Andrew Delano Abbott is an American sociologist and social theorist working at the University of Chicago. His research topics range from occupations and professions to the philosophy of methods, the history of academic disciplines, to the sociology of knowledge, he was the editor of the American Journal of Sociology from 2000 to 2016. Abbott attended Phillips Academy at Andover, majored in history and literature at Harvard University. During the studying he worked as research assistant for Roger Revelle at Harvard University Center for Population Studies. From 1971 to 1982, he was a graduate student in the Department of Sociology of the University of Chicago, he defended his dissertation in 1982, written under the supervision of Morris Janowitz. The dissertation, never published, was a study of the emergence of psychiatry as a profession. During 1973-1978 worked at Research and Evaluation Department, Manteno State Hospital. From 1978 to 1991, he was on the faculty at Rutgers University and became an instructor to associate professor in 1986.
He returned to the University of Chicago, worked as a professor of the Department of Sociology and the college from 1991 to 1997 became Ralph Lewis Professor in 1997, continuing up to 2000. Abbott was chair of the Department of Sociology; until he was the chair of the University's library board, where he spearheaded the development of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, a ground-breaking structure aimed at making the ever-growing amount of print material more accessible to researchers. Abbott edited Work and Occupations from 1991 to 1994. Subsequently, he was the editor of one of the two leading journals in U. S. Sociology, the American Journal of Sociology, from 2000 to 2016, he is a Professor at the University of Chicago. Abbott became the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology in 2001. Abbott has received many awards for his work and service, amongst which are several American Sociological Association prizes, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Versailles - Saint Quentin.
He was affiliated with University of Surrey at the Norman Chester Research, is still a fellow at Nuffield College at Oxford. Abbott was given several grants, such as NSF Anthropology Grant for "Optimal Matching with Cultural Data" as consultant. NSF SES Grant for publication "Dynamic Sequencing Methods for Studying Turning Points in Criminal Careers", NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants as PI. In 2011 Abbott was given the Médaille de la ville de Grenoble. Professions Abbott is known for this study of professions and status, his 1988 book, The System of Professions, is considered an important contribution to sociology. The book was awarded the American Sociological Association's Distinguish Scholarly book award in 1991. In The System of Professions Andrew Abbott explores central questions about the role of professions in modern life: through comparative and historical study of the professions in nineteenth- and twentieth-century England and America, Abbott builds a general theory of how and why professionals evolve.
Reviews of the book mention several "powerful ideas" that enhance previous work on professionals: ‘The appropriate perspective on the development and change of professions is ecological’. ‘To understand professions, one must study jurisdictions, areas of work over which occupational groups have vied’. ‘Professions constitute a system’. ‘Professional struggle occurs at three levels: the workplace and public opinion, legal and administrative rules’. ` The most consequential struggles are waged on grounds of theory. Successful professions maintain a ‘strategic heartland monopoly’ over a core jurisdiction’; the arguments are illustrated by three historical case studies. First named ‘a fascinating account of struggles by librarians, computer programmers, operations researchers, others over the “information” jurisdiction’ is reported to be an example of juxtaposition of professional histories being considered separately; the second case study ‘uses court cases on incursions by other professionals to track the nature of professional conflict’.
The third one analyzes ‘the evolution of the personal-problems jurisdiction’ making an accent on the decline of the clergy and the rise of psychiatry. The arguments have been critiqued as being subjective by a reviewer who said the model of ‘diagnosis and treatment’ is considered to be ‘only successful'. Secondly, Andrew Abbott’s insights ‘build on and complement … professionalization models rather than supplant them’. Another point of critique mentioned is a way comparison of the volume's ecological view with the population-ecology's perspective is done: ‘First, the demography of professions plays a key role in the case studies… Second, Abbott’s call to focus on jurisdictions rather than occupations should be taken by population ecologists, who ordinarily focus on organizations rather than niches. Third, the fates of many organizations and the professions that stuff them are intertwined. Methods and epistemology Another aspect of Abbott's work deals with methods and their relation to knowledge.
Abbott imported into social science computational techniques for analyzing sequence data—in particular optimal matching analysis, a technique that detects similarities between numerous sequences, hence enabling a quantitative approach to careers and oth
Alice Kimball Smith was an American historian and teacher known from her writing from personal experience on the Manhattan Project. Smith was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1907, she first went to college at Mount Holyoke College where she obtained her A. B in 1928. Eight years she got her Ph. D from Yale University. In 1943 her and her husband Cyril moved to Los Alamos, she soon got a teaching job in Los Alamos where her and her husband became friends with J. Robert Oppenheimer and his wife Kitty, she would use her experiences around Los Alamos as material in her future books. Smith, in her study of American A-bomb scientists interviewed many Los Alamos scientists who gave blank answers about the nature of the weapon that they were creating. Smith and her husband moved to Chicago. Smith became the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists assistant editor, she was a lecturer at Roosevelt College and a dean, assistant dean and scholar at Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study. Smith briefly was a guest columnist in the New York Times in 1983.
Smith wrote books like A Peril and a Hope: The Scientists’ Movement in America, 1945-1947 and co edited Robert Oppenheimer: Letters and Recollections with the latter being a collection of letters from J. Robert Oppenheimer between 1922 and 1945, her book A Peril and a Hope: The Scientist' Movement in America, 1945-1947 was nominated for a National Book Award for Nonfiction in the Science and Religion category. A Peril and a Hope was about the growing negative sentiment of scientists about creating the atomic bomb due to their concerns over the sociopolitical consequences of its usage. Alice Kimball was married to British metallurgist Cyril Smith, she died on February 6, 2001 at her home in Ellensburg, Washington