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Morris Zelditch

Morris Zelditch

Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
Ph.D., Harvard, 1955


Morris Zelditch, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, has for years studied the effects of status characteristics embedded in the stratification of the larger society, such as education, occupation, gender, race and ethnicity on (1) the emergence of inter-personal status hierarchies (e.g. "Status Characteristics and Expectation States," 1966); and (2) on the effects of these inter-personal status hierarchies on social influence (e.g. "Status Characteristics and Social Interaction," 1972); and (3) their effects on the allocation of resources and rewards and the justice processes that emerge from the inter-relations between them (e.g.  "Structural Aspects of Distributive Justice," 1972). 

Much of his research has been concerned especially with the processes legitimating them, particularly the legitimacy of structures of authority (e.g. Legitimacy and the Stability of Authority," 1984 and "The Legitimacy of Regimes," 2004).  His current research on legitimacy is concerned with the legitimacy of groups:  With its determinants; with its effects on the mobilization of resources, for example its effects on tax compliance, on the one hand, and moral hazards (such as corruption) on the other; with the consequences of these effects for the provision of public goods; and, finally, with effects of the legitimacy of multiple levels of groups on inter-group relations.  (A statement of the problem can be found in "Three Questions about the Legitimacy of Groups and the Mobilization of Resources," 2011.)

He has also been interested in processes of theory growth (e.g. "Theoretical Research Programs:  A Reformulation," 1997, and New Directions in Contemporary Sociological Theory, 2002) and, because much of his research since 1961 ("A Laboratory Experiment on Bureaucratic Authority,"1961) has been experimental, on the generalizability of the results of experiments (e.g. "Can You Really Study an Army in the Laboratory," 1969, and "The External Validity of Experiments that Test Theories," 2007).

Selected Publications


Journal Articles & Book Chapters