Sociology Social Psychology
by
Alison Bianchi
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 November 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0069

Introduction

According to one of its most notable early researchers, the psychologist Gordon Allport, social psychology is the scientific investigation of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Given this broad definition, studying social psychology would require a truly interdisciplinary effort from researchers in the fields of psychology, political science, anthropology, economics, sports science, and sociology. Indeed, during the nascent period of the field, before and directly after World War II, psychologists and sociologists collaborated on important explorations of social behavior. However, over time researchers from these two disciplines began to specialize in certain aspects of social psychology, with sociologists concentrating more on how social structure shapes people and how people in turn change or maintain social structure and social organization. This article focuses on the major contributions of sociological social psychologists to the field of social psychology with an emphasis on theoretical works. In general, sociological social psychologists study the interplay among culture, social structure, and individual conscious and nonconscious processes of the mind and emotions.

Classic Works

The classic works of sociological social psychology laid the groundwork for later theorizing about how individuals interact within groups, define their social circumstances, and interpret shared meanings through language and symbols. These tomes are considered the foundation of thought for the field.

The First Sociological Social Psychologists

Many sociological social psychologists assert that their field was born with Cooley 1902, which showcases the notion of “the looking glass self”—how our interactions are shaped not only by what we perceive is social reality but also by how we think others may be perceiving us. Other pioneers also made groundbreaking observations. Thomas and Thomas 1928 notes that our perceptions need not be objectively correct to have an impact on our behaviors and beliefs. In fact our interpretation of the situation will affect how we react to it, regardless of our interpretation’s veracity. Simmel 1950 notes that our interpretations become more and more complicated as the size of our group encounters increases and that the degree of closeness among group members can affect how we perceive the group. Mead 1934 expands on the notion of the self, which for George H. Mead is a social process between the mind and others’ collective. Robert K. Merton, arguably the most influential American sociologist, introduced the notions of self-fulfilling prophecy, role models, social roles, and reference groups; see Merton 1996 (note that some of these notions were conceptualized by Merton and his students; for example, the theory regarding reference groups was authored by Merton and Alice S. Rossi).

  • Cooley, Charles H. 1902. Human nature and the social order. New York: Scribner’s.

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    With this book Cooley presents the term “looking glass self,” a reference to the second-order process of “what I think you think” and its importance in shaping our understanding of social interactions. To direct our social action, we must know not only how we perceive others but also how we perceive how others are perceiving us.

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    • Mead, George H. 1934. Mind, self, and society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist. Edited by Charles W. Morris. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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      For Mead, the self is a social process involving the “Me,” defined as the organized set of attitudes that an actor assumes others possess, and the “I,” one’s individual response to this set of attitudes. Also directing this process is the “generalized other,” a broad understanding that a person has about society members’ expectations for the person’s social actions.

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      • Merton, Robert K. 1996. On social structure and science. Edited by Piotr Sztompka. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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        This is a compendium of Merton’s contributions to sociology. Merton made pivotal contributions to social psychology, most notably the notion of the self-fulfilling prophecy or, as Merton himself defined it in 1948, “a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come ‘true’” (Social Theory and Social Structure, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968, p. 477). He also coined the terms “role model” and “role strain.”

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        • Simmel, Georg. 1950. The sociology of Georg Simmel. Edited and translated by Kurt Wolff. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

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          This is a compendium of Simmel’s most important contributions to sociological social psychology. It includes his exposition on the dyad and the triad with its examination of the effect of group size on group structure and “The Stranger,” an essay about individuals who are new to the group but are never of the group.

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          • Thomas, William I., and Dorothy Swaine Thomas. 1928. The child in America: Behavior problems and programs. New York: Knopf.

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            In this treatise W. I. Thomas and his wife (who seldom gets credit for it) coined the Thomas theorem: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences” (p. 572). In other words, quite simply, perceptions matter regardless of their objective truth. One could argue that this is the basis for all social psychology.

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            The Early Influential Schools of Thought

            The second generation of sociological social psychologists resided at “home” universities that became renowned for a particular perspective on human interaction. For example, Blumer 1969 and Goffman 1959 are by people famous for creating the Chicago school of sociological social psychology at the University of Chicago. The Chicago school was renowned for the birth of symbolic interactionism. In this tradition scholars viewed every encounter as unique and thus the self as created during each one. Kuhn and McPartland 1954 established the Iowa school. Unlike the Chicago school tradition, the Iowa school scholars saw the self as a more stable construct, albeit malleable. Owing to this stability, however, they believed that the self could be measured quantitatively and so developed scales to do so. Bales 1950, Homans 1961, and Parsons 1965 are by the founders of the Harvard school of social relations. The Harvard school was known for grand theories of social action and the structure of social systems and groundbreaking theories of group interaction and individual behavior.

            • Bales, Robert Freed. 1950. Interaction process analysis: A method for the study of small groups. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.

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              Bales pioneered a systematic method of analyzing group dynamics. The System for the Multiple Level Observation of Groups (SYMLOG) includes a coding scheme for behaviors that exemplify what Bales believed are the three fundamental dimensions that structure interactions within groups: dominance–submission, friendliness–nonfriendliness, and authority acceptance–nonacceptance. Once coded, these dimensions can be analyzed to determine the tenor of group relations.

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              • Blumer, Herbert. 1969. Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                Blumer both named and developed the notion of symbolic interactionism (SI) and its concomitant methodology. He defined SI as having three facets: (1) humans behave according to the meanings that things and events have for them, (2) individual meanings of things and events stem from interaction with others, and (3) meanings entail interpretation rather than simple literal compliance with standardized expectations.

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                • Goffman, Erving. 1959. The presentation of self in everyday life. Edinburgh: Univ. of Edinburgh Social Sciences Research Centre.

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                  Goffman wrote many outstanding books that added much to the field, but this is his first and most famous. He describes his dramaturgical approach to face-to-face interaction. Goffman argues that when we encounter others, we put on a theatrical performance in our “front stage,” so that we can manage others’ impressions of us to maximize our selves.

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                  • Homans, George C. 1961. Social behavior: Its elementary forms. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World.

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                    Homans is the founder of exchange theory. Using language from behavioral psychology, he conceived propositions concerning how group members act based on exchanges and the subjective cost–benefit analysis of each group member. When confronted with a decision between alternatives, group members will select and act on those choices that hold the most subjective value for them.

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                    • Kuhn, Manford H., and Thomas S. McPartland. 1954. An empirical investigation of self-attitudes. American Sociological Review 19.1: 68–76.

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                      Symbolic interactionists first thought that the concept of the self was too elusive to capture. Kuhn and McPartland contended that we can measure answers to the question “Who am I?” and therefore could portray the self quantitatively, as the self is an organized construct. They introduced the twenty statements test as a way to measure the self.

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                      • Parsons, Talcott. 1965. Essays in sociological theory. Rev. ed. New York: Free Press.

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                        This compendium houses Parsons’s significant works, including excerpts from his grand theory of social action in society, which describes Parsons’s ideas concerning the relation between persons and their society. He argues that for a society to remain stable, persons must internalize their society’s cultural values to the point that they view these values as their own needs.

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                        Reference Works

                        Many edited volumes and textbooks exist for sociological social psychology—far too many to list here. Instead, the most influential are highlighted.

                        Early Foundational Works with Survey Chapters

                        Most sociological social psychologists own these older edited volumes, because they are comprised of serious contributions from important researchers. Rosenberg and Turner 2004 (originally published in 1981) collects chapters from prominent sociological social psychologists that summarize the important research programs of that period. The fact that this book was in its fourth printing in 2004 is a testament to its superb chapters. The next generation of prominent scholars decided to update Rosenberg and Turner 2004, in Cook, et al. 1995. The chapters in that volume represent an updated list of important topics in sociological social psychology. Karen S. Cook and her colleagues dropped those research agendas reported in Rosenberg and Turner 2004 that were then receiving little interest and added chapters about new veins of research.

                        • Cook, Karen S., Gary Alan Fine, and James S. House, eds. 1995. Sociological perspectives on social psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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                          Inspired by Rosenberg and Turner 2004 (first published in 1981), Cook, House, and Fine attempted not just an update of that volume but a new examination of the important domains of sociological social psychology. Twenty-five chapters include pieces on the building blocks of social interaction, social interaction in small groups, social structure and personality, and methods of study.

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                          • Rosenberg, Morris, and Ralph H. Turner, eds. 2004. Social psychology: Sociological perspectives. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                            Originally published in 1981, this book is considered a benchmark and a valued source for sociological social psychology. Chapters on structural symbolic interactionism by Sheldon Stryker, social exchange theory by Richard Emerson, collective behavior by John Lofland, social structure and personality by James House, and the sociology of sentiments and emotions by Steven Gordon are some of the best reviews available.

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                            Contemporary Handbooks

                            Handbooks are great resources for introductions to specific areas of research. For example, DeLamater 2006 provides reviews of important topics for the early-21st-century field of sociological social psychology. Leary and Tangney 2012 presents reviews of topics in the self and identity theories and studies. Similarly, Stets and Turner 2007, Aneshensel and Phelan 2006, and Reynolds and Herman-Kinney 2004 present reviews on the sociology of emotions, the sociology of mental health, and symbolic interactionism, respectively. If a new researcher is not sure where to start with reading for a topic in sociological social psychology, these handbooks are indispensable references.

                            • Aneshensel, Carol S., and Jo C. Phelan, eds. 2006. Handbook of the sociology of mental health. New York: Springer.

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                              The twenty-eight chapters are arranged under seven topics: (1) alternative understandings of mental health, (2) observing mental health in the community, (3) the social distribution of mental illness, (4) social antecedents of mental illness, (5) social consequences of mental illness, (6) institutional contexts of mental illness, and (7) social continuities.

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                              • DeLamater, John, ed. 2006. Handbook of social psychology. New York: Springer.

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                                Topics are organized into five sections: “Theoretical Perspectives,” including expectation states theory, social structure and personality, and social exchange theory; “Development and Socialization,” including chapters on socialization throughout the life course; “Intrapersonal Processes,” including emotions and social cognition; “Interpersonal Processes,” with chapters on the stress process and attraction; and “The Individual in Sociocultural Context,” with chapters on deviance and social movements.

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                                • Leary, Mark R., and June P. Tangney, eds. 2012. Handbook of self and identity. 2d ed. New York: Guilford.

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                                  A comprehensive and authoritative edited volume for its area.

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                                  • Reynolds, Larry T., and Nancy J. Herman-Kinney, eds. 2004. Handbook of symbolic interactionism. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

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                                    The editors have compiled forty-four chapters from fifty-nine scholars that trace the origins and development of symbolic interactionism from Charles H. Cooley, George H. Mead, and William I. Thomas through the various schools and interpretations to the early 21st century and end with an exposition of what is still to come from this vibrant research framework.

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                                    • Stets, Jan E., and Jonathan H. Turner, eds. 2007. Handbook of the sociology of emotions. New York: Springer.

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                                      Twenty-six chapters are arranged in four sections: “Basic Processes,” such as classification or the neuroscience of emotions; “Theories,” such as affect control theory, self and identity theories, and justice processes; “Select Emotions,” such as love, anger, and grief; and “Emotions in Social Life,” such as emotions in health and social movements.

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                                      Compendiums

                                      Compendiums provide readers with influential pieces about social psychology that introduce prominent topics and summarize research on them. What is significant about compendiums is that they represent the editors’ unique vision of what is important to sociological social psychology and why. Some of these compendiums concentrate on theoretical treatises. Foschi and Lawler 1994 provides an in-depth examination of the group processes paradigm, while Rousseau 2002 presents important works from the symbolic interactionist and social structure and personality perspectives. Burke 2006 presents contemporary theories from many traditions. Other compendiums focus on empirical works. Burke, et al. 2003 puts forward studies concerning identity theories. Clay-Warner and Robinson 2008 includes studies on emotions. McLeod and Wright 2010 offers many studies and examinations concerning mental health. Compendiums can also be composed of essays about mundane social situations that highlight insights concerning social psychology. For example, Cahill and Sandstrom 2010 features chapters on how social interaction shapes the everyday human experience. O’Brien 2010 emphasizes how to be awake in the world and how to better see the patterns people use to make sense of their lives.

                                      • Burke, Peter J., ed. 2006. Contemporary social psychological theories. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                        Burke presents a very important compendium of chapters from some of the key influential contemporary sociological social psychologists. What is brilliant about this work is that the overview chapters are written by the original theorists who initiated and developed these research programs. This book is an essential item in every sociological social psychologist’s library.

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                                        • Burke, Peter J., Timothy J. Owens, Richard T. Serpe, and Peggy A. Thoits, eds. 2003. Advances in identity theory and research. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                                          The contributors to this reader start with the notion of identity as posited by Sheldon Stryker’s structural symbolic interactionism and then present their research on one of four subjects: sources of identity; the tie between the identity and the social structure; noncognitive outcomes of identity processes, such as emotions; and the situation of having multiple identities.

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                                          • Cahill, Spencer E., and Kent Sandstrom, eds. 2010. Inside social life: Readings in sociological psychology and microsociology. 6th ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                            Forty-one selections that encompass both theoretical works and empirical studies. This compendium is a wonderful tribute to Cahill’s dedication to sociological social psychology. Mostly from a symbolic interactionist perspective, interesting issues covered include the embodiment of gender differences in preschool practices; gang-related gun violence and the self; and smell, odor, and somatic work.

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                                            • Clay-Warner, Jody, and Dawn T. Robinson, eds. 2008. Social structure and emotion. New York: Academic Press.

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                                              Clay-Warner and Robinson provide a compilation of the newest theoretical developments and research that examines the connection between social structure and emotions. Each of the five sections (“Inequality,” “Status,” “Exchange,” “Justice,” and “Identity”) begins with a commentary piece that synthesizes the branches of research for the section’s topic. Subsequently, original research and theoretical formulations are offered.

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                                              • Foschi, Martha, and Edward J. Lawler, eds. 1994. Group processes: Sociological perspectives. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

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                                                The original chapters of this volume represent sociological viewpoints for the study of group dynamics. Foschi and Lawler, who are structural social psychologists, organize the compendium by first presenting chapters on theory and method and then seven chapters on basic processes, such as social perception, affect, status, power, justice, and conflict and bargaining.

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                                                • McLeod, Jane D., and Eric R. Wright, eds. 2010. The sociology of mental illness: A comprehensive reader. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                  This work thoroughly covers important topics from the sociology of mental illness. Chapter topics include the social construction of mental health, labeling theory, and treatment effectiveness. The editors incorporate older classic and contemporary readings, but most important, they cover the controversies in the sociology of mental illness, giving readers tools to formulate their own opinions about these debates.

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                                                  • O’Brien, Jodi, ed. 2010. The production of reality: Essays and readings on social interaction. 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

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                                                    O’Brien presents an interesting group of writings that grounds social psychology in real-life experiences. This edition uses the social psychology of mindfulness as a guide to remind the readers to be awake to the social psychological realities around them. Classic to contemporary perspectives of sociological social psychology are represented in these engaging readings.

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                                                    • Rousseau, Nathan, ed. 2002. Self, symbols, and society: Classic readings in social psychology. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

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                                                      This is a superb overview of the classic readings in sociological social psychology. Excerpts from Charles H. Cooley, George H. Mead, Georg Simmel, William I. Thomas, Alfred Schutz, Erving Goffman, Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, Herbert Blumer, Harold Garfinkel, Arlie Russell Hochschild, and Robert Bellah provide the best possible introduction to the important foundational thinkers of the field.

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                                                      Textbooks

                                                      A quick search for social psychology textbooks at amazon.com results in more than seven thousand possibilities. The three cited in this section are among the most popular textbooks written by sociological social psychologists. DeLamater and Myers 2011 provides a huge sweep of social psychology drawn from both psychology and sociology. Rohall, et al. 2011 takes the approach of presenting sociological social psychology using the categories of the “three faces.” Sandstrom, et al. 2010 presents symbolic interactionism to students in a very accessible way.

                                                      • DeLamater, John D., and Daniel J. Myers, eds. 2011. Social psychology. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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                                                        The editors provide undergraduates with one of the most comprehensive sweeps of the basics of social psychology. What is useful about this book is that it also provides an introduction to cornerstone principles and theories of psychological social psychology, which often provide the backbone to sociological theories.

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                                                        • Rohall, David E., Melissa A. Milkie, and Jeffrey W. Lucas, eds. 2011. Social psychology: Sociological perspectives. 2d ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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                                                          The editors take a unique standpoint by organizing the theory and research for each chapter’s topic into three sections that represent the three faces of sociological social psychology: symbolic interactionism, social structure and personality, and structural social psychology (group processes). This book is easy to read, and the questions at the end of each chapter are useful for studying.

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                                                          • Sandstrom, Kent L., Daniel D. Martin, and Gary Alan Fine, eds. 2010. Symbols, selves, and social reality: A symbolic interactionist approach to social psychology and sociology. 3d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                            The editors provide an engaging introduction to symbolic interactionism with the overarching theme of how elements of gender and race affect identity formation and maintenance. Recognizing that a classroom is also a milieu defined by social construction, they incorporate readings from real-life experiences that would be interesting to students in the hope that classroom debate will ensue.

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                                                            Journals

                                                            As many social psychological processes can be investigated in any social setting, research on social psychology is not limited to a specific journal. However, there are journals that are Social Psychology–Specific Journals, publishing articles about social psychology only. Some journals specialize in subjects other than sociological social psychology but still showcase important pieces from sociological social psychology (see Generalist and Specialist Journals).

                                                            Social Psychology–Specific Journals

                                                            Social Psychology Quarterly, Symbolic Interactionism, Self and Identity, Small Group Research, and Current Research in Social Psychology publish articles exclusively about social psychology. Advances in Group Processes is a series of edited volumes that primarily publish work in structural social psychology, but other types of social psychological research that are theory-driven have been represented, such as pieces on structural symbolic interactionism and affect control theory.

                                                            • Advances in Group Processes. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group, 1984–.

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                                                              This series is devoted to publishing papers on group processes, broadly defined. This includes work on groups ranging from the very small to the very large and on classic and contemporary topics, such as status, power, exchange, justice, influence, decision making, intergroup relations, and social networks.

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                                                              • Current Research in Social Psychology.

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                                                                Current Research in Social Psychology (CRISP) is a peer-reviewed, electronic journal publishing theoretically driven, empirical research in major areas of social psychology. Publication is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Group Processes at the University of Iowa, which provides free online access to its contents.

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                                                                • Self and Identity.

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                                                                  This journal is dedicated to the study of social and psychological processes of the self. The editors aim to bring together work on self and identity undertaken by researchers across different subdisciplines within psychology (e.g., social, personality, clinical, development, cognitive) and across other social and behavioral disciplines (e.g., sociology, family studies, anthropology, neuroscience).

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                                                                  • Small Group Research.

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                                                                    Small Group Research (SGR), peer reviewed and published bimonthly, is an international and interdisciplinary journal presenting research, theoretical advancements, and empirically supported applications with respect to all types of small groups. SGR, a leader in the field, addresses and connects three vital areas of study: the psychology of small groups, communication within small groups, and organizational behavior of small groups.

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                                                                    • Social Psychology Quarterly.

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                                                                      This is an interdisciplinary journal (conventionally abbreviated SPQ) that publishes theoretical and empirical papers on the link between the individual and society. It incorporates articles with studies of relations of individuals to one another and to groups, collectivities, and institutions. Researchers from all branches of social psychology, including psychology, political science, and others, contribute articles to this journal.

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                                                                      • Symbolic Interactionism.

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                                                                        The official publication of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, this journal (conventionally abbreviated SI) publishes research and theoretical developments for symbolic interactionism.

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                                                                        Generalist and Specialist Journals

                                                                        Many important works of sociological social psychology have appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Social Forces, which are the preeminent generalist journals in sociology. The Annual Review of Sociology also publishes important surveys of social psychological topics. Social Science Research, a journal for quantitative social research, has published numerous important pieces in sociological social psychology. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior focuses on medical sociology but often publishes important pieces from sociological social psychology.

                                                                        Methods

                                                                        How does one collect the data to analyze research problems concerning sociological social psychology? Once the data are collected, how does one go about analyzing them? What is the connection between the theory under investigation and data or the linkage between the data and themes and/or typologies that emerge from it? These and other questions can be answered by research methodology—the procedures, techniques, and tools needed to examine social reality systematically, logically, and thoroughly. This section provides some important sources for the wide range of methodologies used by sociological social psychologists; it is certainly not a comprehensive directory but rather some suggestions for where to start. Since sociological social psychologists can study processes in any social context, many types of research methodologies are needed to capture facets of social reality. New researchers might begin their quest to understand social research methods by reading Babbie 2010, a near-standard textbook, or consulting Trochim 2006 online. For more in-depth instruction on specific contexts, one would consult the SAGE Applied Social Research Methods series edited by Leonard Bickman and Deborah J. Rog. For statistical analyses, the SAGE Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences series is a must. Webster and Sell 2007 provides an in-depth look at experimental designs. Wertz, et al. 2011 covers qualitative methods. Dillman, et al. 2009 presents early-21st-century survey methodology.

                                                                        • Babbie, Earl. 2010. The practice of social research. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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                                                                          This comprehensive beginners’ manual for researching our social world is considered the “gold standard” of undergraduate research methods texts. This manual includes both quantitative and qualitative research methods and suggestions on how to craft theory, using the Internet wisely, and how to write a research paper.

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                                                                          • Bickman, Leonard, and Deborah J. Rog, eds. Applied Social Research Methods Series. London: SAGE, 1984–.

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                                                                            With more than fifty books on research methods, this series provides help with myriad social settings and methodologies, all relevant to work in social psychology. Topics include case study research, concept mapping, focus groups, research with Hispanic populations, meta-analyses, researching persons with mental illness, data management, ethnography, doing legal research, graphing data, and planning ethically responsible research projects.

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                                                                            • Dillman, Don A., Jolene D. Smyth, and Leah Melani Christian. 2009. Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored method design. 3d ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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                                                                              This is a complete “start-to-finish” guide to conducting surveys using the Internet, e-mail, mail, or telephone surveys. The book covers how to create a standard questionnaire with valid and reliable questionnaire items, implementation procedures to obtain the best response rate, and suggestions for surveys that might require more than one form of collection.

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                                                                              • Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, 1976–.

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                                                                                Each of these “little green books” provides important and definitive advice for quantitative research methodology and statistics from basic math for social scientists to specific statistical models, to how to deal with missing data, to experimental research methods, to social network analyses, and much more. Each provides both the theoretical background to the method and hands-on advice for applying the method.

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                                                                                • Trochim, William M. 2006. The research methods knowledge base. 2d ed.

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                                                                                  This comprehensive web-based textbook addresses everything about research methods at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. It includes pages on how to formulate a research question, sampling, measurement, research design, data analyses, and writing a research paper. It also includes the theoretical and philosophical foundations of social research.

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                                                                                  • Webster, Murray, Jr., and Jane Sell. 2007. Laboratory experiments in the social sciences. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.

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                                                                                    This thorough book is the most comprehensive manual for conducting experiments that examine social processes. Consisting of chapters from prominent sociological social psychologists, this compendium includes not only how to conduct an experiment but also investigations of philosophies and ethics, explorations of experiments in specific social science disciplines, and summaries of both the history and the future of social science laboratories.

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                                                                                    • Wertz, Frederick J., Kathy Charmaz, Linda M. McMullen, Ruthellen Josselson, Rosemarie Anderson, and Emalinda McSpadden. 2011. Five ways of doing qualitative research: Phenomenological psychology, grounded theory, discourse analysis, narrative research, and intuitive inquiry. New York: Guilford.

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                                                                                      Delivering sections for each of the methods stated in the title, this book also provides important chapters on comparisons of the lenses through which qualitative researchers examine social reality, allowing the participants’ voices to be heard, and research ethics. This may be the most comprehensive manual on qualitative research methodology.

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                                                                                      Data Sources

                                                                                      Listed in this section are some sources of publicly available data accessible from websites or through scholars. The World Values Study and World Mental Health Study are large-scale projects attempting to capture important social psychological phenomena by country—an important social structure. A repeated-sample study, the General Social Survey, explores the social and political climate of the United States. Panel studies, such as the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and the Minnesota Youth Development Study, follow cohorts of individuals and how they might change their attitudes and behaviors over time. The National Center for Educational Statistics provides many datasets that explore social psychological processes of students in all stages of their development, from kindergarten to postcollege. All of these sources represent opportunities for secondary data analyses of sociological social psychological phenomena.

                                                                                      • General Social Survey.

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                                                                                        The General Social Survey project has tracked American’s opinions since the late 20th century and is considered one of the best sources for data on societal trends. Questions about attitudes concerning alienation and satisfaction and multiple special model questions about mental health and emotions make this an important resource for sociological social psychologists.

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                                                                                        • Minnesota Youth Development Study.

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                                                                                          The Youth Development Study, which has been made available to the public, continues to examine the consequences of work and other formative experiences in adolescence for the transition to adulthood and the effects of experiences during this transition for mental health, socioeconomic attainment, and multiple facets of behavioral adjustment. For more information, see World Values Study.

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                                                                                          • National Center of Educational Statistics.

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                                                                                            Sponsored by the Department of Education, the National Center of Educational Statistics provides nationally representative samples, such as National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), Education Longitudinal Study (ELS), Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), and Career/Technical Education Statistics (CTES), with a plethora of variables concerning sociological social psychology. Datasets for cohorts of kindergarteners, primary and secondary school students, college students, and beyond are available to the public.

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                                                                                            • National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

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                                                                                              The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) data set is a nationally representative study of a cohort of adolescents in grades 7 through 12 in 1994. Add Health combines longitudinal survey data on respondents’ social, economic, psychological, and physical well-being with contextual data on family, neighborhood, community, school, friendships, peer groups, and romantic relationships.

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                                                                                              • Wisconsin Longitudinal Study.

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                                                                                                This study’s sample consists of 10,317 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools. These individuals and their family members were repeatedly surveyed from late adolescence in 1957 through the year 2008. Results show the factors associated with the mental health and well-being of the respondents and how aspirations and expectations are related to educational and career achievement.

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                                                                                                • World Mental Health Study.

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                                                                                                  Initiated by the World Health Organization, this project provides surveys from a cross-national sample of more than 150,000 people. The project aims to obtain information about the prevalence and correlates of mental, substance, and behavioral disorders. Included in studies of correlates are analyses of impairments, other adverse social consequences, and patterns of help seeking.

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                                                                                                  • World Values Study.

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                                                                                                    This global survey examines people’s values and beliefs, how they change over time, and what social impact they have. A large network of social scientists from around the world has collected data from almost one hundred countries. The researchers claim that they have data that can be generalizable to 90 percent of the world’s population.

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                                                                                                    Social Structure and Agency

                                                                                                    If sociological social psychology is mostly about the study of the interplay between the individual and social structure, the logical question is: What is the definition of social structure? The answer to the question is not so simple. Social scientists have proposed an easy definition that often appears in undergraduate textbooks: social structure is the patterned social relations that are indicative of a society, which determine, to some degree, the social actions of members embedded within that society. This somewhat nebulous definition has not been satisfying to sociological social psychologists, because it emphasizes the static and determinist nature of social structure. Better definitions take into account the notion of agency, which, simply defined, is societal members’ capacity to act independently within the social structure. Sociological social psychologists tackle the somewhat elusive concepts of social structure and agency in the works in this section.

                                                                                                    Conceptions of Social Structure

                                                                                                    In these works sociological social psychologists attempt to define “social structure.” Berger and Luckmann 1966 argues that social structure is not an objective, reified construct but is socially constructed through interaction and therefore can be changed through interaction. Cook and Whitmeyer 1992 synthesizes exchange theory with conceptions of social networks to provide one version of the definition of social structure. Howard 1994 takes the perspective of social cognition or information processing to reconceptualize social structure. Sewell 1992 borrows from anthropology’s definitions of culture to argue that social structure has dualistic properties: agency arises from social structure, and social structure is enacted with agency. Fuchs 2001 suggests that structure and agency are two anchors on a continuum, and to determine which one a researcher is examining, the researcher needs to take an intentional stance about his or her place on the continuum and judge accordingly. None of these conceptions is the definitive solution to the problem of defining social structure, but they all provide very creative answers to the question.

                                                                                                    • Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann. 1966. The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

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                                                                                                      Berger and Luckmann argue that humans lack instincts to direct social action. Instead, norms, values, expectations, and institutions are created through everyday interactions during which one assumes that others share one’s ideas about acceptable behavior. One’s “rules” become habitualized and taken for granted and then passed on to the next generation, whose members were not part of the original interactions.

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                                                                                                      • Cook, Karen S., and Joseph M. Whitmeyer. 1992. Two approaches to social structure: Exchange theory and network analysis. Annual Review of Sociology 18:109–127.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.18.080192.000545Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Cook and Whitmeyer assert that exchange theorists assume that exchanges are embedded within networks but do not explicitly specify the nature of these connections. If the nodes of networks can be conceived of as having the resource and positional inequalities modeled by exchange theorists, then integrating network and exchange perspectives provides a clear delineation of the social structure of social relations.

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                                                                                                        • Fuchs, Stephan. 2001. Beyond agency. Sociological Theory 19:24–40.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/0735-2751.00126Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Fuchs asserts that agency and structure are opposites on a natural continuum. To determine which construct one is observing, one must decide what social system is being observed and the expected patterns from it; what is surprising from that observation is agency at work. Agency can be viewed as the anomalies that observers did not predict would occur.

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                                                                                                          • Howard, Judith A. 1994. A social cognitive conception of social structure. In Special issue: Conceptualizing structure in social psychology. Edited by Cecilia L. Ridgeway. Social Psychology Quarterly 57.3: 210–227.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/2786877Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Howard argues that a social cognitive perspective provides a way to demonstrate how social actors represent, sustain, and transform their notions of social structure into cognitive systems. For social cognition specialists, social structure is a system of categorizations based on the differentiation of social groups. Individuals internalize and adapt these systems to produce blueprints for social action.

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                                                                                                            • Sewell, William F. 1992. A theory of structure: Duality, agency, and transformation. American Journal of Sociology 98:1–29.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/229967Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Building on Anthony Giddens’s notion of structuration and Pierre Bourdieu’s conception of habitus, Sewell contends that social structures are sets of mutually sustaining schemata and resources that both liberate and constrain social action and tend to be reproduced by that social action. Agency is innovated from social structure in five ways: multiplicity, transposability, unpredictable resource accumulation, resource polysemy, and intersection.

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                                                                                                              Macro–Micro and Micro–Macro Structural Linkages

                                                                                                              Many sociological social psychologists make a distinction between micro-level social structure and macro-level social structure. Micro-level social structure is the social organization that one can witness during small group encounters. Macro-level social structures are large-scale social orders, such as organizations and societies. Understanding the connections between the two helps one understand how societies shape individuals and how in turn individuals shape societies. Coleman 1986 introduces what is affectionately called the “Coleman boat” model for the connections between the macro and the micro and vice versa. Collins 1981 asserts that distinguishing between the micro and the macro is impossible, since they occur simultaneously. Zelditch 1991 provides an argument that contends that the distinction between macro and micro structures need not be made when applying social psychological theory in certain instances.

                                                                                                              • Coleman, James S. 1986. Social theory, social research, and a theory of action. American Journal of Sociology 91.6: 1309–1335.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/228423Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Coleman asserts that sociologists are good at “methodological individualism” or measuring the extent to which actors internalize macro-level belief systems that reflect the larger social order. What is more difficult and what Coleman calls for more of is studies on how individuals at the micro-level change macro-level structure—society. This is the micro-macro link.

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                                                                                                                • Collins, Randall. 1981. On the microfoundations of macrosociology. American Journal of Sociology 86.5: 984–1014.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/227351Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Collins argues that the difference between micro- and macro-level structures is time; that is, since humans’ real experiences consist of a chain of ritual interactions, then aggregating these experiences over time would reveal large-scale patterns in the form of organizations and social movements, which comprise the small-scale encounters.

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                                                                                                                  • Zelditch, Morris M., Jr. 1991. Levels in the logic of macro-historical explanation. In Macro-micro linkages in sociology. Edited by Joan Huber, 101–106. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                    If corporate actors can be conceptualized as social actors, then we can apply social psychological theories to interorganizational and even intersocietal relations. Thus theories of micro interaction are also theories of macro-level phenomena.

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                                                                                                                    The “Faces” of Sociological Social Psychology

                                                                                                                    In an attempt to classify the growing research in sociological social psychology, especially for those new to the field, researchers began creating typologies for theories and empirical works that shared perspectives. The most influential work to do so was House 1977, which classifies psychological and sociological social psychology into three categories. Thoits 1995 reiterates the main differences between psychological and sociological social psychology. In general, sociological social psychologists recognize three “faces” or perspectives in their field: symbolic interactionists, social structure and personality researchers, and structural social psychologists (or the “group processes” paradigm). While not every program fits nicely into this category system (for example, one could argue that exchange theorists are both symbolic interactionists and structural social psychologists), it is still helpful to understand each perspective when one is first examining research in sociological social psychology. Accordingly, this section also includes expositions of each category’s standpoint: the Fine 1993 description of research in the field of symbolic interactionism; the Kohn 1989 description of social structure and personality; and the Lawler, et al. 1993 description of structural social psychology.

                                                                                                                    • Fine, Gary A. 1993. The sad demise, mysterious disappearance, and glorious triumph of symbolic interactionism. Annual Review of Sociology 19:61–87.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.19.080193.000425Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Fine does a superb job reporting the history of symbolic interactionism. In so doing, he demonstrates how a growing subfield of research can scatter and/or become nearly extinct owing to absorption into the mainstream. Nonetheless, symbolic interactionism remains a very vibrant and important paradigm within sociological social psychology, and Fine shows how by delineating its late-20th-century contributions.

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                                                                                                                      • House, James S. 1977. The three faces of social psychology. Sociometry 40:161–177.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/3033519Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        This very influential paper attempts to classify research in both psychological and sociological psychology. It is also an attempt to distinguish the two fields. Note that the main distinction given for each “face” is primarily methodology: symbolic interactionists are the qualitative researchers, social structure and personality researchers use surveys, and “psychological” social psychologists are the experimentalists.

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                                                                                                                        • Kohn, Melvin. 1989. Social structure and personality: A quintessentially sociological approach to social psychology. Social Forces 68:26–33.

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                                                                                                                          Kohn teaches that to understand individual level processes, it is imperative to understand the larger contextual structures in which the individual is embedded. Kohn reminds us that these social structures are not just face-to-face interactions but are also larger organizations and cultures in which individuals conduct those face-to-face interactions.

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                                                                                                                          • Lawler, Edward J., Cecilia L. Ridgeway, and Barry Markovsky. 1993. Structural social psychology and the micro-macro problem. Sociological Theory 11:268–290.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/201971Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Lawler, Ridgeway, and Markovsky define the paradigm of structural social psychology as one in which researchers model the “minimal actor” one social psychological process at a time with the intent of meshing singular processes over time. Micro encounters of these minimal actors are embedded within larger networks of interaction. To demonstrate their perspective, they review research on status, power, and justice.

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                                                                                                                            • Thoits, Peggy A. 1995. Social psychology: The interplay between sociology and psychology. Social Forces 73:1231–1243.

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                                                                                                                              Thoits argues that in general sociological social psychologists are interested in the degree to which the social context affects individual-level processes and that psychological social psychologists are interested in general in the mechanisms of individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affected by the social context. Ultimately, they have much to offer each other for understanding the individual-context interplay.

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                                                                                                                              Symbolic Interactionism

                                                                                                                              The oldest of the “faces” of sociological social psychology, symbolic interactionism (SI), is founded in Mead 1934 (cited under the First Sociological Social Psychologists) and expanded upon in Blumer 1969 (cited under the Early Influential Schools of Thought). Broadly defined, researchers from this perspective agree that individuals both interpret and react to the inferred meanings of others’ actions and therefore bring their own subjective meanings to their interactions. Human beings use symbols and signification during interpersonal encounters and therefore socially construct and negotiate the meaning of those encounters. Symbolic interactionists explore how individuals “do social experiences” within their natural settings. While other forms of methodology are used, symbolic interactionists tend to be mainly qualitative researchers. That is, they use the methods of ethnography and participant observation (also called “field study”) to investigate how actors create meanings for their identities and others’ identities during the observed actors’ everyday social communications. See the detailed bibliography Sandstrom, et al. 2010 (cited under Textbooks).

                                                                                                                              Qualitative Studies

                                                                                                                              How do individuals create meaning, and thus organization, during their social interactions? The following field studies—ones in which the researchers observed actors within their natural settings over a long period of time—demonstrate how classic symbolic interactionism is done. Whyte 1943 provides one of the most famous studies of a group of individuals and how they create their social world given the disadvantages they face. Fine 1987 shows how young boys internalize the meaning of what it is to be a man by playing an organized sport. Denzin 1987 is one of the first in-depth studies of alcoholism and shows how the self can become both divided and defensive. Snow and Anderson 1987 report a study of homeless actors and how they create meaning systems to deal with a stigmatized identity. Adler and Adler 1995 is a clever investigation of the authors’ own children’s advanced elementary school experiences to explore how stratification systems organized by social status are constructed by relatively young people. Duneier 1999 returns to a “street corner society” and, like Whyte 1943, embeds the study in a street corner—this time a market of magazine- and booksellers. Duneier 1999 shows how both the street vendors and the passersby construct social inequality. All of this research is by towering figures in the symbolic interactionist field.

                                                                                                                              • Adler, Patricia A., and Peter Adler. 1995. Dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in preadolescent cliques. Social Psychology Quarterly 58:145–162.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/2787039Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                The Adlers provide a systematic examination of how young people create an ordered social system through cliques and use certain kinds of interaction to maintain these rank-ordered small worlds. Leaders of cliques use followers in a cycle of acceptance and then near-ostracism to maintain their positions of social prestige and power. These techniques are not for children only, however.

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                                                                                                                                • Denzin, Norman K. 1987. The recovering alcoholic. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                  Denzin’s in-depth ethnography provides a revealing examination of the lived experiences or phenomenology of recovering alcoholics. He shows how recovering alcoholics negotiate the social worlds of rehabilitation programs, social stigma, and other obstacles to recovery. This is an excellent example of how symbolic interactionists’ research can not only offer important descriptions of social reality but also inform social policy.

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                                                                                                                                  • Duneier, Mitchell. 1999. Sidewalk. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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                                                                                                                                    In New York’s Greenwich Village, a group of men work as street vendors. Duneier shows how these men derive their identity from their work despite how far out of the mainstream their occupation may appear. Although Duneier does not claim to be a symbolic interactionist, this tome is an excellent example of how individuals “do” their social world.

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                                                                                                                                    • Fine, Gary A. 1987. With the boys: Little League baseball and preadolescent culture. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                      Inspired by George H. Mead’s work on socialization, Fine spent three years observing five Little League teams. He found how young boys learn how to work and play through participation in baseball but more importantly how these young boys internalized what it means to be a man within their societies by experiencing the social roles and structures of organized sports.

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                                                                                                                                      • Snow, David A., and Leon Anderson. 1987. Identity work among the homeless: The verbal construction and avowal of personal identity. American Journal of Sociology 92:1337–1371.

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                                                                                                                                        In an excellent ethnographic study of homeless street people, Snow and Anderson show how those who are stigmatized and situated at the bottom of a society’s stratification system use “identity talk” to negotiate their difficult social position. Depending on the length of time in their role, these actors distance, embrace, or create new texts for their experience.

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                                                                                                                                        • Whyte, William F. 1943. Street corner society: The social structure of an Italian slum. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                          One of the most famous field studies of a group of individuals and how they socially construct and maintain their orders of social prestige. For more than three years during the late 1930s, Whyte lived in a poor district of South Boston. He showed that poor communities were not socially disorganized; actors within this situation had elaborate meaning systems for social orders.

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                                                                                                                                          The Self

                                                                                                                                          Expanding on the notions in Mead 1934 (cited under the First Sociological Social Psychologists) and as stated in Gecas 1982, the self is the process of reflexivity or awareness that only humans have the ability to experience. Human beings can be both objects to themselves (“I see myself in this situation”) and subjects to themselves (“I bring myself to this situation”); humans have a conscious interplay between these two states of mind. James 1890 was the first philosopher to remark that humans have a self. Twentieth-century researchers added to this concept. Turner 1956 discusses “role taking” as the process by which we attribute aspects of the role to the person. Secord and Backman 1961 is among the first works to theorize about the self-process. Turner 1976 notes that the self-process has changed in postmodern Western society. Markus 1977 coins the term “self-schema,” which is a cognitive representation of the self that organizes information about it. An important part of the self-process, the assessment of reflected appraisals of others, is analyzed in Felson 1985, which shows that this self-process, as described in Cooley 1902 (cited under the First Sociological Social Psychologists), has its limits on the development of the self but nonetheless is meaningful in some social situations. Gecas 1982 reviews the self-concept in a noteworthy sweep of the research in this area.

                                                                                                                                          • Felson, Richard B. 1985. Reflected appraisal and the development of self. Social Psychology Quarterly 48:71–78.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/3033783Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Felson shows that the reflected appraisal of others—the perception of what we think others think of us—is limited in situations when there are institutionalized indicators of performance (e.g., academic settings) and when there are barriers to communication. However, reflected appraisals matter a lot in situations during which peoples’ opinions are important, such as evaluations of physical beauty.

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                                                                                                                                            • Gecas, Viktor. 1982. The self-concept. Annual Review of Sociology 8:1–33.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.08.080182.000245Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              The self is a reflexive process that comprises individuals’ subjective awareness and their notion of their selves as physical, social, and moral beings. In his sweep of the research agenda about the self-concept, Gecas explores the main components of its development—reflected appraisals and social comparisons—and the motivations that preserve our sense of self.

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                                                                                                                                              • James, William. 1890. The principles of psychology. New York: Holt.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1037/11059-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                James remarked that “a man’s self is the sum total of all that he can call his” (p. 291). The social aspect of the self comes from one’s “mates,” and if the individuals hold a negative image of the person in their minds, this would “wound” him or her. Thus the notion that our selves are constructed partly from interaction with others was born.

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                                                                                                                                                • Markus, Hazel R. 1977. Self-schemata and processing information about the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 35:63–78.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.35.2.63Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Markus coins the term “self-schemata” and defines them as “cognitive generalizations about the self, derived from past experience, that organize and guide the processing of the self-related information contained in an individual’s social experience” (p. 63). In two experiments Markus demonstrates the relevance of this construct when evaluating one’s performance and interpreting one’s behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Secord, Paul F., and Carl W. Backman. 1961. Personality theory and the problem of stability and change in individual behavior: An interpersonal approach. Psychological Review 68:21–32.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1037/h0045625Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Secord and Backman note that certain conditions need to be congruent to have behavioral constancy—an “aspect” of the self, the expected behavior from that aspect, and the perception of others’ aspects that are like the focal actor’s aspect. Without all three being harmonious, behavioral inconsistency occurs. Outside factors, such as a culture’s norm change, can disrupt this tripartite alignment.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Turner, Ralph H. 1956. Role taking, role standpoint, and reference-group behavior. American Journal of Sociology 61:316–328.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/221763Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Turner defines role taking, the process by which we anticipate another actor’s behavior based on the context of the role attributed to that actor. This process does not necessarily require empathy or adopting the standpoint of the other as one’s own. It may include, however, a reference group that acts as the generalized other, which provides norms for role enactment.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Turner, Ralph H. 1976. The real self: From institution to impulse. American Journal of Sociology 81:989–1016.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/226183Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Larger contexts matter for self-processes. Turner argues that there is a continuum on which humans recognize themselves: on the one side, we identify ourselves through institutions, such as the family. On the other side, we identify ourselves through impulsive actions, such as when we spontaneously open up to others. In the late 20th century Americans were more inclined toward the impulsive pole.

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                                                                                                                                                        Self-Esteem

                                                                                                                                                        The most studied aspect of the self and the most discussed by members of the media is the notion of “self-esteem.” Self-esteem is the evaluative and yet relatively stable part of the self-concept, which can be cognitive, belief driven, and/or affective in nature and which determines how one feels about oneself. In other words, self-esteem is that part of the self that captures whether or not one feels good or bad about oneself. The famous measure of self-esteem found in the appendix of Rosenberg 1965 was developed by the sociologist Morris Rosenberg. This measure is expanded in Rosenberg, et al. 1995 to note that there are different dimensions to self-esteem, be they concerning global well-being or situation-specific attitudes about ability. Owens 1994 also expands on Rosenberg 1965, suggesting that the negative and positive evaluations associated with the measure may have differential effects of social outcomes. Gecas and Schwalbe 1983 notes that individuals’ feelings about self-evaluation matter when it comes to the individual’s self-esteem. Cast and Burke 2002 puts it all together to come up with a comprehensive theory of self-esteem.

                                                                                                                                                        • Cast, Alicia D., and Peter J. Burke. 2002. A theory of self-esteem. Social Forces 80:1041–1068.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/sof.2002.0003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Measures of self-esteem have been used as factors affecting social outcomes and the result of social forces. Cast and Burke reconceptualize self-esteem as a capacitor: it is “filled up” with self-esteem when one feels one’s identity is being confirmed by others. When one feels the occasional disruption in self-verification, self-esteem gets “used” to buffer against negative evaluations.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Gecas, Viktor, and Michael Schwalbe. 1983. Beyond the looking-glass self: Social structure and efficacy-based self-esteem. Social Psychology Quarterly 46:77–88.

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                                                                                                                                                            Gecas and Schwalbe remind us that not only are reflected appraisals of significant others important for the development of one’s self-concept but also that one’s own agentic and effective behaviors are also important for the self-process. They note that self-efficacy, or an individual’s belief in his or her own competence in a situation, can have an effect on his or her level of self-esteem.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Owens, Timothy J. 1994. Two dimensions of self-esteem: Reciprocal effects of positive self-worth and self-deprecation on adolescent problems. American Sociological Review 59:391–407.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/2095940Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Owens demonstrates that when researchers use a global measure of self-esteem (such as the Rosenberg scale, which includes both positive and negative self-evaluations) to examine the relation between self-esteem and social outcomes, often no relation is found. However, by isolating the negative aspects of self-esteem, Owens found a reciprocal relation between depression and self-esteem in high school students.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Rosenberg, Morris. 1965. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                Rosenberg was the first to undertake a large-scale sample concerning the self-concept. Using survey methodology, he sampled more than five thousand high school students randomly selected from New York State high schools to examine the antecedents and consequents of self-esteem. His ten questions about self-esteem, which used Likert-type response categories, became the benchmark for measuring self-esteem—the famous Rosenberg scale of self-esteem.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Rosenberg, Morris, Carmi Schooler, Carrie Schoenbach, and Florence Rosenberg. 1995. Global self-esteem and specific self-esteem: Different concepts, different outcomes. American Sociological Review 60:141–156.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/2096350Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Rosenberg and others reconceptualize self-esteem as having both global and specific dimensions. Global self-esteem, the general evaluation of the self, has an impact on one’s psychological well-being. Specific self-esteem, one’s evaluation of a specific aspect of the self as related to an ability, is associated with outcomes within its particular domain (e.g., academic self-esteem is related to grades).

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                                                                                                                                                                  Identity Theories

                                                                                                                                                                  As Burke and Stets 2009 defines it, “an identity is the set of meanings that define who one is when one is an occupant of a particular role in society, a member of a particular group, or claims particular characteristics that identify him or her as a unique person” (p. 3). The processes associated with identities—how they are established, how they are maintained, and how they change—are the subjects of identity theories. McCall and Simmons 1978 was the first work to discuss the association between socially defined roles and individuals’ identity definitions and performances. The classic work Stryker 1980 posits an identity theory that takes into account this role-identity connection and other important insights from symbolic interactionism. In 1991 Peter J. Burke reconceptualized identity processes with identity-control theory. Burke and Jan E. Stets refer to the theory simply as “identity theory,” and Burke and Stets 2009 provides an exposition of the theory. Stryker and Burke 2000 foreshadowed the future of theorizing about identities. For important theoretical comparisons of these and other theories concerning identity processes, such as Affect Control Theory, Owens, et al. 2010 provides a very clear overview of all theories that use the concept of “identity” in a perfect survey of the concept.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Burke, Peter J., and Jan E. Stets. 2009. Identity theory. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388275.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Burke and Stets offer an exposition of identity control theory: the cybernetic theory of identity. Individuals interact with their environments and perceive feedback for their behavior, expressed attitudes, and emotions. If these perceptions compare unfavorably with individuals’ self-meanings, then distress is experienced, and individuals’ behavior changes to adapt to the differences between self-meaning and perceived feedback from others.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • McCall, George, and J. L. Simmons. 1978. Identities and interactions: An examination of human associations in everyday life. New York: Free Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                      McCall and Simmons coined the term “role identities,” which are derived from positions in the social structure that have associated expectations tied to them. Actors claim these positions and internalize the expectations for them but also bring their own uniqueness to claimed roles. To enact a role, one negotiates one’s interpretation of it with another individual who inhabits the counteridentity.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Owens, Timothy J., Dawn T. Robinson, and Lynn Smith-Lovin. 2010. Three faces of identity. Annual Review of Sociology 36:477–499.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134725Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        A more comprehensive review of the panoply of identity theories cannot be found. The authors survey classic portrayals of the self, role-identity theory, Sheldon Stryker’s identity theory, Peggy A. Thoits’s identity accumulation theory, Burke’s identity control theory, Alexander’s situated identity theory, affect control theory, social identity theory, and collective identity theories associated with social movements.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Stryker, Sheldon. 1980. Symbolic interactionism: A social structural version. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin Cummings.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Stryker introduces the notion of an identity salience hierarchy, a person’s rank order of how relevant each internalized role identity is. The higher the rank, the more likely the person is to enact the identity. Others’ allegiance to the identity also affects role-identity salience: how many others (extensive commitment) and how close those others are (intensive commitment) matter for role-identity enactment.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Stryker, Sheldon, and Peter J. Burke. 2000. The past, present, and future of identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly 63:284–297.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Stryker and Burke outline the future challenges for both of their versions of identity theory—most interestingly, how to integrate the two. They also discuss the needs to find better measures for identity meanings and salience, to include emotions within their models, and to understand better the bases for identities (such as group, institutional, or personal impetuses).

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                                                                                                                                                                            Affect Control Theory

                                                                                                                                                                            Based on observations from symbolic interactionism, one can state that every social object found during interactions, be it identity, event, setting, or action, has an affective meaning. An affective meaning is an assessment in terms of how good or bad it is (its evaluation, E), how powerful or powerless it is (its potency, P), or how lively or torpid it is (its activity, A). Cultures have enduring affective meanings or fundamental sentiments that allow actors to direct their understandings of the situation. When actors’ own affective meanings (transient sentiments) do not match those that are defined by the culture and that in general are expected by actors, then these individuals experience a deflection—a deviation from the expected. Within situations, actors attempt to lessen deflections or seek out situations in which deflections are minimized. Affective meanings, either fundamental or transient sentiments, can be quantified by EPA ratings. This allows researchers to compare affective meanings mathematically and precisely and thus to quantify the level of deflection. The originator of this theory is Heise 1979. Important reformulations and extensions are in MacKinnon 1994 and Smith-Lovin and Heise 1988, works by David R. Heise’s two star pupils. Heise 2007 reformulates the theory for both the serious researcher and the layperson. Robinson, et al. 1994 provides an interesting and important application of the theory in explaining why jurors’ fundamental sentiments about a criminal during his or her sentencing hearing must recognize a certain level of remorsefulness in the defendant or that criminal risks a heavier sentence.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Heise, David R. 1979. Understanding events: Affect and the construction of social action. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Heise discusses how most situations have culturally delineated, steady affective meanings associated with them. When actors encounter situations during which the expected affective meanings are disrupted, actors attempt to direct events to reestablish the culturally delineated and expected emotional states. Heise creates a mathematical formulation of this notion, which includes quantification of affective meanings along dimensions of evaluation, potency, and activity.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Heise, David R. 2007. Expressive order: Confirming sentiments in social actions. New York: Springer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                An exposition of affect control theory, this book is written in three parts. Part 1 is for the layperson with a “plain language” account of affect control theory (ACT); Part 2 provides the technical, mathematical models for ACT; and Part 3 is written for researchers who wish to adopt ACT for their own studies, including a primer on simulation software.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • MacKinnon, Neil J. 1994. Symbolic interactionism as affect control. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  MacKinnon provides the first propositional formulation of affect control theory that allows researchers to better understand the logic of the theory and its scope. He also gives an easy-to-understand explanation of the complicated mathematical models that are associated with the theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Robinson, Dawn T., Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Olga Tsoudis. 1994. Heinous crime or unfortunate accident? The effects of remorse on responses to mock criminal confessions. Social Forces 73:175–190.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Robinson, Smith-Lovin, and Tsoudis use affect control theory (ACT) to show that if criminal offenders do not express the “correct” or culturally expected amount of remorse for their actions, then they will be judged negatively and may be sentenced more harshly.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Smith-Lovin, Lynn, and David R. Heise. 1988. Analyzing social interaction: Advances in affect control theory. New York: Gordon and Breach.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Originally published as articles in the Journal of Mathematical Sociology, this compendium of advances in affect control theory includes how to model settings as mathematical components within the theory, how to include modifiers to change the definitions of the situation, and how to explore impressions from events.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                      Introduced by Harold Garfinkel, ethnomethodology is the study of the everyday methods people use to establish their social order or how individuals account for their social actions in everyday situations. These methods might be taken for granted by actors, so new techniques, such as the breaching experiment, were developed to tease out actors’ procedures in understanding their social reality. Garfinkel 1967 expounds on these ideas in this classic work on ethnomethodology. Inspired by ethnomethodology, Sacks, et al. 1974 develops conversation analysis, the study of talk in everyday life, both verbal and nonverbal forms. Pollner and McDonald-Wikler 1985 shows how analysis of conversation can actually have policy implications, as analysis of abnormal conversations can have clinical implications. Maynard 1985 argues that even conflict during conversations establishes social order. An analysis of conversations between men and women led to a huge breakthrough in gender studies and social psychology. West and Zimmerman 1987 presents the “doing gender” perspective: a way of analyzing gendered social interaction that is heavily influenced by principles of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Garfinkel’s classic work collects many of his early papers on ethnomethodology, the study of the ways ordinary people socially construct their world through everyday actions and utterances.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Maynard, Douglas W. 1985. On the functions of social conflict among children. American Sociological Review 50:207–223.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          By analyzing the videotaped conversations of first graders in their reading groups, Maynard shows how even young children during seemingly chaotic conflict create social order by negotiating alignments with others and creating and re-creating social arrangements.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pollner, Melvin, and Lynn McDonald-Wikler. 1985. The social construction of unreality: A case study of a family’s attribution of competence to a severely retarded child. Family Process 24:241–254.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1985.00241.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a unique study of a family’s conversations with their severely mentally challenged daughter. These conversations reveal how the family reinterprets the behavior of the daughter as superintelligent and purposively motivated. If there ever was a study that demonstrates how accounts can be socially constructed to reinforce deeply subjective perspectives, this is the one.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sacks, Harvey, Emanuel A. Schegloff, and Gail Jefferson. 1974. A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language 50:696–735.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson review the research on language to demonstrate that turn taking is one way that individuals order their social interactions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. Doing gender. Gender and Society 1:125–151.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0891243287001002002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                The conversation analysts West and Zimmerman extend their insights about conversations between men and women to feminist thought. They propose that individuals can “do gender” or socially perform and achieve what they believe is the appropriate gender display despite their sex category or biological sex, although other actors more often impose congruence between sex category and gender display.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Deviance, Stigma, and Labeling Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                To study deviance from the symbolic interactionist perspective is to study how individuals come together and create the formal rules (laws) and informal rules (norms) for social behavior to determine which behaviors are abnormal, nonstandard, and generally unacceptable to the members of the group or society. Therefore deviance is any feeling, cognition, or behavior that departs from what significant others (the people whose opinions matter) deem is acceptable. Those individuals who appear to deviate are often identified as different from others and then marked as problematic and marginalized as “not of the group”—in other words, stigmatized. The process of how others define deviance and then classify individuals as deviant is examined in depth in Becker 1963, which outlines labeling theory, the conception of how those who accept social norms negatively characterize those whose ideas or behaviors do not follow those norms. Scheff 1984 expands labeling theory to include mental health diagnoses. Horwitz 1982 continues with this expansion, and Link, et al. 1989 further refines labeling theory. Goffman 1963 explores the related process of stigmatization and its consequences. Link and Phelan 2001 provides a survey of research and theorizing about stigma. In a classic study of the upper echelons of drug dealers, Adler and Adler 1983 shows that those who adopt a deviant lifestyle very often want to leave the lifestyle. Matsueda 1992 draws on principles from the symbolic interactionist perspective in an attempt to predict delinquent behavior. All of these works examine not just why some break formal laws but also how members of society socially construct deviance with both formal and informal rules and then how they live within these structures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Adler, Patricia A., and Peter Adler. 1983. Shifts and oscillations in deviant careers: The case of upper-level drug dealers and smugglers. Social Problems 31:195–207.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first researchers to penetrate the leadership strata (both dealers and smugglers) within the drug-trafficking world, the Adlers demonstrate how persons become socialized into deviant roles through mentorships and experiences. Ultimately, most of these individuals leave these roles, and the process of “deinternalization” of these roles is described, especially the oscillations and transitions of the self.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Becker, Howard S. 1963. Outsiders: Studies in the sociology of deviance. New York: Free Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    In his classic work on the social construction of deviance, Becker demonstrates how social groups create deviance by creating rules by which rule breakers will be marked as deviant and treated accordingly. This is the first exposition of what came to be called “labeling theory,” the process by which others’ negative evaluations of a person as a deviant become internalized by that person and affect future behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Goffman, Erving. 1963. Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      In his classic exploration, Goffman defines stigma as a personal attribute, behavior, or social reputation that invokes harsh disapproval and results in severe avoidance from others. Three main groups of people experience stigma: individuals diagnosed or labeled as mentally ill, individuals with physical deformities, and persons from socially undesirable races/ethnicities or religions or those who hold other unaccepted belief systems.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Horwitz, Allan V. 1982. The social control of mental illness. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Horwitz redefines social control as the entire range of reactions to behavior that is labeled as mental illness; potentially any behavior that is incomprehensible to others could be called “mental illness.” Social distance between labeler and labeled is the main predictor for incomprehensible behavior being labeled “mental illness.” He posits that we have therapeutic solutions to incomprehensible behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Link, Bruce G., Francis T. Cullen, Elmer Struening, Patrick E. Shrout, and Bruce P. Dohrenwend. 1989. A modified labeling theory approach to mental disorders: An empirical assessment. American Sociological Review 54:400–423.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Through socialization, individuals learn that those who are labeled and treated for mental illness are regarded negatively by others. When one is diagnosed with a mental illness, one may not tell or may withdraw from others in fear of the devaluation and discrimination based on their socialized beliefs. Reactions to potential interactional problems have consequences for work, social networks, and self-esteem.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Link, Bruce G., and Jo C. Phelan. 2001. Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology 27:363–385.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.27.1.363Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Building on the social psychological studies since Erving Goffman’s work, Link and Phelan reconceptualize stigma as the co-occurrence of its components—labeling, stereotyping, separation, status loss, and discrimination. They also argue that for stigmatization to take place, there must be a difference in power between the stigmatizer and the stigmatized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Matsueda, Ross L. 1992. Reflected appraisals, parental labeling, and delinquent behavior: Specifying a symbolic interactionist theory. American Journal of Sociology 97:1577–1611.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/229940Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Using the notions of reflected appraisals for the development of the self and the community’s response to their initial acts of deviance, Matsueda shows how the symbolic interactionist perspective has much to offer in explaining why some youths behave as deviants through delinquent behavior and some youths do not perform “delinquent” behavior.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Scheff, Thomas J. 1984. Being mentally ill: A sociological theory. Piscataway, NJ: Aldine.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Linking labeling theory to diagnoses of mental illness, Scheff argues that those who violate social norms are sometimes labeled as having symptoms of mental illness and may eventually be diagnosed as mentally ill. Social norms need not be explicit for this process to occur.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Social Structure and Personality

                                                                                                                                                                                                                One of the main “faces” or categories of sociological social psychology, researchers from the social structure and personality (SSP) perspective explore how different levels of social structure have impacts on individuals and then how individuals shape these levels of social reality. For SSP researchers, social structure can be observed as enduring patterns of behavior and interactions among actors. Social structure can be thought of as having layers of bases from which individuals could be affected. Accordingly, larger social structures and their impacts on the individual can be explored using three principles: the components, proximity, and psychology principles. The components principle states that social structure in the form of statuses, roles, networks, and institutions, which are delineated by cultural definitions and beliefs, has effects on a person. The proximity principle notes that social structure communicated through interpersonal relations among significant others (family, work colleagues, friends, etc.) has effects on a person. The person then selectively internalizes the experiences of social structure with his or her own psychological processes through components and proximal interactions. Using this basic model of social life, SSP researchers have tackled the impact of social disparities on social stress, mental illness, work habits, and many other patterned social outcomes. While traditionally SSP researchers have used survey methodology for their work, more recent studies have incorporated other types of methodologies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Classic Studies and Theories

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The works cited in this section are considered classic theories and studies that form a foundation of knowledge from the social structure and personality perspective. Goode 1960 and Turner 1978 explore how components of the social structure, which infuse role meanings, affect individuals’ stable attributes (their “personalities”). In so doing, these works reconceptualize the relation between social structure and the individual differently from the way symbolic interactionists do. Kohn 1969 and Elder 1999 provide the quintessential studies from the SSP perspective. Kohn 1969 shows how the re-creation of social class is not just about the work one has but the values one internalizes from one’s job. Elder 1999 shows how larger social events have differential effects on personal processes given how they are experienced: not everyone reacts to historical events in the same way. Sewell, et al. 2004 introduces the father/mother of all longitudinal surveys, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (cited under Data Sources), which began in 1957 and continues in the early 21st century, showing how educational aspirations and expectations are passed from generation to generation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Elder, Glen H., Jr. 1999. Children of the Great Depression. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the first longitudinal study (originally published in 1974) of a group of individuals who experienced the Great Depression, Elder followed 167 Californians born in the years 1920 to 1921 until they were in their thirties and forties. Elder found that those who experienced deprivation during the Depression did change their personalities: they valued job security and family stability more than their less deprived peers did.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Goode, William J. 1960. A theory of role strain. American Sociological Review 25:483–496.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Goode asserts that one can think of social structure as made up of social roles and the relationships among them. If individuals cannot fulfill the expectations associated with the role they inhabit, then they experience role strain. Since “perfect” role performance is nearly impossible, all actors experience role strain and must negotiate these shortcomings to maintain social structure.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kohn, Melvin L. 1969. Class and conformity: A study in values. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kohn shows how social class affects one’s values through one’s occupation. With three studies, Kohn demonstrates that the autonomy from supervision and/or the complexity and variety of tasks associated with one’s job promotes individuals’ self-direction or conformity; those from higher social classes are more self-directed and less conformist. Parents then pass these values to children, thus reproducing social class differences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sewell, William H., Robert M. Hauser, Kristen W. Springer, and Taissa S. Houser. 2004. As we age: A review of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, 1957–2001. In Research in stratification and mobility. Vol. 20. Edited by Kevin T. Leicht, 3–111. London: JAI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Starting with a random sample of 10,317 Wisconsin high school students who graduated in 1957 and following up with samples of parents, spouses, and siblings, these researchers created the Wisconsin Model of Status Attainment. This causal model, which is supported by their data, shows how social background affects occupational attainment; this relation is mediated by one’s occupational and educational aspirations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Turner, Ralph H. 1978. The role and the person. American Journal of Sociology 84:1–23.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/226738Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Turner discusses the process of the individual that involves role socialization or the role-person merger. The more one identifies with a role, the more likely one’s personality will fuse with role expectations. Thus roles become less compartmentalized and enacted by the situation and more about the stable character of the individual.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Socialization and the Life Course

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Socialization, the process of learning the norms, customs, and other social knowledge so that an individual may participate well in his or her society, occurs during childhood and throughout life. One main way individuals acquire social knowledge is through interactions with parents, teachers, peers, and other “agents of socialization,” those persons or groups who are influential in instilling social expertise. While many works (e.g., Corsaro 2010) focus on childhood as an important period in actors’ lives for socialization, others recognize that socialization happens throughout one’s life (e.g., Mortimer and Simmons 1978). Persons continuously change from the beginning to the end of life; they transition through roles, such as student, professional, and retiree, and are affected by the events of their smaller groups and larger society. To understand these remarkable changes, Elder 1994 offers a treatise on the life course perspective. Examples of studies from the life course perspective include Lewis, et al. 1999 on how one aspect of the self (notions of personal control or mastery) changes as one ages; Milkie et al. 2008 on linked lives and adult socialization; and Mirowsky and Ross 2007 on how the education of different birth cohorts has differential effects on members’ sense of mastery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Corsaro, William A. 2010. The sociology of childhood. 3d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A major reference from the sociological perspective on childhood. Corsaro explores how larger social structures, such as social class, and proximal processes, such as peer interaction and peer culture, and parent relations affect children. He notes that family structures have changed dramatically over time, as has what defines childhood; all contribute to the development of children’s self-understanding.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Elder, Glen H., Jr. 1994. Time, human agency, and social change: Perspectives on the life course. Social Psychology Quarterly 57.1: 4–15.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the article that delineates the life course perspective, Elder notes that this perspective has four major themes: how historical and social context affect development, how the timing of events over one’s life matters for development, how dynamic relationships with others are linked and affect development, and how an individual’s agency in negotiating the contexts of his or her life also shapes development.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lewis, Susan K., Catherine E. Ross, and John Mirowsky. 1999. Establishing a sense of personal control in the transition to adulthood. Social Forces 77:1573–1599.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                These authors define personal control as the learned expectation that life’s outcomes are contingent on one’s own choices and actions. With a large, nationally representative sample, they show that as Americans age from fourteen to twenty-two and then later in life they gain an increasing sense of personal control about their orientation to their social world.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Milkie, Melissa A., Alex Bierman, and Scott Schieman. 2008. How adult children influence older parents’ mental health: Integrating stress-process and life-course perspectives. Social Psychology Quarterly 71:86–105.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/019027250807100109Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In an examination of six hundred older persons during a four-year period, Milkie and her colleagues show that negative relationships between parents and their adult children have negative consequences for the parents’ mental health, especially in the form of depression. This association is stronger for mothers than for fathers and for African American than for European American parents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mirowsky, John, and Catherine E. Ross. 2007. Life course trajectories of perceived control and their relationship to education. American Journal of Sociology 112:1339–1382.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1086/511800Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mirowsky and Ross show that later birth cohorts have a higher sense of perceived control or mastery than do earlier birth cohorts in general. Also the more educated the individual, the more he or she has a sense of perceived control or the notion that one’s choices and actions matter for life’s outcomes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Mortimer, Jeylan T., and Roberta G. Simmons. 1978. Adult socialization. Annual Review of Sociology 4:421–454.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.04.080178.002225Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mortimer and Simmons remind us that socialization, acquiring the knowledge to participate in social life, does not end when formal education ends. Individuals change roles throughout the life span and can expect to internalize role expectations throughout the aging process. The organizations and agents of socialization will most certainly change over the life course, and so will what is learned and internalized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Stress Process

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The term “stress process” refers to the theoretical model of how social structural conditions cause differential levels of stress and how in turn these different levels explain differences in social outcomes. For example, chronic negative experiences can produce negative stress or distress, which can then result in those with higher levels of distress experiencing depression more than those with lower levels of distress. Pearlin, et al. 1981 fully explicates the stress model. To cope with distress, social actors can turn to social support (see Turner and Marino 1994) and/or social resources (see Turner and Roszell 1994), but ultimately even these are unequally distributed based on social structure. Highlighting the effect of race/ethnicity and social class on distress, Kessler and Neighbors 1986 reminds social structure and personality (SSP) researchers that components of social structure often interact to create intersections of effects.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kessler, Ronald C., and Harold W. Neighbors. 1986. A new perspective on the relationships among race, social class, and psychological distress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 27:107–115.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Kessler and Neighbors show that race/ethnicity and social class both have main effects on distress and also interact with each other such that race effects are most prominent among those with lower socioeconomic statuses. This is important for SSP researchers, because it shows how components intermingle to create effects on distress.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pearlin, Leonard I., Elizabeth G. Menaghan, Morton A. Lieberman, and Joseph T. Mullan. 1981. The stress process. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 22:337–356.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/2136676Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In their full exposition of the stress process, Pearlin (the founder of the theory) and his colleagues discuss its important facets. Negative life events and chronic strains, which are distributed unequally among social groups, are theoretically causally linked to distress. Social resources and personal resources both mediate and moderate the linkage between events and strains and distress.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Turner, R. Jay, and Franco Marino. 1994. Social support and social structure: A descriptive epidemiology. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 35:193–212.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/2137276Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Turner and Marino demonstrate that social support is distributed by social class, marital status, age, and gender. Interestingly, the distribution of social support correlates with social advantage (high versus low social class, married versus not, and middle-aged versus older); those with advantage have less distress. The exception is gender: women have more social support than men but more distress.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Turner, R. Jay, and Patricia Roszell. 1994. Psychosocial resources and the stress process. In Stress and mental health: Contemporary issues and prospects for the future. Edited by William R. Avison and Ian H. Gottlib, 179–210. New York: Plenum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Turner and Roszell discuss how individuals have different capacities to cope with distress. Those who believe that they have much personal control over what happens to them or mastery deal with distress better than those with lower levels of mastery. Also individuals with more social support can cope with distress better than those with lower levels of social support.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Social Distribution and Epidemiology of Mental Health and Well-Being

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Social structure and personality researchers of mental health are interested in how those with different social statuses, roles, and positions may have different types and levels of mental health problems or psychological well-being. This is demonstrated in the classic study Faris and Dunham 1960. Social statuses, such as race/ethnicity, class, and gender, could affect levels of distress, which in turn could affect levels of depression and anxiety. Sociologists should examine the full range of mental health outcomes when examining the effects of social structure on mental health, as discussed in Aneshensel 2005. Social psychological processes, such as identity, discussed in Thoits 1983, and perceived prejudice, discussed in Kessler, et al. 1999, are also differentially experienced and therefore affect mental health outcomes and well-being differentially. Aneshensel and Sucoff 1996 notes that social contexts, such as neighborhoods, matter for mental health outcomes. Loring and Powell 1988 notes that the race/ethnicity of doctors and patients are factors explaining mental health outcomes. Whether or not one inhabits important social roles also affects mental health outcomes, as seen in Simon 2002.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Aneshensel, Carol S. 2005. Research in mental health: Social etiology versus social consequences. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 46:221–228.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/002214650504600301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Aneshensel distinguishes between models that examine the antecedents of one type of mental disorder (etiological models) and sociological studies that examine differences in social arrangements for overall mental health (social consequences models). Social arrangements are underspecified in disorder-specific models, and therefore sociologists should examine the full range of mental health outcomes simultaneously.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Aneshensel, Carol S., and Clea A. Sucoff. 1996. The neighborhood context of adolescent mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 37:293–310.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aneshensel and Sucoff demonstrate how neighborhoods with socioeconomic stratification and racial/ethnic segregation affect the mental well-being of adolescents. Adolescents from lower-class neighborhoods sense higher ambient hazards, such as crime and drug use; these perceptions of hazard in turn affect the mental health of the adolescents, so that those in dangerous neighborhoods report more depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Faris, Robert E., and H. Warren Dunham. 1960. Mental disorders in urban areas: An ecological study of schizophrenia and other psychoses. New York: Hafner.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This study (first published in 1939) was one of the first that showed the relation between a facet of social structure, in this case social class, and mental illness outcomes. By finding more than thirty thousand people who received psychiatric treatment from mental hospitals in the greater city area, Faris and Dunham demonstrated that schizophrenic patients tended to live in the poorer parts of Chicago.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kessler, Ronald C., Kristin D. Mickelson, and David R. Williams. 1999. The prevalence, distribution, and mental health correlates of perceived discrimination in the United States. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 40:208–230.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2676349Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Using a nationally representative sample, these researchers demonstrate a negative association among social status, perceived discrimination—be it on a day-to-day basis (less courtesy or being treated as less competent) or for a major life event (not getting a job or appropriate health care)—and mental health outcomes (major depression, anxiety, and psychological distress).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Loring, Marti, and Brian Powell. 1988. Gender, race, and DSM-III: A study of the objectivity of psychiatric diagnostic behavior. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 29:1–22.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/2137177Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Loring and Powell present vignette cases about mentally ill patients to 290 psychiatrists of different genders and races/ethnicities. They use a multifactor vignette study that varies the race/ethnicity and gender of the patient between cases. These researchers find that the race/ethnicity and gender of both the psychiatrist and the patient matter for psychiatric diagnosis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Simon, Robin. 2002. Revisiting the relationships among gender, marital status, and mental health. American Journal of Sociology 107:1065–1096.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/339225Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Simon revisits the notion, proposed by Walter R. Gove, that marriage is emotionally beneficial to men but not to women. She finds that the emotional benefits from marriage are now shared equally by men and women, women and men both benefit equally from marriage in staving off depression, and men benefit more from marriage’s buffering effects against alcohol abuse than do women.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Thoits, Peggy A. 1983. Multiple identities and psychological well-being: A reformulation and test of the social isolation hypothesis. American Sociological Review 48:174–187.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here social isolation means that one possesses few social role identities, as they require others to enact. The more social role identities one holds, the less psychological distress one should feel. Also if one is integrated into the social structure by having multiple roles, then one benefits more from “identity gain” and suffers more from “identity loss” than those already isolated.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Structural Social Psychology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Another of the three “faces” of sociological social psychology, structural social psychologists (or group processes researchers), are typically the experimentalists of the sociology world. Their view of group encounters is similar to that of the symbolic interactionists: social behavior is contingent on individuals’ interpretation of others’ perceptions and others’ actions. However, rather than examining interactions in a holistic setting, structural social psychologists investigate singular social psychological processes with the aim of testing parsimonious theory, which would explicate the process. To do so, these researchers take what is called a “minimal actor” approach in which persons are considered as being composed of just that one focal process under study. Once much is understood about the singular process, structural social psychologists might explore the intersections of two or more social psychological processes to integrate the associated theories and gain a more complex understanding of interaction. For structural social psychologists, groups are embedded within social networks that carry information among groups, such as cultural beliefs about roles, statues, norms, and so on. To create and test theory, structural social psychologists most often use experimental methods, which are ideal for isolating social psychological processes. However, new studies are including many different kinds of research methodology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Expectation States Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stemming from the Stanford tradition of group processes research founded by Sanford M. Dornbusch, Joseph Berger, Bernard P. Cohen, and Morris M. Zelditch Jr., this research program consists of several theories that have as their foundation the concept of an expectation state—an out-of-awareness anticipation of the group-specific task capacities of another group member as compared to one’s own. Expectation states can have performance connotations, justice and reward associations, and other implications for singular processes. Expectation states are the theoretical concepts that actors draw upon to organize collectively oriented task-group interaction. Theories about how expectation states become connected to beliefs about social status, reward allocations, evaluations, and other elements of interaction are all part of this extremely fruitful research tradition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Status Characteristics Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This theory describes status generalization, the process by which status characteristics (the widely recognized social attributes that connote perceived social advantage or disadvantage) become associated with performance expectations and how these expectations translate into unequal distribution of behaviors, especially those involving influence, within task-oriented and goal-oriented groups. Berger, et al. 1972 provides the first widely known exposition of the theory. Berger, et al. 1977 puts forth the graph-theoretical elaboration of the theory, a major innovation that allows researchers to make predictions for the rank order of group members by social prestige based on several status characteristics. Since status generalization disadvantages actors based on perceptions, Cohen 1982 uses the theory to craft interventions to prevent the process from occurring. Status characteristics theory is the most cited of the theories derived from the expectation states tradition, and these three works are among many. For sociologists who examine social inequality, this theory demonstrates how widely shared beliefs about social groups become attached to individuals’ attributes and then these beliefs are enacted within small groups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Berger, Joseph, Bernard P. Cohen, and Morris M. Zelditch Jr. 1972. Status characteristics and social interaction. American Sociological Review 37:241–255.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/2093465Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This paper explores the literature on status-organizing processes and how status characteristics, such as age, gender, and race/ethnicity, determine the distribution of participation, influence, and prestige among group members. These researchers run experiments to test these assumptions directly and find empirical confirmation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Berger, Joseph, M. Hamit Fişek, Robert Z. Norman, and Morris M. Zelditch Jr. 1977. Status characteristics and social interaction: An expectation states approach. New York: Elsevier.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Considered the “bible” of status characteristics theory, this book puts forth the graph-theoretical version of the theory, which presents a mathematical model/heuristic for how perceptions of status characteristics amalgamate to form performance expectations. Using the model, values for performance expectation profiles for each group member can be calculated, and thus predictions for the status order of groups can be hypothesized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cohen, Elizabeth G. 1982. Expectation states and interracial interaction in school settings. Annual Review of Sociology 8:209–235.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.08.080182.001233Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Using ideas encompassed by the mathematical model for the combining of status characteristics, Cohen presents two interventions that can stop the process of status generalization, which is detrimental to those with social disadvantages: multiple abilities and assigning high status. She applies these interventions to interracial school settings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Extensions and Integrations of Theories from the Expectation State Tradition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Status characteristics theory is the best known of theories derived from the expectation states theoretical framework, but there are certainly more theories that describe group behavior. Extensions of status characteristics theory describe different dimensions of how status hierarchies emerge within task groups. Berger, et al. 1998 formulates reward expectations theory, which describes how performance expectations and expectations for group rewards follow similar patterns based on social status. Those with high status are expected to receive more of the group rewards than those with lower status. Berger, et al. 2002 discusses how referential structures, those widely shared beliefs that link social characteristics to expected levels of reward, inform the reward expectation process. Theoretical integrations, those theories that are the result of synthesizing two or more theories, are also important branches of the expectation state tradition. Webster and Sobieszek 1974 presents source theory, which describes how perceptions of social status affect whether or not actors accept another person as an evaluator. Fişek, et al. 1991 imparts behavior-status theory, which describes how status hierarchies may emerge in status-homogeneous groups. Webster and Whitmeyer 1999 puts forth a later version of the theory of second-order expectations, which describes how expectations that another actor holds for some third actor affect the expectations an actor has for himself or herself. Fişek, et al. 2005 presents the theory of status cues, which discusses how constellations of visual and other cues during interaction can amalgamate into an element with status value. Foschi 2000 shows how status hierarchies can also be related to judgments of performance standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Berger, Joseph, M. Hamit Fişek, Robert Z. Norman, and David G. Wagner. 1998. Formation of reward expectations in status situations. In Status, power, and legitimacy: Strategies and theories. Edited by Joseph Berger and Morris M. Zelditch Jr., 121–153. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Basing their work on theories of distributive justice, these researchers extend status characteristics theory to include reward expectations or anticipations of how group rewards will be dispersed. The amount of reward given to each group member is connected to the status order: group members with high status expect more of the group reward on task completion than do actors with low status.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Berger, Joseph, Cecilia L. Ridgeway, and Morris M. Zelditch Jr. 2002. Construction of status and referential structures. Sociological Theory 20.2: 157–179.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/1467-9558.00157Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The relation of social rewards to status characteristics is called a referential structure. These structures are responsible for imbuing nominal social attributes with status value—properties that create status advantage and disadvantage for the actors who possess them. These researchers account for the social situations during which referential structures emerge, producing status characteristics that confer hierarchy and role differentiation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Fişek, M. Hamit, Joseph Berger, and Robert Z. Norman. 1991. Participation in heterogeneous and homogeneous groups: A theoretical integration. American Journal of Sociology 97:114–142.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/229742Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Behavior-status theory describes how status orders form in status-homogeneous groups. Using a new concept, the behavior interchange pattern, these researchers describe how sequences of behaviors related to task completion emerge. If group members are equal in performance expectations based on status characteristics, these patterns help form status beliefs and typifications internal to the group, which result in status disparities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fişek, M. Hamit, Joseph Berger, and Robert Z. Norman. 2005. Status cues and the formation of expectations. Social Science Research 34:84–102.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Elements of interaction traditionally identified as status characteristics may not be the only markers of social prestige; constellations of socially identified personal features, such as skin tone or accent, could also have status value and could contribute to status generalization. This theory describes typologies for these trait constellations and describes how they might combine with status characteristics to form performance expectations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Foschi, Martha. 2000. Double standards for competence: Theory and research. Annual Review of Sociology 26:21–42.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.21Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A standard helps actors judge whether a performance is poor, satisfactory, or great; standards can be strict or lenient. Foschi shows how the standards for performance are different for high- versus low-status individuals such that double standards exist; high-status actors are afforded more lenient performance standards than low-status actors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Webster, Murray, Jr., and Barbara Sobieszek. 1974. Sources of self-evaluation: A formal theory of significant others and social influence. New York: Wiley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Webster and Sobieszek put forth a formal theory for how some actors can become legitimate sources for self-evaluation. For example, an evaluator who is considered higher status than the one being evaluated will become a source. If a dyadic group is being evaluated by a source, the behavior of these two actors will correspond to the source’s evaluation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Webster, Murray, Jr., and Joseph M. Whitmeyer. 1999. A theory of second-order expectations and behavior. Social Psychology Quarterly 62:17–31.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/2695823Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Others’ expectations for one’s performance can also affect one’s own behavior. These researchers integrate the notion that what one thinks others expect of one, or what they call “second-order expectations,” along with what one expects of oneself, “first-order expectations,” into status characteristics theory. First- and second-order expectations will affect behavior that indicates the rank order of status hierarchies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Status Construction Theory

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In a new branch of expectation states theory, Ridgeway 1991 asks: How are status characteristics constructed? Ridgeway 1991 answers with status construction theory. Ridgeway, et al. 1998 tests this theory in a series of experiments and finds much support for it. Berger and Fişek 2006 elaborates on the original theory in Ridgeway 1991 by adding eight theorems. Together these theories show how small groups are culture generators and can create beliefs with wide-ranging implications.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Berger, Joseph, and M. Hamit Fişek. 2006. Diffuse status characteristics and the spread of status value: A formal theory. American Journal of Sociology 111:1038–1079.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/498633Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Berger and Fişek provide a variant on Cecilia L. Ridgeway’s original theory by elaborating eight different social conditions during which a nonvalued, socially recognized attribute could potentially become a status characteristic imbued with social advantage and disadvantage. They also introduce the graph theory to this process.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ridgeway, Cecilia L. 1991. The social construction of status value: Gender and other nominal characteristics. Social Forces 70:367–386.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A nominal attribute can become imbued with status value. Actors possess one state of the nominal characteristic, Na or Nb, and either have resources or do not. During doubly dissimilar interactions, when actors are Nas and rich and others are Nbs and poor, status beliefs emerge, as the hierarchical distinction based on resources is transferred to the nominal difference.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Ridgeway, Cecilia L., Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Kathy J. Kuipers, and Dawn T. Robinson. 1998. How do status beliefs develop? The role of resources and interactional experience. American Sociological Review 63:331–350.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2657553Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ridgeway and her colleagues revamp an experimental protocol first introduced by Henry Tajfel to demonstrate how status construction works. Subjects are assigned a social distinction, S2 or Q2, based on their assessments of art. They then “accidentally” find out that participants are being paid differentially. As expected, during doubly dissimilar dyadic interactions (rich S2s and poor Q2s), status beliefs emerge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Social Exchange and Theories of Power

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      People need others to obtain what they need in life, and so people exchange with each other: they exchange ideas, goods, and more. What exchange theorists from the structural social psychology perspective note is that many exchanges are not just one-time economic ones during which money is exchanged for goods. Rather, many exchanges are ongoing and involve social relationships. Exchange theorists in general recognize that actors are motivated to exchange with one another to maximize benefits and minimize costs, although not necessarily with a conscious strategy. With social exchange comes the ability to reward or punish others or the ability to include others in and exclude others from exchanges. Therefore these kinds of relations often involve power, the ability to get others to do what one wants them to do despite their resistance. If during an exchange an actor can coerce another by threatening to withhold rewards or suggest punishment, then that actor is exercising power. Understanding which actor has more power than others and how she or he might use that power is thus an important part of the study of social exchange. Also once power has been used during exchanges, what are other social outcomes, such as positive sentiments or trust? All of these questions are important to the sociologists who identify as “exchange theorists.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Theories Concerning Structural Power

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which actor has more power than others? What is the result of unequal power among actors? These theories answer these questions using parsimonious principles and experimental tests of them. Emerson 1962 puts forth the most cited of the exchange theories, power dependence theory. Cook and Emerson 1978 pits social power against equity norms to show that power can be constrained within social networks. Cook and Gilmore 1984 extends power dependence theory to show how actors within unequal power distributions have a tendency to act toward balancing power. Another important theory concerning structural power is network exchange theory. Willer 1999 is a comprehensive book for those interested in this theory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cook, Karen S., and Richard M. Emerson. 1978. Power, equity, and commitment in exchange networks. American Sociological Review 43:721–739.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This experiment explores both social power, a capacity to exploit, and equity, a normative restraint to power usage. Power is an attribute gleaned from a position within a social network, which can be constrained by equity or justice concerns and interpersonal commitments. Interestingly, net of power, women form stronger commitments to their exchange partners than do men.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cook, Karen S., and Mary R. Gilmore. 1984. Power, dependence, and coalitions. In Advances in group processes. Vol. 1. Edited by Edward J. Lawler, 27–58. Greenwich, CT: JAI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Based on power dependence theory, these researchers show that power imbalances can be an impetus for the less powerful to form coalitions that would balance power between the powerful and the less powerful. These coalitions must be composed of all the lower-power actors, however, as the powerful can exploit differences as low-power actors compete for exchanges with the powerful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Emerson, Richard M. 1962. Power-dependence relations. American Sociological Review 27:31–40.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/2089716Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the third most cited article from this flagship journal and probably the most influential MA thesis in social psychology, Emerson describes power dependence theory, which predicts which actors will have more structural power than others. The power actor A has over actor B is equal to the inverse of the dependence B has on A.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Willer, David, ed. 1999. Network exchange theory. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This compendium of reprinted articles and original works presents network exchange theory, another approach to understanding structural power based on Willer’s elementary theory. Chapters by prominent exchange theorists (including Barry Markovsky, John Skvoretz, and Michael Lovaglia) show how power differences can be predicted, how power structures can break down into substructures, and the difference between weak and strong power.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Power Usage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just because one has a power advantage over another does not mean that one will use it. Blau 1964 shows the positive side of power usage—how rewards and praise are exchanged. Bienenstock and Bonacich 1992 demonstrates that concepts from game theory can help explain power usage. Molm 1997 explores the darker side of power usage—how punishment and coercion are also a part of social exchanges. Molm 2003 reminds that the circumstances surrounding exchanges, be they negotiated or emergent (reciprocal), will affect how power is used.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Bienenstock, Elisa Jayne, and Phillip Bonacich. 1992. The core as a solution to exclusionary networks. Social Networks 14:231–243.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/0378-8733(92)90003-PSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Using a concept from game theory, the core, these researchers demonstrate how this notion can be used to predict who will exchange with whom and what the terms of the exchange will be within a social network. This concept can also be used to predict situations during which exchange agreements will be particularly difficult to obtain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Blau, Peter M. 1964. Exchange and power in social life. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Focusing on exchanges involving positive rewards, Blau discusses how giving to others often results in social obligations that demand reciprocity. If someone receives something important from a “higher-up,” then frequently the recipient will feel obligated to praise the giver and/or defer to him or her. Blau uses examples from qualitative studies of social exchanges between managers and their employees.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Molm, Linda D. 1997. Coercive power in social exchange. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511570919Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Up to this point very few exchange theorists had considered “punishment power” or coercion in social exchanges. In a series of experiments, Molm shows how coercive power can be integrated into theories of social exchange and also how punishment power differs from reward power in both the incentives for its use and the risks of using it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Molm, Linda D. 2003. Theoretical comparisons of forms of exchange. Sociological Theory 21:1–17.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/1467-9558.00171Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Based on her many studies, Molm discusses how negotiated and reciprocal exchanges differ and how this distinction affects how power is used, the motivations for exchange, and whether or not actors feel the atmosphere around the exchange is cooperative or competitive. With myriad forms of exchange, researchers need to formulate as many theories to explain these different exchange situations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Power Outcomes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Once exchanges have occurred, how are they related to other social outcomes? The experiment reported in Kollock 1994 varies levels of uncertainty prior to allowing subjects to exchange and finds that this difference creates differences in levels of commitment and trust. Using results from a twenty-year research program, Lawler, et al. 2009 demonstrates how social cohesion emerges from exchanges; the research is driven by their theory, the affect theory of social exchange. Cook, et al. 2005 runs a rare cross-cultural experiment to examine how trust emerges from exchange relationships. All represent the vibrant research that explores the results of ongoing exchange relationships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cook, Karen S., Toshio Yamagishi, Coye Cheshire, Robin Cooper, Masafumi Matsuda, and Rie Mashima. 2005. Trust building via risk taking: A cross-societal experiment. Social Psychology Quarterly 68:121–142.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/019027250506800202Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        These researchers ran experiments in the United States and Japan to examine the role of risk-taking behaviors in building trust. Using exchange games based on prisoner’s dilemma payoff logic, they show that Americans use risk taking to build trust far more than do Japanese. This rare cross-cultural experiment highlights the need to distinguish exchange outcomes; cooperation is not the same as trust.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kollock, Peter. 1994. The emergence of exchange structures: An experimental study of uncertainty, commitment, and trust. American Journal of Sociology 100:313–345.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kollock sets up two experimental conditions during which actors have different levels of information about the goods they are about to exchange (uncertainty). Actors are allowed to exchange and then the level of commitment (who exchanges with whom and to what extent), concern for reputation, and trust among exchange partners also vary.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lawler, Edward J., Shane R. Thye, and Jeongkoo Yoon. 2009. Social commitments in a depersonalized world. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Since the late 20th century these researchers have examined how social cohesion emerges from social exchanges. This book summarizes their important theory, the affect theory of social exchange, which explains how social solidarity can be the result of exchange. Despite the feeling that the social world is becoming more isolating, social solidarity is still a dynamic and important part of social life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Justice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Structural social psychologists have long studied how group members define justice, perceive what is just and unjust, and respond to justice processes. They focus on two kinds of justice processes: distributive justice, which refers to the just allocation of things among group members, and procedural justice, which refers to perceptions of fairness for how resources are disbursed or how group conflicts are resolved. Jasso 1980 provides a mathematically formalized theory for distributive justice. Cook and Hegtvedt 1983 provides an overview of theories of distributive justice. Using an interesting design that includes both group and individual comparisons of justice, Markovsky 1985 puts forth a new theory for distributive justice. Stolte 1987 notes that certain kinds of group structures result in different kinds of distributive justice norms. Molm, et al. 1994 shows how unequal power structures give actors clues for how to perceive what is just, especially during social exchanges. Hegtvedt 2005 provides a sweeping overview of how group structures affect individuals’ perceptions of justice and fairness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cook, Karen S., and Karen A. Hegtvedt. 1983. Distributive justice, equity, and equality. Annual Review of Sociology 9:217–241.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.09.080183.001245Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              These authors present an overview of theory up to that point concerning distributive justice at the level of small group interaction. Equity is a group norm concerning getting what one feels one deserves given what one has contributed to the group. Equality is another norm regarding equality in disbursement of group rewards and goods, regardless of an individual group member’s input.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hegtvedt, Karen A. 2005. Doing justice to the group: Examining the roles of the group in justice research. Annual Review of Sociology 31:25–45.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hegtvedt notes that, in justice research, the group serves as a source for the collective standard of justice, a source for one’s moral and just identity, and a source for the structure in which justice evaluations are made. By understanding these roles that groups can play in justice processes, we can better understand individuals’ orientations toward justice norms and values.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jasso, Guillermina. 1980. A new theory of distributive justice. American Sociological Review 45:3–32.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By taking into consideration individuals’ understandings of what is generally thought of as valuable and a just distribution of the valuable good, Jasso crafts a logarithmic function that would predict “justice sentiments.” When actors feel they have received too much, their justice sentiments are tinged with guilt; when they feel they have been underrewarded, actors feel angry.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Markovsky, Barry. 1985. Toward a multilevel distributive justice theory. American Sociological Review 50:822–839.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Markovsky claims that individuals make justice evaluations based on social comparisons, and so he designed an experiment that modeled an organization consisting of different individuals and groups that individuals can use for contrasts. In so doing, he was able to examine the impact of individual versus collective injustice on subjects and that of different numbers of injustices.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Molm, Linda D., Theron M. Quist, and Phillip A. Wisely. 1994. Imbalanced structures, unfair strategies: Power and justice in social exchange. American Sociological Review 59:98–121.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2096135Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      These researchers explore how structural power affects perceptions of fairness regarding one’s partners’ exchange strategies. Using a direct exchange game, they show that powerful actors’ exchange behaviors are viewed as more legitimate than those of less powerful actors, and so their strategies are judged as just. In other words, justice norms favor the powerful over the weak, which reinforces structural inequality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Stolte, John F. 1987. The formation of justice norms. American Sociological Review 52.6: 774–784.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Groups can form different norms for distributive justice: equal opportunity, equality, status-rank inequality, need, and equity. In an experiment that varies the contextual factors of groups, such as structural power and types of exchange, Stolte demonstrates how different norms can emerge based on the subjective experiences of subjects within their social positions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Legitimation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Legitimation is the process by which social actors perceive the social orders in which they are embedded as “the way things are” or “the way things ought to be.” In other words, it is how actors view other actors’ actions as right and proper given their social circumstances. Zelditch 2001 gives a grand sweep of how notions of legitimacy have been theorized since written philosophy began. Stolte 1983 demonstrates one pathway for how structural inequalities become legitimated. Berger, et al. 1998 puts forth a theory of legitimation and delegitimation of status orders within groups. Dornbusch and Scott 1975 refines earlier works in legitimation theory. Zelditch and Walker 1984 tests these refinements experimentally, as does Walker, et al. 1986. Della Fave 1980, probably the best-titled article in sociological social psychology, discusses how self-processes are infused with notions of legitimation concerning the stratified social order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Berger, Joseph, Cecilia L. Ridgeway, M. Hamit Fişek, and Robert Z. Norman. 1998. The legitimation and delegitimation of power and prestige orders. American Sociological Review 63:379–405.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Berger and colleagues present a theory of how informal status hierarchies can be legitimated and delegitimated. Actors mutually share valued beliefs about social categories, abilities, and outcomes of group performance; these beliefs become enacted and legitimate the group’s initial status order. To delegitimate the status order, the group’s original performance expectations must be incongruent with the current order.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Della Fave, L. Richard. 1980. The meek shall not inherit the earth: Self-evaluation and the legitimacy of stratification. American Sociological Review 45:955–971.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One mechanism that maintains social stratification is legitimation, and to achieve broad-based legitimation, individuals’ self-processes must be affected. Using principles from George H. Mead and expectation states theorists, Della Fave theorizes that the level of resources that individuals perceive as just for themselves in relation to others is associated with their own level of self-evaluation (i.e., self-esteem).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Dornbusch, Sanford M., and W. Richard Scott. 1975. Evaluation and the exercise of authority. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dornbusch and Scott begin with Max Weber’s notions of legitimation within groups and expand on them. Validity is the group-level understanding that the social order is legitimate. Two of the components that make up validity are endorsement, the notion that one’s peers accept the order as legitimate, and authorization, the notion that “higher-ups” accept the order as legitimate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Stolte, John F. 1983. The legitimation of structural inequality: Reformulation and test of the self-evaluation argument. American Sociological Review 48:331–342.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/2095226Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Stolte shows how actors disadvantaged by resource levels and power come to accept their lower-ranked social position through perceptions of what happens during exchanges. He argues that as lower-ranked persons do poorly due to their structural position, they come to believe that this is due to their own shortcomings and not due to their disadvantaged social location.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Walker, Henry A., George M. Thomas, and Morris M. Zelditch Jr. 1986. Legitimation, endorsement, and stability. Social Forces 64:620–643.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By identifying three objects (persons, positions, and acts) and three sources (propriety, authorization, and endorsement) of legitimation, Walker and his colleagues present a comprehensive theory of legitimation. Using an adaptation of the “Bavelas wheel” communication structure, they find that endorsement does not have direct effects on one’s behavior but has indirect effects through one’s own sense of propriety.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Zelditch, Morris M., Jr. 2001. Theories of legitimacy. In The psychology of legitimacy: Emerging perspectives on ideology, justice, and intergroup relations. Edited by John T. Jost and Brenda Major, 33–53. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This chapter makes a dazzling sweep of the notion of legitimation throughout all of literature, beginning with Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War; pieces by Aristotle, Plato, and Niccolò Machiavelli; works by Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, and Max Weber; and texts by Antonio Gramsci and C. Wright Mills, and then makes its way through all of the important social psychologists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Zelditch, Morris M., Jr., and Henry A. Walker. 1984. Legitimacy and the stability of authority. In Advances in group processes. Vol. 1. Edited by Edward J. Lawler, 1–25. Greenwich, CT: JAI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In their classic reconceptualization of a theory of legitimation, Zelditch and Walker demonstrate how it is not just one’s individual acceptance of the social order as right and proper (one’s propriety) but also one’s sense of others’ acceptance of the social order. There are two forms of this “what I think others think” about the social order: endorsement and authorization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Emotions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A burgeoning area of sociological social psychology (which Kathryn Lively thoroughly reviews in the Oxford Bibliographies article Emotions), the study of emotions during interaction has given sociologists another avenue to explore how structures are formed, maintained, and changed. Thoits 1989 is the first overview of the field, giving many examples of research questions that are still being studied. Kemper 1990 is the first compendium from authors who study emotions from a sociological social psychological perspective. The classic works Hochschild 1979 and Hochschild 1983 introduce the notion of emotional labor—how employers expect workers in the modern era to manage their emotions to promote organizational goals. Kemper 1987 discusses how two competing notions of emotions, positivist and social constructionist, can come together to give us a richer understanding of the meaning of emotions. Scheff 1988 focuses on one emotion, shame, and shows the importance of it in social life. Collins 2004 theorizes that emotional energy is sought by social actors through re-creations of rituals that enact the social order. Turner and Stets 2006 presents an overview of the field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Collins, Randall. 2004. Interaction ritual chains. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Collins asserts that social actors experience successive interactions and enact interaction rituals that re-create the emotion norms and rules of a society. Successful rituals create symbols of group membership and imbue individuals with emotional energy; failed rituals drain individuals of emotional energy. Thus individuals are drawn to those interactions that provide the most emotional energy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1979. Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure. American Journal of Sociology 85:551–575.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/227049Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Linking emotions to social stratification, Hochschild argues that social classes differ not only on resources but also on emotions: members of each class are socialized as to which emotions are appropriate. Middle-class workers are expected to manage their emotions more than workers from the upper class, and so emotions become an important mechanism in maintaining social stratification.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1983. The managed heart: The commercialization of feeling. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Using a study of flight attendants as exemplifiers of the concept, Hochschild introduces the notion of emotional labor—the commodification of emotion such that there is an emotional component to one’s job. In certain occupations, especially in the service realm, workers are expected to regulate their behaviors. Work organizations informally propagate display rules, and to keep their jobs employees must comply.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kemper, Theodore D. 1987. How many emotions are there? Wedding the social and autonomic components. American Journal of Sociology 93:263–289.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kemper integrates a positivist approach (more about the cause and effects of emotions) and social constructionist perspective (more about how social groups learn about and create social meanings for emotions) to define primary and secondary emotions. Primary emotions are those that are biologically based and universal to all people; secondary emotions are those learned through socialization and vary by culture.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kemper, Theodore D., ed. 1990. Research agendas in the sociology of emotions. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This important compendium presents researchers’ programs for the study of emotions from very eclectic orientations, including symbolic interactionist, social constructionist, feminist, positivist, linguistic, phenomenonologist, Marxist, and evolutionist perspectives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Scheff, Thomas J. 1988. Shame and conformity: The deference-emotion system. American Sociological Review 53:395–406.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Scheff examines one emotion, shame, and demonstrates its importance for social control. While shame often has low visibility, it is used as a means to direct the self for what is acceptable behavior. Individuals with more power and status expect deference, and when that is not provided to them by low-status or low-power others, these others are punished socially and experience shaming.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Thoits, Peggy A. 1989. The sociology of emotions. Annual Review of Sociology 15:317–342.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.15.080189.001533Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a brilliant sweep of the field, Thoits organizes the literature into categories for the etiology of emotions, emotions as motivators, and emotions as mediators of social processes. She also clearly defines the concepts of emotions, feelings, affects, and mood. If one is interested in how sociologists approach the study of emotion, then one must read this article first.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Turner, Jonathan H., and Jan E. Stets. 2006. Sociological theories of human emotions. Annual Review of Sociology 32:25–52.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.32.061604.123130Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In this superb review of late-20th- and early-21st-century sociological thinking concerning emotions, Turner and Stets survey the most popular emotion theories: dramaturgical, symbolic interactionist, interaction ritual, power and status, and exchange theories. More importantly, they discuss the unresolved issues, such as the nature of emotions, feeling, and affect, and the gap between social psychological theories on emotions and macrostructural theorizing.

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