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Inventing Equal Opportunity
Frank Dobbin

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"Frank Dobbin has written a careful institutional analysis of how human resource professionals invented equal opportunity. The book is a pleasure to read and a field guide for what historically careful institutional analyses should look like. For institutionalists and law and society scholars the book is necessary reading. Inventing Equal Opportunity is likely to become one of the definitive books on the history of equal opportunity law and corporate personnel practice."--Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, American Journal of Sociology

"This is an excellent, smart book attuned to the implications its argument has for our understanding of social movements, racial progress, and federalism."--Jennifer Delton, Journal of American History

ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS:

"Inventing Equal Opportunity is the most important work of organizational sociology of the last quarter century. Challenging many of our basic assumptions about social movements and organizational change, this book is a must-read for sociologists concerned with inequality and those attempting to influence corporate responsibility activities in corporations."--David A. Thomas, coauthor of Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America

"Frank Dobbin offers a fresh interpretation of equal opportunity that emphasizes corporate personnel management rather than law. Grounded in original evidence, Inventing Equal Opportunity makes the important point that management professionalism--like other institutions of civil society--structures the space between markets and states. Dobbin's outstanding book should be read by scholars across the social sciences and by practicing attorneys and managers. It is erudite yet accessible."--Sanford M. Jacoby, University of California, Los Angeles

"The book is key to understanding the transformation of American society in the late twentieth century. But it is also a more general study of the processes through which public policy becomes embedded in the economy and the society."--Michael Piore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Frank Dobbin demonstrates the central role that employers themselves have played in the evolution of the understanding of equal opportunity and discrimination in America. Drawing on decades of research and interviews with hundreds of corporate players, he brings an entirely new perspective to one of America's enduring challenges--ensuring that all Americans have equal access to job opportunities without regard to their color, gender, or age."--Barbara Reskin, University of Washington

"Inventing Equal Opportunity is a marvelous book. It tells a major part of the story of the civil-rights revolution that--despite hundreds of books and thousands of articles--has been stunningly neglected. Its surprising protagonists are the personnel and HR people in firms across the United States who, through diligent if unplanned effort, created the meaning of equal opportunity. Dobbin is a masterful writer."--John D. Skrentny, University of California, San Diego

"A major work of scholarship that addresses a long-standing lacuna in the field, Inventing Equal Opportunity represents a substantial intervention in the lively interdisciplinary debate over the origins of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. Marshalling a potent blend of original and secondary evidence, Dobbin tackles the crucial puzzle of corporate policies and programs, uncovering the overlooked role of personnel experts and drawing conclusions of broad theoretical importance for scholars from numerous fields."--Anthony S. Chen, University of Michigan

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File created: 10/28/2014

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