The Center for the Study of Social Organization (CSSO) is devoted to fostering interest, training, and research that illuminates the structures and mechanisms through which collectivities of all kinds pursue their goals and coordinate their activities. In particular, we focus on the three major and interpenetrating forms of organization in modern societies – bureaucracy or formal organization; markets; and informal social networks.
Within the Sociology Department, the Center serves as a meeting place for scholars working in three of the Department's central specialities: Economic Sociology, Organizational Sociology, and Social Network Analysis. CSSO aims to serve as a resource for faculty and students working in all of these areas. For the University as a whole, the Center hopes to provide a meeting place for scholars from many disciplines whose work leads them to the study of organizations, institutions, and social networks.
CSSO is pursuing these aims in several ways:
Ongoing public seminars and lectures
CSSO co-sponsors the bi-weekly “Economic Sociology” workshop, organized in fall 2009 by Avinash Dixit of Princeton’s Economics Department and Viviana Zelizer of the Sociology Department, which brings to Princeton scholars from multiple disciplines whose work focuses on the social organization of economic life. The CSSO also sponsors a series of lectures and seminars by leading scholars in the fields of organization theory, social network analysis and economic sociology. Once each semester, CSSO brings a senior scholar to Princeton for an extended residency, affording opportunities to meet with faculty and students.
The CSSO Workshop
The CSSO Workshop, open to Princeton University graduate students working in the areas of economic sociology/institutional economics, organization theory/organizational behavior, or social network analysis, meets weekly. Participating students attend regularly and take the course on a for-credit or audit basis. Sessions are divided between presentations and discussions of student work-in-progress and meetings with senior scholars from Princeton and elsewhere.
The name of this workshop reflects the conviction that the most interesting theoretical problems in the social sciences almost always require methodological innovation, and the most interesting methodological problems almost always turn out to be problems of theory, as well. The Workshop, which includes roughly equal numbers of faculty and advanced graduate students, meets monthly to discuss new work – papers, prospectuses, memos, half-baked ideas – from participants and to hear presentations by Princeton faculty (from such departments as Computer Science, Economics, Philosophy and Population Biology) engaged in theorodological research.
The Center offers competitive two-year postdoctoral fellowships to new or recent Ph.Ds whose work is making fundamental contributions to some aspect of the study of social organization. Fellows will pursue their own research agendas and also teach a course in the Sociology Department. When the application process for postdoctoral fellowships is open, information will be available in the sidebar at right.
Conferences and Research Meetings
The Center will also organize occasional conferences or research meetings that bring together scholars working in areas of particular importance or potential for one or two days of intense discussion.
We encourage Princeton faculty and students who find the Center’s work of potential interest to email the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to the mailing list.