Sociologist Anderson honored for his scholarship and community advocacy

Elijah Anderson, the William K. Lanman Professor of Sociology at Yale, has received the prestigious Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award from the American Sociological Association (ASA).

Anderson was “unanimously and enthusiastically” chosen for the award due to his “outstanding record of scholarship, critical engagement with policymakers, advocacy of urban ethnography within the discipline, and abiding commitment to the communities” he studies, wrote Deborah K. King, chair of the award committee, in the letter to Anderson announcing his honor. She added, “We were equally impressed with your excellent mentorship of graduate students and junior faculty members.”

The Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award is given for work in the intellectual traditions of the African-American scholars W.E.B. DuBois, Oliver Cromwell Cox, Charles S. Johnson, and E. Franklin Frazier, who put “their scholarship in service to social justice, with an eye toward advancing the status of disadvantaged populations,” notes the award committee.

Anderson is one of the nation’s leading urban ethnographers. His publications include “Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City” (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; “Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community” (1990), winner of the ASA’s Robert E. Park Award; and “A Place on the Corner” (1978; second edition, 2003), which is considered a classic in the field of urban ethnography. Anderson’s most recent ethnographic work is “The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life” (2012).

Anderson served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and as vice president of the ASA. He has been an editor for a wide range of professional journals and special publications, and a consultant to a variety of government agencies, including the White House, the U.S. Congress, the National Academy of Science and the National Science Foundation. He was a member of the National Research Council’s Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior.

In 2009, the National Institute of Justice, a research and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, issued a report reaffirming the theory of urban violence Anderson formulated in “Code of the Street,” establishing it as an important consideration for policymakers and court decisions.

A formal presentation of the award will be made at the annual ASA meeting in New York in August.