In societies that experience rapid social transformation, does an individual's social position have a major influence on their personality? Exploring this, and related questions, Melvin Kohn presents a detailed overview of how social structure relates to personality in a variety of different countries in vastly different political and social contexts. Case studies include the US, communist Poland, Japan, and Poland and the Ukraine during their transition to capitalism.
“Change and Stability is the culmination of more than five decades of research conducted by Melvin Kohn, one of the most influential scholars working in the social structure and personality tradition. … One of Kohn’s most valuable contributions is explicating the proximate pathways that link the macro and micro: he has demonstrated persuasively that the nature of one’s social and occupational roles, particularly the opportunity to practice self-direction and intellectual flexibility, account for part of the link between social stratification and personality. … By reading his book, they may acquire important insights into how an esteemed scholar conceptualizes, develops, and carries out a methodologically rigorous and theoretically cohesive research program, amasses data to evaluate hypotheses across a range of social and cultural contexts, develops enduring and successful research collaborations, and navigates the practical challenges of research. … One of the main contributions of Change and Stability is that the book does not simply describe the results of sociological research; rather, it describes the process and politics of carrying out an influential program of research over the span of a more than five-decade career. ”
“Melvin Kohn has labored almost a half century examining the relationship between social structure and personality. In this volume, he describes the origin, development, and testing of that relationship in two stable societies and two others undergoing change…an important methodological contribution.”
—William Form, in Contemporary Sociology, Ohio State University