Contemporary articles citing Berger J (1977) Status Characteristi
performance, status, existing, predictions, theories, expectations, sociological, inequalities, characteristics, emergence
- Simpson, Brent, Robb Willer & Cecilia Ridgeway. 2012. "Status Hierarchies and the Organization of Collective Action." Sociological Theory. 30:3 149-166.
- Most work on collective action assumes that group members are undifferentiated by status, or standing, in the group. Yet such undifferentiated groups are rare, if they exist at all. Here we extend an existing sociological research program to address how extant status hierarchies help organize collective actions by coordinating how much and when group members should contribute to group efforts. We outline three theoretically derived predictions of how status hierarchies organize patterns of behavior to produce larger public goods. We review existing evidence relevant to two of the three hypotheses and present results from a preliminary experimental test of the third. Findings are consistent with the model. The tendency of these dynamics to lead status-differentiated groups to produce larger public goods may help explain the ubiquity of hierarchy in groups, despite the often negative effects of status inequalities for many group members.
- Berger, J, D Willer & M Zelditch. 2005. "Theory Programs and Theoretical Problems." Sociological Theory. 23:2 127-155.
- Some sociologists argue that sociological theory does not grow and the reason why it does not grow is that the discipline lacks a core of highly developed, almost universally accepted, paradigms; even worse, because it is reflexive, its criteria of problem and theory choice are so noncognitive that there are no paradigms, hence no progress, in its future. We do not question that sociology lacks a core of almost universally accepted paradigms, nor that highly developed paradigms may be a sufficient condition of theory growth, but we question both that universal acceptance of them is necessary and that sociology has nothing like them. We argue that theoretical research programs-sets of strategies, sets of interrelated theories embodying these strategies, and empirical models interpreting these theories-are sufficient for theoretical growth. An examination of three theoretical research programs in this article shows that they perform some of the same functions for theory growth as, in Kuhn, are performed by paradigms. Sociology may lack a universally accepted core, but there are theoretical research programs in sociology, and therefore already there is theory growth if it is looked for in the right place. Nor is there any warrant for the view that because its criteria of problem and theory choice are inescapably noncognitive, there are no paradigms, hence no progress, in sociology's future. If that were true, not only would sociology lack paradigms, but also theoretical research programs. We conclude from our study that sociology need not wait on the emergence of a universally accepted core. It is sufficient for the growth of theory that it develops further its existing theoretical research programs and that it encourages the creation of new programs.
- Webster, M & JM Whitmeyer. 2002. "Modeling Second-order Expectations." Sociological Theory. 20:3 306-327.
- Theory-building is a continual, collective enterprise in which success is judged by logical consistency and successful explanation and prediction of specified empirical facts from a minimal set of assumptions. We describe some new attempts to develop Interactionist ideas on how communicated opinions from others can affect face to face interaction patterns and definitions of a social situation, including identities of the interactants. Our attempts take the form of developing theoretical models of how others'evaluative opinions are incorporated into existing performance expectations. We show how model-building depends on existing theoretical ideas and empirical evidence. The description illustrates some ways in which contemporary sociological theory develops.
- Berger, J, CL Ridgeway & M Zelditch. 2002. "Construction of Status and Referential Structures." Sociological Theory. 20:2 157-179.
- Beliefs about diverse status characteristics have a common core content of performance capacities and qualities made up of two features: hierarchy (superior/inferior capacities) and role-differentiation (instrumental/expressive qualities). Whatever the status characteristic, its more-valued state tends to be defined as superior and instrumental, and the less-valued state tends to be defined as inferior but expressive. We account for this in terms of the typification of differences in behavioral inequalities and profiles that emerge in task oriented social interaction. Status construction theory argues that new configurations of the states of a nonvalued discriminating characteristic, status values, and status typifications of actors possessing these states arise from a similar process. The theory we present here makes new predictions on the construction and institutionalization of status characteristics and generalized beliefs about the relation of status characteristics to social rewards, called referential structures. This theory, we argue, integrates micro and macro elements in a way that may be applicable to explaining the social construction of cultural objects more generally.
- Simpson, B & HA Walker. 2002. "Status Characteristics and Performance Expectations: a Reformulation." Sociological Theory. 20:1 24-40.
- Status characteristics theory predicts the emergence and structure of power and prestige orders in task groups from members' status attributes. This paper argues that application of the burden of proof assumption, central to the theory, is inconsistent with a key concept, generalized expectation state. A reformulation is proposed that eliminates the inconsistency and gives competing predictions for a wide range of situations. The reformulation predicts that, when not directly relevant to task performance, specific, characteristics (e.g., athletic or analytical ability) have less impact than diffuse characteristic's (race, gender, or education) on performance expectations. The original formulation predicts equal effects. Critical tests are proposed and the paper concludes with additional comparisons of the two formulations on the grounds of parsimony and implications for intervention in settings characterized by status-based inequalities.
- Webster, M & JM Whitmeyer. 2001. "Applications of Theories of Group Processes." Sociological Theory. 19:3 250-270.
- Theories of group processes have been and are being applied usefully to natural situations. We review a selection of these theories and examine different types of applications and interventions to which they have led. We then offer a typology of application, five ``stages'' with examples. As theoretical application proceeds, issues of complexity, rules of correspondence, and competing social interests increase the difficulty of that work, yet the benefits are considerable for theoretical development.
- Berger, J. 2000. "Theory and Formalization: Some Reflections on Experience." Sociological Theory. 18:3 482-489.
- I describe in this paper some of my efforts in developing formal theories of social processes. These include work on models of occupational mobility, on models to describe the emergence of expectations out of performance evaluations, and on the graph theory formulation of the Status Characteristics theory Not all models have been equally significant in developing theory. However, the graph theory formulation has played a central role in the growth of the Expectation States program. It has been involved in the generalization of theories, the integration of theories, and in the construction of highly sensitive tests of theories that would be impossible without the inferential capacities of formalization.