Sociology 530y: Selected Topics in Social
Instructor: Paul DiMaggio (258-1971)
2-C-8 Green Hall
Readings: Readings on closed reserve (i.e., borrow and photocopy,
then return) in Sociology Department mailroom. I will put two copies of each
reading in the seminar box at least one week before the seminar meeting.
This system only works if
seminar members do not remove papers for any other reason than immediate reading
Objective. This mini-seminar is the companion to Organization Theory,
which was offered during the first half of this semester, but it has also been
designed to work as a stand-alone course. The objective is to introduce major
themes in the study of social organization, including some old classics and some
cutting-edge research, and in so doing to provide an overview for the curious
and a basis for students who want to take comprehensives or teach courses in
this area to pursue further work independently.
. This is the first time I have offered a course in Social Organization.
The subject is broad-indeed, one can make a reasonably strong argument that its
boundaries are similar to those of sociology as a discipline-so the reading is
necessarily selective. Moreover, because there isn't really a canonical reading
list, the selections are more personal than they are when I offer seminars in
more strongly institutionalized subfields.
I emphasize an approach that combines formalism with thick empiricism,
employing the tension between the two to illustrate the capacity of
theoretically informed analyses to reveal the logic of historically situated
social groups and events. The mini-semester's readings identify ideal-typical
forms of organization and dynamic processes, acquaint you with formal models
designed to represent these forms and processes, and exemplify in different ways
the use of these concepts and methods in combination with intensive archival or
ethnographic research to cast light on particular social groups or historical
shifts. The goal is to leave you with a set of analytic tools that can be (and
have been) applied fruitfully to extremely diverse empirical problems.
The first two weeks of the course focus on organizational forms, with
introductions to four: hierarchies (especially bureaucracy, reviewed from the
Org. Theory miniseminar; markets; voting systems; and systems of generalized
reciprocity, a/k/a "networks," with particular attention to the latter). Cases
include Chilean business elites and Nashville country-western musicians.
The third and fourth weeks highlight generic social processes that are
implicated in most significant social change. In week 3 we explore the interface
between demographic and ecological processes in contexts ranging from
bureaucratic career structures, the rise of Impressionism in France, social
capital in a U.S. community, and the English Revolution. In week 4, we explore
the nature of social control, with examples ranging from the NFL to the Medici.
Finally, the last two weeks are devoted to empirical studies of
social-organizational change. Week 5 features research on contemporary change in
the firm and in the system of relations among business enterprises. Week 6 moves
to broader historical explanation, with cases ranging across early modern
England, late 19th-century France, and the Ottoman Empire.
. Students are expected complete require readings
thoroughly in advance of the class meeting for which they have been
assigned and to participate actively in class meetings. Emphasis is on mastering and responding
critically and creatively to the seminar's material. No term paper or research
project is required.
Each student will prepare four memoranda of 3-4 pages reporting his or her
reactions to the readings, to be completed before the seminar meets and turned
in at the time of the seminar meeting. (No credit will be received for memoranda
handed in thereafter.) Treat memoranda as writing and thinking exercises,
not as finished products. Use them to engage each week's materials and
respond with questions, criticisms and new ideas that they suggest. Memoranda
should be used to develop ideas informally over time and to put into words
impressions that seem worth developing. (Don't include your notes on the
readings or describe the argument the way you would in a term paper-you can
assume I've read the papers and will know what you are talking about.) The memos
also provide an opportunity for individualized feedback and communication on an
ongoing basis outside the seminar.
Enrollment is open to any graduate student in Sociology, any other
social-science department or the Woodrow Wilson school, and, upon application,
to undergraduate sociology majors.
Week 1, Tuesday
November 4: Comparative Structures: Bureaucracy, Markets, Voting, and
- Max Weber, Max, "Class, Status, and Party." Pp. 180-95 in Hans Gerth and
C. Wright Mills, eds., From Max Weber (N.Y.:
Oxford Univ. Press, 1946). Also in Economy and Society (various
- Karl Polanyi. 1957. Pp. 42-76 in The Great Transformation. Boston:
- Charles Lindblom. 1977. Pp. 33-51, 76-92 in Politics and Markets. New
- James M. Buchanan. 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market."
Journal of Political Economy 62: 334-43.
- Andrew Abbott. 1988. "Transcending General Linear Reality." Soc.
Theory 6: 169-86.
- Review: Max Weber. "Bureaucracy." Part 2, chapt. 7 in Gerth and
Mills, eds. (op. cit.), pp.196─244 (and in
Economy and Society).
- Mustafa Emirbayer.
1997. "Manifesto for a Relational Sociology."American Journal of
Sociology 103: 281-317.
- Kenneth Arrow. 1951. Social Choice and Individual Values. New York:
- Anthony Downs. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York:
Harper & Brothers.
- Richard Swedberg. 1994. "Markets as Social Structure." 255-282 in
Handbook of Economic Sociology, ed. Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg.
Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.
Week 2, Tuesday
November 11: Comparative Structures: Networks, Roles, and
- Harrison White, Scott Boorman and Ronald Breiger. 1976. "Social
Structure from Multiple Networks: Blockmodels of Roles and Positions."
American Journal of Sociology 81: 730-80.
- Ronald Breiger. 1974. "The Duality of Persons and Groups." Social
- Peter S. Bearman. 1997. "Generalized Exchange." American Journal of
Sociology 5: 1383-1415.
- Michael Useem. 1982. "Classwide Rationality in the Politics of Managers and
Directors of Large American Corporations in the U.S. and Great Britain."
Administrative Science Quarterly 27: 199-226.
- Maurice Zeitlin. 1974. "New Princes for Old? The Large Corporation and the
Capitalist Classes in Chile." American Journal of Sociology 80: 87-123.
- Richard A. Peterson and Howard White. 1979. "The Simplex Located in
Artworlds." Urban Life and Culture 7: 411-39.
- Review: Brian Uzzi. 1997. "Social Structure and Competition in
Interfirm Networks: The Paradox of Embeddedness." Administrative Science
Rose Laub Coser. 1975.
"The Complexity of Roles as a Seedbed of Individual Autonomy." Pp. 237-64 in
The Idea of Social Structure: Papers in Honor of Robert Merton, ed. Lewis
A. Coser. N.Y.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Paul DiMaggio. 1982. "Cultural Entrepreneurship in 19th-Century
Boston, Part I: The Creation of an Organizational Base for High Culture in
America." Media, Culture and Society 4: 33-50.
Magali Sarfatti Larson. 1977. The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological
Analysis. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
S.F. Nadel. 1957. The Theory of Social Structure. London: Cohen and
Alejandro Portes and Julia Sensenbrenner. 1993. "Embeddedness and
Immigration: Notes on the Social Determinants of Economic Action." American
Journal of Sociology 98: 1320-1350.
Harrison C. White. 1996. "Network Switchings and Bayesian Forks:
Reconstructing the Social and Behavioral Sciences." Social Research 62:
Week 3, Tuesday
November 18: Organizing Processes: Ecology and Demography
Amos Hawley. 1984. "Human Ecology: Persistence and Change." Pp. 119-40
in The State of Sociology: Problems and Prospects, edited by James F.
Short, Jr. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.
J. Miller McPherson. "An Ecology of Affiliation," American Sociological
Review 48 (1983): 519 ─ 32.
Gerald D. Suttles. 1972. "The Defended Neighborhood." Pp. 21-43 in The
Social Construction of Communities. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. Also
242-52 in New Perspectives on the American Community, 3rd ed.,
edited Roland L. Warren. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Cynthia White and Harrison C. White. 1964. "Institutional Change in the
French Painting World." Pp. 253-270 in The Arts in Society, ed. John
Wilson. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Jack A. Goldstone. 1986. "State Breakdown in the English Revolution: A New
Synthesis." American Journal of Sociology 92: 257-322.
Mark Granovetter and Roland Soong. 1988. "Threshold Models of Diversity:
Chinese Restaurants, Residential Segregation and the Spiral of Silence."
Sociological Methodology 10: 169-94.
Ivan Chase. 1991. "Vacancy Chains." Annual Review of Sociology 17:
Andrew D. Abbott. 1988.
The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor.
Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Andrew D. Abbott and Alexandra Hrycek. 1990. "Measuring Resemblance in
Sequence Data: An Optimal Matching Analysis of Musicians' Careers." American
Journal of Sociology 96:144-86.
Peter M. Allen and J.M. McGlade. 1987. "Modelling Complex Human Systems: A
Fisheries Example." European Journal of Operational Research 31: 147-67.
Jack Goldstone. 1991. Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern
World Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
Roderick J. Harrison. 1988. "Opportunity Models: Adapting Vacancy Model to
National Occupational Structures." Research in Social Stratification and
Michael Macy. 1991. "Chains of Cooperation: Threshold Effects in Collective
Action." American Sociological Review 56: 730-47.
Anne Miner. 1991. "Organizational Evolution and the Social Ecology of Jobs."
American Sociological Review 66: 72-85.
Stewman, Shelby and Suresh L. Konda. "Careers and Organizational Labor
Markets Demographic Models of Organizational Behavior." American Journal of
Sociology 88 (1983): 637-85
Katherine Stovel, Michael Savage and Peter Bearman. 1996. "Ascription into
Achievement: Models of Career Systems at Lloyds Bank, 1890-1970." American
Journal of Sociology 102: 358-99.
Gerald D. Suttles. 1968. The Social Order of the Slum. Chicago: Univ.
of Chicago Press.
Harrison C. White. 1970. Chains of Opportunity: System Models of Mobility in
Organizations. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press.
Week 4, Tuesday
November 25: Organizing Processes: Social Control in Complex
Donald Black. 1984. "Social Control as a Dependent Variable." Pp. 1-36
in Toward a General Theory of Social Control, Vol. 1: Fundamentals,
edited by Donald Black. New York: Academic Press.
Calvin Morrill. 1991. "The Customs of Conflict Management among Corporate
Executives." American Anthropologist 94: 871-93.
Gary Hamilton and John Sutton. 1989. "The Problem of Control in the Weak
State: Domination in the U.S., 1880-1920." Theory and Society 18: 1-46.
Eric M. Leifer. 1990. "Inequality among Equals: Embedding Market and
Authority in League Sports." American Journal of Sociology 96: 655-83.
John F. Padgett and Christopher K. Ansell. 1993. "Robust Action and the Rise
of the Medici, 1400-1434." American Journal of Sociology 98: 1259-1319.
Ronald Breiger. 1990. "Social Control and Social Networks: A Model from
Georg Simmel" pp. 453-76 in Structures of Power and Constraint: Papers in
Honor of Peter M. Blau New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, edited by Craig
Calhoun, Marshall W. Meyer and W. Richard Scott.
- Peter S. Bearman. 1991.
"Desertion as Localism: Army Unit Solidarity and Group Norms in the U.S. Civil
War." Social Forces 70: 321-42.
- Donald Black. 1976. The Behavior of Law. Cambridge: Harvard
- Harrison C. White. 1994. Identity and Control. Princeton: Princeton
- Beth Mintz and Michael Schwartz. 1985. The Power Structure of American
Business. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
- Ann Swidler. 1979. Organization without Authority: Dilemmas of Social
Control in Free Schools. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Week 5, Tuesday
December 2: Theory in Action: Understanding Organizational Change
Walter W. Powell. "Neither Market Nor Hierarchy," in Research in
Organizational Behavior v. 12, ed. Barry Staw and L.L. Cummings (Greenwich,
CT: JAI Press, 1990).
Marco Orrù. 1997. "The Institutional Logic of Small-Firm Economies in
Italy and Taiwan." Pp. 340-67 in The Economic Organization of East Asian
Capitalism, ed. M. Orrù, N.W. Biggart and G.G. Hamilton. Thousand
Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
David Stark. 1998. "Heterarchy: Asset Ambiguity, Organizational Innovation
and the Postsocialist Firm." In Firm Futures: Social Change and the
Corporation in the 20th Century. Princeton: Princeton Univ.
Walter W. Powell. 1998. "The Capitalist Firm in the 21st Century:
Emerging Patterns." To appear in Firm Futures: Social Change and the
Corporation in the 21st Century. Princeton: Princeton Univ.
D. Eleanor Westney. 1998. "The Changing Business Firm in East Asia"
(approximate title). To appear in Firm Futures: Social Change and the
Corporation in the 21st Century. Princeton: Princeton Univ.
Gary Hamilton and
Nicole Woolsey Biggart. 1988. "Market, Culture and Authority: A Comparative
Analysis of Management and Organization in the Far East," American Journal of
Sociology, supplementary special issue on economics and sociology, 94:
S52-S94. Also pp. 181-221 in The Sociology of Economic Life, ed. Mark
Granovetter and Richard Swedberg. Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.
James R. Lincoln, Michael L. Gerlach and Christina L. Ahmadjian. 1996.
"Kieretsu Networks and Corporate Performance in Japan." American Sociological
Charles Sabel. 1991. "Moebius-Strip Organizations and Open Labor Markets:
Some Consequences of the Reintegration of Conception and Execution in a Volatile
Economy." Ch. 1 (pp. 23-53) in Social Theory for a Changing Society, ed.
by Pierre Bourdieu and James Coleman. Boulder, Col.: Westview Press.
Week 6, Tuesday December 9: Theory in Action: Historical
- Peter Bearman. 1992. "The Structure of Opportunity: Middle-Class Mobility in England, 1548-1689."
American Journal of Sociology 98: 30-66.
- Lachmann, Richard. 1987. Pp. 20-37, 66-99 in From Manor to Market.
Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press (selections).
- Karen Barkey and Ronan Van Rossem. 1997. Networks of Contention: Villages
and Regional Structure in the 17th Century Ottoman Empire."
American Journal of Sociology 5: 1345-82.
- Roger V. Gould. 1991. "Multiple Networks and Mobilization in the Paris
Commune, 1871." American Sociological Review 56: 716-29.
- Charles Tilly. 1997. "Parliamentarization of Popular Contention in Great
Britain, 1758-1834." Theory and Society 26: 245-73.
- Christopher Ansell. 1997. "Symbolic Networks: The Realignment of the French
Working Class, 1887-1894." American Journal of Sociology 103:
- Peter S. Bearman. 1993.
Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England,
1540-1640. New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press.
- Mustafa Emirbayer and Jeff Goodwin. 1994. "Network Analysis, Culture and the
Problem of Agency." American Journal of Sociology 99: 1411-54.
- Roger V. Gould. 1996. "Patron-Client Ties, State Centralization and the
Whiskey Rebellion." American Journal of Sociology 102: 400-29.
- Roger V. Gould. 1995. Insurgent Identities: Class, Community, and Protest
in Paris from 1848 to the Commune. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago