Omar Lizardo (born c. 1974) is a sociologist, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and the co-editor, with Rory McVeigh and Sarah Mustillo, of the American Sociological Review, the flagship journal for the American Sociological Association. According to one commentator, he "has a history of grappling with important ideas in an innovative and insightful fashion" and is a widely cited author in numerous sub-fields of sociology. He is specifically known for his work at the intersection of cognitive science and sociology of culture, but also social networks, organizational sociology and sociological theory. He is a regular contributor to the popular sociology group blog, orgtheory.net. Among many other accolades, in 2013 he won the Lewis Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting and in 2014, the Charles Tilly Best Article Award for Comparative and Historical Sociology.
Lizardo was born in New York City, but spent most of adolescent and teenage years La Romana, Dominican Republic. He graduated from Brooklyn College, CUNY with a B.S. in Psychology. He received a MA in 2002 and PhD in 2006 from the University of Arizona both in sociology. He completed his dissertation under the supervision of Ronald Breiger, Kieran Healy, and Erin Leahey, titled Globalization, World Culture And The Sociology Of Taste: Patterns Of Cultural Choice In Cross-National Perspective. Lizardo also co-authored with Albert Bergesen while at Arizona.
In addition to being a professor of sociology at Notre Dame, he was an External Member of the Centre for the Critical Study of Global Power and Politics at Trent University. As of 2008 he has also served as a faculty fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. He is also a faculty member of iCeNSA, the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications at Notre Dame.
In 2005, as a graduate student at Arizona he won two separate American Sociological Association (ASA) section awards with co-author Jessica Collett. Best Graduate Student Paper Award in Religion for Why biology is not (religious) destiny: a second look at gender differences in religiosity and Best Graduate Student Paper Award in Emotions for Socioe-conomic status and the experience of anger.
In 2008, he won the Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article in Cultural Sociology for How cultural tastes shape social networks. In this article, Lizardo confronts the "traditional network model" in which cultural taste formation and transmission is shaped and determined by social networks, and instead asks "whether cultural tastes and practices themselves have an independent effect on social structure (conceived as patterns of network relations)." He concludes that "popular culture" is characterized wide appeal and ease of incorporation and is therefore associated with more weak ties (i.e. used to bridge), while "highbrow culture" is more exclusive and serves to strengthen close ties (i.e. used to fence).
In 2013, Lizardo won the Lewis Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting, which is "intended to recognize a mid-career sociologist whose work holds great promise for setting the agenda in the field of sociology.”
In 2014, with co-author Robert Fishman, Lizardo won the Charles Tilly Best Article Award for Comparative and Historical Sociology for his publication How macro-historical change shapes cultural taste: Legacies of democratization in Spain and Portugal.
In 2014, along with co-author Melissa Fletcher Pirkey, Lizardo wrote the lead article for Volume 40 of Contemporary Perspectives on Organizational Social Networks entitled How organizational theory can help network theorizing: Linking structure and dynamics via cross-level analogies.