Professor Levine’s principal interests center on issues derived from the sociology of knowledge: why and under what conditions ideas arise and have an impact on politics, society, and culture at particular times and places. The relation between ideas and institutions, agents and audiences, has been a constant theme in studies of the making and the breakdown of democracy, of the evolving attitudes and values of Catholic bishops, theologians and activists, of how religion (ideas, institutions, people, movements) is involved with politics, and of the origins and dynamics of social movements.
His books develop these ideas using research from field work in Latin America. Conflict and Political Change in Venezuela examines how a democracy is constructed in difficult terrain through pacts and agreements. Three books on religion, society and politics (Religion and Politics in Latin America: The Catholic Church in Venezuela and Colombia, Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism, and Politics, Religion and Society in Latin America) advance the analysis of religion in Latin American society and politics by situating religious institutions and their leaders in a continuous interaction with politics and civil society.
Recent work has centered in particular on the relation between religion, rights, and violence. Other books, such as Constructing Culture and Power in Latin America, make a sustained argument for qualitative approaches and methods.
Click here to read a short "life report" prepared by Dan Levine for an alumni publication of Dartmouth College, Class of 1964.
Click here to read a short memoir of a well known former teacher and mentor, Kalman Silvert.
Click here to read about how Professor Levine's mentors have impacted his career and his life.