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ISR's program in Society, Population, and Environment (SPE) focuses on social change and social issues worldwide.

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Arland Thornton

Research Professor, Population Studies Center.

Professor, Sociology.

Research Professor, Survey Research Center.

Ph.D., University of Michigan

Arland Thornton is Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, where he is also a Research Professor at the Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center. He is a social demographer who has served as president of the Population Association of America and currently holds a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. For much of his career, Thornton has focused on the study of family and demographic issues, with a particular emphasis on marriage, cohabitation, divorce, childbearing, intergenerational relations, and gender roles. He has received four awards for his books as well as a distinguished career award from the American Sociological Association. During the past decade Thornton has devoted considerable time and energy studying developmental idealism and its influence in many areas of the world. His 2001 presidential address to the Population Association of America focused on this topic, as does his award-winning book entitled Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life. Of particular importance for Thornton’s current work are the ways in which values, beliefs, and people have been and are being distributed around the world. His work (in collaboration with others) has involved conceptualization, measurement, and analysis of data from several countries, including Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vietnam.

Recent Publications

Books

Jayakody, Rukmalie, Arland Thornton, and William Axinn. 2008. . (Eds)International Family Change: Ideational Perspectives. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, William Axinn, and Yu Xie. 2007. Marriage and Cohabitation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland. 2005. Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life. Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press. Abstract.

Journal Articles

Williams, Nathalie, Arland Thornton, and Linda C. Young-DeMarco. 2014. "Migrant Values and Beliefs: How Are They Different and How Do They Change?" Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(5): 796-813. PMCID: PMC3927938. DOI. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, Rachael Pierotti, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Susan Watkins. Online Access 2014. "Developmental Idealism and Cultural Models of the Family in Malawi." Population Research and Policy Review, . NIHMSID: NIHMS568590. DOI. Abstract.

Binstock, Georgina, Arland Thornton, M.J. Abbasi-Shavazi, Dirgha Ghimire, Yu Xie, and K.M. Yount. 2013. "Influences on the knowledge and beliefs of ordinary people about developmental hierarchies." International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 54(4): 325-344. PMCID: PMC3952150. DOI. Abstract.

Kavas, Serap, and Arland Thornton. 2013. "Adjustment and Hybridity in Turkish Family Change: Perspectives from Developmental Idealism." Journal of Family History, 38(2): 223-241. DOI. Abstract.

Melegh, Attila, Arland Thornton, Dimiter Philipov, and Linda Young-DeMarco. 2013. "Perceptions of societal developmental hierarchies in Europe and beyond: A Bulgarian Perspective." European Sociological Review, 29(3): 603-615. PMCID: PMC3691096. DOI. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, Georgina Binstock, Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi, Dirgha Ghimire, Arjan Gjonca, Attila Melegh, Colter Mitchell, Mansoor Moaddel, Yu Xie, Li-Shou Yang, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Kathryn Yount. 2012. "Knowledge and Beliefs about National Development and Developmental Hierarchies: the Viewpoints of Ordinary People in Thirteen Countries." Social Science Research, 41(5): 1053-1068. PMCID: PMC3462366. DOI. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, Dirgha Ghimire, and Colter Mitchell. 2012. "The measurement and prevalence of an ideational model of family and economic development in Nepal." Population Studies, 66(3): 329-345. PMCID: PMC3505987. DOI. Abstract.

View additional select publications of Arland Thornton

Current PSC Trainees:

Emily Ann Marshall, Jeffrey Swindle.