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Major Award Recipients Honored in Washington, DC

The 2000 recipients of the major ASA awards were honored on August 13 at the Awards Ceremony during the Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The ceremony, presided over by Carole C. Marks, Chair of the ASA Committee on Awards, was attended by Annual Meeting participants, friends, family, and colleagues of the award recipients. The following citations are based on the introductions prepared by each Award Selection Committee Chair.

Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award

Seymour Martin Lipset, George Mason University
Throughout a career spanning more than half a century, Seymour Martin Lipset has addressed questions that lie at the heart of sociology — how individuals, societies, and states shape each other, how social processes constrain and enable forms of government at every scale of human activity. His works are memorable, and we recall some of their evocative titles: Agrarian Socialism, 1950; Union Democracy (with M. Trow and J. S. Coleman), 1953; Political Man, 1960; The First New Nation,1963; American Exceptionalism, 1996. Lipset’s analyses on these and other topics, such as religion, academic institutions, and inequality profoundly influenced subsequent scholarly work. The American Sociological Association is proud to honor this pathbreaking body of work, a past ASA President who is a most creative and imaginative scholar.

Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award

Charles Tilly for Durable Inequality (University of California Press, 1999)
In Durable Inequality, Charles Tilly creates a highly general theory of unequal treatment by social organizations on the basis of pairs of social categories in unequal and interdependent relation to each other, categories like employer-employee, parent-child, male-female, and skilled-unskilled. The number and variety of such categories give great generality to the theory while a single analytical logic for the explanation of inequalities in terms of such categories couples elegance to generality. Four processes, each with a paired proposition, center the theory.  One focuses on exploitation; a second involves opportunity hoarding; a third process/proposition concerns the spread of categorical distinctions by means of organizational emulation of model organization, not solely organizational innovation; and lastly, Tilly argues, categorically rooted inequalities are durable inequalities because people — disadvantaged as well as advantaged — accommodate themselves to them via a process of adaptation.

Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award

George Ritzer, University of Maryland
George Ritzer stands out for his creation of original materials that greatly enhance the teaching of introductory sociology, sociological theory, organizations, and social problems. Many faculty realize the profound impact his books such as The McDonaldization of Society and Enchanting a Disenchanted World have had on undergraduate teaching and learning, while also reaching beyond the academy. His numerous textbooks, including Sociological Theory, Modern Social Theory, Classical Sociological Theory, and Postmodern Social Theory, have clarified abstract sociological concepts and theories for generations of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, rendering “the most complex issues intelligible with disarming lucidity” and providing invaluable bridges to the original works. Ritzer’s contributions to teaching have been further advanced by his essays on teaching, extensive editorial work leading to the production of new teaching materials, and numerous public lectures in the United States and abroad.

Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology

Frances Fox Piven, CUNY-Graduate Center and Richard A. Cloward, Columbia University
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, joint recipients of this year’s award, have directed much of their work to studies of the poor and the disenfranchised. Their prolific and influential writing about these groups is found in both academic and opinion publications.  Beyond their writing, they have taken a giant step toward the application of their scholarship by creating the means to empower the very economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized groups they have studied. For example, they are founders of the National Welfare Rights Organization, whose activities contributed to legislation and policies according greater protection to poor women. They were also founders of the Human Service Employees Registration and the Voter Campaign, which led to the motor-voter legislation. Clearly, there is a most congenial fit between the purpose and spirit of the award and the remarkable achievements of this singular team of social scientists.

Public Understanding of Sociology Award

Arlie Russell Hochschild, University of California-Berkeley
Arlie Russell Hochschild’s influential and provocative work over the past two decades has made her an exemplar of the kind of publicly engaged sociologist that this award was created to recognize. In her writing, teaching, consulting, and other work, she has consistently captured C. Wright Mill’s call to turn personal troubles into public issues. Her three most influential books, The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling, Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home, and The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work, present powerful insights into the conception of work and its interplay with gender and family life. Her books, often written for lay as well as academic audiences, have achieved national and international acclaim and have influenced public policy and labor practices.

Jessie Bernard Award

Maxine Baca Zinn, Michigan State University
Maxine Baca Zinn’s significant cumulative work has expanded the horizons of sociology to encompass fully the role of women.  Indeed, she has gone at least one step further, expanding our understanding of gender to embrace the experiences of women of color.  In addition to her many articles and book chapters, she has co-authored several books on the family, social problems, women of color, and sex and gender.  Her work on the intersection of race, class, and gender places Professor Baca Zinn at the cutting edge of the discipline. She engages beginning students in introductory sociology courses as well as colleagues well-versed in research on race, class, and gender. She has also served her profession well, as an ASA Council member, officer in both Family as well as Sex and Gender Sections, SSSP Board Member, President of the Western Social Science Association, and on innumerable other committees and editorial boards.

DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award

Charles U. Smith, Florida A & M University
This award honors Charles U. Smith’s lifelong commitment to the traditions and legacies of the three great sociologists for whom the award is named.  These traditions—of research, advocacy, and teaching in the cause of racial justice and social equality—are greatly exemplified by “C.U.’s” lifetime of professional activities. Smith has been an active researcher and public voice in the field of the sociology of race from the 1950s onward.  He has also been a strong civil rights advocate whose writings on black protest, civil rights, the psychic costs of segregation, integration and segregation in the schools, and changing U.S. race relations have shaped our thinking and public policy. As activist and advocate, “C.U.” has conducted numerous institutes and programs to facilitate desegregation. As a teacher and academic leader, Smith himself has mentored many students who later became distinguished sociologists in their own right. 

Dissertation Award

Wan He, University of Maryland for “Choice and Constraints: Explaining Chinese Americans’ Low Fertility.”
Wan He’s dissertation constitutes first-class social demography. She examines both affirmative choices and social structural constraints on the fertility decisions of Chinese American women. The results are consistent with the concept of opportunity costs of childbearing as Chinese American women attempt to achieve social and economic mobility, particularly in the first generation. She has done an admirable job of trying to situate choice and constraint constructs within theoretical traditions. The dissertation addresses interesting questions, and is theoretically and methodologically sound, a contribution of qualitative work to quantitative analysis. As a writer, Wan He’s dissertation is a page-turner in the parlance of novel readers, beautifully written in a simple and elegant style, every word is crafted to achieve a purpose, and the narrative provides evidence of a strong and compelling story.