Contemporary articles citing Dimaggio P (1983) Am Sociol Rev
change, action, processes, organizational, approach, fields, provides, global, studies, market
- Chang, Kuang-chi. 2011. "A Path to Understanding Guanxi in China's Transitional Economy: Variations on Network Behavior*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 315-339.
- Current research on guanxi (Chinese social connections) suffers from conceptual confusion. This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding guanxi in the face of China's economic and social transformations. Guanxi is viewed as a purposive network behavior that can take different strategic forms, such as accessing, bridging, and embedding. Pairing this conceptualization with a social-evolutionary framework, I argue that the emergence and increasing or decreasing prevalence of each form over time result from (1) a combination of factors at three analytical levelsmicroagency, mesonetwork, and macroinstitutionaland (2) endogenous processes of selection. By focusing on behavioral forms and their evolution, this framework is able to bridge divides in the guanxi literature, provide a foundation for comparative studies of network behavior across societies, and connect the study of guanxi with economic sociology more broadly.
- Schrank, Andrew & Josh Whitford. 2011. "The Anatomy of Network Failure." Sociological Theory. 29:3 151-177.
- This article develops and defends a theory of ``network failure'' analogous to more familiar theories of organizational and market failure already prevalent in the literature on economic governance. It theorizes those failures not as the simple absence of network governance, but rather as a situation in which transactional conditions for network desirability obtain but network governance is impeded either by ignorance or opportunism, or by a combination of the two. It depicts network failures as continuous rather than discrete outcomes, shows that they have more than one cause, and pays particular attention to two undertheorized-if not undiscovered-types of network failure (i.e., involution and contested collaboration). It thereby contributes to the development of sociology's toolkit for theorizing networks that are ``neither market nor hierarchy.''
- Fligstein, Neil & Doug McAdam. 2011. "Toward a General Theory of Strategic Action Fields." Sociological Theory. 29:1 1-26.
- In recent years there has been an outpouring of work at the intersection of social movement studies and organizational theory. While we are generally in sympathy with this work, we think it implies a far more radical rethinking of structure and agency in modern society than has been realized to date. In this article, we offer a brief sketch of a general theory of strategic action fields (SAFs). We begin with a discussion of the main elements of the theory, describe the broader environment in which any SAF is embedded, consider the dynamics of stability and change in SAFs, and end with a respectful critique of other contemporary perspectives on social structure and agency.
- Colyvas, Jeannette & Stefan Jonsson. 2011. "Ubiquity and Legitimacy: Disentangling Diffusion and Institutionalization." Sociological Theory. 29:1 27-53.
- Diffusion and institutionalization are of prime sociological importance, as both processes unfold at the intersections of relations and structures, as well as persistence and change. Yet they are often confounded, leading to theoretical and methodological biases that hinder the development of generalizable arguments. We look at diffusion and institutionalization distinctively, each as both a process and an outcome in terms of three dimensions: the objects that flow or stick; the subjects who adopt or influence; and the social settings through which an innovation travels. We offer examples to flesh out these dimensions, and formulate testable propositions from our analytic framework that could lead to further theoretical refinement and progress.
- Beckert, Jens. 2010. "Institutional Isomorphism Revisited: Convergence and Divergence in Institutional Change." Sociological Theory. 28:2 150-166.
- Under the influence of groundbreaking work by John Meyer and Brian Bowen, as well as Paul DiMaggio and Walter Powell, over the last 30 years research in the new sociological institutionalism has focused on processes of isomorphism. I argue that this is a one-sided focus that leaves out many insights from other institutional and macrosociological approaches and does not do justice to actual social change because it overlooks the role played by divergent institutional development. While the suggestion of divergent trends is not new, there have been Jew attempts to integrate divergence into the theoretical premises of the new sociological institutionalism. Based on the typology proposed by DiMaggio and Powell, I show that the mechanisms identified by them as sources of isomorphic change can support processes of divergent change as well. The theoretical challenge is to identify conditions under which these mechanisms push institutional change toward homogenization or divergence.
- Go, Julian. 2008. "Global Fields and Imperial Forms: Field Theory and the British and American Empires." Sociological Theory. 26:3 201-229.
- This article develops a global fields approach for conceptualizing the global arena. The approach builds upon existing approaches to the world system and world society while articulating them with the field theory of Bourdieu and organizational sociology. It highlights particular structural configurations (''spaces of relations'') and the specific cultural content (''rules of the game'' and ``symbolic capital'') of global systems. The utility of the approach is demonstrated through an analysis of the different forms of the two hegemonic empires of the past centuries, Great Britain and the United States. The British state tended toward formal imperialism in the 19th century, characterized by direct territorial rule, while the United States since WWII has tended toward informal imperialism. The essay shows that the difference can be best explained by considering the different historical global fields in which the two empires operated.
- Rohlinger, Deana. 2007. "American Media and Deliberative Democratic Processes." Sociological Theory. 25:2 122-148.
- Despite the importance of mass media to deliberative democratic processes, few scholars have focused on how market forces, occupational norms, and competition among outlets affect the quality of media discourse in mainstream and political outlets. Here, I argue that field theory, as outlined by new institutionalism and Pierre Bourdieu, provides a useful theoretical framework for assessing the quality of media discourse in different kinds of media outlets. The value of field theory is that it simultaneously highlights the importance of homogeneity and heterogeneity within a field of action, which provides a framework for discussing the roles different kinds of outlets play in deliberate democratic processes and evaluating the quality of discourse in mainstream and political venues. I illustrate the utility of this conceptualization through an analysis of 1,424 stories on abortion in nine U.S. media outlets and interviews with journalists, editors, and producers in these venues. I find that political media outlets provide higher-quality discourse than that of mainstream venues. Additionally, I find that while market pressures may heighten a focus on conflict in the abortion debate, this emphasis is exacerbated by mainstream journalists themselves, who assume that the general public is familiar with, and has taken a firm position on, abortion. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for deliberative democratic processes.
- Schneiberg, Marc & Elisabeth Clemens. 2006. "The Typical Tools for the Job: Research Strategies in Institutional Analysis." Sociological Theory. 24:3 195-227.
- Institutional theory rests on a rejection of reductionism. Instead of reducing higher-order phenomena to aggregates of behavior, institutional theory reverses this causal imagery. It attributes the behavior of organizations and nation-states to contextual factors, notably organizational fields, national institutional systems, or the emerging global polity, Institutionalists, particularly within sociology, also emphasize specifically cultural mechanisms for these higher-order effects. This article develops the methodological foundations for these claims. It surveys and elaborates research designs for documenting higher-order effects and for differentiating the cultural mechanisms of institutional influence. It also presents new strategies for assessing multiple logics and the coherence of institutional orders, moving beyond adoption and diffusion studies to analyze the dynamic and contested processes of institutionalization and institutional change.
- Martin, JL & M George. 2006. "Theories of Sexual Stratification: Toward an Analytics of the Sexual Field and a Theory of Sexual Capital." Sociological Theory. 24:2 107-132.
- The American tradition of action theory failed to produce a useful theory of the possible existence of trans-individual consistencies in sexual desirability. Instead, most sociological theorists have relied on market metaphors to account for the logic of sexual action. Through a critical survey of sociological attempts to explain the social organization of sexual desiring, this article demonstrates that the market approach is inadequate, and that its inadequacies can be remedied by studying sexual action as occurring within a specifically sexual field (in Bourdieu's sense), with a correlative sexual capital. Such a conception allows for historical and comparative analysis of changes in the organization of sexual action that are impeded by the use of a market metaphor, and also points to difficulties in Bourdieu's own treatment of the body qua body.
- Hallett, T. 2003. "Symbolic Power and Organizational Culture." Sociological Theory. 21:2 128-149.
- With the recent wave of corporate scandals, organizational culture has regained relevance in politics and the media, However, to acquire enduring utility, the concept needs an overhaul to overcome the weaknesses of earlier approaches. As such, this paper reconceptualizes organizational culture as a negotiated order (Strauss 1978) that emerges through interactions between participants, an order influenced by those with the symbolic power to define the situation. I stress the complementary contributions of theorists of,practice (Bourdieu and Swidler) and theorists of interaction (Goffman and Strauss), building upward from practice into interaction, symbolic power, and the negotiated order. Using data from initial reports on the fall of Arthur Andersen and Co., I compare this symbolic power approach to other approaches (culture as subjective beliefs and values or as context/public meaning). The symbolic power model has five virtues: an empirically observable object of study; the capacity to explain conflict and integration; the ability to explain stability and change; causal efficacy; and links between the micro-, meso-, and macrolevels of analysis. Though this paper focuses on organizational culture, the symbolic power model provides theoretical leverage for understanding many situated contexts.
- Fligstein, N. 2001. "Social Skill and the Theory of Fields." Sociological Theory. 19:2 105-125.
- The problem of the relationship between actors and the social structures in which they are embedded is central to sociological theory. This paper suggests that the ``new institutionalist ``focus on fields, domains, or games provides an alternative view of how to think about this problem by focusing on the construction of loca( orders. This paper criticizes the conception of actors in both rational choice and sociological versions of these theories. A more sociological view of action, what is called ``social skill,'' is developed. The idea of social skill originates in symbolic interactionism and is defined as the ability to induct cooperation in others. This idea is elaborated to suggest how actors are important to the construction and reproduction of local orders. I show how, its elements already inform existing work. Finally I show how the idea can sensitize scholars to the role of actors in empirical work.
- Meyer, JW & RL Jepperson. 2000. "The ``actors'' of Modern Society: the Cultural Construction of Social Agency." Sociological Theory. 18:1 100-120.
- Much social theory takes for gr anted the core conceit of modern culture, chat modern actors-individuals, organizations, nation states-are authochthonous and natural entities, no longer really embedded ill culture. Accordingly while there is much abstract metatheory about ``actors `` and their ``agency, `` there is arguably little theory about the topic. This article offers direct arguments about how the modern (European, now global) cultural system constructs the modern actor as an authorized agent for various interests via an ongoing relocation into society of agency originally located in transcendental authority or in natural forces environing the social system. We see this authorized agentic capability as an essential feature of what modern theory and culture call an ``actor,'' and one that, when analyzed, helps greatly in explaining a number of otherwise anomalous ol little analyzed features of modern individuals, organizations, and slates. These features include their isomorphism and standardization, their internal decoupling, their extraordinarily complex structuration, and their capacity for prolific collective action.
- Vallas, SP. 1999. "Rethinking Post-fordism: the Meaning of Workplace Flexibility." Sociological Theory. 17:1 68-101.
- Social scientists increasingly claim that work structures based on the mass production or ``Fordist'' paradigm have grown obsolete, giving way to a more flexible, ``post-Fordist'' structure of work. these claims have been much disputed, however, giving rise to a sharply polarized debate over the outcome of workplace restructuring. I seek to reorient the debate by subjecting the post-Fordist approach to theoretical and empirical critique. Several theoretical weaknesses internal to the post-Fordist approach are identified, including its uncertain handling of ``power'' and ``efficiency'' as factors that shape work organizations; its failure to acknowledge multiple responses to the crisis of Fordism, several of,which seem at odds with the post-Fordist paradigm; and its tendency to neglect the resurgence of economic dualism and disparity within organizations and industries. Review of the empirical literature suggests that, despite scattered support for the post-Fordist approach, important anomalies exist (such as the growing authority of ``mental'' over manual labor) that post-Fordism seems powerless to explain. In spite of its ample contributions, post-Fordist theory provides a seriously distorted guide to the nature of workplace change in the United States. Two alternative perspectives toward the restructuring of work organizations are sketched-neoinstitutionalist and ``flexible accumulation'' models-which seem likely to inspire more fruitful lines of research bn the disparate patterns currently unfolding within American work organizations.