Contemporary articles citing Fligstein N (2001) Sociol Theor
approach, field, action, market, institutional, empirical, cultural, economic, concept, change
- Lizardo, Omar & Sara Skiles. 2012. "Reconceptualizing and Theorizing ``omnivorousness'': Genetic and Relational Mechanisms." Sociological Theory. 30:4 263-282.
- Scores of sociological studies have provided evidence for the association between broad cultural taste, or omnivorousness, and various status characteristics, such as education, occupation, and age. Nevertheless, the literature lacks a consistent theoretical foundation with which to understand and organize these empirical findings. In this article, we offer such a framework, suggesting that a mechanism-based approach is helpful for examination of the origins of the omnivore-univore taste pattern as well as its class-based distribution. We reground the discussion of this phenomenon in Distinction (Bourdieu 1984), conceptualizing omnivorous taste as a transposable form of the aesthetic disposition available most readily to individuals who convert early aesthetic training into high cultural capital occupational trajectories. After outlining the genetic mechanisms that link the aesthetic disposition to early socialization trajectories, we identify two relational mechanisms that modulate its manifestation (either enhancing or inhibiting it) after early socialization.
- Avent-Holt, Dustin. 2012. "The Political Dynamics of Market Organization: Cultural Framing, Neoliberalism, and the Case of Airline Deregulation." Sociological Theory. 30:4 283-302.
- Sociologists have argued that markets are politically constituted, yet we lack an understanding of the causal mechanisms through which political mobilization organizes and reorganizes markets over time. In this article I show how the concept of cultural framing-already widely used by economic sociologists-can be further developed to explain how mobilization reproduces markets in some moments while reorganizing them in others. Specifically, I link the concept of cultural framing to rent-seeking mobilization within markets to better explain when political contestation will lead to new market institutions and when it will fail to do so. I illustrate the value of this approach through an analysis of deregulation in the U. S. airline industry and conclude by discussing the consequences of the model and empirical case for the politics of markets, the rise of neoliberalism, and economic policymaking.
- DiCicco-Bloom, Benjamin & David Gibson. 2010. "More Than a Game: Sociological Theory From the Theories of Games." Sociological Theory. 28:3 247-271.
- Sociologists are fond of game metaphors. However, such metaphors rarely go beyond casual references to generic games. Yet games are little social systems, and each game offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between rules and constraints, on the one side, and emergent order, on the other. In this article, we examine three games-chess, go, and (Texas hold `em) poker-for sociological insights into contested social arenas such as markets, warfare, politics, and the professions. We describe each game's rules and emergent properties, and then offer a brief theorization of the social world through the ``lens'' of that game. Then we show how a study of the three games advances the sociology of strategy by enriching ideas about skill, position, and strategic dilemma.
- Collet, Francois. 2009. "Does Habitus Matter?: a Comparative Review of Bourdieu's Habitus and Simon's Bounded Rationality With Some Implications for Economic Sociology." Sociological Theory. 27:4 419-434.
- In this article, I revisit Pierre Bourdieu's concept of habitus and contrast it with Herbert Simon's notion of bounded rationality. Through a discussion of the literature of economic sociology on status and Fligstein's political-cultural approach, I argue that this concept can be a source of fresh insights into empirical problems. I find that the greater the change in the social environment, the more salient the benefits of using habitus as a tool to analyze agents' behavior.
- 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.
- Armstrong, Elizabeth & Mary Bernstein. 2008. "Culture, Power, and Institutions: a Multi-institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements." Sociological Theory. 26:1 74-99.
- We argue that critiques of political process theory are beginning to coalesce into a new approach to social movements-a ``multi-institutional politics'' approach. While the political process model assumes that domination is organized by and around one source of power, the alternative perspective views domination as organized around multiple sources of power, each of which is simultaneously material and symbolic. We examine the conceptions of social movements, politics, actors, goals, and strategies supported by each model, demonstrating that the view of society and power underlying the political process model is too narrow to encompass the diversity of contemporary change efforts. Through empirical examples, we demonstrate that the alternative approach provides powerful analytical tools for the analysis of a wide variety of contemporary change efforts.
- 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.
- Dalton, B. 2004. "Creativity, Habit, and the Social Products of Creative Action: Revising Joas, Incorporating Bourdieu." Sociological Theory. 22:4 603-622.
- Hans Joas's The Creativity of Action (1996) posits that conceiving of all action as fundamentally creative would overcome problems inherent in rational and normative theories of action and would provide an alternative basis for action-based theories of macrosociological phenomena. Joas conceives (of creativity as a response to the frustration of ``prereflective aspirations,'' which necessitates innovative adjustment to reestablish habitual intentions. This conceptualization creates an unsupportable duality between habitual action and creativity that neglects other possible sources of creative action, including habit itself. Combining strengths from Bourdiell's concept of habitus, creativity can be redefined as the necessary adaption of habitual practices to specific contexts of action. Creative action continually introduces novel possibilities in practical action and provokes a variety of social responses to its products. This revised concept of creativity overcomes the dichotomy presented by Joas, identifies a microsocial source of innovation in creative action, and calls attention to patterns of creative authority in society at large.
- Kauppi, N. 2003. "Bourdieu's Political Sociology and the Politics of European Integration." Theory and Society. 32:5-6 775-789.
- The purpose of this article is to explore what Bourdieu's political sociology could bring to the study of European integration. I first present, very briefly, some of the traditional approaches in European integration studies. Then I move to my interpretation of Bourdieu's structural constructivist(1) theory of politics through a discussion of political capital and political field, drawing parallels between these concepts and some of Max Weber's ideas. In the third part, while discussing the works of some scholars inspired by Bourdieu's theory, I present some structural constructivist studies of European integration. Structural constructivism provides theoretical tools for a critical analysis of European integration.
- Berman, Elizabeth. 2006. "Before the Professional Project: Success and Failure at Creating an Organizational Representative for English Doctors." Theory and Society. 35:2 157-191.
- Theories of the professions do not sufficiently explain how individuals with different and often ill-defined interests can organize themselves into a group coherent enough to undertake a ``professional project.'' I suggest that concepts from institutional and organizational theory can help fill this gap and apply such concepts to one of the first professional projects, that of English doctors. In the early nineteenth century, two groups sought to become the organizational representative of the incipient profession. The first rapidly organized a sizeable fraction of practitioners and achieved some legislative success, but could not transform its early accomplishments into a position as the doctors' representative. The second had only moderate impact in its early years and was dismissed as politically irrelevant, but eventually united the profession and continues to this day as the British Medical Association. The professions literature, most of which is pitched at a broader level of analysis, does not provide theoretical tools to explain these divergent outcomes. I argue that they can be accounted for by analyzing English medicine as an institutional field. The groups' different structural locations within the field affected their trajectories, and a novel organizational model borrowed from an adjacent field helped the latter group keep doctors mobilized and achieve legitimacy. As a result, an unlikely-looking group of outsiders with limited resources was eventually able to lead a successful professional project, while an initially promising group fell by the wayside.
- Hallett, Tim & Marc Ventresca. 2006. "Inhabited Institutions: Social Interactions and Organizational Forms in Gouldner's Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy." Theory and Society. 35:2 213-236.
- Pinch, Trevor. 2008. "Technology and Institutions: Living in a Material World." Theory and Society. 37:5 461-483.
- This article addresses the relationship between technology and institutions and asks whether technology itself is an institution. The argument is that social theorists need to attend better to materiality: the world of things and objects of which technical things form an important class. It criticizes the new institutionalism in sociology for its failure to sufficiently open up the black box of technology. Recent work in science and technology studies (S\&TS) and in particular the sociology of technology is reviewed as another route into dealing with technology and materiality. The recent ideas in sociology of technology are exemplified with the author's study of the development of the electronic music synthesizer.
- Beckert, Jens. 2009. "The Social Order of Markets." Theory and Society. 38:3 245-269.
- In this article I develop a proposal for the theoretical vantage point of the sociology of markets, focusing on the problem of the social order of markets. The initial premise is that markets are highly demanding arenas of social interaction, which can only operate if three inevitable coordination problems are resolved. I define these coordination problems as the value problem, the problem of competition and the cooperation problem. I argue that these problems can only be resolved based on stable reciprocal expectations on the part of market actors, which have their basis in the socio-structural, institutional and cultural embedding of markets. The sociology of markets aims to investigate how market action is structured by these macrostructures and to examine their dynamic processes of change. While the focus of economic sociology has been primarily on the stability of markets and the reproduction of firms, the conceptualization developed here brings change and profit motives more forcefully into the analysis. It also differs from the focus of the new economic sociology on the supply side of markets, by emphasizing the role of demand for the order of markets, especially in the discussion of the problems of valuation and cooperation.
- Owen-Smith, Jason. 2011. "The Institutionalization of Expertise in University Licensing." Theory and Society. 40:1 63-94.
- This article draws on ethnographic data from a field leading university licensing office to document and explain a key step in the process of institutionalization, the abstraction of standardized rules and procedures from idiosyncratic efforts to collectively resolve pressing problems. I present and analyze cases where solutions to complicated quandaries become abstract bits of professional knowledge and demonstrate that in some circumstances institutionalized practices can contribute to the flexibility of expert reasoning and decision-making. In this setting, expertise is rationalized in response to institutional tensions between academic and business approaches to deal making and professional tensions between relational and legal approaches to negotiation. Abstraction and formalization contribute both to the convergence and stability of routines and to their improvisational use in professional work. Close attention to these processes in a strategic research setting sheds new light on an interesting tension in sociological theories of the professions while contributing to the development of a micro-level, social constructivist institutional theory.
- Overdevest, Christine. 2011. "Towards a More Pragmatic Sociology of Markets." Theory and Society. 40:5 533-552.
- A satisfactory sociology of markets requires that both order and disorder in markets be addressed, yet sociologists have seemed more concerned with theorizing market stability and order. Change, however, is too fundamental a part of markets to receive so little sociological attention. One perspective that provides a fertile ground for moving ahead with developing an agenda for studying both stability and change in markets is American pragmatist social theory. This article therefore examines the influence of a pragmatist viewpoint on two broad modern theoretical approaches that have implications for the sociology of markets, one focused on stabilization processes, the other on institutional designs for promoting change. Most particularly, it draws on work carried out from a pragmatist viewpoint and illustrates a pragmatic approach to change in markets using the case of the EU's Forest, Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan and initiative.
- Berman, Elizabeth. 2012. "Explaining the Move Toward the Market in Us Academic Science: How Institutional Logics Can Change Without Institutional Entrepreneurs." Theory and Society. 41:3 261-299.
- Organizational institutionalism has shown how institutional entrepreneurs can introduce new logics into fields and push for their broader acceptance. In academic science in the United States, however, market logic gained strength without such an entrepreneurial project. This article proposes an alternative ``practice selection'' model to explain how a new institutional logic can gain strength when local innovations interact with changes outside the field. Actors within a field are always experimenting with practices grounded in a variety of logics. When one logic is dominant, innovations based on alternative logics may have trouble gaining the resources they need to become more broadly institutionalized. But if a changing environment starts systematically to favor practices based on an alternative logic, that logic can become stronger even in the absence of a coherent project to promote it. This is what happened in US academic science, as growing political concern with the economic impact of innovation changed the field's environment in ways that encouraged the spread of local market-logic practices.
- Beckert, Jens. 2013. "Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations in the Economy." Theory and Society. 42:3 219-240.
- Starting from the assumption that decision situations in economic contexts are characterized by fundamental uncertainty, this article argues that the decision-making of intentionally rational actors is anchored in fictions. ``Fictionality'' in economic action is the inhabitation in the mind of an imagined future state of the world and the beliefs in causal mechanisms leading to this future state. Actors are motivated in their actions by the imagined future and organize their activities based on these mental representations. Since these representations are not confined to empirical reality, fictional expectations are also a source of creativity in the economy. Fictionality opens up a way to an understanding of the microfoundations of the dynamics of the economy. The article develops the notion of fictional expectations. It discusses the role of fictional expectations for the dynamics of the economy and addresses the question of how fictional expectations motivate action. The last part relates the notion of fiction to calculation and social macrostructures, especially institutions and cultural frames. The conclusion hints at the research program developing from the concept of fictional expectations.