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The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology

Providing an authoritative and comprehensive overview of the classical and the

contemporary, this volume is an indispensable guide to the vibrant and

expanding field of sociology. Featuring over 600 entries, from concise definitions

to discursive essays, written by leading international academics, the Dictionary

offers a truly global perspective, examining both American and European traditions

and approaches. Entries cover schools, theories, theorists, and debates,

with substantial articles on all key topics in the field. While recognizing the

richness of historical sociological traditions, the Dictionary also looks forward to

new and evolving influences such as cultural change, genetics, globalization,

information technologies, new wars, and terrorism. Most entries incorporate

references for further reading, and a cross-referencing system enables easy

access to related areas. This Dictionary is an invaluable reference work for

students and academics alike and will help to define the field of sociology in

years to come.

BRYAN S. TURNER is Professor of Sociology in the Asia Research Institute at the

National University of Singapore, where he leads the research team for the

Religion and Globalisation cluster. Prior to this, he was Professor of Sociology

in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Turner is the author of The New Medical Sociology (2004) and Society and

Culture: Principles of Scarcity and Solidarity (with Chris Rojek, 2001), and is the

founding editor of the Journal of Classical Sociology (with John O’Neill), Body &

Society (with Mike Featherstone), and Citizenship Studies. He is currently writing a

three-volume study on the sociology of religion for Cambridge University Press.


Ira Cohen, Rutgers University

Jeff Manza, Northwestern University

Gianfranco Poggi, Universita di Trento

Beth Schneider, University of California, Santa Barbara

Susan Silbey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Carol Smart, University of Leeds


Cambridge Dictionary of


General Editor



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Cambridge University Press

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First published in print format

ISBN-13 978-0-521-83290-8

ISBN-13 978-0-521-54046-9

ISBN-13 978-0-511-37145-5

© Cambridge University Press 2006


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without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

ISBN-10 0-511-37145-4

ISBN-10 0-521-83290-X

ISBN-10 0-521-54046-1

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for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not

guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York




eBook (NetLibrary)

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To the memory of my parents Sophia Turner (ne´e Brookes) and

Stanley W. Turner

List of contributors page viii

Acknowledgments x

Introduction xi

How to use this Dictionary xix



List of contributors

Gabriel Abend, Northwestern University

Gary L. Albrecht, University of Illinois, Chicago

Jeffrey Alexander, Yale University

Tomas Almaguer, San Francisco State University

Patrick Baert, University of Cambridge

Jack Barbalet, University of Leicester

James Beckford, University of Warwick

Stephen Benard, Cornell University

Michael Billig, Loughborough University

Mildred Blaxter, University of Bristol

Mick Bloor, University of Glasgow

William A. Brown, University of Cambridge

Brendan J. Burchell, University of Cambridge

Stewart Clegg, University of Technology, Sydney

Elizabeth F. Cohen, Syracuse University

Ira Cohen, Rutgers University

Oonagh Corrigan, University of Plymouth

Rosemary Crompton, City University, London

Sean Cubitt, The University of Waikato, New Zealand

Tom Cushman, Wellesley College

Tia DeNora, University of Exeter

Peter Dickens, University of Cambridge

Michele Dillon, University of New Hampshire

S. N. Eisenstadt, The Jerusalem Van Leer Institute

Tony Elger, University of Warwick

Anthony Elliott, Flinders University of South


Amitai Etzioni, The Communitarian Network,


Mary Evans, University of Kent

Ron Eyerman, Yale University

James D. Faubion, Rice University

Janie Filoteo, Texas A & M University

Gary Alan Fine, Northwestern University

David Frisby, London School of Economics

Loraine Gelsthorpe, University of Cambridge

Julian Go, Boston University

David Good, University of Cambridge

Philip Goodman, University of California, Irvine

Susan Hansen, Murdoch University

Bernadette Hayes, University of Aberdeen

Chris Haywood, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

John Heritage, University of California, Los Angeles

John Hoffman, University of Leicester

John Holmwood, University of Sussex

Robert Holton, Trinity College, Dublin

Darnell Hunt, University of California, Los Angeles

Geoffrey Ingham, University of Cambridge

Engin Isin, York University, Canada

Andrew Jamison, Aalborg University

Valerie Jenness, University of California, Irvine

Bob Jessop, Lancaster University

James E. Katz, Rutgers University

Douglas Kellner, University of California,

Los Angeles

Krishan Kumar, University of Virginia

John Law, Lancaster University

Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University

Donald N. Levine, University of Chicago

Ruth Lister, Loughborough University

Steven Loyal, University College, Dublin

Mairtin Mac-an-Ghaill, University of Birmingham

Michael Macy, Cornell University

Jeff Manza, Northwestern University

Robert Miller, Queen’s University, Belfast

Jan Pakulski, University of Tasmania

Edward Park, Loyola Marymount University

Frank Pearce, Queen’s University, Canada

Emile Perreau-Saussine, University of Cambridge

Chris Phillipson, Keele University

Gianfranco Poggi, Universita` di Trento, Italy

Dudley L. Poston,* Texas A & M University

Stephen Quilley, University College, Dublin

Mark Rapley, Edith Cowan University

Larry Ray, University of Kent at Canterbury

Isaac Reed, Yale University

Thomas Reifer, University of San Diego

Derek Robbins, University of East London

Chris Rojek, Nottingham Trent University

Mercedes Rubio, American Sociological Association

*Dudley Poston wishes to thank the following graduate students for their assistance: Mary Ann

Davis, Chris Lewinski, Hua Luo, Heather Terrell and Li Zhang.


Rogelio Saenz, Texas A & M University

Kent Sandstrom, University of Northern Iowa

Cornel Sandvoss, University of Surrey

Jacqueline Schneider, University of Leicester

Jackie Scott, University of Cambridge

Martin Shaw, University of Sussex

Mark Sherry, The University of Toledo

Birte Siim, Aalborg University, Denmark

Susan Silbey, Massachusetts Institute of


Carol Smart, University of Manchester

Vicki Smith, University of California, Davis

Nick Stevenson, University of Nottingham

Rob Stones, University of Essex

Richard Swedberg, Cornell University

Piotr Sztompka, Jagiellonian University, Poland

Edward Tiryakian, Duke University

Kenneth H. Tucker, Jr., Mount Holyoke College, MA

Bryan S. Turner, National University of Singapore

Jonathan Turner, University of California, Riverside

Stephen P. Turner, University of South Florida

Arnout van de Rijt, Cornell University

Ann Vogel, University of Exeter

Frederic Volpi, University of St. Andrews

Alan Warde, University of Manchester

Darin Weinberg, University of Cambridge

Andrew Wernick, Trent University, Canada

Kevin White, The Australian National University

Fiona Wood, Cardiff University

List of contributors



I would like to thank Sarah Caro, formerly Senior Commissioning Editor in

Social Sciences at Cambridge University Press, for her tireless and cheerful

commitment to this Dictionary, and her enthusiasm for the project of sociology

as a whole. Her quiet determination to get the job done provided me with an

enduring role model. More recently, John Haslam has effectively seen this

project to a conclusion. Juliet Davis-Berry of the Press worked unstintingly to

get lists, entries, and authors organized. Carrie Cheek has provided generous

and careful secretarial and editorial support in collecting entries, corresponding

with authors, overseeing corrections, and dealing with my mistakes. Without

her ongoing support, the Dictionary would not have been completed. Leigh

Mueller worked with extraordinary vigilance to correct the proofs of the

Dictionary and to impose some standard of excellence on often wayward English.

The editorial boardmembers – Ira Cohen, Jeff Manza, Gianfranco Poggi, Beth

Schneider, Susan Silbey, and Carol Smart – contributed to the development of

the list of entries, read and re-read draft entries, andmade substantial contributions

of their own. Ira Cohen, in particular, wrotemajor entries, advised authors,

and recruited his daughter as a contributor. The authors kindly responded to

criticismand correction of their draft submissions with considerable tolerance.

Many authors struggled with major illness, family breakdown, and the sheer

cussedness of everyday life to complete entries on time. The following authors

wrote many additional and extensive essays, often at the last minute to fill

in gaps caused by entries that were missing for a variety of reasons, and I am

especially grateful to them: Stewart Clegg, Tony Elgar, Mary Evans, Susan

Hansen, John Hoffman, John Holmwood, Charles Lemert, Steven Loyal, Stephen

Quilley, Mark Rapley, Larry Ray, DarinWeinberg, and KevinWhite. The Dictionary

is, in short, a genuinely collective effort. However, any remaining errors and

omissions are my responsibility.



At one level, sociology is easy to define. It is the study of social institutions – the

family, religion, sport, community, and so on. We can study institutions at

the micro-level by looking at interactions between family members, for example,

or we can examine macro-relations such as the family and kinship system

of a society as a whole. Below this level of minimal agreement, there is considerable

dispute as to what sociology really is, and during the twentieth

century and into this century many critics of sociology have periodically

pronounced it to be in crisis or to be moribund. It is said to be prone to jargon,

or it is claimed by its critics to be merely common sense. A natural scientist at

my former Cambridge college, on hearing that I was editing a dictionary of

sociology, inquired in all seriousness whether there would be enough concepts

and terms for a whole dictionary. My problem as editor has by contrast been the

question of what to leave out. In this context of lay skepticism, a dictionary of

sociology is in part a defense of the discipline from its detractors, and in part a

statement of its achievements and prospects. It aims to give a precise, informative,

and objective account of the discipline, including both its successes and

failures, and in this sense dictionaries are inherently conservative. A dictionary

seeks to give an informed guide to a particular field such that both the expert

and the student can benefit intellectually.

Inmany respects, part of the problemfor sociology as an academic discipline

lies in its very success. An outsider to the academy at the end of the nineteenth

century, sociology is now influential in archaeology, the arts, the history and

philosophy of science, science and technology studies, religious studies, organizational

theory, and in the teaching of general practice and community medicine

in medical faculties, where the social dimension of everyday reality is now

taken for granted. The study of contemporary epidemics in public health,

especially the AIDS/HIV epidemic, has employed sociological insights into networks

and risk taking. The management of any future pandemicwill drawupon

sociological research on social networks, compliance behavior, and the impact

of such factors as social class, gender, and age on prevalence rates. Other areas

such as art history and aesthetics often draw implicitly on sociological notions of

audiences, art careers, art markets, and cultural capital. Science and technology

studies more explicitly depend on the sociology of knowledge. Dance studies

frequently adopt insights and perspectives from the sociology of the body. It is

often difficult to distinguish between historical sociology, social history and

world-systems theory. Cultural studies, women’s studies, and disability studies

have drawn extensively on debates of social construction in sociology. Activists


in social movements in support of disability groups have directly adopted sociological

ideas about how disability as a social construct involves the curtailment

of social rights. Ethnomethodology – the study of the methods or practices that

are important in accomplishing tasks in the everydayworld – has contributed to

research on how people use complex machinery in workplace settings. Conversational

analysis has been important in understanding how conversations

take place, for example between doctor and patient. The emerging area of

terrorism studies will no doubt have a substantial input from sociologists on

recruitment patterns, beliefs, and social background. In short, there has been

a great dispersion and proliferation of the sociological paradigm into adjacent

fields and disciplines. Much of this intellectual dispersion or seepage has

practical consequences.

The danger is, however, that the sociological perspective will, as a result of

this intellectual leakage, simply dissolve into cultural studies, film studies,

media studies, and so forth. Sociological insights and approaches have been

successfully dispersed through the humanities and science curricula, but the

intellectual connections with sociology are not always recognized or indeed

understood. The contemporary enthusiasm for multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity

often obscures the need to preserve basic disciplines. Although

this dispersal of sociology into various areas within the humanities and social

science curricula is satisfying in some respects, it is important to defend a

sociological core, if sociology is to survive as a coherent and valid discipline.

The idea of defending a “canon” has become somewhat unfashionable. In

literary studies, the problem of the canonical authority of the received great

texts has been a crucial issue in English literature since the publication of, for

example, F. R. Leavis’s The Great Tradition in 1948. The idea of a sociological

canon has been attacked by feminism and postmodernism for being too

exclusive and narrow, but a canonical tradition does not have to be unduly

narrow or parochial, and students need to understand how sociology developed,

who contributed to its growth, and where contemporary concepts

emerged historically. I would contend further that classical sociology, when

generously defined, remains relevant to understanding the contemporary

world. The study of “the social” remains the basis of the discipline, where

the social is constituted by institutions. Where the intellectual roots of

the discipline are ignored, the strong program of sociology as an autonomous

discipline is eroded. A dictionary of sociology is an attempt to (re)state the

principal theories and findings of the discipline, and thereby inevitably contributes

to the definition of a canon. Sociology remains, however, a critical

discipline, which constantly questions its origins and its evolution.

Of course, in many respects, sociology is not a homogeneous or seamless

discipline. It has always been somewhat fragmented by different traditions,

epistemologies, values, and methodologies. Sociological theories and ideas are

perhaps more open to contestation and dispute, precisely because their social

and political implications are radical. A dictionary of sociology has to articulate

the coherence of the subject, and at the same time fully to recognize its



diversity. For example, one major division in sociology has been between the

American and the European traditions. The basic difference is that sociology

in America became thoroughly professionalized with a strong association (the

American Sociological Association), a variety of professional journals, a clear

apprenticeship process prior to tenure, and a reward system of prizes and

honors. In Europe, professional associations have not been able to establish

an agreed core of theory, methods, and substantive topics. While European

sociology defines its roots in the classical tradition of Marx, Durkheim, Weber,

and Simmel, American sociology more often sees its origins in the applied

sociology of the Chicago School, in pragmatism, and in symbolic interactionism.

American sociology has favored empiricism, pragmatism, and social

psychology over European sociology, which has its foundations in the Enlightenment,

the humanism of Auguste Comte, the political economy of Marx, and

the critical theory of Adorno and Horkheimer. We should not overstate this

division. There have been important figures in sociology, who, to some extent,

have bridged the gap between the two traditions – C. Wright Mills, Talcott

Parsons, Peter Berger, Neil Smelser, and more recently Jeffrey Alexander and

Anthony Giddens. W. E. B. Du Bois was trained in both American and European

traditions. Nevertheless the divisions are real and these historical differences

have been, if anything, reinforced in recent years by the fact that European

sociology has been more exposed to postmodernism, deconstruction, and

poststructuralism than has the American tradition. In negative terms, European

sociology has been more subject to rapid changes in fashions in social

theory. Pragmatism, social reform, and applied sociology in America have been

seen as an alternative to the excessive theoretical nature of European thought.

While Adorno and Horkheimer saw American empiricism as the worst form of

traditional theory, the Marxist revival in the 1960s and 1970s in Europe had

little lasting impact in America. Talcott Parsons’s sociology in fact never gained

dominance in American sociology, partly because The Structure of Social Action

was too European. More recently the pragmatist revival in America – for

example in the social philosophy of Richard Rorty – has attempted to show

once more that American social theory does not need any European inspiration.

Recent European debates have not had much impact on mainstream

American sociology. Two illustrations are important. The development of

cultural studies that has been influential in British sociology, around the work

of Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, and the Birmingham

School, has had relatively little consequence in mainstream American sociology.

The debate around Ulrich Beck’s notion of risk society and the theory of

individualization has not extended much beyond Europe.

In this new Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, I have attempted to cover both

American and European traditions by ensuring that the editorial board and

the authors reflect these different approaches, and that the entries have

afforded ample recognition of the richness of these different perspectives.

Entries therefore attempt to provide a more global coverage of sociology by

attending to these differences rather than obscuring or denying them. The



Dictionary examines key intellectual figures in both European and American

sociology, and also reflects different substantive, theoretical, and methodological

perspectives. Although there are important differences that are the

product of separate historical developments, the Dictionary also looks forward

to new influences that are the common concerns of sociologists everywhere.

What are these new developments in sociology that the Cambridge Dictionary

attempts to address? First, there is the debate about globalization itself.

Sociologists have been concerned with two significant aspects of this process,

namely the globalization of trade and finance following the collapse of the

Bretton Woods agreements and the rise of the Washington consensus, and

the development of technology and software that made possible global communication

in an expanding economy. Sociologists have examined a variety

of substantial changes relating to globalization, such as diasporic communities,

global migration, fundamentalism, and the rise of the global city.

Various theoretical responses to these changes are also fairly obvious. The

analysis of risk society itself can be seen as a sociological response to

the uncertain social consequences of economic globalization. Another development

is the use of social capital theory to look at the social impact of global

disorganization and economic inequality on individual health and illness.

While the original foundations of globalization theory were explored in

economics and politics (for example the global governance debate), sociologists

have become to some extent more interested in cultural globalization in

terms of mass media and cultural imperialism. As a result of globalization,

sociologists have been exercised by the possibility of new forms of cosmopolitanism,

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