American Sociological Association

Theory Award Recipient History

The Theory Section's Edward Shils- James Coleman Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

Award established in 1996.

2020: Aaron Horvath, "From Accounting to Accountability: Organizational Supererogation and the Transformation of Nonprofit Disclosure."

2019: Amanda Cheong, Princeton University, “Legal Omission as Political Strategy: Motivations for and Consequences of Deliberate Contractions of the State's Administrative Power” 

2019: Neil Gong, University of California, Los Angeles, “That Proves You Mad, Because You Know it Not: Impaired Insight and the Dilemma of Governing Psychiatry Patients as Legal Subjects,” Theory and Society 46(3):201-228. 2017. 

2019 Honorable Mention: Fauzia Husain, University of Virginia, “Hobbled Leadership. Gender And The Engines Of Authority In The Pakistani Police”

2018: Talia Shiff, Northwestern University, “Evaluating the Case: Encounters of Schematic Accordance and Schematic Discordance in Asylum Adjudications”

2018 Honorable Mention: Arvind Karunakaran, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Reconfiguring Accountability: Organizational Accountability in the Age of Smartphones and Social Media”

2018 Honorable Mention: Mikell Hyman, University of Michigan, “When Policy Feedbacks Fail: 'Collective Cooling' in Detroit's Municipal Bankruptcy”

2017: Paige Sweet, University of Illinois-Chicago

2016: Hannah Wohl, “Community Sense: The Cohesive Power of Aesthetic Judgement,” Sociological Theory 33(4):299-326. 2015.

2015: Jonah Stuart Brundage, “The Pacification of Hunting: Elite Conflict, State Formation, and Violence in Early Modern England,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 59(4):786-817. 2017.

2013: Marco Garrido, University of Michigan, "The Sense of Place behind Segregating Practices: An Ethnographic Approach to the Symbolic Partitioning of Metro Manila," Social Forces 91(4):1343-1362. 2013.

2012: Margaret Frye, University of California, Berkeley, "Bright Futures in Malawi's New Dawn: Educational Aspirations as Assertions of Identity," American Journal of Sociology 117(6):1565-1624. 2012.

2011: Álvaro Santana Acuña, Harvard University, "How a Literature Book Becomes a Classic: The Case of García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude"

2010: Jeremy Schulz, University of California, Berkeley, "The Social and Cultural Construction of the Work-Private Life Boundary in Three Countries: A Comparative Study of the Evening Hours in the Lives of French, Norwegian and American Business Professionals"

2009: Michael Strand, Notre Dame, “Institutional Change as a Field Process: The Transformation of American Psychiatry, 1945-1980”

2008: Erin Metz McDonnell, Northwestern University, “Budgetary Units: A Weberian Approach to Consumption,” American Journal of Sociology 119(2):307-350. 2013.

2007: William Wood, Boston College, “(Virtual) Myths,” Pp. 441-478 in Culture, Power, and History: Studies in Critical Sociology. Brill Publishers. 2006.

2005: Daniel E. Adkins, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

2004: Scott Washington, Princeton University, “Principles of Racial Taxonomy”

2003: Erika Summers-Effler, University of Pennsylvania, “The Micro Potential for Social Change: Emotion, Consciousness, and Social Movement Formation,” Sociological Theory 20(1):41-60. 2002.

2002: Adam Isiah Green, New York University, “Gay But Not Queer: Toward a Post-Queer Study of Sexuality,” Theory and Society 31(4):521-545. 2002.

2001: Christopher Stevens, University of Virginia, “The Predictable Nature of the Balinese Cockfight”

2000: Alison Bianchi, Stanford University, “Sentiment and Status Process: A Test Between the Constitutive and Mediator Models”

1999: Eric M. Klinenberg, University of California, Berkeley, “Denaturalizing Disaster: A Social Autopsy of the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave,” Theory and Society 28(2):239-295. 1999.

1998: Wayne Brekhus, Rutgers University, “A Sociology of the Unmarked: Redirecting our Focus,” Sociological Theory 16(1):34-51. 1998.

1997: Ivan Ermakoff, University of Chicago, “Prelates and Princes: Aristocratic Marriages, Canon Law Prohibitions, and Shifts in Norms and Patterns of Domination in the Central Middle Ages,” American Sociological Review 62(3):405-422. 1997.

1996: Timothy James Berard, Boston University, “Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, and the Reformulation of Social Theory,” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 29(3):203-227. 1999.


The Theory Section's Junior Theorist Award

2020: Neil Gong, "Between Tolerant Containment and Concerted Constraint: Managing Madness for the City and the Privileged Family," American Sociological Review 84 (2019): 664-689.

2019: Daniel Winchester and Kyle D. Green. “Talking your self into it: How and when accounts shape motivation for action.” Sociological Theory 37(3): 257-281.

2018: Erin Metz McDonnell, University of Notre Dame, “Patchwork Leviathan: How Pockets of Bureaucratic Governance Flourish within Institutionally Diverse Developing States,” American Sociological Review 82(3):476-510. 2017.

2017: Larissa Buchholz, Northwestern University

2016: Chris Bail, "The Public Life of Secrets: Deception, Disclosure, and Discursive Framing in the Policy Process,” Sociological Theory 33(2):97-124. 2015.

2015: Claudio Benzecry, “An Opera House for the Paris of South America: Pathways to the Institutionalization of High Culture,” Theory and Society 43(2):169-196. 2014.

2014: Clair Laurier Decoteau, University of Illinois, Chicago,  “Hybrid Habitus: Toward a Post-Colonial Theory of Practice,” Political Power and Social Theory 24:263-293. 2013.

2014: Isaac Reed, University of Colorado, Boulder, “Power: Relational, Discursive, and Performative Dimensions,” Sociological Theory 31(3):193-218. 2013.

The Theory Section's Lewis A Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda-Setting

Award established in 2006.

2020: Kimberly Kay Hoang, University of Chicago

2019: Monika Krause, London School of Economics

2018: Julian Go, Boston University

2017: Gabriel Abend, New York University

2016: Iddo Tavory 

2015: Isaac Ariail Reed, University of Colorado

2014: Marion Fourcade, University of California, Berkeley

2013: Omar Lizardo, University of Notre Dame

2012: Ivan Ermakoff, University of Wisconsin, Madison

2011: Philip Gorski, Yale University

2010: Mustafa Emirbayer, University of Wisconsin

2009: Loic Wacquant, University of California, Berekely

2008: Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

2007: George Steinmetz, University of Michigan

2006: Margaret R. Somers, University of Michigan


The Theory Section's Theory Prize

The Theory Prize was first awarded in 1980.

2020: Ari Adut, Reign of Appearances: The Misery and Splendor of the Public Sphere, Cambridge University Press, 2018. 

2020 Honorable Mention: Michal Pagis, Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self, University of Chicago Press, 2019. 

2020 Honorable Mention: Sarah Quinn, American Bonds: How Credit Markets Shaped a Nation, Princeton University Press, 2019. 

2019: Jaeeun Kim, University of Michigan, "Migration-facilitating Capital: A Bourdieusian Theory of International Migration," Sociological Theory 36(3):262-288. 2018.

2018: Gabriel Abend, The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics. Princeton University Press. 2014.

2018: Josh Pacewicz, Partisans and Partners: The Politics of the Post-Keynesian Society. University of Chicago Press. 2016.

2017: Gabriel Abend, New York University

2016: Mustafa Emirbayer and Matthew Desmond, The Racial Order. University of Chicago Press. 2015. 

2015: Erin Metz McDonnell, “Budgetary Units: A Weberian Approach to Consumption,” American Journal of Sociology 119(2):307-350. 2013.

2014: Christian Borch, Copenhagen Business School, The Politics of Crowds: An Alternative History of Sociology. Cambridge University Press. 2012.

2013: Dan Silver, University of Toronto, "The Moodiness of Action," Sociological Theory 29(3):199-222. 2011.

2012: John Levi Martin, University of Chicago, The Explanation of Social Action. Oxford University Press. 2011.

2011: Stephen Vaisey, "Motivation and Justification: A Dual-Process Model of Culture in Action," American Journal of Sociology 114(6):1675-1715. 2009.

2010: John Levi Martin, University of Chicago, Social Structures. Princeton University Press. 2009.

2009: Andreas Wimmer, University of California, Los Angeles

2008: James M. Jasper, Getting Your Way: Strategic Dilemmas in the Real World. University of Chicago Press. 2006.

2008: William H. Sewell, Jr., Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation. University of Chicago Press. 2005.

2007: Jeffrey Alexander, "Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance between Ritual and Strategy," Sociological Theory 22(4):527-573. 2004.

2006: Karin Knorr Cetina and Urs Bruegger, "Global Microstructures: The Virtual Societies of Financial Markets," American Journal of Sociology 107(4):905-950. 2002.

2005: Noah Mark, Stanford University, "Culture and Competition: Homophily and Distancing Explanations for Cultural Niches," American Sociological Review 68(3):319-345. 2003.

2004: Andrew Abbott, University of Chicago, Chaos of the Disciplines. University of Chicago Press. 2001.

2003: Edward J. Lawler, Cornell University, “An Affect Theory of Social Exchange,” American Journal of Sociology 107(2):321-352. 2001.

2002: R.S. Perinbanayagam, Hunter College of the City University of New York, The Presence of Self. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2000.

2001: Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University, “Culture and Cognition,” Annual Review of Sociology 23:263-287. 1997.

2000: Carol A. Heimner and Lisa R. Staffen, Northwestern University, For the Sake of the Children: The Social Organization and Responsibility in the Hospital and the Home. University of Chicago Press. 1998.

1999: Noah Mark, Stanford University, “Beyond Individual Differences: Social Differentiation from First Principles,” American Sociological Review 63(3):309-330. 1998.

1998: Linda D. Molm, University of Arizona, Coercive Power in Social Exchange. Cambridge University Press. 1997.

1997: William H. Sewell, Jr., University of Chicago, “Historical Events as Transformations of Structures: Inventing Revolution at the Bastille,” Theory and Society 25(6):841-881. 1996.

1996: Moishe Postone, University of Chicago, Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory. Cambridge University Press. 1993.

1995: Carol A. Heimer, Northwestern University, “Doing Your Job and Helping Your Friends: Universalistic Norms about Obligations to Particular Others in Networks,” Pp. 143-164 in Networks and Organization: Structure, Form and Action. Harvard Business School Press. 1995.

1994: Donald Black, University of Virginia, The Social Structure of Right and Wrong. Academic Press. 1993.

1993: Michael W. Macy, Brandeis University, “Social Learning and the Structure of Collective Action.” Pp. 1-36 in Advances in Group Processes, Vol 10. JAI Press. 1993.

1991: Alan Wolfe, “Mind, Self, Society, and Computer: Artificial Intelligence and the Sociology of Mind,” American Journal of Sociology 96(5):1073-1096. 1991.

1990: Stephen Kalberg, “Rationalization of Action in Max Weber's Sociology of Religion,” Sociological Theory 8(1):58-84. 1990.

1989: Daniel Chambliss, Hamilton College, “The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers,” Sociological Theory 7(1):70-86. 1989.

1987: Norbert Wiley, University of Illinois, “Early American Sociology and the Polish Peasant,” Sociological Theory 4(1):21-40. 1986.

1986: Ann Shola Orloff Theda Skocpol, “Why Not Equal Protection? Explaining the Politics of Public School Spending in Britain, 1900-1911, and the United States, 1880s-1920,” American Sociological Review 49(6):726-50. 1986.

1985: Mark Granovetter, “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness,” American Journal of Sociology 91(3):418-510. 1985.

1984: Donald Carveth, “Psychoanalysis and Social Theory: The Hobbesian Problem Revisited,” Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought 7(1):43-98. 1984.

1982: Randall Collins, “On the Microfoundations of Macrosociology,” American Journal of Sociology 86(5):984-1014. 1981.

1980: David Rubinstein, “The Concepts of Action in the Social Sciences,” Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior 7(2):209-236. 1977.

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