Associate Professor of Sociology
Affiliated Faculty, Department of Medicine, Health and Society, and Department of Asian Studies
What are the causes and consequences of social networks across society and time?
My work lies in the social network research tradition dating back to the very beginning of sociology as a discipline. My overarching research question is “What are the causes and consequences of social networks across society and time?” I investigate three major research themes: how social networks produce health and well-being inequalities, how social networks generate social stratification and inequalities, and how social forces create social network inequalities. My work has been supported by many research grants or fellowships, including those from the National Institutes of Health, the Ford Foundation, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. I have received two publication awards from the American Sociological Association (ASA): one from the Section on Sociology of Mental Health and the other from the Section on Asia/Asian America.
My recent ASA award-winning, innovative research contributes a new theoretical framework on the double-edged (protective and detrimental) role of social networks. I propose social cost theory in competition with social capital theory to theorize the double-edged function of accessed status (network members’ status). I further propose competing institutional explanations (collectivistic advantage, collectivistic disadvantage, and inequality structure) to theorize and compare the varying explanatory power of social cost theory and social capital theory across culture and society. As my original findings suggest, social cost theory applies more to collectivistic and unequal societies, whereas social capital theory applies more to individualistic and egalitarian societies.
Links to the SNAIL(Social Networks and Inequalities Lab), personal website, and Google Scholar Citations.
(*Student or Postdoctoral Co-Author)
Song, Lijun, Philip J. Pettis*, Yvonne Chen*, and Marva V. Goodson-Miller*. 2021. “Social Cost and Health: The Downside of Social Relationships and Social Networks.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 62(3): 371-87. (Special Issue: Findings, Challenges, and Future Directions in Medical Sociology).
Song, Lijun. 2020. “Social Capital, Social Cost, and Relational Culture in Three Societies.” Social Psychology Quarterly 83(4): 443-62. **American Sociological Association Best Publication Award, Sociology of Mental Health Section.
Song, Lijun and Philip J. Pettis*. 2020. “Does Whom You Know in the Status Hierarchy Prevent or Trigger Health Limitation? Institutional Embeddedness of Social Capital and Social Cost Theories in Three Societies.” Social Science & Medicine 257.
Ronald S. Burt, Yanjie Bian, Lijun Song, and Nan Lin (eds.). 2019. Social Capital, Social Support and Stratification: An Analysis of the Sociology of Nan Lin. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Song, Lijun, Philip J. Pettis*, and Bhumika Piya*. 2017. "Does Your Body Know Who You Know? Multiple Roles of Network Members’ Socioeconomic Status for Body Weight Ratings. " Sociological Perspectives 66(6): 997-1018. Editor’s Pick.
Song, Lijun. 2015. "Does Knowing People in Authority Protect or Hurt? Authoritative Contacts and Depression in Urban China." American Behavioral Scientist 59(9): 1173-1188.
Song, Lijun. 2015. "Does Knowing People in the Positional Hierarchy Protect or Hurt? Social Capital, Comparative Reference Group, and Depression in Two Societies." Social Science & Medicine 136-137: 117-127.
Song, Lijun. 2014. "Is Unsolicited Support Protective or Destructive in Collectivistic Culture? Receipt of Unsolicited Job Leads in Urban China." Society and Mental Health 4(3): 235-54.
Song, Lijun and Wenhong Chen. 2014. "Does Receiving Unsolicited Support Help or Hurt? Receipt of Unsolicited Job Leads and Depression." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 55(2): 144-60.
Song, Lijun and Tian-Yun Chang*. 2012. "Do Resources of Network Members Help in Help Seeking? Social Capital and Health Information Search." Social Networks 34(4): 658-69.
Song, Lijun. 2012. "Raising Network Resources While Raising Children? Access to Social Capital by Parenthood Status, Gender, and Marital Status." Social Networks 34(2): 241-52.
Song, Lijun. 2011. "Social Capital and Psychological Distress." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52(4): 478-92.
Song, Lijun. 2009. "The Effect of the Cultural Revolution on Educational Homogamy in Urban China." Social Forces 88(1): 257-70. *American Sociological Association Best Graduate Student Paper Award, Asia and Asian America Section.
Song, Lijun and Nan Lin. 2009. "Social Capital and Health Inequality: Evidence from Taiwan." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 50(2): 149-63.