Sociology of Education Section Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2009

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Dear Section Members:

This has been a busy and productive year for our section and I am looking forward to seeing many fruits of our labors at the ASA meetings next month. Thanks to the efforts of so many of you, we have an excellent lineup of events including a pre-ASA conference on "New Directions in the Sociology of Education,” 11 sessions, 25 roundtables and the ever-popular Section reception and dinner on Saturday evening. Details for all these events are included in this newsletter. The "New Directions” conference promises to be a big success, with more than 120 people participating, thanks to the hard work of Mitchell Stevens, Amy Binder and Elizabeth Armstrong. The fantastic line up of sessions and roundtables is due to the efforts of the planning committee members Eric Grodsky, Antonia Randolph, Linda Renzulli, Evan Schofer and Elizabeth Stearns.

Our business meeting will be held Saturday August 8th from 3:30-4:10pm. It is open to all section members and I encourage you to attend, especially if you want to get more involved in the section or have ideas about section activities and how to improve the section. As in past years, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is generously sponsoring our reception this year. In addition to reconnecting with colleagues and friends, we will announce and celebrate the winners of the Coleman Award for best article, the Bourdieu Award for best book, and the David Lee Stevenson graduate student paper award. Spaces are still available at the section dinner, if you would like to attend please send in your check soon (see details at the end of the newsletter).

As my time as chair draws to a close, I welcome Brian Powell, the incoming chair (2009-2010) and Chandra Muller, chair elect (2010-2011) to the helm. With these leaders, our section is in very good hands well into the future. In addition to those named above, I have so many people to thank: Carl Schmitt who works tirelessly to maintain and improve our website; Fabian Pfeffer for so ably reviving and maintaining the newsletter; Suet-ling Pong who has served as our top-notch Treasurer/Secretary for the past 4 years; council members Jim Ainsworth, Amy Binder, Eric Grodsky, Ruth Lopez Turley, Meredith Phillips, and Catherine Riegle-Crumb for their excellent counsel on all section related issues; Tom DiPrete, Sigal Alon and Brian Powell who headed up the award committees this year; Sara Goldrick- Rab, Dan McFarland, and David Diehl who took charge of the dinner arrangements. This long (and incomplete) list underscores the point that maintaining a section is like raising a child – it really does take a village. The most rewarding aspect of chairing the section has been working with so many talented people whom I now consider friends.

Lest you think that the newsletter only contains details about the ASA meetings, please read further. You will find intellectually stimulating discussions from David Bills, incoming editor of the Sociology of Education, and Michael Olneck on why Margaret Archer’s work should have been a classic for your summer reading pleasure!

See you in San Francisco,


Section Homepage
American Sociology Association
Newsletter Editor
Fabian T. Pfeffer
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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From the incoming Editor of Sociology of Education by David Bills

In the last issue of the newsletter, Steven Brint provided a review of the last ten years of research published in Sociology of Education . In this issue, the incoming editor David Bills looks into the future of the journal, laying out his vision for Sociology of Education and giving valuable advice for all parties involved in contributing to the success of it.

From the incoming Editor of Sociology of Education
by David Bills

In the last issue of the newsletter, Steven Brint provided a review of the last ten years of research published in Sociology of Education . In this issue, the incoming editor David Bills looks into the future of the journal, laying out his vision for Sociology of Education and giving valuable advice for all parties involved in contributing to the success of it. I appreciate Fabian Pfeffer's invitation to take some space in the Sociology of Education newsletter to introduce myself as the next editor of Sociology of Education and to offer a few thoughts about the future of the journal. (Before I write another sentence, kudos to Fabian for reviving the newsletter and doing such a superb job with it.) I'm excited about the opportunity to work with the sociology of education community in this capacity.

Let me begin with a few thanks and a couple of introductions. I very much appreciate the confidence that the ASA Publications Committee and ASA Council have shown in me by entrusting me with the stewardship of Sociology of Education . I'm aware that relatively few of us get the chance to offer this sort of service to our discipline. I also want to thank Barb Schneider, my endlessly helpful predecessor at SOE, for making the transition of editorial offices as smooth as one could possibly expect. Barb has set the bar high for the next SOE editor, a bar that had already been elevated by a long line of excellent SOE editors. Thanks too to Rob Warren for much useful advice.

I have a doctoral student who has spent the last several months in Miami collecting data for and then writing her dissertation, a qualitative study of the educational aspirations of young immigrants from Cuba . Writing dissertations long-distance is difficult, and to Maria's credit she has kept in regular email contact with me. Often these emails consisted of our shared efforts to work out the sociological implications of her findings, and we consistently found guidance somewhere in the sociological literature – sometimes Merton, sometimes Simmel, sometimes Portes, sometimes Benedict Anderson (close enough to being a sociologist). After a particularly useful exchange, we would often forgo the typical farewell ("best," "yours," "cheers," and so on), and simply sign off "OTSOG." As many readers of this column will recognize, OTSOG comes to us on a circuitous path from Isaac Newton ("if I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants") to Robert Merton's wonderful On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript . As editor, I'll be able to stand on the shoulders of both recent editors like Barbara, Karl Alexander, and Aaron Pallas, but also those of such talented people before them as Maureen Hallinan and Al Kerckhoff. I have great admiration for all of these people, and it's heartening for me that they all resumed productive careers of scholarship after completing their terms as editors. On to some introductions. The list of people in the sociology of education community capable of serving as Deputy Editors is a long one. I could have asked any of several dozen people to serve as Deputy Editor and been happy with an affirmative answer. As it happens, though, the two top people on my list readily accepted my invitation to serve on the editorial team. I'm delighted to be joined by Steven Morgan of Cornell University and Stefanie DeLuca of Johns Hopkins University . Both do research that is as innovative as it is solid, both have high academic values, and maybe most importantly, both know a lot of things that I don't. I'm also delighted that everyone that I invited to serve on the Editorial board accepted. I'll announce the names of these people, without exception talented and accomplished, next month at ASA.

Fabian asked me to say a few things about my vision for the journal. The quick and easy answer is that I want Sociology of Education to continue to do what it's been doing for some time – publish the best empirical and theoretical work in the field. Push the boundaries of scientific knowledge about education. Set the standard for interesting and informative research in the sociology of education. Be the journal that members of our community think of first as the "go to" outlet for their best work. I like Steven Brint's phrase – SOE "defines the center of gravity in the sub-discipline."

I suppose these comments could easily be read as an endorsement of "more of the same," which is actually a reasonable and even ambitious goal in the case of Sociology of Education but one that will not exactly inspire anyone to higher levels of the sociological imagination. (Although I do recall one of my favorite books, Sandy Jencks's Who Gets Ahead, being reviewed as being "a triumph of limited ambition." Thirty years later people are still reading it.) But the vision of maintaining high quality and publishing exemplary work can't be enacted simply by standing on the shoulders of giants. It requires a partnership between the editorial team, the research community, and the too often unsung efforts of manuscript reviewers. Let me say something about each of these participants.

The Editor and Editorial Team

As sociologists, we know that success in a given social role requires adapting one's social repertoire as the demands of that role shift. Less wordily, there is no one best system, for editing a journal or anything else. I recall a conversation that I had several years ago with Yossi Shavit, in which we were comparing our experiences as department chairs. I noted that I had been an aggressive chair, and Yossi noted that he had been a caretaker. We recognized right away that we had each behaved in the way that best benefited our departments at the time. My department was facing a rash of retirements and a tight budget, and Yossi had a faculty of confident and self-directed individuals. I think what Sociology of Education needs from its editor at this point in its history is an aggressive stance on attracting high-quality manuscripts and nurturing the best of them through to publication, but a light touch on what topics those manuscripts should be about. As Steven Brint so brilliantly pointed out in the last issue of this newsletter, the editor of a journal like SOE is simply one member (albeit one playing an influential yet temporary gatekeeping role) of a broader intellectual community that already has well-established norms about what counts as good scholarship. Brint calls this "the collective mind at work." My experience with the collective mind of the sociology of education community is that it is very good at producing new and innovative ideas, but that none of us individually is very good at predicting what those ideas are going to be. Who would have imagined a few years agothat the sociology of education community would have to come to grips with clinical trials, or propensity scores, or the "varieties of capitalism" literature? I'm more interested in tapping in to the collective mind than I am in forcing it into one theoretical or empirical direction or another.

At other times and other places, editors need a stronger hand. My colleague David Brown and I are both currently disappointed with the lack of enough good scholarship on educational credentialism, and have hijacked an issue of Research in Social Stratification and Mobility to try to rectify this. Our goal is to find the best work being done on credentialism and work closely with the authors to develop a thematically coherent volume. Rest assured that our touch in that volume will not be a light one. But now having raised Brint's portrayal of what sociologists of education do as the working of a Durkheimian collective mind, I need to acknowledge that Brint is also quite convincing that Sociology of Education has some gaps. There is little work that compares educational processes and structures across societies. There is a relative inattention to higher education. Most pointedly perhaps, Brint writes that "One conclusion I have drawn from reading a decade's worth of articles in Sociology of Education is that U.S. sociologists of education have relatively little regard for theory." I suppose it's possible that we concede our best comparative work to Comparative Education Review, our best work on postsecondary education to Review of Higher Education, and our best theoretical work to Educational Theory . But even if that's true, a quick look at the ASA Program will show pretty clearly that there is plenty of good scholarship for everybody. SOE 's gain in comparative educational research would not translate into losses for David Post at CER . In short, I think we need to pay attention to the gaps that Brint has identified.

Brint also concludes that "the collective mind of U.S. sociology of education, as represented in its leading journal, is highly quantitative." Should an editor worry that SOE is such a heavily quantitative journal? I think the answer to that is that an editor should worry if good papers that use qualitative methodologies are not being submitted. As my colleague Kevin Leicht is fond of pointing out, 100 percent of papers that are not submitted are not published. This may be especially true of papers that use qualitative methods. I would be perfectly happy with an issue of SOE that consisted solely of papers built around qualitative methods, as long as they were well-crafted, driven by an interesting sociological question, and scientifically meritorious.

The Research Community: Advice for Authors

When I was a young assistant professor trying to establish myself as a serious researcher, I was told by a journal editor that "I have never seen a paper that had so much going for it that still wasn't publishable." That wasn't terribly helpful advice, so let me try to do a little better. The best advice that I can offer to potential SOE authors is simple-lead with a sociologically interesting question. I'm agnostic about whether this question is theoretically-driven or problem-driven, or whether it naturally leads to quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods analysis, or whether it can be traced back to Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. A good paper needs more than technical proficiency, and a good paper needs more than theoretical elegance (these are good things to have though – don't forget about these things). Apropos to what makes a good paper, everyone reading this column who has not already read Glen Firebaugh's Seven Rules for Social Research should read to the end of this column, then drop everything else and read Firebaugh's book. Methods should be the servant not the master. A few years ago Stephen Barley published a splendid little paper in the Academy of Management Review about what to him made a paper especially interesting. His conclusions may not have been startling – interesting papers offer something out of the ordinary in their subject matter, or their methods, or their theory – but Barley was surely on to something. All of us can think of things we've liked about papers we've read in Sociology of Education . But what makes a paper less suitable? What kinds of papers do we find less engaging? Speaking strictly figuratively now, I dislike the following: Papers that suffer from Bourdieuization. Again, I'm speaking figuratively here. Don't take this literally. My aversion to Bourdieuization does not reflect any lack of appreciation on my part of the immense contributions of Pierre Bourdieu to the sociology of education. Rather, it reflects the red flags that go up for me when "Bourdieu" (I could have easily said "social capital" or "MMI" or "Bowles and Gintis") is cited but not used . Concepts and theories are tools that should be exploited as ruthlessly as possible to help find the answer to a research question. They're not fetishes to establish the author's credentials. I like reading Annette Lareau's application of Bourdieuian concepts for understanding how social class plays out in American schools. I'm less persuaded by papers that call on "cultural reproduction" without showing the microfoundations that lead to cultural reproduction.

I'm also especially skeptical of papers that have titles that include "The Effects of …." (Speaking figuratively again, remember? And my apologies to Michael Olneck, whose "The Effects of Education" was a terrific piece of work. I'll make it up to him by pointing out that he uses Bourdieu better than just about anyone.) Papers that lead with "the effects of" often have a tendency to put variables ahead of people, organizations, and institutions in their attempts to account for social behavior. Clearly, we need to analyze the relationships among variables and to do so with great care and diligence. But we need to do this in the service of answering interesting sociological questions, rather than simply rank ordering effect sizes.

Let me give an example of the kind of paper that does things well – has an interesting sociological question, answers it in a persuasive and appropriate way, and draws some insightful conclusions. I've always liked a 2003 article by Paul Kingston and his colleagues, entitled "Why Education Matters." Kingston et al. could easily have called their paper "The Effects of Education on Attitudes," (and Google finds a few titles like that), run some regression models, and called it a day. But they were concerned with the more sociologically interesting "why" question. Does education matter because it socializes people? Because it allocates them into hierarchical social positions? Because it makes them smarter? Because it provides a way for their parents to pass on their privileges? Kingston and his colleagues set out a puzzle for us, and following their efforts to sort this out made for some good reading.


Since Don Tomaskovic-Devey called me a few months ago and asked me to accept the editorship of SOE, I've taken the opportunity to read my way into the history of blind peer review in scientific journals. It's no surprise that this history is as full of disagreement and unresolved issues as any other area of scholarship, but one conclusion is clear. Without serious, committed, and conscientious peer review, the whole enterprise will collapse. Whatever the pitfalls of blind peer review, we as sociologists depend on it. SOE depends on it. I am going to ask a very high proportion of the readers of this column to review SOE manuscripts over the next three years. Just say yes. Of course you're busy. We're all busy. Say yes anyway. Whatever missed opportunities, bad decisions, and other blunders I've made in my career, I have never once refused a request to review. I'm not sure I could refuse with the thought of my grad school mentors Bill Sewell, Arch Haller, and Bob Hauser figuratively looking over my shoulder. As a profession, we probably don't do a very good job of teaching graduate students and assistant professors the craft of writing a good review. I can't settle that one here, but would direct readers toward a fine collection of articles on the topic "Making the Most of the Review Process: Lessons from Award-Winning Authors" in Volume 49 (2) of the 2006 Academy of Management Review . There are good resources all over the web – I ransacked Gary Natriello's web site years ago for his terrific essays on peer review, and I still give these essays to my grad students. The success of SOE needs senior, elite scholars to write reviews. It needs mid-career scholars to write reviews, and it needs graduate students and new Ph.D.s to write reviews. Each of these people brings something different to the table.

I used the term "gatekeeper" a few paragraphs ago, but on reflection that may not be the best term to describe what I hope to achieve as editor. Maybe more of a basketball coach, or maybe a train dispatcher. The reception I would like to see when a new issue of SOE is released is "Wow, there are really some smart people in this community," and not "Bills and Morgan and DeLuca did a pretty good job with that one." The journal belongs to the community. So please take a moment in San Francisco to introduce yourself to me as part of the sociology of education community, or renew one of the many friendships I have in the community, or drop me an email, or otherwise be in touch.

David Bills
Professor of Sociology, University of Iowa Incoming Editor, Sociology of Education

It Should Have Been A Classic! The Work of Margaret Archer
by Michael Olneck

With Michael Olneck's contribution, we inaugurate a new series for which section members are welcome to submit a review of a major sociology of education book or body of work that in their opinion provided crucial new insights, presented key theoretical advancements, or showed the potential to re-orient the field – but still failed to make it onto most syllabi and standard reading lists.

Unless you are a specialist in the area of education expansion and change it is likely that you are unfamiliar with the work of Margaret Archer. Few American introductory sociology of education courses include her on the syllabus, relying, instead, if they treat the topic at all, on the work of John Meyer, John Boli, Francisco Ramirez, Randall Collins, Pamela Barnhouse Walters, Richard Rubinson, and John Ralph. Randall Collins does not include a single citation to Archer in his chapter on "Comparative and Historical Patterns of Education" in Maureen Hallinan's 2002 Handbook of the Sociology of Education . Pamela Barnhouse Walters cites Archer only once in her chapter "The Limits of Growth: School Expansion and School Reform in Historical Perspective" in the same volume, and that is in reference to historical empiricalities in Western Europe , not in reference to Archer's theoretical contributions. Neither the American Journal of Sociology nor Contemporary Sociology published reviews of her voluminous (815 pages) Social Origins of Educational Systems (SAGE, 1979). i

While I am venturing far from my own areas of expertise in hailing Archer's work, and American sociologists of education expansion and change may harbor reservations about it of which I am unaware, I nevertheless believe that Archer's work can be fruitfully read and applied by both historians and sociologists of education. While that may fall short of nominating Social Origins or Archer's corpus in toto for "classic" status, my reluctance to do so reflects my sense of my own limitations, and my instinctive caution, not a judgement on the work. Perhaps a sociologist of sociology could answer the question of whether if a work should be a classic, wouldn't it already be one? In the present case, the answer may have something to do with our usual horizons of reading not extending beyond the edge of the pond.ii

Archer's self-described preoccupation is with "the problem of structure and agency"iii which she first approached by studying the sources, development, and consequences of the structure of state education systems. This is the work that attracted my attention. Subsequent to this initial work, in Culture and Agency: The Place of Culture in Social Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1988), Archer considered the structuring of culture and of social institutions, and the interaction between these. In Social Origins of Educational Systems, Archer had applied a "morphogenetic approach," schematized as "Structural Conditioning-Social Interaction-Structural Elaboration." She spelled out this approach more fully in Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Concerned that even the theoretical basis in which she had grounded herself over-emphasized the ways in which structural and cultural properties of society are transmitted to agents and condition their actions, and neglected how these properties are received by and responded to agents, Archer reoriented her work toward the latter in three books which followed, Being Human: The Problem of Agency ( Cambridge University Press, 2000), Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and Making Our Way Through the World: Human Reflexivity and Social Mobility ( Cambridge University Press, 2007). Most recently, Archer has applied her analysis of the development of education to the question of whether contemporary education systems can be oriented to the common good, as understood through the concepts of human dignity, subsidiarity, and solidarity in Catholic Social Doctrine, a question which brought to my mind David Labaree's secular characterization of public education as an "inescapably public good."iv

Archer's work exhibits theoretical evolution and elaboration, and relies upon multiple sources of inspiration. v These include, in particular, David Lockwood's article 1964 "Social Integration and System Integration," vi which informs Archer's insistence on the distinction between cultural system and sociocultural interaction, Walter Buckley's Sociology and Modern Systems (Prentice-Hall, 1967), from which she drew her initial ideas about morphogenesis, Karl Popper's Objective Knowledge (Clarendon Press, 1972) from which she adapted her application of analytical dualism, and Roy Bhaskar's Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom (Verso, 1993) which informed the view of "emergence" which Archer developed in Realist Social Theory (1995). While recognizing both the continuity and originality in Archer's theoretical construction, Lilli Zeuner (see below, note 5) has suggested that there are discrepancies between Archer's use of particular theoretical elements and their sources, thus introducing contradictions into her own theorizing. I am not in a position to evaluate Zeuner's criticisms. Reading them did, however, reinforce my view that Archer's work offers a valuable, unusually systematic, complex, and expansive theoretical model, of broad applicability, however imperfect it may be.

For those deterred from taking up a volume of over 800 pages, there are, fortunately, two good synopses of Archer's approach to analyzing the origins and development of national education systems. One is "Introduction: Theorizing About the Expansion of Educational Systems," Pp. 3-64 in M. Archer (ed.), The Sociology of Educational Expansion; Take-off, Growth and Inflation in Educational Systems (SAGE, 1982). The other is a slightly revised version of Chapters 2 and 3 from the 1983 University Edition of Social Origins of Educational Systems . This is published as "Social Origins of Educational Systems," Pp. 3-34 in J. Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (Greenwood Press, 1986).

Archer's analysis of the development of state education systems, defined as " a nationwide and differentiated collection of institutions devoted to formal education, whose overall control and supervision is at least partly governmental and whose component parts and processes are related to one another " (Archer, 1986, p. 3; original italics), begins at the point at which educational control is rooted in private ownership, a single group exercises control of education, and schooling is integrated with only one other sector or institution in a society (e.g., the Church). It proceeds to points at which the domination of education by a single group is challenged by the "assertions" on the part of other groups seeking to overthrow the dominant group's exclusive control of education. The success of these challenges depends upon the inability of dominant groups to sustain their monopoly by maintaining control over education resources, by securing adherence to an ideology that legitimizes their monopoly, and by placing constraints on alternative groups from supplying education facilities. Challenges to education monopolization arise when the educational "outputs" of the existing arrangements fail to provide for the needs of groups making gains outside of the education system, for example, entrepreneurs, merchants, or religious dissenters.

Successful challenges require numerical support and organizational strength, which provide bargaining power, an appealing counter-ideology, and, of decisive consequence, instrumental activities of one of two kinds, "substitution" or "restriction," each of which produce distinctive patterns of subsequent education development, or structural elaboration. Substitution entails the provision of new education facilities that compete on an education market. Restriction consists of coercively expelling the formally dominant group from the education sphere. The subsequent structural elaboration of state systems depends crucially on their origin through restriction or through substitution. In either case, education develops in ways which integrate it-not necessarily smoothly-with a plurality of societal institutions, and no longer limit its province to one sector or institution.

The structural elaboration of state education systems entails the theoretically significant development of emergent properties, which condition further interaction around education, and facilitate or constrain future education outputs. These are "unification," "systematization," "differentiation," and "specialization." Unification, which varies in administrative extensiveness and intensity depending upon the origins of the system in restriction or substitution, " involves the incorporation or development of diverse establishments, activities, and personnel under a central, national, and specifically educational framework of administration," resulting, again in varying trajectories and degrees, "in certain uniform controls emanating from the center and the standardization of certain educational inputs, processes, and outputs on a nationwide basis" (Archer, 1986, p. 25; original italics). "Systemization" consists of how the parts of the education system are related to one another ( e.g., separate and parallel, or sequentially articulated), and to how uniform assessment and teacher training and recruitment are. "Differentiation" refers to the extent and manner in which education is provided by a specialized collectivity whose roles in teaching, administration, and transmitting definitions of instruction are relatively autonomous from other social institutions. Perhaps paradoxically, the more integrated education is with multiple institutions in society ( e.g., occupational positions; citizenship socialization), the more differentiated it is, suggesting, perhaps, the less responsive it will be to the needs of any particular claimant. Finally, "specialization" refers to variety and differentiation within the education system with respect to such matters as roles, goals, pathways, curricula, assessment, and qualifications. Each of these aspects of structural elaboration develop from social interaction among actors with varying interests and power, therefore the specific outcomes are not necessarily complementary, optimally efficient, or better adapted to the environment. Indeed, Archer's argument is that " the actual nature of educational expansion was something which nobody wanted and was in no sense necessary " (Archer, 1982, p. 54).

What drew my favorable attention to Archer in the first place is that hers was the first work on education expansion that I had encountered which assigns the particular structure of the education system, itself attributable to prior interactions among actors differentially positioned in existing social structures, significance for further interactions, for further structural elaboration and growth, and for further education outputs. It emphasizes as well the importance for the development of education systems the interests and actions of the professionals who staff schools, colleges, and universities. These seemed to me to be valuable correctives to theoretical interpretations of education growth and change which emphasized the power of world-wide institutionalized mythologies, human capital imperatives, social control aspirations, and micro - evel status competition dynamics for determining education systems and their consequences, yet gave little or no consideration to the system pivotal to their claims. At the same time, Archer's work offered promise of reinterpretation of education histories to derive more systematic theoretical generalization, and to realize their comparative potential.

I would be pleased if this short introduction to Margaret Archer's work contributed to the realization of that work's promise among American sociologists of education. Particularly as American education experiences intense pressures for "accountability" to ensure the value of its "products," as more and more students pursue higher education only because they fear the liability of not continuing on when so many others do so, as technical colleges advertise their "practical" superiority over traditional liberal arts campuses and on-line "universities" compete for students, and as the stratification of education institutions, faculty, and students alike increases, Archer's work would seem timely. vii

Michael Olneck
Professor Emeritus of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison


i.The book was reviewed, along with others, by John Craig for American Journal of Education (v. 89, 1981, pp. 189-211). It was reviewed, as well, by Vandra Lea Masemann in Comparative Education Review (v. 25, 1981, pp. 111-115).
ii. Excepting, of course, Pierre Bourdieu, and Basil Bernstein. Bernstein is the 2001 recipient of the Willard Waller Award for Lifetime Career Achievements in Sociology of Education. While crediting both Bernstein and Bourdieu for their contributions to her own intellectual development, Archer criticizes them for neglecting the structural mechanisms that account, in Bernstein's case, for the school's incorporation of "elaborated codes," and, in Bourdieu's, for the incorporation and imposition of the elite's "cultural arbitrary." She criticizes them, as well, for implicitly assuming the national systems with which they were familiar while purporting to develop universally applicable theoretical models. See M. Archer, "Process without System: Basil Bernstein and Pierre Bourdieu," Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 24 (1983): 196-221.
iii. M. Archer's website is:
iv. M. Archer, "Education, Subsidiarity and Solidarity: Past, Present and Future', Pp. 377-415 in M. Archer and P. Donati (Eds.), The Common Good: How Subsidiarity and Solidarity Can Work Together (Vatican City Press, 2008). D. Labaree, "No Exit: Public Education as an Inescapably Public Good," Pp. 110-129 in L. Cuban and D. Shipps (eds.), Reconstructing the Common Good in Education ( Stanford University Press, 2000).
v. I am relying here on Llli Zeuner's account in "Margaret Archer on Structural and Cultural Morphogenesis," Acta Sociologica 42 (1999): 79-86.
vi. In G. K. Zollschan & W. Hirsch (eds.), Explorations in Social Change (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964).
vii. For analyses of the current crisis in education credentials, see Randall Collins, "Crises and Declines in Credential Systems," Pp. 191-215 in R. Collins, Sociology Since Midcentury: Essays in Theory Cumulation (Academic press, 1981), and Randall Collins, "Credentials Inflation and the Future of Universities," Pp. 23 - 6 in S. Brint (ed.), The Future of the City of Intellect : The Changing American University ( Stanford University Press, 2002). For discussion of the shift toward "practical" curricula in higher education, see Steven Brint et al., "From the Liberal to the Practical Arts in American Colleges and Universities: Organizational Analysis and Curricular Change." Journal of Higher Education 76 (2005): 151 - 80.

News from Section Members: Books

School Principal. Managing in Public

by Dan C. Lortie

When we think about school principals, most of us imagine a figure of vague, yet intimidating authority—for an elementary school student, being sent to the principal's office is roughly on par with a trip to Orwell's Room 101. But with School Principal, Dan C. Lortie aims to change that. Much as he did for teachers with his groundbreaking book Schoolteacher, Lortie offers here an intensive and detailed look at principals, painting a compelling portrait of what they do, how they do it, and why. Lortie begins with a brief history of the job before turning to the daily work of a principal. These men and women, he finds, stand at the center of a constellation of competing interests around and within the school. School district officials, teachers, parents, and students all have needs and demands that frequently clash, and it is the principal's job to manage these conflicting expectations to best serve the public. Unsurprisingly then, Lortie records his subjects' professional dissatisfactions, but he also vividly depicts the pleasures of their work and the pride they take in their accomplishments. Finally, School Principal offers a glimpse of the future with an analysis of current issues and trends in education, including the increasing presence of women in the role and the effects of widespread testing mandated by the government. Lortie's scope is both broad and deep, offering an eminently useful range of perspectives on his subject. From the day-to-day toil to the long-term course of an entire career, from finding out just what goes on inside that office to mapping out the larger social and organizational context of the job, School Principal is a truly comprehensive account of a little-understood profession.

World Society. The Writings of John W. Meyer

edited by Georg Krücken and Gili S. Drori

John W. Meyer's work broke new grounds in institutional thought in sociology and made him a central thinker for the emerging interdisciplinary field of neo institutionalism, while at the same time establishing institutional thought's comparative variant, world society theory. His scholarship plays a prominent role in contemporary social theory, and has shaped research areas such as international relations and globalization, organization theory, and management studies. One of the results of Meyer's wide-ranging and interdisciplinary influence is that his work has appeared in a diverse range of outlets. This book brings together some of John W. Meyer's widely-scattered work, reviewing four decades of scholarship, and adding several original pieces from Meyer's current work. It gathers substantive commentary on social processes, from stratification to globalization to socialization, as well as on key social institutions, from science to religion to law to education. In its expansive review, this book is both about neoinstitutional thought in general and world society theory in particular. This book is both by John W. Meyer and about John W. Meyer: to the compilation of Meyer's canonized and current work, Georg Krücken and Gili S. Drori add an essay on the theoretical and empirical contribution of Meyer's institutional theory, placing it within the broader context of contemporary social theory, globalization research, and organizational studies in both in the United States and Europe .

Features • Key works from a leading intellectual figure in Organization Studies and Sociology • Meyer contributes several new pieces, including a retrospective of his last four decades of influential scholarship • Ranges from social processes, such as stratification, globalization, and socialization, to social institutions, such as science, religion, law, and education • Includes editorial commentary, a bibliography of all Meyer's published work

News from Section Members: Awards

Kiat - Jin LEE

NCID Emerging Diversity Scholar

In April 2009, Kiat-Jin Lee accepted a NCID Emerging Diversity Scholar citation by the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan , Ann Arbor , for possessing ‘significant potential to contribute to diversity-related scholarship'. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the New School for Social Research in 2007 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Singapore World Society The Writings of John W. Meyer ?? edited by Georg Krücken and Gili S. Drori

New Council Members

The Votes are in!

Section members elected the following new leaders: Chandra Muller (chair-elect), Karolyn Tyson (treasurer/secretary), Sara Goldrick-Rab (council), Angel Harris (council). Thanks to nominations committee members Barbara Schneider, Doug Downey, Josipa Roksa, and Monique Payne for their excellent work in conducting the nominations and election process. Thanks to all members who were willing to serve as candidates in the election. New section officers officially begin their terms immediately after the ASA meeting.

Thus the 2009-2010 section leadership is as follows:


Brian Powell, Indiana University

Chair - elect

Chandra Muller, University of Texas

Past - chair

Claudia Buchmann, Ohio State University


Karolyn Tyson, University of North Carolina

Council members

  • Jim Ainsworth, Georgia State University
  • Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin
  • Eric Grodsky, University of Minnesota
  • Angel Harris, Princeton University
  • Ruth Lopez Turley, University of Wisconsin
  • Fabian Pfeffer (Student Member) University of Wisconsin
  • Catherine Riegle-Crumb, University of Texas

Sociology of Education Sessions & Events at the 2009 ASA Meeting

Friday, August 7, 8:30am - 6:00pm (Hilton San Francisco)

Pre - Conference: New Directions in the Sociology of Education

Chair: Claudia Buchmann ( Ohio State University )

Organizers: Elizabeth A. Armstrong ( Indiana University ), Amy J. Binder ( University of California-San Diego), Mitchell L. Stevens ( Stanford University ) Registration is now full.

The conference begins with coffee and registration in Continental Rooms 1-3 of the Hilton Hotel. Check the website index.html (click here: for details and updates; email Mitchell Stevens with questions.

Saturday, August 8, 8:30am - 10:10am (Parc 55 Hotel) Higher Education and Social Stratification

Organizer & Presider: Eric Grodsky ( University of Minnesota )

First - generation Post - secondary Students: Income and Class Over the Life Course

Shawn Bauldry ( University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)

Inequalities at the Outset: Identifying Factors that Affect Parents' Thoughts and Perceptions of Paying for College

Deborah Marie Warnock ( University of Washington )

Institutional Transfer and the Management of Risk in Higher Education

Regina Deil-Amen ( University of Arizona ), Sara Goldrick-Rab ( University of Wisconsin-Madison )

Learning to Reason and Communicate in College: Findings from the CLA Longitudinal Study

Richard Arum ( New York University ), Josipa Roksa ( University of Virginia ), Melissa Velez (New York University)

Saturday, August 8, 10:30am - 12:10pm (Parc 55 Hotel) Education from Comparative and International Perspectives

Organizer & Presider: Evan Schofer ( University of California-Irvine )

Cross - National Differences in Educational Achievement Inequality

Guillermo Ernesto Montt ( University of Notre Dame)

Student - Centeredness in Social Science Textbooks, 1970 - 2008: A Cross - National Study

Patricia Bromley Martin ( Stanford University ), John W. Meyer ( Stanford University ), Francisco O. Ramirez ( Stanford University )

Teaching Diversity, Teaching Citizenship: Comparisons from Europe and Asia

Yasemin Soysal ( University of Essex ), Suk-Ying Wong ( Chinese University of Hong Kong )

Vocational Education and Civic Participation: Institutional Effects in 17 Countries

Herman G. Van De Werfhorst ( University of Amsterdam )

Women's Share of Tertiary Education: A Cross - National Analysis

Anne E. McDaniel ( Ohio State University )

Saturday, August 8, 2:30pm - 3:30pm (Parc 55 Hotel) Sociology of Education Invited Session

10 Mistakes to Avoid when Publishing and Funding Your Research

In this special one hour session, three noted scholars provide advice and answer questions about how to publish in peer-reviewed journals and secure funding for research in today's competitive environment. Organizer: Claudia Buchmann ( Ohio State University ) Panelist: Barbara L. Schneider ( Michigan State University ) Panelist: Chandra Muller ( University of Texas ) Panelist: George Farkas ( University of California-Irvine )

Saturday, August 8, 3:30pm - 4:10pm (Parc 55 Hotel)

Sociology of Education Business Meeting

Saturday, August 8, 4:30pm - 6:10pm (Parc 55 Hotel)


Organizer: Ruth N. López Turley ( University of Wisconsin-Madison ) Table 01. Academic Departments and Disciplines Table 02. Aspirations and Expectations Table 03. College Admissions and Persistence Table 04. Community, Place, and Home Environment Table 05. Early Childhood Table 06. Education Policy Table 07. Friendships Table 08. Gender Gaps Table 09. Geographic Mobility, Migration, and Immigration Table 10. Health and Mental Health Table 11. Higher Education Table 12. Latinos Table 13. Mate Selection and Motherhood Table 14. Role of Parents Table 15. Role of Teachers and Curricula Table 16. School Organization and Finance Table 17. SES, Poverty, and First Generation College Students Table 18. Sexism and Sexuality Table 19. Social Capital Table 20. Social Networks Table 21. Social Psychology Table 22. Special Education Table 23. Supplemental Education and Methodology Table 24. Teaching and Technology Table 25. Tracking and Course Taking

Saturday, August 8, 6:30pm - 8:00pm (Parc 55 Hotel)

Sociology of Education Reception

Saturday, August 8, 8 p.m. Sociology of Education Section Dinner

See details below

Sunday, August 9, 8:30am - 10:10am (Hilton San Francisco) School Resources and Student Achievement

Organizer & Presider: Elizabeth Stearns ( University of North Carolina-Charlotte ) Discussant: Susan E. Eaton ( Harvard University )

Nonschool Problems and Desegregation: Declining School Effectiveness in a Context of Worsening Urban Disadvantage

Argun Saatcioglu ( University of Kansas )

School Enrollment Changes and Achievement Growth: A Case Study in Educational Disruption and Continuity

Jeffrey Grigg ( University of Wisconsin-Madison )

Sports Participation and Academic Achievement: A New Statistical Approach to a Classic Question

Kristina Lillian Zeiser ( Penn State University )

The Continuing Relationship Between Racial and Socioeconomic Composition and Achievement in North Carolina Schools

Stephanie Southworth ( University of North Carolina at Charlotte )

Sunday, August 9, 10:30am - 12:10pm (Parc 55 Hotel) Gender in Higher Education

Organizer: Antonia M. Randolph ( University of Delaware ) Discussant: Kimberlee A. Shauman ( University of California , Davis )

Gender Socialization in Adolescent Family/School Contexts and Females's Advantage in College Completion

Irenee R. Beattie ( University of California-Merced ), Lyssa L. Thaden ( Washington State University )

The Increasing Importance of Higher Education for Gender Differences in Earnings

Donna Bobbitt-Zeher (The Ohio State University )

Where are the Brothers? Examining The Gender Gap in College Enrollment among African Americans

Darlene F. Saporu ( Ohio State University )

Who Enters and Exits the Sciences? New Evidence Concerning Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Field

Catherine Riegle-Crumb ( University of Texas-Austin ), Barbara King ( University of Texas-Austin )

Sunday, August 9, 10:30am - 12:10pm (Hilton San Francisco) Schools, Families and Communities

Organizer: Linda Renzulli ( University of Georgia ) Presider: Tomeka M. Davis ( Georgia State University ) Discussant: Joyce L. Epstein ( Johns Hopkins University )

(Re)Constructing Community: The Politics of Middle - Class Parent Organizing for Urban Public School Reform

Linn Posey ( University of California-Berkeley )

Critical Mass: Parent Involvement as a Collective Action Problem in Urban Public Schools

Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick ( University of Chicago )

Switching Social Contexts: The Effects of Housing Mobility and School Choice Programs on Youth Outcomes

Stefanie Ann DeLuca ( Johns Hopkins University ), Elizabeth Dayton ( Johns Hopkins University )

The Role of Co - ethnic Communities in Asian and Latino Parent Involvement in Schooling

Joshua Klugman ( Temple University ), Jennifer C. Lee ( Indiana University ), Shelley L Nelson (Indiana University)

Sunday, August 9, 2:30pm - 4:10pm (Hilton San Francisco) Comparative Perspectives on Education and Inequality

Organizer: Antonia M. Randolph ( University of Delaware ) Presider & Discussant: Andrew Penner ( University of California-Irvine )

A Cross - national Comparison of Educational Policy Impacts on Social Stratification

Stephanie M. Arnett ( University of Notre Dame)

Curriculum Implementation and Gender Differences in Mathematical Achievement: A Comparative Study

Hanna Ayalon ( Tel Aviv University ), Edit Livneh ( Tel Aviv University )

Effects of Parental Involvement on Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes among Korean Middle - school Students: A Longitudinal Study

Hyunjoon Park ( University of Pennsylvania ), Kyung-keun Kim ( Korea University ), Soo-yong Byun ( University of North Carolina )

Private Schools and Peer Effects in 63 Countries

Daniel A. Long ( Wesleyan University ), Madeline Weiss ( Wesleyan University )

The Worldwide Expansion of Early Childhood Programs, 1985 - 2005

Christine Min Wotipka ( Stanford University ), Minako Sugawara (Japan International Cooperation Agency)

Monday, August 10, 8:30am - 10:10am (Hilton San Francisco) Race, Ethnicity, Immigration and Achievement

Organizer & Discussant: Antonia M. Randolph ( University of Delaware )

Linguistic Adaptation among Adolescent Children of Immigrants: The Role of Perceived Discrimination

Maria Medvedeva ( University of Chicago )

Parental Involvement, Effort and the Black - White Test Score Gap

Jacqueline Cooke Rivers ( Harvard University )

Stereotype Threat and the Academic Performance of Chinese Students

Ming Tsui ( Millsaps College )

The Role of Wealth and Learning Opportunities in the Emergence of the Black - White Achievement Gap

Elizabeth A. Covay ( University of Notre Dame)

Monday, August 10, 4:30pm - 6:10pm (Parc 55 Hotel) School Choice

Organizer: Antonia M. Randolph ( University of Delaware ) Presider & Discussant: Robert C. Bulman ( Saint Marys College of California )

Brain Drain: The Effects of Within - district Choice in Oakland , California

Noa Broege ( University of California-Berkeley )

Does School Choice Matter? And What Determines Parental Choices?

Wen-Chun Chen ( Pennsylvania State University ), Suet-ling Pong ( Pennsylvania State University )

Markets and Achievement: Does School Choice Promote Organization and Mass Performance?

Tomeka M. Davis ( Georgia State University )

School Choice as Social Movement: Does Community Instability Predict Charter School Implementation?

Heather E. Price ( University of Notre Dame)

Tuesday, August 11, 10:30am - 12:10pm (Parc 55 Hotel) Stratification

Organizer: Antonia M. Randolph ( University of Delaware ) Presider & Discussant: Michael R. Olneck ( University of Wisconsin-Madison )

Academic Enrichment Organizations: The Transmission of Cultural Capital among Underrepresented Minority Undergraduates

Sarah M. Ovink ( University of California-Davis ), Brian D. Veazey ( University of California Davis )

Choice and Segregation in the Nation's Capital: The Racial Landscape of District of Columbia Schools

Nicole Deterding ( Harvard University )

Cultural Capital and Concerted Cultivation: The Relationship Between Long - term Participation in Activities and Educational Outcomes

Susan A. Dumais ( Louisiana State University )

The Legacy of Disadvantage: Multigenerational Neighborhood Effects on Children's Cognitive Ability

Felix Elwert ( University of Wisconsin-Madison ), Patrick T. Sharkey ( New York University )

Tuesday, August 11, 2:30pm - 4:10pm (Hilton San Francisco ) Transitions to and from College

Organizer: Antonia M. Randolph ( University of Delaware ) Presider & Discussant: Kevin J. Dougherty ( Columbia University )

Beyond Blaming Students: How School Programs May Reduce Gaps in the College Enrollment Process

Jennifer L. Stephan (Northwestern University), James Rosenbaum (Northwestern University)

Promoting Complementary Ties: The Role of High Schools in Adolescents's Transitions to Postsecondary Education

Doo Hwan Kim (The Chinese University of Hong Kong ), Barbara L. Schneider ( Michigan State University )

Those Who Choose and Those Who Don't: Social Background and College Orientation

Eric Grodsky ( University of Minnesota ), Catherine Riegle-Crumb ( University of Texas-Austin )

Tied In or Tied Down? Links between College Credentials and the Labor Market

Josipa Roksa ( University of Virginia ), Tania G. Levey ( City University of New York-York College)

Annual Sociology of Education Dinner

Saturday, August 8 th , 8 p.m. Immediately following the Section Reception Our Local Arrangements Committee members, Sara Goldrick-Rab and Dan McFarland have found a wonderful setting for our Section dinner that provides that vital combination of good food, good drink, and good friends.

R&G Lounge, 631 Kearney Street at Clay St., Chinatown

For directions from the conference hotel click here:

The dinner is $55 per person, inclusive of all taxes and gratuities. Wine and beer and other beverages are available for purchase. Space is limited to 125 people and only about 30 seats are still available . Please reserve your seat by making payment by check. Make your check payable to: DAVID DIEHL Mail your check to: David Diehl, 1265 Church Street , San Francisco , CA 94114 Be sure to mark "SOE dinner" on the envelope. Direct any questions to David ( ).

The dinner includes the following menu, served family style to each table.


Chef's Special Combination Appetizer
(Vegetables rolls, Salt & Pepper Pumpkin, Barbeque Pork)

– Hot & Sour Soup (vegetarian)

– Three Treasures with Black Bean Sauce (vegetarian)

– Salt & Pepper Crab

– Peking Duck With Buns

– Chinese Melon & Bean Vermicelli in Clay Pot (vegetarian)

– R & G Special Beef

– Prawns with Honey Glazed Walnuts

– Fresh Wild Mushroom Chow Mein (vegetarian)

– Dessert *All vegetarian dishes will contain no meat, no seafood, including in any broths, etc.

Hot tea will be served at the start of the meal

In the next issue … We are trying to develop the newsletter further and welcome suggestions and contributions. The fall issue will include the following sections (among others):

Recommend an Education Blog!

We would like to put together a list of blogs relevant to our field and invite both authors and readers of blogs on the topic of education to submit their recommendations. Please provide the following information: link, author (if known), 1-2 sentence description of topics generally covered

"Five Questions to …"

Section members are welcome to submit suggestions for interviews or, better yet, interview questions to be posed to a leading scholar of the field.

Announcements from you

We would like to expand the announcement section to include life events and career transitions, awards and honors. Please let us know about your news!

Submit contributions for the next newsletter to