Melvin L. Kohn
First published in 1969 and augmented by the author with a new essay in 1977, "Class and Conformity" remains a model of sociological craftsmanship. Kohn's work marshals evidence from three studies to show a decided connection between social class and values. He emphasizes that occupation fosters either self-direction or conformity in people, depending upon the amount of freedom from supervision, the complexity of the task, and the variety of work that the job entails. The extent of parents' self-direction on the job further determines the value placed on self-direction for their children; thus, Kohn finds, is the most critical and pervasive factor distinguishing children raised in different socioeconomic classes.