Ageing, Meaning and Social Structure advances the critical discourse on gerontology, offering new understandings of key social and ethical dilemmas facing aging societies. Connecting approaches that have been relatively isolated from one another, it integrates two major streams of thought within critical gerontology: analyses of structural issues in the context of political economy and humanist perspectives on issues of existential meaning, providing indispensable reading for scholars, students, policy makers, and practitioners in gerontology and humanism studies.
The legal profession is stratified primarily by the character of the clients served, not by the type of legal service rendered, as John P. Heinz and Edward O. Laumann convincingly demonstrate. In their classic study of the Chicago bar, the authors draw on interviews with nearly 800 lawyers to show that the profession is divided into two distinct hemispheres--corporate and individual--and that this dichotomy is reflected in the distribution of prestige among lawyers.
What determines the systematic allocation of status, power, and economic reward among lawyers? What kind of social structure organizes lawyers' roles in the bar and in the larger community? As Heinz and Laumann convincingly demonstrate, the legal profession is stratified primarily by the character of the clients served, not by the type of legal service rendered. In fact, the distinction between corporate and individual clients divides the bar into two remarkably separate hemispheres. Using data from extensive personal interviews with nearly 800 Chicago lawyers, the authors show that lawyers who serve one type of client seldom serve the other. Furthermore, lawyers' political, ethno-religious, and social ties are very likely to correspond to those of their client types. Greater deference is consistently shown to corporate lawyers, who seem to acquire power by association with their powerful clients. Heinz and Laumann also discover that these two "hemispheres" of the legal profession are not effectively integrated by intraprofessional organizations such as the bar, courts, or law schools. The fact that the bar is structured primarily along extraprofessional lines raises intriguing questions about the law and the nature of professionalism, questions addressed in a provocative and far-ranging final chapter. This volume, published jointly with the American Bar Foundation, offers a uniquely sophisticated and comprehensive analysis of lawyers' professional lives. It will be of exceptional importance to sociologists and others interested in the legal profession, in the general study of professions, and in social stratification and the distribution of power.
Diane Vaughan reconstructs the Ohio Revco case, an example of Medicaid provider fraud in which a large drugstore chain initiated a computer-generated double billing scheme that cost the state and federal government half a million dollars in Medicaid funds, funds that the company believed were rightfully theirs. Her analysis of this incident—why the crime was committed, how it was detected, and how the case was built—provides a fascinating inside look at computer crime. Vaughan concludes that organizational misconduct could be decreased by less regulation and more sensitive bureaucratic response.
Mammalian Dispersal Patterns examines the ways that social structure affects population genetics and, in turn, rates of evolution, in mammalian groups. It brings together fieldwork in animal behavior and wildlife biology with theoretical work in demography and population genetics. The focus here is dispersal—whether, how, and when individuals leave the areas where they are born.
Theoretical work in population genetics indicates that such social factors as skewed sex ratios, restrictive mating patterns, and delayed age of first reproduction will lower the reproductive variability of a population by reducing the number of genotypes passed from one generation to the next. Field studies have shown that many mammalian species do exhibit many such social characteristics. Among horses, elephant seals, and a number of primates, the majority of females are inseminated by only a fraction of the males. In pacts of wolves and mongooses, usually only the highest-ranking male and female breed in a given season. Although socially restricted mating tends to lower genetic variability in isolated populations, it actually tends to increase genetic variability in subdivided populations with low rates of migration between subunits. Among some species there is little dispersal and thus little gene flow between subpopulations; other species travel far afield before mating.
The contributors to this volume examine actual data from populations of mammals, the way patterns of dispersal correlate with the genetic structure of individuals and populations, and mathematical models of population structure. This interdisciplinary approach has an important bearing on work in conservation of both wildlife and zoo populations, for it shows that the home range and the population size needed to maintain genetic variability can differ greatly from one species to the next. The volume also offers a fruitful model for future research.
Moving beyond the traditional boundaries of sociological investigation,
Thomas J. Scheff brings together the study of communication and the social
psychology of emotions to explore the microworld of thoughts, feelings,
and moods. Drawing on strikingly diverse and rich sources—the findings of
artificial intelligence and cognitive science, and examples from literary
dialogues and psychiatric interviews—Scheff provides an inventive account
of the nature of social life and a theory of motivation that brilliantly
accounts for the immense complexity involved in understanding even the most
"A major contribution to some central debates in social theory at the
present time. . . . What Thomas Scheff seeks to develop is essentially a
quite novel account of the nature of social life, its relation to language
and human reflexivity, in which he insists upon the importance of a theory
of emotion. . . . A work of true originality and jolting impact. . . . Microsociology is of exceptional interest, which bears witness to the
very creativity which it puts at the center of human social contact."
—Anthony Giddens, from the Foreword
"Scheff provides a rich theory that can easily generate further exploration. And he drives home the message that sociological work on interaction, social bonds, and society cannot ignore human emotionality."—Candace Clark, American Journal of Sociology
"This outstanding and ground-breaking little volume contains a wealth of original ideas that bring together many insights concerning the relationship of emotion to motivation in a wide variety of social settings. It is strongly recommended to all serious students of emotion, of society, and of human nature."—Melvin R. Lansky, American Journal of Psychiatry
Robert K. Merton is unarguably one of the most influential sociologists of his time. A figure whose wide-ranging theoretical and methodological contributions have become fundamental to the field, Merton is best known for introducing such concepts and procedures as unanticipated consequences, self-fulfilling prophecies, focused group interviews, middle-range theory, opportunity structure, and analytic paradigms.
This definitive compilation encompasses the breadth and brilliance of his works, from the earliest to the most recent. Merton's foundational writings on social structure and process, on the sociology of science and knowledge, and on the discipline and trajectory of sociology itself are all powerfully represented, as are his autobiographical insights in a fascinating coda. Anchored by Piotr Sztompka's contextualizing introduction, Merton's vast oeuvre emerges as a dynamic and profoundly coherent system of thought, a constant source of vitality and renewal for present and future sociology.
"Michael Schwartz's book is really three books in one—an analysis of the structural changes that produced one of the most oppressive social systems the world has known (the one-crop cotton tenancy economy and the system of institutionalized racism and authoritarian one-party politics that was required to preserve the fragile economic arrangement); a theoretical analysis of the origins, mobilization, and outcome of insurgent challenges; and a meticulous application of that theory to the rise and collapse of the Populist movement."—Craig Jenkins, Theory and Society
Challenging the accepted view that social structures are founded on a pre-existing and slowly changing biological base, Kemper (sociology, St. John's U.) argues that the two realms interact, specifically that testosterone levels in both men and women are determined by social dominance.
Street Corner Society is one of a handful of works that can justifiably be called classics of sociological research. William Foote Whyte's account of the Italian American slum he called "Cornerville"—Boston's North End—has been the model for urban ethnography for fifty years.
By mapping the intricate social worlds of street gangs and "corner boys," Whyte was among the first to demonstrate that a poor community need not be socially disorganized. His writing set a standard for vivid portrayals of real people in real situations. And his frank discussion of his methodology—participant observation—has served as an essential casebook in field research for generations of students and scholars.
This fiftieth anniversary edition includes a new preface and revisions to the methodological appendix. In a new section on the book's legacy, Whyte responds to recent challenges to the validity, interpretation, and uses of his data. "The Whyte Impact on the Underdog," the moving statement by a gang leader who became the author's first research assistant, is preserved.
"Street Corner Society broke new ground and set a standard for field research in American cities that remains a source of intellectual challenge."—Robert Washington, Reviews in Anthropology
Stick ball, stoop sitting, pickle barrel colloquys: The neighborhood occupies a warm place in our cultural memory—a place that Kenneth A. Scherzer contends may have more to do with ideology and nostalgia than with historical accuracy. In this remarkably detailed analysis of neighborhood life in New York City between 1830 and 1875, Scherzer gives the neighborhood its due as a complex, richly textured social phenomenon and helps to clarify its role in the evolution of cities. After a critical examination of recent historical renderings of neighborhood life, Scherzer focuses on the ecological, symbolic, and social aspects of nineteenth-century community life in New York City. Employing a wide array of sources, from census reports and church records to police blotters and brothel guides, he documents the complex composition of neighborhoods that defy simple categorization by class or ethnicity. From his account, the New York City neighborhood emerges as a community in flux, born out of the chaos of May Day, the traditional moving day. The fluid geography and heterogeneity of these neighborhoods kept most city residents from developing strong local attachments. Scherzer shows how such weak spatial consciousness, along with the fast pace of residential change, diminished the community function of the neighborhood. New Yorkers, he suggests, relied instead upon the "unbounded community," a collection of friends and social relations that extended throughout the city. With pointed argument and weighty evidence, The Unbounded Community replaces the neighborhood of nostalgia with a broader, multifaceted conception of community life. Depicting the neighborhood in its full scope and diversity, the book will enhance future forays into urban history.