Analytical sociology is a strategy for understanding the social world. It is concerned with explaining important social facts such as network structures, patterns of residential segregation, typical beliefs, cultural tastes, and common ways of acting. It explains such facts not merely by relating them to other social facts, but by detailing in clear and precise ways the mechanisms through which the social facts were brought about. Parts of analytical sociology focus on action and interaction as the cogs and wheels of social processes, while others consider the dynamic social processes that these actions and interactions bring about.
Yunsong Chen, 'Identifying the Causal Effects of Social Capital in Labour Markets: Estimation Strategies and Empirical Evidence' (DPhil)
Jon Fahlander, 'The Social Production of Happiness: A Behavioural Approach' (DPhil)
Thomas Grund , 'Networks, Diffusion, and the Performance of Teams: Macro-Implications of Micro-Dynamics' (DPhil)
Pavan Mamidi, 'Strategic Manipulation of Caste Identity Signals' (DPhil)
Rebeca Ibarra Olivares (PRS)
Contributions to the Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2009) from members of the Department include two introductory chapters coauthored by Peter Hedström, a chaper on signalling theory by Diego Gambetta, and a chapter on self-fulfilling prophecies by Michael Biggs.
Codes of the Underworld (Princeton University Press, 2009) shows that as villains balance the lure of criminal reward against the fear of dire punishment, they are inspired to unexpected feats of subtlety and ingenuity in communication. Gambetta uncovers the logic of the often bizarre ways in which inveterate and occasional criminals solve their dilemmas, such as why the tattoos and scars etched on a criminal's body function as lines on a professional résumé, why inmates resort to violence to establish their position in the prison pecking order, and why mobsters are partial to nicknames and imitate the behavior they see in mafia movies. Even deliberate self-harm and the disclosure of their crimes are strategically employed by criminals to convey important messages.