- The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- About the Contributors
- What is Analytical Sociology All About? An Introductory Essay
- Analytical Sociology and Theories of the Middle Range
- Social Dynamics from the Bottom Up: Agent-Based Models of Social Interaction
- Segregation Dynamics
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
- Social Influence: The Puzzling Nature of Success in Cultural Markets
- The Contagiousness of Divorce
- Collective Action
- Conditional Choice
- Network Dynamics
- Threshold Models of Social Influence
- Time and Scheduling
- Homophily and the Focused Organization of Ties
- Dominance Hierarchies
- Game Theory
- Analytic Ethnography
- Historical Sociology
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines signaling theory as an element of analytical sociology, and particularly as an analytic framework for accounting for irrational behaviors. It first provides an overview of the basic principles of signaling theory, focusing on the distinction between signs and signals as well as the concepts of differential costs and differential benefits. It then considers various sources of signal costs, including receiver’s independent cost, receiver-dependent cost, and third party-dependent cost, along with multiple sources of cost and signals that cost nothing to honest signalers. It also takes a look at a number of applications for signaling theory and concludes with an assessment of the genealogy of the theory, from Thorstein Veblen and Marcel Mauss to Pierre Bourdieu, Michael Spence, and Alan Grafen.
Diego Gambetta is an Official Fellow of Nuffield College and Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford. He previously was a Research Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge, and then reader in sociology at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of All Souls College. His main interests are signaling theory; trust and mimicry; organized crime and violent extremists. He recently published (with Heather Hamill) Streetwise: How Taxi Drivers Establish Their Customers’ Trustworthiness (New York: Russell Sage, 2005). His new book, Codes of the Underworld. How Criminals Communicate, will be published by Princeton University Press in the summer of 2009.
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