This chapter surveys the career and scholarship of James S. Coleman. It tracks scholarly usage of his work, with attention to references after 1995 and the subject areas in which its use is concentrated. At base a scholar of problems in social organization, Coleman made influential contributions that range across the sociology of education, policy research, mathematical sociology, network/structural analysis, and sociological theory. Works from several phases of Coleman's career are cited widely by scholars in sociology, education, economics, business/management, and other social science fields; during the past decade his conceptual work on social capital has been most influential. Coleman's widely debated is receiving increasing attention and has helped to establish a stable if limited niche for rational choice analysis within sociology.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Literature Cited

  1. Abell P. 2003. The role of rational choice and narrative action theories in sociological theory: the legacy of Coleman's Foundations. Rev. Fr. Sociol. 44:255–74 [Google Scholar]
  2. Ainsworth-Darnell JW, Downey DB. 1998. Assessing the oppositional culture explanation for racial/ethnic differences in school performance. Am. Sociol. Rev. 63:536–53 [Google Scholar]
  3. Alexander KL. 1997. Public schools and the public good. Soc. Forces 6:1–30 [Google Scholar]
  4. Arum R. 1996. Do private schools force public schools to compete. Am. Sociol. Rev. 61:29–46 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bendor J, Swistak P. 2001. The evolution of norms. Am. J. Sociol. 106:1493–545 [Google Scholar]
  6. Blau FD. 1996. Symposium on primary and secondary education. J. Econ. Perspect. 10:3–8 [Google Scholar]
  7. Boocock SS. 1996. Games with simulated environments: educational innovation and applied sociological research. See Clark 1996 pp. 133–46
  8. Boocock SS, Coleman JS. 1966. Games with simulated environments in learning. Sociol. Educ. 39:215–36 [Google Scholar]
  9. Braun N. 1997. A rational choice model of network status. Soc. Netw. 19:129–42 [Google Scholar]
  10. Bulmer M. 1996. The sociological contribution to social policy research. See Clark 1996 pp. 103–18
  11. Burt RS. 1987. Social contagion and innovation: cohesion versus structural equivalence. Am. J. Sociol. 92:1287–335 [Google Scholar]
  12. Burt RS. 1992. Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  13. Burt RS. 2000. The network structure of social capital. Res. Organ. Behav. 22:345–423 [Google Scholar]
  14. Burt RS, Knez M. 1995. Kinds of third-party effects on trust. Ration. Soc. 7:255–92 [Google Scholar]
  15. Buskens V. 1998. The social structure of trust. Soc. Netw. 20:265–89 [Google Scholar]
  16. Buskens V, Weesie J. 2000. An experiment on the effects of embeddedness in trust situations: buying a used car. Ration. Soc. 12:227–53 [Google Scholar]
  17. Carbonaro WJ. 1998. A little help from my friend's parents: intergenerational closure and educational outcomes. Sociol. Educ. 71:295–313 [Google Scholar]
  18. Card D, Krueger AB. 1998. School resources and student outcomes. Ann. Am. Acad. Polit. Soc. Sci. 559:39–53 [Google Scholar]
  19. Cheng S, Starks B. 2002. Racial differences in the effects of significant others on students' educational expectations. Sociol. Educ. 75:306–27 [Google Scholar]
  20. Clark J. ed. 1996. James S. Coleman London: Falmer [Google Scholar]
  21. Coleman JS. 1954. An expository analysis of some of Rashevsky's social behavior models. In Mathematical Thinking in the Social Sciences ed. PF Lazarsfeld pp. 105–65 Glencoe, IL: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  22. Coleman JS. 1957. Community Conflict New York: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  23. Coleman JS. 1958. Relational analysis: the study of social organizations with survey methods. Hum. Organ. 17:28–36 [Google Scholar]
  24. Coleman JS. 1959. Academic achievement and the structure of competition. Harv. Educ. Rev. 29:330–51 [Google Scholar]
  25. Coleman JS. 1961a. Analysis of social structures and simulation of social processes with electronic computers. Educ. Psychol. Meas. 21:203–18 [Google Scholar]
  26. Coleman JS. 1961b. The Adolescent Society: The Social Life of the Teenager and Its Impact on Education New York: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  27. Coleman JS. 1963. Comment on “On the concept of influence.”. Public Opin. Q. 27:63–82 [Google Scholar]
  28. Coleman JS. 1964a. Collective decisions. Sociol. Inq. 34:166–81 [Google Scholar]
  29. Coleman JS. 1964b. Introduction to Mathematical Sociology New York: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  30. Coleman JS. 1964c. Research chronicle: The Adolescent Society. In Sociologists at Work: Essays on the Craft of Social Research ed. PE Hammond pp. 184–211 New York: Basic Books [Google Scholar]
  31. Coleman JS. 1969. A brief summary of the Coleman Report. In Equal Educational Opportunity ed. Editor. Board Harv. Educ. Rev. pp. 253–61 Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  32. Coleman JS. 1970. Social inventions. Soc. Forces 49:163–73 [Google Scholar]
  33. Coleman JS. 1973. The Mathematics of Collective Action Chicago: Aldine [Google Scholar]
  34. Coleman JS. 1974. Power and the Structure of Society New York: Norton [Google Scholar]
  35. Coleman JS. 1975. Social structure and a theory of action. In Approaches to the Study of Social Structure ed. PM Blau pp. 76–93 New York: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  36. Coleman JS. 1976. Differences between experiential and classroom learning. In Experiential Learning ed. MT Keeton pp. 49-61 San Francisco: Jossey-Bass [Google Scholar]
  37. Coleman JS. 1978. Sociological analysis and social policy. In A History of Sociological Analysis ed. T Bottomore, R Nisbet pp. 677–703 New York: Basic Books [Google Scholar]
  38. Coleman JS. 1980. The structure of society and the nature of social research. Knowl.: Creat. Diffus. Util. 1:333–50 [Google Scholar]
  39. Coleman JS. 1981a. Longitudinal Data Analysis New York: Basic Books [Google Scholar]
  40. Coleman JS. 1981b. The role of incentives in school desegregation. In Race and Schooling in the City ed. A Yarmolinsky, L Liebman, CS Schelling pp. 182–93 Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  41. Coleman JS. 1982a. Policy, research, and political theory. In The Social Sciences: Their Nature and Uses ed. WH Kruskal pp. 95–99 Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press [Google Scholar]
  42. Coleman JS. 1982b. The Asymmetric Society Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  43. Coleman JS. 1984. Introducing social structure into economic analysis. Am. Econ. Rev. 74:84–88 [Google Scholar]
  44. Coleman JS. 1986a. Individual Interests and Collective Action: Selected Essays New York: Cambridge: Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  45. Coleman JS. 1986b. Psychological structure and social structure in economic models. J. Bus. 59:S365–69 [Google Scholar]
  46. Coleman JS. 1986c. Social theory, social research, and a theory of action. Am. J. Sociol. 91:1309–35 [Google Scholar]
  47. Coleman JS. 1987. Families and schools. Educ. Res. 16:32–38 [Google Scholar]
  48. Coleman JS. 1988. Social capital in the creation of human capital. Am. J. Sociol. 95:S95–120 [Google Scholar]
  49. Coleman JS. 1989. Simulation games and the development of social theory. Simul. Games 20:144–64 [Google Scholar]
  50. Coleman JS. 1990a. Columbia in the 1950s. In Authors of Their Own Lives: Intellectual Autobiographies by Twenty American Sociologists ed. BM Berger pp. 75–103 Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press [Google Scholar]
  51. Coleman JS. 1990b. Equality and Achievement in Education Boulder, CO: Westview [Google Scholar]
  52. Coleman JS. 1990c. Foundations of Social Theory Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  53. Coleman JS. 1991. Reflections on schools and adolescents. In Reflections ed. DL Burleson pp. 62–70 Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educ. Found. [Google Scholar]
  54. Coleman JS. 1992a. Some points on choice in education. Sociol. Educ. 65:260–66 [Google Scholar]
  55. Coleman JS. 1992b. The economic approach to sociology. In Universal Economics: Assessing the Achievements of the Economic Approach ed. G Radnitzky pp. 133–48 New York: Paragon House [Google Scholar]
  56. Coleman JS. 1992c. The vision of Foundations of Social Theory. Anal. Krit. 14:117–28 [Google Scholar]
  57. Coleman JS. 1993a. The design of organizations and the right to act. Sociol. Forum 8:527–46 [Google Scholar]
  58. Coleman JS. 1993b. The rational reconstruction of society: 1992 presidential address. Am. Sociol. Rev. 58:1–15 [Google Scholar]
  59. Coleman JS. 1993c. The role of rights in a theory of social action. J. Inst. Theor. Econ. 149:213–32 [Google Scholar]
  60. Coleman JS. 1994a. A vision for sociology. Society 32:29–34 [Google Scholar]
  61. Coleman JS. 1994b. Social capital, human capital, and investment in youth. In Youth Unemployment and Society ed. AC Petersen, JT Mortimer pp. 34–50 New York: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  62. Coleman JS, Blum ZD, Sørensen AB, Rossi PH. 1972. White and black careers during the first decade of labor force experience. Part I: Occupational status. Soc. Sci. Res. 1:243–70 [Google Scholar]
  63. Coleman JS, Bremner RH, Clark BH, Davis JB, Eichorn DH. et al. 1974. Youth: Transition to Adulthood Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press [Google Scholar]
  64. Coleman JS, Campbell EQ, Hobson CJ, McPartland J, Mood AM. et al. 1966a. Equality of Educational Opportunity Washington, DC: US Gov. Print. Off. [Google Scholar]
  65. Coleman JS, Hao L. 1989. Linear systems analysis: macrolevel analysis with microlevel data. Sociol. Methodol. 19:395–422 [Google Scholar]
  66. Coleman JS, Hoffer T. 1987. Private and Public Schools: The Impact of Communities New York: Basic Books [Google Scholar]
  67. Coleman JS, Hoffer T, Kilgore S. 1982. High School Achievement: Public, Catholic, and Private Schools Compared New York: Basic Books [Google Scholar]
  68. Coleman JS, Katz E, Menzel H. 1966b. Medical Innovation: A Diffusion Study. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill
  69. Coleman JS, Kelly SD, Moore JA. 1976. Trends in School Desegregation, 1968–73 Washington, DC: The Urban Inst. [Google Scholar]
  70. Coleman JS, MacRae D. 1960. Electronic processing of sociometric data for groups up to 1,000 in size. Am. Sociol. Rev. 25:722–27 [Google Scholar]
  71. Coleman JS, Menzel H, Katz E. 1959. Social processes in physicians' adoption of a new drug. J. Chronic Dis. 9:1–19 [Google Scholar]
  72. Collins R. 1996. Can rational action theory unify future social science. See Clark 1996 pp. 329–42
  73. Cook KS. ed. 2001. Trust in Society. New York: Russell Sage Found. [Google Scholar]
  74. Dijkstra AB, Veenstra R, Peschar J. 2004. Social capital in education: functional communities around high schools in the Netherlands. In Creation and Returns of Social Capital: A New Research Program ed. H Flap, B Völker pp. 119–44 London: Routledge [Google Scholar]
  75. Dumais S. 2002. Cultural capital, gender, and school success: the role of habitus. Sociol. Educ. 75:44–68 [Google Scholar]
  76. Edling CR. 2002. Mathematics in sociology. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 28:197–220 [Google Scholar]
  77. Elster J. 2003. Coleman on social norms. Rev. Fr. Sociol. 44:297–304 [Google Scholar]
  78. Ensminger J. 2001. Reputations, trust and the principal agent problem. See Cook 2001 pp. 185–201
  79. Fararo TJ. 1996. Foundational problems in theoretical sociology. See Clark 1996 pp. 263–84
  80. Fararo TJ. 1997. Reflections on mathematical sociology. Sociol. Forum 12:73–101 [Google Scholar]
  81. Farkas G, Lleras C, Maczuga S. 2002. Does oppositional culture exist in minority and poverty peer groups. Am. Sociol. Rev. 67:148–55 [Google Scholar]
  82. Favell A. 1993. James Coleman: social theorist and moral philosopher. Am. J. Sociol. 99:590–613 [Google Scholar]
  83. Feld SL. 1997a. Mathematics in thinking about sociology. Sociol. Forum 12:3–9 [Google Scholar]
  84. Feld SL. 1997b. Simulation games in theory development. Sociol. Forum 12:103–15 [Google Scholar]
  85. Freeman LC. 2004. The Development of Social Network Analysis: A Study in the Sociology of Science Vancouver, BC: Empirical Press [Google Scholar]
  86. Gamoran A. 2001. American schooling and educational inequality: a forecast for the 21st century. Sociol. Educ. Extra Issue 135–53 [Google Scholar]
  87. Giordano PC. 2003. Relationships in adolescence. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 29:257–81 [Google Scholar]
  88. Hallinan MT. 2001. Black-white inequalities in American schooling. Sociol. Educ. Extra Issue 50–70 [Google Scholar]
  89. Hanushek EA. 1996. Measuring investment in education. J. Econ. Perspect. 10:9–39 [Google Scholar]
  90. Hanushek EA, Kain JF, Markman JM, Rivkin SG. 2003. Does peer ability affect student achievement. J. Appl. Econom. 18:527–44 [Google Scholar]
  91. Hardin R. 2001. Conceptions and explanations of trust. See Cook 2001 pp. 3–39
  92. Hechter M, Kanazawa S. 1993. The production of social order with special reference to contemporary Japan. See Sørensen & Spilerman 1993 pp. 187–207
  93. Hechter M, Kanazawa S. 1997. Sociological rational choice theory. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 23:191–214 [Google Scholar]
  94. Heckman JJ, Neal D. 1996. Coleman's contributions to education: theory, research styles, and empirical research. See Clark 1996 pp. 81–102
  95. Hedström P, Swedberg R. 1998. Social mechanisms: an introductory essay. In Social Mechanisms: An Analytical Approach to Social Theory P Hedström, R Swedberg pp. 1–31 New York: Cambridge: Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  96. Hernes G. 1993. Hobbes and Coleman. See Sørensen & Spilerman 1993 pp. 93–104
  97. Hoffer T, Greeley AM, Coleman JS. 1985. Achievement growth in public and Catholic schools. Sociol. Educ. 58:74–97 [Google Scholar]
  98. Homans GC. 1958. Social behavior as exchange. Am. J. Sociol. 63:597–606 [Google Scholar]
  99. Horne C. 2004. Collective benefits, exchange interests, and norm enforcement. Soc. Forces 82:1037–62 [Google Scholar]
  100. Husén T. 1996. Youth and adolescence: a historical and cultural perspective. See Clark 1996 pp. 23–31
  101. Inst. Sci. Inf. 2004. Social Sciences Citation Index (online ed.) Philadelphia, PA: ISI [Google Scholar]
  102. Kadushin C. 2004. Too much investment in social capital. Soc. Netw. 26:75–90 [Google Scholar]
  103. Kandel DB. 1996. Coleman's contributions to understanding youth and adolescents. See Clark 1996 pp. 33–45
  104. Kaufman J, Gabler J. 2004. Cultural capital and the extracurricular activities of girls and boys in the college attainment process. Poetics 32:145–68 [Google Scholar]
  105. Kilgore S. 1996. The political context of social policy research. See Clark 1996 pp. 119–31
  106. Lee VE, Chow-Hoy TK, Burkham DT, Geverdt D, Smerdon BA. 1998. Sector differences in high school course taking: a private school or Catholic school effect. Sociol. Educ. 71:314–35 [Google Scholar]
  107. Lin N. 2001. Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action New York: Cambridge: Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  108. Lindenberg S. 1996. Constitutionalism versus relationism: two versions of rational choice sociology. See Clark 1996 pp. 299–311
  109. Lindenberg S. 2000. James Coleman. In The Blackwell Companion to Major Social Theorists ed. G Ritzer pp. 513–44 Malden, MA: Blackwell [Google Scholar]
  110. Lindenberg S. 2003. Institutional design and its discontents: Coleman's neglect of social rationality Work. Pap., Cent. Study Econ. Soc., Cornell Univ. [Google Scholar]
  111. Lipset SM, Trow M, Coleman JS. 1956. Union Democracy: The Inside Politics of the International Typographical Union New York: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  112. Mayer KU. 1997. James Coleman's studies of the American education system and how they relate to his theory of action and society. Berl. J. Soziol. 7:347–56 (In German) [Google Scholar]
  113. Mayntz R. 2004. Mechanisms in the analysis of social macro-phenomena. Philos. Soc. Sci. 34:237–59 [Google Scholar]
  114. McFarland DD. 2001. Student resistance: how the formal and informal organization of classrooms facilitate everyday forms of student defiance. Am. J. Sociol. 107:612–78 [Google Scholar]
  115. Merton RK. 1996. Teaching James Coleman. See Clark 1996 pp. 351–56
  116. Morgan SL. 2001. Counterfactuals, causal effect heterogeneity, and the Catholic school effect on learning. Sociol. Educ. 74:341–74 [Google Scholar]
  117. Morgan SL, Sørensen AB. 1999. Parental networks, social closure and mathematics learning: a test of Coleman's social capital explanation of school effects. Am. Sociol. Rev. 64:661–81 [Google Scholar]
  118. Moynihan DP. 1993. Educational goals and political plans. See Sørensen & Spilerman 1993 pp. 107–27
  119. Muller C, Schiller KS. 2000. Leveling the playing field? Students' educational attainment and states' performance testing. Sociol. Educ. 73:196–218 [Google Scholar]
  120. Neal D. 1997. The effects of Catholic secondary schooling on educational achievement. J. Labor Econ. 15:98–123 [Google Scholar]
  121. Neal D. 2002. How vouchers could change the market for education. J. Econ. Perspect. 16:25–44 [Google Scholar]
  122. Nyborg K, Rege M. 2003. On social norms: the evolution of considerate smoking behavior. J. Econ. Behav. Organ. 52:323–40 [Google Scholar]
  123. Opp K-D. 2001. Social networks and the emergence of protest norms. In Social Norms ed. M Hechter, K-D Opp pp. 234–73 New York: Russell Sage Found. [Google Scholar]
  124. Podolny J. 1990. On the formation of exchange relations in political systems. Ration. Soc. 2:359–78 [Google Scholar]
  125. Portes A. 1998. Social capital: its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 24:1–24 [Google Scholar]
  126. Raub W, Weesie J. 1990. Reputation and efficiency in social interactions: an example of network effects. Am. J. Sociol. 96:626–54 [Google Scholar]
  127. Ravitch D. 1993. The Coleman Reports and American education. See Sørensen & Spilerman 1993. pp. 129–41
  128. Schneider B, Schiller KS, Coleman JS. 1996. Public school choice: some evidence from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988. Educ. Eval. Policy Anal. 18:19–29 [Google Scholar]
  129. Scott WR. 2004. Reflections on a half-century of organizational sociology. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 30:1–21 [Google Scholar]
  130. Smelser NJ. 1992. The rational choice perspective: a theoretical assessment. Ration. Soc. 4:381–410 [Google Scholar]
  131. Sobel J. 2002. Can we trust social capital. J. Econ. Lit. 40:139–54 [Google Scholar]
  132. Sørensen AB. 1996. Educational opportunities and school effects. See Clark 1996 pp. 207–25
  133. Sørensen AB, Spilerman S. eds. 1993. Social Theory and Social Policy: Essays in Honor of James S. Coleman Westport, CT: Praeger [Google Scholar]
  134. Stern RN, Barley SR. 1996. Organizations and social systems: organization theory's neglected mandate. Admin. Sci. Q. 41:146–62 [Google Scholar]
  135. Stinchcombe AL. 1993. The conditions of fruitfulness of theorizing about mechanisms in social science. See Sørensen & Spilerman 1993 pp. 23–41
  136. Swedberg R. 1990. Economics and Sociology. Redefining Their Boundaries: Conversations with Economists and Sociologists Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  137. Swedberg R. 1996. Analyzing the economy: on the contribution of James S. Coleman. See Clark 1996 pp. 313–28
  138. Swedberg R. 2003. Principles of Economic Sociology Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  139. Tuma NB, Hannan MT. 1984. Social Dynamics: Models and Methods Orlando, FL: Academic [Google Scholar]
  140. Udehn L. 2002. The changing face of methodological individualism. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 28:479–507 [Google Scholar]
  141. Van den Bulte C, Lilien GL. 2001. Medical innovation revisited: social contagion versus marketing effort. Am. J. Sociol. 106:1409–35 [Google Scholar]
  142. Van Hove E. 1993. The practice of sociology in public affairs. See Sørensen & Spilerman 1993. pp. 233–40
  143. Wejnert B. 2002. Integrating models of diffusion of innovations: a conceptual framework. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 28:297–326 [Google Scholar]
  144. Yamaguchi K. 1996. Power in networks of substitutable and complementary exchange relations: a rational-choice model and an analysis of power centralization. Am. Sociol. Rev. 61:308–32 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error