Becoming Fad-Proof

Joel Best

in Flavor of the Month

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780520246263
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932357 | DOI:
Becoming Fad-Proof

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Every institutional fad has boosters promoting its adoption. They promise change, transformation, progress, solutions to annoying problems, perhaps something approaching perfection. Some of these promoters may be cynical hucksters, scamming the gullible with claims they know to be false; but many are ultimately sincere, dedicated converts convinced that their innovation offers the best route to a better future. Institutional fads cannot manifest on their own. They require favorable conditions: a culture that believes in progress, media which publicize anything that is new. Modern conditions favor the diffusion of innovations; they made it possible for personal computers and cell phones to catch on with astonishing speed. Most institutional fads that fail do so because they turn out to be bad ideas, or at least because they are not nearly so good as their advance billing promised.

Keywords: boosters; hucksters; promoters; media; diffusion

Chapter.  2932 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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