Christopher J. Lawrence, MA

Christopher Lawrence Portrait

Position Title
Ph.D. Candidate

Teaching and Learning Complex (Winter 2024 only)
Office Hours
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.


  • MA, Sociology, California State University, Northridge
  • BA, Creative Writing, San Francisco State University


My dissertation investigates the state of individual social life for the urban dweller in today's racialized and socially isolated America. Those living in cities are surrounded by amenities and opportunities that should ostensibly make interaction frequent and frictionless. At the same time, social media is a primary technology for communication between users near and far. Yet, judging by the personal networks of U.S. adults, social isolation is higher and number of friendships lower than ever before. This is to say nothing of individuals' disengagement from civic and political institutions. Is American social life, and by extension, adults' participation in communities, really as dire as recent surveys make it out to be? Or are social scientists asking the wrong questions and studying social life—such as it really is with dispersed social networks and social media—incorrectly? My study tackles these issues by studying two neighborhoods, one working-class and the other high-income, and their residents in Sacramento, California. Via a comprehensive survey I ascertain the depth and breadth of residents' personal networks, participation in formal and informal social groups, perceptions and neighboring behaviors about where they live, and social media activity. In interviews I ask respondents to evaluate their social lives—to explore impediments and affordances to finding and sustaining community. Is the classical sociological conception of community that is grounded in places and riven with shared meanings still possible? Moreover, when individuals think of community, what do they desire? Where is it? Who's in it? What does it do?

Research and Teaching Areas

City and Community; New Media Studies; Elementary and Intermediate Statistics; Sociological Methods; Programming for Social Scientists


Lawrence, Christopher J. and Stephanie Lee Mudge. 2019. “Movement to Market, Currency to Property: The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin as an Anti-State Movement, 2009 – 2014.” Socio-Economic Review.


2018. Leon Mayhew Prize for the Best Qualifying Paper, Sociology, University of California, Davis

2015. Provost’s Fellowship, University of California, Davis

2015. Top Graduating Master’s Degree Student, Sociology, California State University, Northridge