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About Lois Presser

Lois Presser is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University, an MBA from Yale University, and a doctoral degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to earning her Ph.D., Dr. Presser worked for 10 years in the criminal justice system in New York City. She worked with and on behalf of both offenders and victims of crime.
Dr. Presser's current research concerns the role of language and discursive forms in social arrangements and action, including criminal action, and the promises and problems of restorative justice approaches to crime and other conflict. She draws on the perspectives of cultural sociology and critical criminology. Her work has appeared in top journals of criminology and sociology. Her first book, Been a Heavy Life: Stories of Violent Men (2008, University of Illinois Press), explores how violent men construct themselves as decent, heroic, and masculine in the face of stigma and under circumstances of captivity. Her next book advances a general theory of harmful action based on narratives.


Present Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • 2008 “Narratives of Women in Prison,” University of Tennessee SARIF Summer Graduate Research Assistantship Fund
  • 2005 Award to Department of Sociology for development of a new Women’s Studies course, “Gender and Crime.” Women’s Studies Program, University of Tennessee
  • 2005 Undergraduate Summer Research Internship - Mentor to student Jonathon Fish “Women in Boy Scouting: A Qualitative Inquiry of Camp Counselors” University Honors Program, University of Tennessee
  • 2003 “Evaluation of the Butler County Juvenile Court Victim-Offender Mediation Program.” Professional Development and Research Award, University of Tennessee
  • 2002 Nominee, University of Cincinnati Council of Graduate Schools/University Microfilms International Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences
  • 2001-2002 “Stories of Violent Men: Constructing and Reconstructing Narratives About Violence.” University Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship, University of Cincinnati
  • 2001 “Stories of Violent Men.” Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship, University of Cincinnati

Contact Information

University of Tennessee
Department of Sociology
901 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-04900
Phone: (865) 974-7024
Fax: (865) 974-7013

Articles (7)