Mark Granovetter

Mark Granovetter is Professor of Sociology at Stanford University. He previously taught at the Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Northwestern University. From the time of his undergraduate studies in History at Princeton, he has had a consuming interest in the way that individual action, social networks and social institutions interact with and shape one another. His focus is on actors who try to define and solve problems, not with simple rational strategies, but rather as pragmatists assembling ideas and practices from their social environments — what Bourdieu called bricolage . His first approach to these questions led him to the analysis of social networks.  His widely cited 1973 paper “The Strength of Weak Ties”, showed how weak rather than strong ties bridge cliques that might otherwise be disconnected, thus conveying information to individuals about jobs, rumors and discoveries about which they might otherwise be unaware. His 1974 (2nd ed. 1995) book Getting a Job pursued this theme, exploring the role of social networks in labor markets. His models of collective behavior, in which small differences in the distribution of individual thresholds for action might lead to huge differences in collective outcomes, focused on the nonlinearity of the relation between causes and social outcomes. Since the mid-1980s, he has focused on the sociology of the economy, beginning with his 1985 paper “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness”. His recent book, Society and Economy, explores how trust, social norms, power and the details of networks accumulate into macro-level institutions that then in turn shape what individuals do. The first volume (2017) sets out the theoretical framework, while the second (in process) will use this framework to illuminate the study of such important topics and cases as the role and variety of personal relationships in the economy, corruption, corporate governance, organizational form and the emergence of new industries like the American electricity industry and the high-tech industry of Silicon Valley.

Visit website