Lynn Smith-Lovin

Lynn Smith-Lovin

Robert L. Wilson Professor of Sociology in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External Address: 
339 Soc/Psych Bldg, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90088, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0088
(919) 660-5786


I study emotion, identity, and action. I’m interested in the basic question of how identities affect social interaction. I use experimental, observational, survey and simulation methods to describe how identities, actions and emotions are interrelated. The experiments I do usually involve creating social situations where unusual things happen to people, then seeing how they respond behaviorally or emotionally. I observe small task group interactions to see how identities influence conversational behavior. My survey work often focuses on gender and other social positions that influence the groups and networks in which people are imbedded. My simulations studies involve affect control theory, a mathematical model of how identities, actions and emotions affect one another. Now, I’m putting affect control theory together with McPherson’s ecological theory of affiliation to show how social systems, identities, and emotional experience are connected.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1978

  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1976

  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1972

Selected Grants

Self and Interaction in an Ecology of Identities awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2003 to 2005

The Relationship Between Networks and Voluntary Groups: A Proposal of Replication of the General Social Survey Voluntary awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2003 to 2005


Wisecup, A, Robinson, DT, and Smith-Lovin, L. ""Sociology of Emotions"." Handbook of 21st Century Sociology. Ed. DL Peck and CD Bryant. Sage Publications, 2006. 106-115.

Smith-Lovin, L, and Robinson, DT. ""Control Theories of Identity, Action and Emotion."." Purpose, Meaning and Action: Control Systems Theories in Sociology. Ed. KA McClelland and TJ Fararo. Palgrave MacMillan, 2006. 163-188.

Smith-Lovin, L. "“Affect Control Theory.”." Handbook of Social Theory. Ed. G Ritzer. Sage, December 2005.

Smith-Lovin, L. "Foreword." The Sociology of Emotions. Ed. Turner, JH and Stets, JE.: Stanford University Press. 2005. (Foreword)

Smith-Lovin, L. "“Social psychology.”." Blackwell Companion to Sociology. Ed. J Blau. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2000.

Smith-Lovin, L. "“Sociology of emotions.”." Encyclopedia of Human Emotions. Ed. D Levinson, J Ponzetti, and P Jorgensen. New York: Macmillan., January 1999.

Smith-Lovin, L, and Ridgeway, C. "Gender and interaction." Handbook on the Sociology of Gender. Ed. JS Chafetz. New York: Plenum, 1999. 247-274.

Smith-Lovin, L. "“Emotion Management as Emotional Labor.”." Required Reading: Sociology’s Most Influential Books. Ed. D Clawson. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.

McPherson, JM, and Smith-Lovin, L. "A Comparative Ecology of Five Nations." Ecological Models of Organizations. Ed. GR Carroll. Ballinger, 1998. 85-110.

Ibarra, H, and Smith-Lovin, L. "Alternative Routes: A Social Network Perspective on Gender and Careers." Creating Tomorrow’s Organizations. Ed. C Cooper and S Jackson. New York: Wiley, 1997. 359-84.


Owens, TJ, Robinson, DT, and Smith-Lovin, L. "Three faces of identity." Annual Review of Sociology 36 (August 20, 2010): 477-499. Full Text

Smith-Lovin, L, Owens, TJ, and Robinson, DT. ""The Many Faces of Identity"." Annual Review of Sociology 36 (2010): 477-499. (Academic Article)

McPherson, M, Smith-Lovin, L, and Brashears, ME. "Models and marginals: Using survey evidence to study social networks." American Sociological Review 74.4 (December 1, 2009): 670-681. (Letter) Full Text

Mark, NP, Smith-Lovin, L, and Ridgeway, CL. "Why do nominal characteristics acquire status value? A minimal explanation for status construction." AJS 115.3 (November 2009): 832-862. Open Access Copy

McPherson, M, Brashears, ME, and Smith-Lovin, L. "Erratum: Social isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades (American Sociological Review (2006) vol. 71 (353-375))." American Sociological Review 73.6 (December 1, 2008): 1022-null.

Smith-Lovin, L, McPherson, M, and Brashears, M. ""Loosening the ties that bind"." Contexts (2008). (Academic Article)

Smith-Lovin, L. "Do we need a public sociology?: It depends on what you mean by sociology." (June 6, 2007): 124-134. (Chapter)

McPherson, M, Smith-Lovin, L, and Brashears, ME. "Social isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades." American Sociological Review 71.3 (January 1, 2006): 353-375. Full Text

Smith Lovin, L. "Introduction of Karen S. Cook: Recipient of the 2004 Cooley-Mead Award." Social Psychology Quarterly 68.1 (January 1, 2005): 1-3. Full Text

Smith-Lovin, L, Wisecup, A, and McPherson, M. ""Gender Identity Recognition and Task Performance"." Ed. S Thye and E Lawler. Advances in Group Processes: Social Identification in Groups 22 (2005): 177-201. (Academic Article)