The sociologists at MIT help students develop an understanding and appreciation of the social structures that link local experiences and global exchanges. Sociology is a generalizing social science exploring, as C. Wright Mills wrote more than a half century ago, the intersection of biography and history by relating the life of the individual to the operation of social institutions such as corporations, markets, nation states, or legal systems. Much of contemporary popular culture and scholarship depicts history, arts, corporate behavior, public affairs differently: as the product of individual human decisions, utility, invention, malfeasance, avarice or creativity. The mechanisms and processes of aggregation that provide intervening conditions that influence, channel, and organize human action are poorly understood, if recognized at all. In the various departments and programs of study, with a range of research methods, the sociologists at MIT address just this lacunae in public and scholarly understanding of human life: the processes and structures organizing human action wherever it is being observed, described and explained.
|Prof. Susan Silbey
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 16-233
Cambridge MA 02139