William A. Gamson

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William Anthony Gamson (born January 27, 1934)[1] is a professor of Sociology at Boston College, where he is also the co-director of the Media Research and Action Project (MRAP).[2]

Gamson is the author of numerous books and articles on political discourse, the mass-media and social movements from as early as the 1960s. His works include The Strategy of Social Protest,[3] WHAT'S NEWS (1984),[4] and Talking Politics (2002),[5] as well as numerous editions of SimSoc.[6]

Gamson was the 85th president of the American Sociological Association in 1994.[7] He is also a 1978 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.[8] In 1962, he won the AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research.[9]

Gamson's Law[edit]

Gamson's Law of Proportionality or simply Gamson's Law was suggested by Eric C. Browne and Mark N. Franklin in 1971.[10] They demonstrated that there is proportionality between the numerical representation of each political force in a government and their number of seats in the parliament.[11] It was based on the idea that each actor in government expects a payoff proportional to the weight that it contributes to the coalition, that had been proposed in the paper A theory of coalition formation, published in 1961 by William Gamson.[12]


  1. ^ "Reports of the President and of the Treasurer". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (via Google Books). 1978. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  2. ^ "William Gamson's Homepage". Boston College. Archived from the original on 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  3. ^ The Strategy of Social Protest ISBN 0-534-12078-4
  4. ^ WHAT'S NEWS (1984) ISBN 0-02-911110-2
  5. ^ Talking Politics (2002) ISBN 0-521-43679-6
  6. ^ SimSoc 5th edition (2000) ISBN 0-684-87140-8
  7. ^ "Presidents: William A. Gamson". American Sociological Association. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  8. ^ "1978 Foundation Program Areas". John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  9. ^ History & Archives: AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research
  10. ^ JSTOR 1958776
  11. ^ "Party Size and Portfolio Payoffs. A Study of the Mechanism Underlying Gamson’s Law of Proportionality". 
  12. ^ JSTOR 2090664

External links[edit]