Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes?

Diewald M, Baier T, Schulz W, Schunck R (2015)
Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 67(1 Supplement): 371-395.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
This paper discusses why and how the consideration of inter-individual genetic variation can enhance the explanatory power of sociological inquiries of status attainment and social stratification. We argue that accounting for genetic variation may help to address longstanding and in some cases overlooked causality problems in explaining the emergence of social inequalities—problems which may interfere with both implicit and explicit interpretations of a society as “open” or “closed,” as meritocratic or non-meritocratic. We discuss the basic methodological tenets of genetically informative research (Sect. 2) and provide empirical examples and theoretical conceptualizations on how genetic variation contributes to status attainment (Sect. 3). This is followed by a discussion of gene-environment interplay in relation to more abstract ideas about social mechanisms that generate inequality, touching on normative implications of these ideas as well as considerations from a social justice perspective (Sect. 4). Finally, we briefly review the potential benefits as well as pitfalls of incorporating genetic influences into sociological explanations of status attainment. As we will argue, understanding how social influences impinge on the individual and how genes influence our lives requires sophisticated research designs based on sound sociological theory and methodology (Sect. 5).
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Diewald M, Baier T, Schulz W, Schunck R. Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes? Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. 2015;67(1 Supplement):371-395.
Diewald, M., Baier, T., Schulz, W., & Schunck, R. (2015). Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes? Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 67(1 Supplement), 371-395.
Diewald, M., Baier, T., Schulz, W., and Schunck, R. (2015). Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes? Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 67, 371-395.
Diewald, M., et al., 2015. Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes? Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 67(1 Supplement), p 371-395.
M. Diewald, et al., “Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes?”, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, vol. 67, 2015, pp. 371-395.
Diewald, M., Baier, T., Schulz, W., Schunck, R.: Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes? Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. 67, 371-395 (2015).
Diewald, Martin, Baier, Tina, Schulz, Wiebke, and Schunck, Reinhard. “Status Attainment and Social Mobility. How can Genetics Contribute to an Understanding of their Causes?”. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 67.1 Supplement (2015): 371-395.
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