William A. Gamson

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William Anthony Gamson (born January 27, 1934) is a professor of Sociology at Boston College, where he is also the co-director of the Media Research and Action Project (MRAP).[1] He 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,[2] WHAT'S NEWS (1984),[3] and Talking Politics (2002),[4] as well as numerous editions of SimSoc.[5]

Gamson, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1959, was the 85th president of the American Sociological Association in 1994.[6] He is also a 1978 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.[7] In 1962, he won the AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research.[8]

Gamson was instrumental in the creation of fantasy baseball and fantasy sports. He created one of the first fantasy baseball leagues in Boston in 1960, the "Baseball Seminar," where colleagues would form rosters that earned points on the players' final standings in batting average, RBI, ERA and wins.[9] Gamson later brought the idea with him to the University of Michigan where some professors played the game. One professor playing the game was Bob Sklar, who taught an American Studies seminar which included Daniel Okrent, who learned of the game his professor played. Okrent would later write a book that was the key catalyst for the modern fantasy sports industry.[9][10]

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.[11] They stated that there is proportionality between the numerical representation of each political force in a government and their number of seats in the parliament.[12] 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.[13]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Gamson, William A.; Modigliani, Andre (January 1987). "The changing culture of affirmative action". Research in Political Sociology. 3: 137–177.
  • Gamson, William A.; Modigliani, Andre (1994), "The changing culture of affirmative action", in Burstein, Paul, Equal employment opportunity: labor market discrimination and public policy, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, pp. 373–394, ISBN 9780202304755. Preview.


  1. ^ "William Gamson's Homepage". Boston College. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  2. ^ The Strategy of Social Protest ISBN 0-534-12078-4
  3. ^ WHAT'S NEWS (1984) ISBN 0-02-911110-2
  4. ^ Talking Politics (2002) ISBN 0-521-43679-6
  5. ^ SimSoc 5th edition (2000) ISBN 0-684-87140-8
  6. ^ "Presidents: William A. Gamson". American Sociological Association. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  7. ^ "1978 Foundation Program Areas". John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  8. ^ History & Archives: AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research
  9. ^ a b Alan Schwarz: The Numbers Game : Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics Thomas Dunne Books p. 175, ISBN 0-312-32222-4
  10. ^ Hilt, Ed (2007-06-26). "Fantasy baseball league owners still bonding in their 32nd season". Press of Atlantic City. Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  11. ^ JSTOR 1958776
  12. ^ "Party Size and Portfolio Payoffs. A Study of the Mechanism Underlying Gamson's Law of Proportionality" (PDF).
  13. ^ JSTOR 2090664

External links[edit]