Aaron Horvath

Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
A.B., Princeton University, 2010
PhD., Stanford University, 2021
Graduation Year
Dissertation Title
From the Socialism of Intelligence to the Aristocracy of Knowledge: Administrative Practice and Political Authority in American Democracy, 1905–1921

Aaron Horvath is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society with a PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. Drawing insights from economic and organizational sociology, he studies how civic organizations—everything from soup kitchens to philanthropic foundations—construct the meaning of public participation and structure the possibilities for a democratic society. Combining historical, qualitative, and quantitative methods, he investigates situations where the public character of organizational practices is in dispute. 

Along these lines Aaron has published on topics including:

  • Horvath, Aaron. (2023). “Organizational supererogation and the transformation of nonprofit accountability.” American Journal of Sociology 128(4):1031–1036 (link)

  • How, in the early 1900s, philanthropists and academic elites remade American government in the image of the large industrial enterprise and, in doing so, promoted an alternative (and particularly anemic) conception of democratic citizenship
  • The transformation of accountability in the US nonprofit sector since the early 2000s and the creative politics of resistance to quantitative discipline
  • How community organizations of all sorts have mobilized in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, repurposing themselves as vital nodes in the country’s patchwork public health information infrastructure

Aaron’s work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). His research has received awards from the American Sociological Association and has been covered in outlets including The AtlanticThe GuardianThe Wall Street Journal, and Wired. For more on Aaron’s work and links to his publications, see aaronhorvath.org




United States