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Encyclopedia > James S. Coleman

James S. Coleman, born May 12, 1926 in Bedford, Indiana, died March 25, 1995 in Chicago, was an American sociologist. He was a sociological theorist, who studied the sociology of education, public policy, and was one of the earliest users of the term "social capital". His Foundations of Social Theory stands as one of the most important sociological contributions of the late 20th century. May 12 is the 132nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (133rd in leap years). ... 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Bedford is a city located in Lawrence County, Indiana. ... March 25 is the 84th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (85th in leap years). ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Chicago (officially named the City of Chicago) is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. ... Social interactions of people and their consequences are the subject of sociology studies. ... Public policy is a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a problem. ... Social capital is defined as the value that is created through the application of social networks during non-organizational time. ...


Coleman received his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 1949, and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1955, where he stood under the influence of Paul Lazarsfeld. He achieved renown with two studies on problem solving: An Introduction to Mathematical Sociology (1964) and Mathematics of Collective Action (1973). He taught at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, at Johns Hopkins University (1959-1973), and then again at UoC, where he directed the National Opinion Research Center. In 1991 Coleman was made president of the American Sociological Association. See also Purdue University System. ... Columbia University is a private university in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City and a member of the Ivy League. ... 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Paul Felix Lazarsfeld (1901-1976) was one of the major figures in 20th century American Sociology. ... Stanford redirects here. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. ... The Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, is a private institution of higher learning located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. ... 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... The National Opinion Research Center (NORC),established in 1941, is one of the largest and highly respected national social research organizations in the United States. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The American Sociological Association (ASA), founded in 1905, is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the discipline and profession of sociology by serving sociologists in their work and promoting their contributions. ...


Coleman is widely cited in the field of sociology of education. In the 1960s, he and several other scholars were commissioned to write a report on educational equality in America. It was one of the largest studies in history, with more than 150,000 students in the sample. The result was a massive report of over 700 pages. That 1966 report -- titled "Equality of Educational Opportunity" (or often simply called the "Coleman Report") -- fueled debate about "school effects" that has continued since. This piece was commonly misinterpreted as evidence, or an argument, that schools have little effect on student achievement. A better reading of the Coleman Report is that relative to student background and socioeconomic status, measured differences in school resources (ie. per pupil spending) matter little in determining educational outcomes. Hanushek (1998) Another controversial finding of the Coleman Report was that, on average, black schools were funded on a nearly equal basis by the 1960s. (This was probably due to the fact that many Southern states vastly raised their spending on black schools in the 1950s, in the hopes of avoiding compliance with the Brown v. Board of Education decision.)


This research also suggested that socially disadvantaged black students profited from schooling in racially-mixed classrooms. This was a catalyst for the implementation of mass bussing systems, ferrying black students to integrated schools. Following up on this, in 1975 Coleman published the results of further research, this time into the effects of school bussing systems intended to bring lower-class black students into higher-class mixed race schools. His conclusion was that white parents moved their children out of such schools in large numbers; this is known as "white flight". His 1966 article had explained that black students would only benefit from integrated schooling if there was a majority of white students in the classroom; the mass bussing system had failed. 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... White flight is a colloquial term for the demographic trend of white people, generally but not always upper and middle class, moving from increasingly and predominantly non-white areas, often from urban cores to nearby suburbs or even to new locales entirely (e. ...


One of the most important points he made was about social capital and how it is related to trust.


In addition, Coleman was a pioneer in the construction of mathematical models in sociology, especially through his book, Introduction to Mathematical Sociology. Related to this was his major treatise Foundations of Social Theory that made a major contribution to contemporary efforts to produce a more rigorous form of theorizing in sociology.


Selected works

  • The Adolescent Society (1961)
  • Introduction to Mathematical Sociology (1964)
  • Equality of Educational Opportunity (1966)
  • Youth: Transition to Adulthood (1973)
  • High School Achievement (1982)
  • Individual Interests and Collective Action (1986)
  • Social Theory, Social Research, and a Theory of Action, article in American Journal of Sociology 91: 1309-1335 (1986).
  • Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital, article in American Journal of Sociology 94, pp. 95-120 (1988).
  • Foundations of Social Theory (1990)

1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... American Journal of Sociology (AJS) is one of the most important scientific journals in the field of sociology and the first U.S. scholarly journal in its field. ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ...

See also

To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Decision theory. ...

External links

  • Obituary in the University of Chicago Chronicle
  • Article on Coleman in the Johns Hopkins Magazine, 2000

 
 

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