David A. Karp


1944 –


Who is David A. Karp?

David A. Karp is a Professor of Sociology at Boston College where he has taught since 1971. He received his B.A. degree from Harvard University in 1966 and his Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University in 1971. He has written or co-authored nine books and more than fifty journal articles and book chapters. His work appears in such periodicals as Symbolic Interaction, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Journal of Qualitative Health Research, the Gerontologist, and the International Journal of Aging and Human Development. His work has largely clustered in three areas: urban life and culture, aging, and the study of mental health and illness.

Professor Karp’s career-long research work is both motivated by and advances “symbolic interaction theory,” sociology’s distinctive version of social psychology. His diverse writings are animated and united by the core “social constructionist” question, “How do people make sense of complicated life circumstances and how are their behaviors, emotions, and attitudes linked to such interpretive processes?”

Over the course of more than 40 years he has explored a variety of topics. His doctoral dissertation on the nature of “urban anonymity” involved participant observation in New York’s Times Square area. This initial interest in the social psychology of city life led to the publication of his co-authored and widely respected book entitled Being Urban: A Sociology of City Life. As an assistant professor at Boston College he also co-authored a book on the “sociology of everyday life.” Always using his sociology to reflect on issues of personal significance, Professor Karp later collaborated on Experiencing the Life Cycle: A Social Psychology of Aging. This book challenged deterministic notions of a universal aging process.

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Also known as
  • David Karp
  • David Allen Karp
  • Harvard University
  • New York University
  • Boston College

on July 23, 2013


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