Mabel Berezin

Distinguished Professor of Arts & Sciences in Sociology, Director of the Institute for European Studies


Mabel Berezin is a comparative sociologist whose work explores the intersection of political institutions and cultural meanings with an emphasis on challenges to democratic cohesion and solidarity in Europe and the United States.  She is the author of Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar Italy, which was awarded the J. David Greenstone Prize by the American Political Science Association and which Choice named an “Outstanding Academic Book of 1997;  Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Culture, Society and Populism in the New Europe; and co-editor with Martin Schain of Europe without Borders: Remapping Territory, Citizenship, and Identity in a Transnational Age.

Berezin’s research lies at the intersection of cultural and political sociology.   In addition to numerous articles, review essays and contributions to edited volumes, she has edited four collaborative volumes:  Democratic Culture:  Ethnos and Demos in Global Perspective (with Jeffrey Alexander); an issue of Theory and Society (38 (4) 2009), entitled “Emotion and Rationality in Economic Life;” and an issue of Qualitative Sociology (37 (2) 2014), entitled Methods, Materials and Meanings:  Designing Cultural Analysis.”  She has Guest Edited with Michele Lamont, Alonzo Plough and Matthew Trujillo a Special Issue of Social, Science and Medicine (165 (September) 2016) on “Mutuality, Health Promotion and Collective Cultural Change.”

She has held fellowships from the European University Institute, the Leverhulme Trust, ASA Fund for Advancement of the Discipline and the German Marshall Fund. She is working on a monograph When Security Ends: the Crisis and Challenges to Democracy in Europe and Beyond that addresses the global resurgence of nationalism and the populist challenge to democratic practice.

Recent Courses 

SOC 2480/GOVT 3633   Politics and Culture

SOC 4540/GOVT 4543   Fascism, Nationalism and Populism

SOC 6300                               Interdisciplinary and Global Approaches to Culture

SOC 5020                               Basic Problems in Sociology II

SOC 6840                               New Approaches to Qualitative Methods

Research Focus

  • Social and Cultural Appeal of Fringe Parties in France and Italy as a Response to Europeanization
  • Comparative Historical Study of Institution Building, Citizenship and Social Capital in Early 20th Century United States and Europe
  • Role of Emotions in Macrosociological Systems (i.e., Politics, Economics) 

Awards and Honors

In academic year 2018-2019, Mabel was a member of the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced study at Princeton.


Select Publications:

2023 "Does the Fascism Debate Matter for Understanding 2024 American Politics?" The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

2020 “The Absence of the Ordinary in 2020 Presidential Politics: What Politicians Communicate.” Sociological Forum: June 2020, Vol 35, pp. 830-838.

2020 “Culture in Politics and Politics in Culture:  Institutions, Practices and Boundaires.” Pp. 102-31 in The New Handbook of Political Sociology, eds. Thomas Janoski, Cedric de Leon, Joya Misra, and Isaac William Martin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Co-authored with Emily Sandusky and Thomas Davidson].  

2019 Fascism and Populism: Are They Useful Categories for Comparative Sociological Analysis? Annual Review of Sociology: July 2019, Vol 45, pp. 345-361.


2021 Political Ineptitude Tempered Trump’s Fascist Behavior,  Article in The Nation, Link to PDF here.

2016 “It’s time to admit it: We’re all afraid of terrorism” Comment on attacks in Nice and political emotion published in Salon.

Select Recent talks:

2023 Global Forum Latin America and the Caribbean. Union League Club, New York, NY. "Perspectives Geopolitics and Global Economics." Comparative apanel: Europe (September 21).

2023 Roundtable. The January 6, 2025 Project. American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA. (September 1).

2023 Roundtable. Historical Origins of Democratic Crisis. 29th International Conference of Europeanists, Council of European Studies, Reykjavik, Iceland. (June 28).

Panelist. “The 2020 Election: A Cultural Post-Mortem”
Culture and Contemporary Life Series, hosted by the Sociology of Culture Section of American Sociological Association (December 2020). Click here to watch.

Plenary Session. “The Rise of National Populism in the West: Causes and Consequences.”
Invited Session.  Missing Voices, Missing Issues in the 2020 Election, “The Absence of the Ordinary.”
Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (February 28, 2020)

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