Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Rousseau

Second Advisor

Dr. Theodore H. Tsoukalas

Third Advisor

Dr. William C. Pratt


This thesis addresses the relevance of paradigms to the field of social stratification. Social stratification articles appearing in the American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology from the years 1953-1990 are analyzed. The results provide evidence for a multiplicity of paradigms within the field. A life cycle model for paradigm development is proposed to account for the changes exhibited by the paradigms. I suggested that paradigms go through four stages and that movement through each stage is caused by interactions between the paradigms. Similarities and differences to Kuhn's original paradigm concept are emphasized, and suggestions are provided for improving the usage of the concept of paradigm within the discipline of sociology.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Sociology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1993, Kaj E. Williams

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