Arland Thornton

Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
B.A., Brigham Young University

Arland Thornton is Professor of Sociology, Population Studies, and Survey Research at the University of Michigan, where he is also associated with the Native American Studies Program and centers within the International Institute. He is a social demographer who has served as president of the Population Association of America and previously held a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. He has received four awards for his books as well as distinguished career awards from the American Sociological Association and the Population Association of America. Thornton has focused much of his career on the study of family and demographic issues, with emphasis on marriage, cohabitation, childbearing, gender roles, education, and migration. Thornton has also pioneered the study of developmental idealism, including its conceptualization, measurement, and influence in many places. He has collaborated in the collection and analysis of data from Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Turkey, the U.S., and Vietnam. Thornton is currently conducting sociological research about American Indians, examining several dimensions of American Indian life, including levels, trends, and differentials in school enrollment, literacy, and years of school completed.

Curriculum Vitae

Sociological Studies of American Indians (SSAI)

Research Profile at the Population Studies Center

Publications

Thornton, Arland. "Reading History Sideways: The Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life." University of Chicago Press, 2005. Series: (PD) Population and Development Series.

R. Jayokody, A. Thornton, and W. Axinn, editors. International Family Change: Ideational Perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2008.

Allendorf, Keera, and Arland Thornton. 2019. "New Research on Developmental Idealism: Introduction to the Special Issue." Sociology of Development, 5(3): 225-228.

Thornton, Arland, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Prem B. Bhandari. 2019. "The Reliability and Stability of Measures of Individuals' Values and Beliefs Concerning Developmental Idealism in Nepal." Sociology of Development, 5(3): 314-336. 

Gjonça, Arjan, and Arland Thornton. 2019. "The Spread of Ideas Related to the Developmental Idealism Model in Albania." Sociology of Development, 5(3): 265-285.

Allendorf, Keera, Arland Thornton, Colter Mitchell, and Linda Young-DeMarco. 2019. "The Influence of Developmental Idealism on Marital Attitudes, Expectations, and Timing." Journal of Family Issues, 40(17): 2359-2388.

Kavas, Serap, and Arland Thornton. Developmental Idealism and Beliefs About Marriage and Fertility in Turkey. Population Research and Policy Review. 39, 47–75 (2020).

Thornton, Arland, Shawn F. Dorius, Jeffrey Swindle, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Mansoor Moaddel. 2017. "Middle Eastern Beliefs about the Causal Linkages of Development to Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights." Sociology of Development, 70(94): 70-94

Thornton, Arland, Kathryn M. Yount, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Mansoor Moaddel. 2017. "Modernization, World System, and Clash of Civilization Perspectives in Lay Views of the Development- Morality Nexus in the United States and the Middle East." In Values, Political Action, and Change in the Middle East and the Arab Spring edited by Mansoor Moaddel and Michele J. Gelfand. Chapter 4. Oxford University Press.

Yount, Kathryn M., Arland Thornton, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Shilpa N. Patel. 2017. "Lay Accounts of "Modern" and "Traditional" Family in Greater Cairo: A Test of Developmental Models of Family Life." In Values, Political Action, and Change in the Middle East and the Arab Spring edited by Mansoor Moaddel and Michele J. Gelfand. Chapter 5. Oxford University Press.

Melegh, Attila, Tamás Kiss, Sabina Csánóová, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Arland Thornton. 2016. "The perception of global hierarchies: South-Eastern European patterns in comparative perspectives." Chinese Journal of Sociology, 2(4): 497-523.

Thornton, Arland, Georgina Binstock, Linda Young-DeMarco, Colter Mitchell, Kathryn M. Yount, and Yu Xie. 2016. "Evaluating the measurement reliabilities and dimensionality of developmental idealism measures." Chinese Journal of Sociology, 2(4): 609-635.

Thornton, Arland, and Yu Xie. 2016. "Developmental Idealism in China." Chinese Journal of Sociology, 2(4): 483-496.

Thornton, Arland, and Li-Shou Yang. 2016. "Perceptions of Developmental Hierarchies in Taiwan: Conceptual, Substantive, and Methodological Insights." Chinese Journal of Sociology, 2(4): 547-576.

Allendorf, Keera, and Arland Thornton. 2015. "Caste and Choice: The Influence of Developmental Idealism on Marriage Behavior." American Journal of Sociology, 121(1): 243-287.

Thornton, Arland, Shawn F. Dorius, and Jeffrey Swindle. 2015. "Developmental Idealism: The Cultural Foundations of World Development Programs." Sociology of Development, 1(2): 277-320. PDF.

Lai, Qing, and Arland Thornton. 2015. "The making of family values: Developmental idealism in Gansu, China." Social Science Research, 51: 174-188.

Thornton, Arland. 2014. "Population Structures." In Concise Encyclopedia of Comparative Sociology edited by Sasaki, Goldstone, Zimmermann, and Sanderson. Brill. PDF.

Thornton, Arland, Rachael Pierotti, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Susan Watkins. 2014. "Developmental Idealism and Cultural Models of the Family in Malawi." Population Research and Policy Review, 33(5): 693-716.

Binstock, Georgina, Arland Thornton, M.J. Abbasi-Shavazi, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Yu Xie, and K.M. Yount. 2013. "Influences on the knowledge and beliefs of ordinary people about developmental hierarchies." International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 54(4): 325-344.

Kavas, Serap, and Arland Thornton. 2013. "Adjustment and Hybridity in Turkish Family Change: Perspectives from Developmental Idealism." Journal of Family History, 38(2): 223-241.

Melegh, Attila, Arland Thornton, Dimiter Philipov, and Linda Young-DeMarco. 2013. "Perceptions of societal developmental hierarchies in Europe and beyond: A Bulgarian Perspective." European Sociological Review, 29(3): 603-615.

Thornton, Arland. 2012. "Developed and less developed societies." In The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization edited by George Ritzer. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. [PDF, full text, unedited]

Thornton, Arland. 2012. "Developmental idealism." In The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization edited by George Ritzer. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. [PDF, full text, unedited]

Thornton, Arland. “International Family Change And Continuity: The Past And Future From The Developmental Idealism Perspective.” Marriage at the Crossroads: Law, Policy, and the Brave New World of Twenty-First-Century Families, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 2012, pp. 30–53. 

Thornton, Arland, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Dirgha Ghimire. 2012. "Views of the Interrelationships of the Dimensions of Developmental Idealism and Family Life: Evidence from Nepal." PSC Research Report No. 12-778. October 2012.

Thornton, Arland, Georgina Binstock, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Colter Mitchell, Mansoor Moaddel, Yu Xie, Li-Shou Yang, Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi, et al. 2012. "Knowledge and Beliefs about National Development and Developmental Hierarchies: the Viewpoints of Ordinary People in Thirteen Countries." Social Science Research, 41(5): 1053-1068.

Thornton, Arland, Dirgha J. Ghimire, and Colter Mitchell. 2012. "The measurement and prevalence of an ideational model of family and economic development in Nepal." Population Studies, 66(3): 329-345.

Xie, Yu, Arland Thornton, Guangzhou Wang, and Qing Lai. 2012. "Societal Projection: Beliefs Concerning the Relationship between Development and Inequality in China." Social Science Research, 41(5): 1069-1084.

Abbasi-Shavazi, Mohammad Jalal, Abbas Askari-Nodoushan, and Arland Thornton. 2012. "Family Life and Developmental Idealism in Yazd, Iran." Demographic Research, 26: 207-238.

Thornton, Arland, Georgina Binstock, Kathryn M. Yount, Mohammad Abbasi-Shavazi, Dirgha J. Ghimire, and Yu Xie. 2012. "International Fertility Change: New Data and Insights from the Developmental Idealism Framework." Demography, 49(2): 677-698.

Thornton, Arland. 2011. "The International Fight Against Barbarism: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Marriage Timing, Consent, and Polygamy." In Modern Polygamy in the United States: Historical, Cultural, and Legal Issues. Oxford University Press.

Thornton, Arland, Alexandra Achen Killewald, Jennifer S. Barber, Georgina Binstock, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Ronald F. Inglehart, Rukmalie Jayakody, Yang Jiang, et al. 2010. "Creating Questions and Protocols for an International Study of Ideas About Development and Family Life." In Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional and Multicultural Conexts edited by Janet A. Harkness, Michael Braun, Brad Edwards, Timothy P. Johnson, Lars Lyberg, Peter Ph. Mohler, Beth-Ellen Pennell, Tom W. Smith. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Thornton, Arland. 2009. "Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Marriage." In Marriage and family: perspectives and complexities edited by H. Elizabeth Peters and Claire M. Kamp Dush. New York: Columbia University Press.

Thornton, Arland. 2009. "Framework for Interpreting Long-Term Trends in Values and Beliefs Concerning Single-Parent Families." Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(2): 230-234. PDF.

Thornton, Arland, and Dimiter Philipov. 2009. "Sweeping Changes in Marriage, Cohabitation and Childbearing in Central and Eastern Europe: New Insights from the Developmental Idealism Framework." European Journal of Population, 25: 123-156. PDF.

Thornton, Arland, Georgina Binstock, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2008. "International dissemination of ideas about development and family change." In International Family Change: ideational perspectives edited by Rukmalie Jayakody, Arland Thornton, William G Axinn. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Georgina Binstock and Thornton, Arland. "Knowledge and Use of Developmental Thinking About Societies and Families among Teenagers in Argentina." PSC Research Report No. 06-587. January 2006.

Thornton, Arland. 2001. "The Developmental Paradigm, Reading History Sideways and Family Change." Demography, 38(4): 449-465.