Contemporary articles citing Lenski G (1966) Power Privilege
models, developed, population, if, growth, lack, condition, mobility, highly, would
- Adkins, Daniel & Stephen Vaisey. 2009. "Toward a Unified Stratification Theory: Structure, Genome, and Status Across Human Societies." Sociological Theory. 27:2 99-121.
- While social scientists and geneticists have a shared interest in the personal characteristics instrumental to status attainment, little has been done to integrate these disparate perspectives. This is unfortunate, as the perspectives offer complementary insights, which, if properly combined, stand to substantially improve understanding of the stratification process. This article synthesizes research from the social sciences and genetics to develop a multistage theory of how social structure moderates the influence of the genome on status outcomes. Its thesis is that the strength of the genome's influence on status is primarily moderated by two properties of social structure-levels of resource inequality and social mobility. Thus, it is theorized that under conditions of low inequality and high social mobility, the influence of the genome on status will be high relative to conditions of high inequality and low social mobility. The essential logic is (1) as inequality increases, the characteristics and abilities intrinsically useful in status attainment are increasingly influenced by individuals' social backgrounds and decreasingly determined by their genomes; and (2) as social closure and inequality increase, the utility of these characteristics and abilities to status attainment is diminished. In sum, a model of status attainment is developed proposing that while both genome and social background influence the status attainment process, the relative importance of these factors is determined by the surrounding structure of the society.
- 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.
- Turner, JH. 2004. "Toward a General Sociological Theory of the Economy." Sociological Theory. 22:2 229-246.
- In the spirit of Gerhard Lenski's macro-level analysis of stratification and societal evolution, a theory of the economy is presented. Like Lenski's work, this theory emphasizes population and power as they interact with production and distribution dynamics. Macro-level social organization in general, and economic processes in particular, are viewed as driven by the forces of population, power, production, and distribution. For each force, a theoretical proposition is presented. Forces are all implicated in each other; the resulting set of principles provides a view of how production and distribution, as the core of an economy, are embedded in population and power processes, and vice versa. The end result is a more general macro-level theory that captures the spirit and substance of Lenski's models of societal organization.
- Nolan, PD. 2003. "Toward an Ecological-evolutionary Theory of the Incidence of Warfare in Preindustrial Societies." Sociological Theory. 21:1 18-30.
- Prompted by the lack of attention by sociologists and the challenge of materialist explanations of warfare in ``precivilized'' societies posed by Keeley (1996), this paper tests and finds support for two materialist hypotheses concerning the likelihood of warfare in preindustrial societies: specifically, that, as argued by ecological-evolutionary theory, dominant mode of subsistence is systematically related to rates of warfare; and that, within some levels of technological development, higher levels of ``population pressure'' are associated with a greater likelihood of warfare. Using warfare measures developed by Ember and Ember (1995), measures of subsistence technology originally developed by Lenski (1966, 1970), and the standard sample of societies developed by Murdock and White (1969), this study finds evidence that warfare is more likely in advanced horticultural and agrarian societies than it is in hunting-and-gathering and simple horticultural societies, and that it is also more likely in hunting-and-gathering and agrarian societies that have above-average population densities. These findings offer substantial support for ecological-evolutionary theory and qualified but intriguing support for ``population pressure'' as explanations of cross-cultural variation in the likelihood of warfare.
- Li, RSK. 2002. "Alternative Routes to State Breakdown: Toward an Integrated Model of Territorial Disintegration." Sociological Theory. 20:1 1-23.
- A theoretical strategy is proposed to integrate competing models of state breakdown by conceptualizing key concepts in these models at a more abstract level. The demographic model, which asserts that rapid population growth can bring about state breakdown when economic and political institutions are too rigid, is extracted from Goldstone's work. The geopolitical model, which argues that deteriorating geopolitical condition can bring about state breakdown if the state is too weak and the economy too unproductive, is extracted from Skoepols and Collins's works. The competing models are conceptualized as alternative and interacting routes to state breakdown where changing population pressure and geopolitical condition may generate integrative or disintegrative tendency depending on state power and productivity. A model describing four dimensions of state power-economic, military, political, and administrative-is constructed to incorporate various conceptualizations of the state in the state breakdown literature. Also integrated in the model is a third alternative route suggesting that rapid market development can generate disintegrative tendency if state power is too low. The synthesized model allows us to see that disintegrative/integrative tendency produced by one route mail intensify or alleviate that generated by another route.
- 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.