Laumann, Edward O(tto) 1938-
LAUMANN, Edward O(tto) 1938-
PERSONAL: Born August 31, 1938, in Youngstown, OH; son of Otto (an investment counselor) and Emalyn (Bauch) Laumann; married Susan Gene Kroto, August 8, 1964; married second wife, Anne Elizabeth Solomon, June 21, 1980; children: (first marriage) Eric Kroto, Lisa Anne; (second marriage) Christopher Richard, Timothy Otto. Education: Oberlin College, A.B. (summa cum laude), 1960; Harvard University, A.M., 1962, Ph.D., 1964.
CAREER: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC, analytical statistician, summers, 1960-62; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, assistant professor, 1964-69, associate professor of sociology, 1969-73, acting associate chair of department, 1968-69, director of Center for Research on Social Organization, 1971-73; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, professor of sociology and director of Center for Social Organization Studies, 1973-81, chair of department of Sociology, 1981-84, 1997-99, director of William F. Ogburn/Samuel A. Stouffer Center for the Study of Population and Social Organization, 1983-89, 1994—, dean, division of the social sciences, 1984-92, George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology, 1985—, assistant director, Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, Pritzker School of Medicine, 1987—, provost, 1992-93; core faculty member, clinical Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars at Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, 1996—. Faculty research fellow, University of Cologne, 1970-71. Visiting professor, University of Kent, 1971, Utah State University, 1975, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat (Kiel, Germany), 1979, London School of Economics, 1999. Member of Sociology Panel, National Science Foundation; National Opinion Research Center, vice chair and member of executive committee, 1984—, chair of board of trustees, 2001—; trustee, University of Chicago Hospitals, 1992-93; member of Panel on Elder Mistreatment, 2000-02; panel member, Task Force on Elder Abuse and Neglect, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 2001-2002; chair of the Social, Economic and Political section of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2001-04.
MEMBER: International Sociological Association, International Network for Social Network Analysis (advisory board, 1977-1982), American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Sociological Association (fellow), Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, Population Association of America, Sociological Research Association, Midwest Sociological Society, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Woodrow Wilson fellowship, 1960; Horace H. Rackham faculty research grant, 1965-67, travel and research grant, 1970-71; National Institute of Mental Health grant, 1967-68; National Science Foundation grants, 1968-70, 1972-77; Ford Foundation research grant to work in Germany and England, 1970-71; Harry A. Kalven Prize, 1987; National Institute for Child Health and Human Development grants, 1988-2003; Ford Foundation grants, 1995-99; Survey of the Year Award from American Association of Public Opinion Research, 1995; Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Lecturer, 1995-96; Gordon J. Laing Award from University of Chicago Press, 1996; National Institute of Aging grant, 2003.
Prestige and Association in an Urban Community, Bobbs-Merrill (New York, NY), 1966.
(With Paul Siegel and Robert W. Hodge) The Logic ofSocial Hierarchies, Markham (Chicago, IL), 1970.
(Author of introduction) Social Stratification: Research and Theory for the 1970s, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1970.
(With Franz U. Pappi) Networks of Collective Action:A Perspective on Community Influence Systems, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1976.
(With John P. Heinz) Chicago Lawyers: The SocialStructure of the Bar, Russell Sage Foundation (New York, NY), 1982, student edition, Northwest University Press (Evanston, IL), 1994.
(With David Knoke) The Organizational State: SocialChoice in National Policy Domains, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1987.
(With Gerry Nadler) Designing for TechnologicalChange: People in the Process, National Academy of Engineering (Washington, DC), 1991.
(With John P. Heinz, Robert Nelson, and Robert Salisbury) The Hollow Core: Private Interests in National Policy Making, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.
(With John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael, and Stuart Michaels) The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.
(With John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael, and Gina Kolata) Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.
(Editor, with Robert T. Michael) Sex, Love, and Health in America: Private Choices and Public Policies, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2000.
(Editor, with others) The Sexual Order of the City, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2004.
Contributor of more than one hundred articles and reviews to social science journals. Associate editor, Sociological Inquiry, 1967—, and American Sociological Review, 1970-72. Editor, American Journal of Sociology, 1978-84, 1995-97.
SIDELIGHTS: Edward O. Laumann is a Chicagobased sociologist who is best known for his participation in the survey of American sexual habits that was published in scholarly form as The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States and in popular form as Sex in America: A Definitive Survey. Both books drew conclusions based upon data from a survey of more than 3,000 randomly selected Americans who were queried on their sexual practices.
The conclusions that Laumann and his fellow researchers drew—that monogamous couples enjoy greater sexual frequency and contentment and that people tend to choose sexual partners from their own social strata—drew a great deal of attention to the project and spawned a great deal of debate in both the popular and scholarly media. To quote David W. Murray in the Sciences, the authors "hint at dramatic redefinitions of gender and sexual practice."
Laumann brought his talents as a sociologist to the task of conducting the sex survey, having previously done surveys of urban social stratification and influence peddling in national government. One of his books, The Hollow Core: Private Interests in National Policy Making, was described by John T. Tierney in the Political Science Review as "the most thorough and masterful treatment ever delivered of the role of private interests in national policy making." Tierney added that the book "will constitute the solid center of research in this field for years to come." Kay Lehman Schlozman in the American Political Science Review described the work as "unambiguously the richest and most comprehensive body of systematic data about Washington representatives."
The survey that provided data for The Social Organization of Sexuality was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center and was titled the "National Health and Social Life Survey." Originally conceived as a project that would question approximately 10,000 Americans, the survey was hampered by a loss of federal funding. Laumann and his fellow scientists persisted, using private and foundation grants to complete the work, which took seven years. As John DeLamater observed in Science, "The questionnaire content and the data analyses reported in both books were guided by a social-constructionist theoretical orientation. . . . The emphasis throughout is on how sexual behaviors and relationships are socially patterned."
Although The Social Organization of Sexuality and Sex in America cover the same facts, the latter text is meant for a general reader and was prepared with the help of New York Times science writer Gina Kolata. Both books proved controversial in some of their findings, among them the assertion that only about three percent of men and two percent of women describe themselves as homosexual. Also stirring controversy was the authors' carefully worded suggestion that AIDS would not become a heterosexual epidemic in America due to social forces that stress marital monogamy and cultural mores that create gaps between HIV-positive individuals and wide numbers of the general population. While these and other issues were debated in scientific and scholarly journals, the mainstream press seized upon the survey's disclosure that a vast majority of Americans were either happily monogamous or not engaging in sexual activity at all. As a U.S. News and World Report headline read, "Fidelity Reigns."
In her review of The Social Organization of Sexuality for JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Virginia A. Sadock wrote: "One of the strengths of this book is the straightforward, nonjudgmental reporting by the researchers and their cautious interpretation of results. . . .The large volume is a superb book for physicians and other professionals. It is clearly written, the data are readily accessible, and it is laden with well-explained graphs and charts. . . . Finally, it is of value to those interested in the facts, rather than the myths, about sexual behavior."
With Robert Michael, Laumann has also edited Sex, Love, and Health in America: Private Choices and Public Policies. This book also draws upon the data compiled after completion of the "National Health and Social Life Survey." In this case the authors examine sexual habits during different phases of life, from adolescence to adulthood, and then look at public health issues—abortion, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases—directly relating to sexual activity. In JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Sadock noted that the "findings are interesting" in this work as well. She concluded: "Sex, Love, and Health in America continues to explore sexual practices in an enlightening and medically necessary way. I recommend it highly to all those with an interest in human sexuality."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Political Science Review, June, 1994, Kay Lehman Schlozman, review of The Hollow Core: Private Interests in National Policy Making, p. 475.
Annals of the American Academy of Political andSocial Science, January, 1997, Roland Littlewood, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, p. 205.
Christian Century, June 21, 1995, Mary D. Pellauer, review of Sex in America: A Definitive Survey and The Social Organization of Sexuality, p. 642.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, February 22, 1995, Virginia A. Sadock, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality, p. 675; August 15, 2001, Virginia A. Sadock, review of Sex, Love, and Health in America: Private Choices and Public Policies, p. 847.
Journal of Comparative Family Studies, autumn, 1996, Mary Vlentich, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality, p. 573.
Library Journal, February 1, 2001, Jim Van Buskirk, review of Sex, Love, and Health in America, p. 115.
New England Journal of Medicine, May 25, 1995, John Money, review of Sex in America, p. 1452.
New Yorker, December 19, 1994, Anthony Lane, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality and Sex in America, p. 110.
New York Review of Books, April 20, 1995, R. C. Lewontin, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality and Sex in America, p. 24.
New York Times Book Review, October 30, 1994, Paul Robinson, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality and Sex in America, p. 3.
Political Science Review, spring, 1994, John T. Tierney, review of The Hollow Core, p. 194.
Science, October 20, 1995, John DeLamater, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality, p. 501.
Sciences, July-August, 1995, David W. Murray, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality, p. 44.
Scientific American, August, 1995, Vern L. Bullough, review of The Social Organization of Sexuality, p. 105.
Time, October 17, 1994, "The Truth about Americans and Sex."
U.S. News and World Report, October 17, 1994, "Fidelity Reigns."
Washington Monthly, April, 1993, Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, review of The Hollow Core, p. 58.