Two major, overlapping projects:

About Me


Trained as a cultural anthropologist, I have also published and taught extensively in sociology. I have long been fascinated with why people and groups get involved in particular activities, and thus have written on topics such as Star Trek fans, death celebrations in Africa, and video gaming. In current research, I focus on different subcultures and subgroups, including those that are countercultural. I address some of the implications for issues of economic equality. Nonprofits provide a fascinating insight into this diversity, since they deal with it every day in their efforts against poverty and inequality.
Contact at

1. The antipoverty work of nonprofits

2. Lifestyle Diversity and Economic Inequality

Forthcoming book on The Clash of Lifestyle Diversity and Economic Inequality.

This book is intended as a major intervention in the debate on inequality. Instead of the top-down structural approaches found in most writing on inequality, I will offer a provocative exploration of how lifestyle diversity contributes to inequality and why it will likely only get worse, but will also offer some ways to address it. Lifestyle diversity is a deeper issue than most people recognize, and in fact creates a worldwide dilemma, largely unrecognized, that bubbles to the surface in a wide variety of places, from the increased class inequalities of the U.S, with its amalgam of subcultures from suburban hyper-achievers, to those pursuing “leisure careers,” along with numerous pockets of the poor in both cities and rural areas. It can be seen in Europe in the debt crisis, the issue of the Roma, and the increasingly contentious issues surrounding immigration. In Australia, the status of the aborigines has been debated for decades, with policymakers lurching back and forth for solutions. Only by understanding lifestyle processes and the different groups and places can we fully comprehend the tensions over inequality and why ongoing social and cultural changes make any “solution” a major challenge.

Presentations made recently to several workshops at the University of Notre Dame and Harvard University.

This book expands on the article:

The Dilemma of Equality and Diversity (Current Anthropology, 2014)

“This is a welcome, eye-opening contribution and a pleasure to read. The essay addresses a deep and significant issue by means of a skillfully conducted, humane and balanced review of many literatures.”  Richard Shweder, University of Chicago.

“Michael Jindra…is doing some of the most creative research on inequality today…” –Christine Rosen in “Lifestyles of the Not Rich and Unequal

Press releases:       University of Chicago Press        University of Notre Dame