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Texas State sociology professor honored with Cooley Book Award

By Kayla J. Kayden
University News Service
September 19, 2014

Baby Boomer Rock 'n' Roll

Joseph A. Kotarba, professor of sociology at Texas State University, has received the 2014 Charles Horton Cooley Award for Outstanding Book for Baby Boomer Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans: The Music Never Ends.

The award is given annually by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction to an author for a book or article that makes an important contribution to the perspective of symbolic interaction.

Kotarba’s book is the first sociological analysis of the baby boomer generation, which grew up with rock ‘n’ roll culture and used it as a source of meaning in life.  Kotarba said his book brings together his scholarly interests and life experiences. He said his teaching and research activities have evolved toward understanding intricacies of culture that people use to make sense of their everyday lives. 

“Since I am a baby boomer myself, I am well aware of the importance rock ‘n’ roll culture has had on my generation,” Kotarba said.  “Studying rock ‘n’ roll culture is both fun and theoretically important.” 

Kotarba said he cites many anecdotes in his book that his respondents have offered him, showing the power music has in the way of communicating with others.

“[My book] shows the power music has to help communicate with one’s children, to forge a relationship with a special person, to relive a golden moment in one’s youth, to sanctify religious or spiritual beliefs and to express one’s political beliefs,” Kotarba said. 

The Cooley Award is the third of three major awards in symbolic interaction that Kotarba has received.  Kotarba has also received the Mead Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Mentoring Excellence Award. 

“I’m very proud of the fact that only four other sociologists have won all three awards in their careers,” Kotarba said.

For more information on this book, visit