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Fellows Forum

Dr. Mario Small

Dr. Mario Small

Grafstein Family Professor, Harvard University : Chicago, IL

Dr. Mario L. Small, Grafstein Family Professor, joined Harvard University in 2014 after eight years at the University of Chicago, where he was John Mathews Manly Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and of the College.  At the University of Chicago, as chair of the department of sociology and later dean of the division of the social sciences, he spearheaded initiatives that increased support for students, generated resources for faculty research, seeded programs in urban and in computational social science, empirically assessed the institutional climate for students and for faculty of all backgrounds, and substantially expanded the division's reserves.  After much soul-searching, Small decided to return to his alma mater, lured by the prospects of building a network of researchers using “big data” to answer new questions in urban theory and eager to complete a long-gestating book on how actors mobilize networks of support.  An expert on urban poverty, social support networks, and qualitative and mixed methods, Small has made award-winning contributions to research on urban neighborhoods, social networks, inequality, culture, organizational capacity, methodology, the sociology of knowledge, and other topics.

He is the author of Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio (2004, Univ Chicago Press), a study of a predominantly Puerto Rican housing complex in Boston; Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life (2009, Oxford Univ Press), a study of the networks of New York City mothers; and numerous articles.

Small's work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Theory and Society, Social Science Research, Annual Review of Sociology, and other journals. He recently co-edited an issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences devoted to the relationship between culture and poverty. He is Associate Editor of the American Journal of Sociology, a trustee of N.O.R.C., and director of the experimental initiative the Urban Portal, a gateway to the latest in urban social science.

Professor Small’s research interests include urban poverty, inequality, culture, networks, case study methods, and higher education. He is currently working on several projects dealing with urban conditions, organizations, and networks. Dr. Small is currently on the board of Social Science Quarterly. Next year, he'll be on the boards of the Social Psychology Quarterly and Sociological Forum. Small received his bachelor degree from Carleton College in 1996 and his master and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in 2001.