“America’s next top sociologist”?

I highlighted this story recently and now Salon.com has a longer piece about the research of sociology Ph.D. student Ashley Mears provocatively titled “America’s Next Top Sociologist.”

When I first saw this headline, I thought perhaps it was a piece about identifying an up and coming sociologist, not a play on the title of the TV show America’s Next Top Model. If sociologists were asked about who the next top sociologists are, what would they say?

Additionally, do sociologists think that the current system, made up of universities and colleges, foundations, government agencies, and some other actors, help promising sociologists rise to the top or is it more oriented toward letting those at the top serve as tough gatekeepers?

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