Johnnie Anne Lotesta

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Successful Defense: July 11, 2019
Graduate Student
B.A. George Mason University

Research Interests

Political Sociology; Cultural Sociology; Sociology of Knowledge & Expertise; Comparative Historical Sociology; Qualitative Methods


Johnnie is a Democracy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.

She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University in 2019. Johnnie is broadly interested in American political development, particularly political parties, policy change and divergence, postwar conservatism, labor and social movements, and organized interest groups. Preliminarily titled “Rightward in the Rustbelt: How Conservatives Remade the GOP, 1947-2012,” Johnnie’s book project examines the Republican Party’s post-2010 embrace of once marginal libertarian policy positions through a comparative-historical analysis of right-to-work laws in three Industrial Midwestern states: Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. In other projects, Johnnie examines the role policy experts and political professionals play in the representation of collective problems, the formulation of party platforms, and the advancement of new legislative programs.  Her published work has appeared in Research in Political Sociology and the American Journal of Cultural Sociology, among other outlets.

Johnnie’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Brown University BEO Program, and the Tobin Project.


  • Lotesta, Johnnie and Cedric de Leon. Forthcoming. “Political Parties: From Reflection to Articulation and Beyond.” The New Handbook of Political Sociology, edited by Thomas Janoski, Cedric de Leon, Joya Misra, and Isaac W. Martin. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lotesta, Johnnie. 2019. “The Myth of the Business Friendly Economy: Making Neoliberal Reforms in the Worst State for Business.” American Journal of Cultural Sociology7: 214-45.
  • Lotesta, Johnnie. 2016. “The Strength of Civil Society Ties: Explaining Party Change in America’s Bluest State.” Research in Political Sociology, 24: 257-87.