state of the field article on field theory in non-profit organizations, by Emily Barman, now available

We’re at the halfway mark in July.  Looking for summer reading that covers the latest sociological theories in non-profit research?  Emily Barman has a “state of the field” article on the use of field theory in the non-profit organizations literature in the Organizations and Work section of Sociology Compass.

Here’s the abstract for her article “Varieties of Field Theory and the Sociology of the Non-profit Sector:”


This paper reviews the use of field theory in the sociological study of the non-profit sector. The review first shows how field theory, as a conceptual framework to explain social action, provides a valuable sociological counterweight to prevailing economic and psychological orientations in the interdisciplinary scholarship on the non-profit sector. However, despite its certain shared assumptions, field theory in sociology encompasses three distinct, albeit interrelated, approaches: the Bourdieusian, New Institutionalist, and Strategic Action Fields perspectives. I comparatively outline the key analytical assumptions and causal claims of each version of field theory, whether and how it recognizes the specificity of the non-profit sector and then delineate its application by sociologists to the non-profit sector. I show how scholars’ employment of each articulation of field theory to study non-profit activity has been influenced by pre-existing scholarly assumptions and normative claims about this third space. The article concludes by summarizing the use of these varieties of field theory in the sociology of the non-profit sector and by identifying future directions in this line of research.

Also, Emily has a new book available, titled Caring Capitalism: The Meaning and Measure of Social Value (2016, Cambridge University Press)!  Check out the book blurb here.

Written by katherinechen

July 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. This sounds really useful. Any chance there’s an ungated version floating around? Apparently we don’t have access…



    July 11, 2016 at 8:05 pm

  2. epopp, I’ve just PMed you a PDF.

    Liked by 1 person


    July 12, 2016 at 2:57 am

  3. The piece is available at Barman’s academia webpage.



    July 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  4. […] But where do you put preprints? Some people post them to a personal website or a university open repository. But increasingly people are using commercial sites — particularly, though certainly not exclusively, (See, for example, this orgtheory comment thread from earlier in the week.) […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: