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Chasing the Limelight : An Exploratory, Grounded Theory Multivariate Analysis of Academic Prestige in Sociology Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this study was to provide exploratory understanding of the nature of academic prestige in the field of sociology, and to provide insights into the history of the discipline. The primary research question was: does academic prestige act as a factor in controlling academic knowledge production in the field of sociology? It was hypothesized that sociology, following the great depression would begin expanding in terms of the diversity of specialized subfields, and that social contextual factors influenced the amount of prestige allotted to specific topical areas throughout history. A sociohistorical content analysis of conference proceedings published by the American Sociological Association was performed. A total of 2387 presentations from the years 1920-1960 were coded across six variables (region, type of university, home state of university, prestige score, gender of presenter, and thematic topic), and then analyzed with multiple correspondence analysis and descriptive statistics. It was found that sociology as a discipline has diversified as hypothesized. Academic prestige was found to have fluctuated across subfields and was mapped to highlight this phenomenon. Finally, a new conceptualization about the nature of prestige and the interactional behavior of institutions was developed from the results of the study through a grounded theory approach. Finally, predictive comments about the implications of these findings in the field of higher education were made.
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  • Tucker D. Farris. 2018. “Chasing the Limelight: An Exploratory, Grounded Theory Multivariate Analysis of Academic Prestige in Sociology.” Master’s Thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
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