Ann Swidler has done influential work on culture, religion, and American society, including the now-classic article, “Culture in Action," the co-authored Habits of the Heart, The Good Society, and Inequality by Design, and the book Talk of Love: How Culture Matters (Chicago 2001). Her current research examines culture and institutional resilience in African responses to the AIDS epidemic, and the interaction of chiefs, religious congregations, and NGOs in Africa. Her recent papers include "Ties of Dependence: AIDS and Transactional Sex in Rural Malawi" with Susan Watkins (Studies in Family Planning 2007); a co-authored essay in Science (2008), "Reassessing HIV Prevention"; "Condom Semiotics: Meaning and Condom Use in Rural Malawi," with Iddo Tavory, (American Sociological Review 2009); "Teach a Man to Fish" (World Development 2009) and "Hearsay Ethnography (Poetics 2009), both with Susan Watkins; “Return of the Sacred: What African Chiefs Teach Us about Secularization” (Sociology of Religion 2010); “Outsourcing Social Transformation: Development NGOs as Organizations,” with Susan Watkins and Thomas Hannan (Annual Review of Sociology 2012); and “African Affirmations: The Religion of Modernity and the Modernity of Religion.” (International Sociology 2013).
Research Expertise and Interest
religion, culture, Africa, AIDS, political sociology, theory, development, NGOs