Presidential Address on CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SOCIOCULTURAL CONTEXT

Toward a Self-presentational Theory of Attribution Processes

Authors


*Direct all correspondence to: Kathleen S. Crittenden, Sociology Department, University of Illinois at Chicago, Box 4348, Chicago, Illinois 60680

Abstract

Attribution research is the study of people's perceptions of what causes the events that happen to them. The classical formulations of attribution theory by Heider, Jones, Kelley, and Weiner have been criticized as inadequately social. Recent concern has shifted to the interpersonal functions that attributions serve, particularly the role that attributions play in self-presentation strategies. Psychological social psychologists have developed a statement of impression management theory that is informed by sociological perspectives. This address reviews the development and promise of a self-presentational perspective as a means of linking attributional behavior to social and cultural context variables through the mediating variables of values and expectations. Sociologists can contribute to the development of a self-presentational theory of attribution by articulating the influence of sociocultural context on these mediating variables.

Ancillary