corrupt. His research investigated the intractability of these problems and the political impediments to confronting them. The findings focus on why the rural poor often develop conservative political preferences; the cultural consequences that policies of “internal colonialism” have waged on Americans living in the Appalachian region; how local elites maintain inequality by restricting access to the political process; and why government investment and relief efforts often fail to alleviate persistent poverty.
His master’s thesis consisted of an ethnographic investigation of how youth carry out social protest by participating in punk subculture. From it, he has published four pieces. The first explores the ideological and cultural underpinnings of punk politics; the second examines how punks have sustained their subculture as a site of social critique in the face of incorporation; the third reviews two recent publications in subculture studies; and the fourth examines how youth form meaningful self-concepts in the postmodern world.
- M.A., Sociology, University of Georgia 2008
- B.A., (Magna Cum Laude), Sociology and Political Science, University of Georgia 2005
- Lewin, Philip and J.P. Williams. Forthcoming. "A Study of Ideology and Practice in Punk Subculture." In Authenticity in Culture, Self and Society, edited by Phillip Vannini and J.P. Williams. London: Ashgate.