Johnnie A Lotesta, Ph.D.

Johnnie Lotesta is a political and cultural sociologist with interests in political parties, labor and social movements, public policy, and American politics. She received her PhD in Sociology from Brown University in 2019 and was a Democracy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School from 2019 to 2021. Johnnie's current book project, Rightward in the Rustbelt, uses political contests over right-to-work laws in the Industrial Midwest as a window into understanding the current crisis of representation in American Democracy – that is, the tendency of partisan lawmakers to pursue policy programs that do not align with the interests and preferences of voting publics. Johnnie has also published research based on a mixed-methods qualitative study of youth-led social movements, examining how participation in such movements impacts young people’s political attitudes and behaviors. Her research has appeared in scholarly outlets such as Research in Political Sociology and American Journal of Cultural Sociology, as well as numerous public-facing research reports and op-eds.

Johnnie enjoys teaching App State’s Political Sociology, Social Movements, Wealth Power & Privilege, and The Sociological Perspective courses. Believing that we learn best by doing, Johnnie's courses feature multiple opportunities to apply sociology to the world around us through activities like in-class debates, case studies, and op-ed assignments.

Research & Teaching Interests

  • Political Sociology
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Labor
  • Social Movements
  • Public Policy
  • Comparative-Historical and Qualitative Methods



Conner, Jerusha, Johnnie Lotesta, and Rachel Stannard. 2022. “Intersectional Politicization: A Facet of Youth Activists’ Sociopolitical Development.” Journal of Community Psychology.

Lotesta, Johnnie and Cedric de Leon. 2020. “Political Parties: From Reflection to Articulation and Beyond.” Pp. 646-665 In 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 Sociology 7(2): 214–245.

Lotesta, Johnnie. 2017. “The Strength of Civil Society Ties: Explaining Party Change in America’s Bluest State.” Research in Political Sociology 24: 257-287

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Department of Sociology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6935

Fax: (828) 262-2294

Office address
205B Chapell Wilson Hall
Mailing address
PO Box 32115


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