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The “micro” turn in institutional research is a welcome development in a field that has commonly adopted a macro approach to the study of institutions. Nevertheless…
The “micro” turn in institutional research is a welcome development in a field that has commonly adopted a macro approach to the study of institutions. Nevertheless, research in the emergent “microinstitutional” tradition often ignores a fundamental social form: social interaction. The goal of this chapter is to bring this form of society back into institutional analysis, as a key mesocomponent of an “inhabited institutional” approach. The authors argue that social interactions are vital to the understandings of institutions, how they operate, and their impact on society. The authors advance inhabited institutionalism as a mesosociological approach that is consistent with key premises of institutional theory.
The sociology of education has various traditions which examine the connections between education, culture, and inequality. Two of these traditions, symbolic…
The sociology of education has various traditions which examine the connections between education, culture, and inequality. Two of these traditions, symbolic interactionism and critical theory, tend to ignore each other. This paper creates a dialogue between these traditions by applying symbolic interactionist (SI) and radical interactionist (RSI) sensibilities to an important study for resistance theory, Paul Willis’ classic ethnography Learning to Labor (1977). The SI reading of Learning to Labor emphasizes the importance of group interactions and the creation of meaning, while the RSI reading highlights how domination unfolds in social interaction. We argue that SI and RSI have much to offer Learning to Labor, as these readings can avoid some of the critiques commonly leveled on the book regarding the linkage between theory and data, structure and agency, and the book’s conceptualization of culture. Likewise, we argue that the data in Learning to Labor have much to offer SI and RSI, as the material provides grist to further understand the role of symbols in domination while identifying escalating dominance encounters that create a set of patterned interactions that we describe as a “grinding” social order.
We propose an elaboration of the social structure and personality framework from sociological social psychology that is intended to promote integration across social…
We propose an elaboration of the social structure and personality framework from sociological social psychology that is intended to promote integration across social psychological traditions and between social psychology and sociology, using the study of inequality as an example.
We develop a conceptualization of “generic” proximate processes that produce and reproduce inequality in face-to-face interaction: status, identity, and justice.
The elaborated framework suggests fundamental questions that analysts can pose about the macro-micro dynamics of inequality. These questions direct attention to the “how” and “why” of macro-micro relations by connecting structural and cultural systems, local contexts, and the lives of individual persons; highlighting implicit processes; making meaning central; and directing our attention to how people act efficaciously in the face of constraint.
Applying this framework, scholars can use existing theories and generate new ones, and can do so inductively or deductively.
Research on inequality is enriched by social psychological analyses that draw on the full complement of relevant methods and theories.
We make visible the social psychological underpinnings of sociological research on inequality and provide a template for macro-micro analyses that emphasizes the centrality of social psychological processes.
Classical ethnographic research begins with the recognition that the observer starts as a stranger to the group being studied, a recognition as evident in the analysis of…
Classical ethnographic research begins with the recognition that the observer starts as a stranger to the group being studied, a recognition as evident in the analysis of formal organizations as of gangs or tribes. From this position of difference the researcher must learn the themes and dynamics of a setting of otherness. The researcher begins as an outsider, a stance that creates initial challenges, yet permits the transmittal of novel information to external audiences. This is particularly true while studying organizational worlds that explicitly focus on occupational socialization. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
This conceptual paper relies on the close reading and analysis of three major ethnographies of occupational socialization.
The reality that (many) ethnographers begin as strangers permits them to understand socialization processes while observing how group cultures change. The authors defines this as the “stranger paradigm.” This otherness is joined by the perspective of the scholar's discipline and awareness of comparable research that permits understanding of forces that are unrecognized by participants, but which can be profitably scrutinized by disciplinary colleagues within their own occupational worlds. The authors term this “ethnographic authority.”
To support the claim that distance and authority support the formulation of theoretical insights, the paper examines organizational ethnographies that examine the occupational socialization of doctors, morticians, and ministers.
Methodological traditions are like any other social phenomena. They are made by people working together, criticizing one another, and borrowing from other traditions. They…
Methodological traditions are like any other social phenomena. They are made by people working together, criticizing one another, and borrowing from other traditions. They are living social things, not abstract categories in a single system.– Andrew Abbott (2004, p. 15)