I attribute my interest in sociology to the contradictions to which my life experiences have exposed me. I owe my global perspective to living, working, and studying on three continents. My interest in large-scale social processes but also in their effects on persons is likely due to experiencing my country of origin’s transition to democracy and capitalism during my formative years and to 9/11 and its aftermath. I grew up in state-socialist Bulgaria. As an idealist Young Pioneer, I expressed my support for women’s advancement in society and collected scrap materials for recycling. I also aspired to participate in the Assemblies of Peace hosted by my country, which brought together children from all over the world. At the same time, I told jokes about our dictator, until my parents sat me down and explained that I needed to be careful about who I told these jokes to because they, my parents, might be disappeared. This ended my joke-telling career prematurely. Together with my parents, I was enthusiastic about the democratic transition in my country. Thus, the bitter debates over socialism and democracy that divided my larger family and my country puzzled me. The hardships of the transitional period also brought disappointment. Democracy and capitalism, similarly to state socialism, were full of contradictions. After finishing my B.A. in French philology, I embarked on a journey to America to learn more about the world. In this country, I experienced 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which I could not comprehend either. My search for explanations led me to the social sciences. I completed a Ph.D. in sociology and peace studies (with a gender studies minor) at the University of Notre Dame, where I read broadly about collective behavior and social movements, comparative and historical sociology, culture, gender, globalization and transnationalism, language, peace, war/violence and social conflict, political sociology, and theory. Before joining the University of Mississippi, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES), supported by the University of Chile and by the Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago, Chile.
I am a global sociologist with an interest in theory. My mixed-method research covers three areas: 1) Transnational social movements, civil society, and community; 2) Violence; and 3) Citizenship, global inequality, and migration. 1) My dissertation-based research examines how transnational social movements both challenge and contribute to social continuity establishing civil societies and communities at various scales, locally, nationally, and globally. It is based on the case of the Esperanto movement, a movement that originated in Eastern Europe to offer the constructed language Esperanto as a lingua franca for international communication. 2) My violence research addresses the question: Why do persons engage in violence? I draw from various strands of institutional theory, including Bourdieusian sociology and global institutionalism, to offer new theories of violence. 3) In my newest line of research, I focus on citizenship-based global inequalities. I argue that people experience cross-national inequalities through their citizenship as a caste marker.
Velitchkova, Ana. Forthcoming. “Citizenship as a Caste Marker: How Persons Experience Cross-national Inequality.” Current Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1177/00113921211028644
Velitchkova, Ana. Forthcoming. “Nationalized Cosmopolitanism with Communist Characteristics: The Esperanto Movement’s Survival Strategy in Post-WWII Bulgaria.” Social Science History. https://doi.org/10.1017/ssh.2022.5
Velitchkova, Ana. 2022. “Neither Dupes nor Rebels: Comprehensive Development and Fellowship as Foundations of Civil Society Agency under Eastern European State Socialism.” Balkanistica 35: 225-59.
Velitchkova, Ana. 2022. “Institutionalized Behavior, Morality, and Domination: A Habitus in Action Model of Violence.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 52(1): 2-21. https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12292
Velitchkova, Ana. 2021. “Rationalization of Belonging: Transnational Community Endurance.” International Sociology 36(3): 419–438. https://doi.org/10.1177/0268580920962005
Velitchkova, Ana. 2015. “World Culture, Uncoupling, Institutional Logics, and Recoupling: Practices and Self-identification as Institutional Microfoundations of Political Violence.” Sociological Forum 30 (3): 698-720. doi:10.1111/socf.12188/full
Velitchkova, Ana, Jackie Smith, and Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick. 2009. “Windows on the Ninth World Social Forum in Belém.” Societies Without Borders 4: 193-208. doi:10.1163/187219109×447476
Smith, Jackie, Jeffrey Juris, and the Social Forum Research Collective. 2008. “’We are the ones We Have Been Waiting For’: The U.S. Social Forum in Context.” Mobilization 13 (4): 373-394. doi:10.17813/maiq.13.4.2r0m233123644j60