Section Awards

2022 Award Winners

Mary Douglas Award for Best Book

Committee:  Juan-Pablo Parda Guerra (chair), Matt Clair, Michal Pagis, Victoria Reyes, Fernando Dominguez Rubio, Anna Skarpelis


Fiona Greenland, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press 2021)

Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz, Figures of the Future: Figures for the Future: Latino Civil Rights and the Politics of Demographic Change (Princeton University Press 2021)

Honorable Mention:

Tad Skotnicki, The Sympathetic Consumer: Moral Critique in Capitalist Culture (Stanford University Press 2021)

Clifford Geertz Award for Best Article

Committee: Mathieu Desan (chair), Hillary Angelo, Jelani Ince, Carly Knight, Caroline Lee, Blake Silver


Talia Shiff. 2021. “A Sociology of Discordance: Negotiating Schemas of Deservingness and Codified Law in U.S. Asylum Status Determinations,” American Journal of Sociology 127(2): 337-375.

Honorable Mentions: 

Andrei Boutyline and Laura K. Soter. 2021. “Cultural Schemas: What they Are, How to Find Them, and What to Do Once You’ve Caught One,” American Sociological Review 86(4): 728-758.

Amanda Barret Cox. 2021. “Powered Down: The Microfoundations of Organizational Attempts to Redistribute Power,” American Journal of Sociology 127(2): 1-52.

Richard A. Peterson Award for Best Graduate Student Paper

Committee: Mariana Craciun (chair), Holley Campeau, Chloe Hart, Amy Singer, Kris Velasco, Celso Villegas


Patrick Sheehan. 2022. “The Paradox of Self-Help Expertise: How Unemployed Workers Become Professional Career Coaches.” American Journal of Sociology 127 (4): 1151–1182.

2021 Award Winners

Winner of the 2021 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book

  • Fernando Domínguez Rubio. 2020. Still Life: Ecologies of the Modern Imagination at the Art Museum. Chicago University Press.
  • Matthew Clair. 2020. Privilege and Punishment. How Race and Class Matter in Criminal Court. Princeton University Press.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Erin Metz McDonnell. 2020. Patchwork Leviathan: Pockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States. Princeton University Press.
  • Anne Warfield Rawls & Waverly Duck. 2020.Tacit Racism. University of Chicago Press.
  • Winners of the 2021 Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article

    • Daniel DellaPosta, “Pluralistic Collapse: The ‘Oil Spill’ Model Of Mass Opinion Polarization” published in the American Sociological Review. 
    • Kevin Kiley and Stephen Vaisey, “Measuring Change and Stability in Personal Culture Using Panel Data” published in the American Sociological Review.

    Honorable Mention:

    Craig M. Rawlings and Clayton Childress. “Emergent Meanings: Reconciling Dispositional and Situational Accounts of Meaning-Making from Cultural Objects” published in The American Journal of Sociology.

    Winners of the 2021 The Richard A. Peterson Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

    • Acosta, Laura. 2021. “Victimhood dissociation and conflict resolution: evidence from the Colombian peace plebiscite” published in Theory and Society.
    • Hart, Chloe Grace. 2021. “Trajectory Guarding: Managing Unwanted, Ambiguously Sexual Interactions at Work” published in American Sociological Review. 

    2020 Award Winners

    Winner of the 2020 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book

    • Orly Clergé. 2019. The New Noir: Race, Identity, and Diaspora in Black Suburbia.
      Berkeley: University of California Press
    • Roi Livne. 2019. Values at the End of Life: The Logic of Palliative Care.                                                       Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

    Winner of the 2020 Clifford Geertz Prize for Best Article

    Hallett, Tim, Orla Stapleton, and Michael Sauder. “Public ideas: Their varieties and careers.” American
    Sociological Review 84, no. 3 (2019): 545-576.

    Winner of the 2020 Richard A. Peterson Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

    Lindsay J. DePalma (UC, San Diego). “The Passion Paradigm: Professional Adherence to and Consequences
    of the Ideology of ‘Do What You Love.”

    Honorable Mention, 2020 Richard A. Peterson Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

    Jeffrey Swindle (University of Michigan). “Pathway of Global Cultural Diffusion: Media and Attitudes about Violence against Women.”

    2019 Award Winners

    Mary Douglas Award (Best Book)

    • Karida Brown, University of California, Los Angeles, for: Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia.  University of North Carolina Press.
    • Committee members: Clayton Childress (co-chair), Bin Xu (co-chair), Kelsy Burke, Eva Illouz, Richard Ocejo.

    Clifford Geertz Award (Best Article)

    Richard A. Peterson Award (Best Student Paper)

    • Winner: Jacqui Frost, University of Minnesota, for “The Meaning of Uncertainty: Navigating States of Certainty and Uncertainty in Nonreligious Narratives”
    • Honorable Mention: Yağmur Karakaya, University of Minnesota, for “The Conquest of Hearts: the Central Role of Ottoman Nostalgia within Contemporary Turkish Populism” American Journal of Cultural Sociology, (forthcoming).
    • Committee members: Anya Degenshein (chair), Alison Gerber, Fiona Greenland, Svetlana Kharchenkova, Hannah Wohl.

    2018 Award Winners

    Mary Douglas Award (Best Book)


    Clayton Childress Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel.
    (Princeton, 2017)


    Bin Xu The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China. (Stanford, 2017)

    Clifford Geertz Award (Best Article)

    Joosse, Paul. 2017. “Max Weber’s Disciples: Theorizing the Charismatic Aristocracy.” Sociological Theory 35(4): 334-358.

    Honorable mention: Frye, Margaret. 2017. “Cultural Meanings and the Aggregation of Actions: The Case of Sex and Schooling in Malawi.” American Sociological Review 82(5): 945-976

    Richard A. Peterson Award (Best Student Paper)

    Winner: Anya Degenshein, Northwestern University “Strategies of Valuation: Repertoires of Worth at the Financial Margins”

    Honorable mention: Lily Liang,  Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison “No Room for Respectability: Boundary Work in Interaction at a Shanghai Rental”

    Honorable mention: Talia Shiff,  Northwestern University “Evaluating the Case: Encounters of Schematic Accordance and Discordance in Asylum Adjudications.”

    Previous Award Winners

    *work in progress*

    Mary Douglas Award (Best Book)

    • 2017, co-winner: Michaela DeSoucey, Contested Tastes. Foie Gras and the Politics of Food. (2017, Princeton University Press)
    • 2017, co-winner: Nicole Gonzalez van Cleve, Crook County. Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court. (2016, Stanford University Press)
    • 2016: Lauren Rivera, How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs. Princeton University Press
    • 2015: Fatma Müge Göçek, Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and Collective Violence against the Armenians, 1789-2009. Oxford University Press
    • 2014: Virag Molnar, Building the State: Architecture, Politics, and State formation in Postwar Central Europe. Routledge 2013
    • 2013: Lynette Spillman, Solidarity in Strategy: Making Business Meaningful in American Trade Associations. University of Chicago Press
    • 2012: Claudio Benzecry, The Opera Fanatic: Ethnography of an Obsession. University of Chicago Press
    • 2011, co-winner:  Teresa Gowan, Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders: Homeless in San Francisco. University of Minnesota Press
    • 2011, co-winner: David Garland, Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition. Harvard University Press.
    • 2010, co-winner: Marion Fourcade, Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s. Princeton University Press
    • 2010, co-winner: Allison Pugh, Parents, Children and Consumer Culture. University of California Press

    Clifford Geertz Award (Best Article)

    • 2017: Daniel Winchester, “A Hunger for God: Embodied Metaphor as Cultural Cognition in Action,” 2016. Social Forces 95(2): 585-606.
    • 2017, honorable mention: Chana Teeger, “‘Both Sides of the Story’: History Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” (2015, in American Sociological Review 80(6): 1175-1200)
    • 2016, co-winner: Paul Lichterman and Nina Eliasoph, “Civic Action,”  2014. American Journal of Sociology, 120(3):798-863
    • 2016, co-winner: Ruth Braunstein, Brad R. Fulton, and Richard L. Wood, “The Role of Bridging Cultural Practices in Racially and Socioeconomically Diverse Civic Organizations” 2014. American Sociological Review, 79(4), 705-725
    • 2015: Matthew Norton, “Classification and Coercion: The Destruction of Piracy in the English Maritime System,” 2014. American Journal of Sociology, 119 (6): 1537-1575
    • 2014, co-winner: Iddo Tavory and Nina Eliasoph, “Coordinating Futures: Toward a Theory of Anticipation,” 2013. American Journal of Sociology, 118(4):908-942.
    • 2014, co-winner: Arnout van de Rijt, Eran Shor, Charles Ward and Steven Skienaa, “Only 15 Minutes? The Social Stratification of Fame in Printed Media,” 2013. American Sociological Review, 78(2):266–289.
    • 2013: Lauren Rivera, “Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms,” 2012. American Sociological Review 77(6):

    Richard A. Peterson Award (Best Student Paper)
    **Changed from the Suzanne Langer award in 2011.**

    • 2017: Matthew Clair (Harvard University), “Resources, Navigation, and Punishment in the Criminal Courts”
    • 2017, honorable mention: Mary Beth Fallin Hunzaker (Duke University), “Cultural Sentiments and Schema-Consistency Bias in Information Transmission”
    • 2016: co-winner: Holly Campeau (University of Toronto)  “‘The Right Way, the
      Wrong Way, and the Blueville Way’: How Cultural Match Matters for
      Standardization in the Police Organization.”
    • 2016: co-winner: Hannah Wohl (Northwestern University) “Community Sense: The
      Cohesive Power of Aesthetic Judgment”
    • 2015: Monica C. Bell, “Situational Trust: How Disadvantaged Mothers Reconceive Legal Cynicism.”
    • 2014, co-winner: Hassan El Menyawi, “The Great Reversal”
    • 2014, co-winner: Laura K. Nelson, “Enduring Cultural/Cognitive Structures: Political Logics as Cultural ‘Memory.’”
    • 2013, co-winner: Charles Seguin, “The Mathematics of Superstars: Two Theories of Cultural Consumption”
    • 2013, co-winner: Phillipa K. Chong, “Legitimate Judgment in Art, The Scientific World Reversed?: Critical Distance in Evaluation.”
    • 2012: Christina Simko,  “Rhetorics of Suffering: September 11 Commemorations as Theodicy.”
    • 2011: Avi Astor, “Memory, Community, and Opposition to Mosques: The Case of Badalona.” Theory and Society.
    • 2010:  Iddo Tavory, “Everyday Morality–Street Danger and Moral Density in a Jewish Orthodox Neighborhood”
    • 2009: Anna Paretskaya, “The Soviet Communist Party and the Other Spirit of Capitalism.”
    • 2008: Gabriel Abend, “Two Main Problems in the Sociology of Morality.” in Theory and Society, 37(2):87-125.
    • 2007: Hiro Saito, “Reiterated Commemoration: Hiroshima as National Trauma.” in Sociological Theory, 24(4):353-376.
    • 2006, co-winner: Jason Matt, “The Cultural pragmatics of Event-ness: The Clinton/Lewinsky Affair”
    • 2006, co-winner: Kim Babon, “Composition: Coherence, and Attachment: The Critical Role of Context in Reception”
    • 2005: Gregoire Mallard, “Communities of Interpreters and Their Technical Instruments,” American Sociological Review. 70:992-1010. 
    • 2004: Virag Molnar, “Cultural Politics and Modernist Architecture: The Tulip Debate in Post-War Hungary”
    • 2003: Karen Danna Lynch, “The Good Mother: Ideologies of Motherhood 1950-1998”
    • 2002: Genevieve Zubrzycki, “We the Polish Nation: Ethnic and Civic Visions of Nationhood in Post-Communist Constitutional Debates”
    • 2001, co-winner: Jamie Mullaney,  “Like A Virgin: Temptation, Resistance, and the Construction of Identities Based on ‘Not Doings’”
    • 2001, co-winner: Shyon Baumann, “Intellectualizing Discourse and Art World Development: The Case of Film in the United States”
    • 2000: Gabriella Fried, “On Remembering and Silencing the Past: The Adult Children of the Disappeared of Argentina and Uruguay in Comparative Perspective”
    • 1999: Kari Lerum, “Twelve-Step Feminism Makes Sex Workers Sick: How the State and the Recovery Movement Turn Radical Women into ‘Useless Citizens’”
    • 1998: Kristen Purcell, “A League of Their Own: Mental Leveling and the Creation of Social Comparability in Sport”
    • 1997: Wayne Brekhus, “Social Marking and the Mental Coloring of Identity: Sexual Identity Construction and Maintenance in the United States”
    • 1996: Ronald N. Jacobs, “Civil Society and Crisis: Culture, Discourse, and the Rodney King Beating”
    • 1995, co-winner: Bethany Bryson, “Anything but Heavy Metal: Identity and Exclusion in Musical Taste”
    • 1995, co-winner: Stephen Ellingson, ”Understanding the Dialectic of Discourse and Collective Action: Public Debate and Rioting in Ante-bellum Cincinnati”
    • 1994: Matthew P. Lawson,  “Free to Choose: Submission in the Lives of Catholic Charismatics”
    • 1993: Timothy Dowd, “The Song Remains the Same? The Musical Diversity and Industry Context of Number One Songs, 1955-1988”
    • 1992: Christiana Nippert-Eng, [unknown]
    • 1991: Ann Bowler, [unknown]
    • 1990: Ken Dauber, [unknown]