Lynn Smith-Lovin, the Robert L. Wilson Professor of Sociology at Duke University is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Career Award for the ASA section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
From the award committee: “Lynn Smith-Lovin, the Robert L. Wilson Professor of Sociology at
Duke University is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Career Award for the ASA section on
Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity. Two principle lines of empirical and theoretical work
by Professor Smith-Lovin were felt by the Award’s committee to merit this award.
One prominent line of research is Smith-Lovin’s long-term, collaborative effort to extend Affect
Control Theory emphasizing that actors assess their own self and identity, the identities of
others, the behaviors of both self and others, and the situation along several fundamental
dimensions: evaluation, potency, and activity. In so doing individuals draw upon broader cultural
beliefs forming fundamental sentiments and compare these to their transition impressions about
self, others, and behaviors in a particular setting, with inconsistencies increasing the arousal of
emotions and motivating individuals to bring fundamental sentiments and transient impression
back into line. By implication, these dynamics can have large effects on individuals’ capacity to
develop solidarities in situation, to moralize self, others, and situations, and, potentially, to
exhibit pro-social and altruistic behaviors to others in situations that, in turn, increase social
The second prominent line of research is professor Smith-Lovin’s collaborate research on the
power of situational locations of self and others in networks to affect individuals’ pro-social
responses to others and situations, their emotional well-being, and even their levels of health and
longevity. This widely cited work underscores the power of social structures to determine the
emotions that generate altruism, morality, and solidarity.
These lines of research are, the Awards committee felt, fundamental to the goals of AMSS
because they outline some of the cultural, social psychological, and structural dynamics that
constrain or activate altruism, morality, and social solidarity.”