[article] Study finds that social ties influence who wins Hollywood movie awards

5 March 2015

How do artists, authors, scientists, and other cultural producers achieve recognition and success? In particular, why is it that some people get major awards, like the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer Prize, while others do not? Sociological theory suggests that the process of “making it” in any field depends not only on individual merit, but also on the kind of audience that makes the judgments. A new article in the American Sociological Review by Gino Cattani, Simone Ferriani, and Paul D. Allison examines this proposition through a focus on the Hollywood movie industry, using data on many different awards and nominations given to actors, directors, screenwriters, and others over a twelve-year period. Movie awards generally fall into two categories: those given by “peers” who are actively engaged in making movies, and those given by “critics” who review movies for newspapers, magazines, or other media outlets. The authors show that awards given by peers more often go to people who are heavily embedded in the “core” of the social network. These core members have many social ties to other movie makers. Critics, on the other hand, show no favoritism toward core members. In fact, they may even prefer those on the periphery of the industry. These patterns persist even after statistically controlling for, and thus taking into account, many other factors that influence who gets awards.   Title: “Insiders, Outsiders, and the Struggle for Consecration in Cultural Fields: A Core-Periphery Perspective” Read the full article here.


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