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What are your main interests?
Currently, I am a second-year PhD student in Sociology at Columbia University. Broadly speaking, my main interests are Economic and Organizational Sociology, Sociology of Science and Technology and Network Analysis. I am very interested in systems theory, linguistic theory and network theory and the ways in which they can be combined so as to shed light in relevant social phenomena.
What sort of expertise can you bring to the group?
In the past, I have worked on systems theory and communication theory from a theoretical and empirical perspective. Specifically, within the field of organizational sociology. I am especially familiar with the modern systems theory developed by the sociologist Niklas Luhmann, which I think is very illuminating for the study of social systems. I have also studied systems-theoretical approaches developed by the sociology of science and technology literature. Besides some experience in statistics, I have also been involved in various projects based on qualitative techniques of analysis such as ethnography. What do you hope to get out of CSSS? Since I am in my second year of graduate studies, I think this is a perfect time to begin to define my dissertation topic. I am looking forward to work on a project in an inter-disciplinary manner; to listen carefully how you think, to appreciate different ways of approaching similar subjects of study, to learn from you, and hopefully, together, be able to integrate our views in fruitful and unexpected ways. This, I think, is a tremendously valuable opportunity. I am particularly interested mixed-methods approach and I think that in this I can take a lot out of everyone’s research experience and points of view. Although I do have a background in statistics from my studies in sociology, I am sure that I can learn a lot from all of you in regards to this matter.
Do you have any possible projects in mind for the CSSS?
Some questions that have been thinking about during the last year are the following:
- Social systems’ operation is based on actions. However, not every social system is capable of collective action. What are the conditions needed for a social system to be capable of collective action? This could be interesting for the study of various types of social systems such as riots, temporary or formal organizations, macro-social arrangements such as financial market, etc.
- In relation to this question I am also interested in understanding how norms emerge and become legitimated in social systems.
- I am also interested in the understanding of "meaning in networks." In other words, how do systems define and maintain meaning? I think that this is crucial since a social system (e.g. interactions, organizations or society) that is not able to sustain its meaning would simply disintegrate. It would be interesting to think of empirical examples to examine this theoretical question.
- In general, I am interested in how systems theory and network theory can benefit from each other in the analysis of diverse subjects of study.
- A final research question that I have is related to the studies have been conducted in sociology about "how ideas are developed". For instance, Uzzi analyzed articles from various disciplines that were highly-quoted understanding them as “good ideas”. He examines how many of these articles were developed by one researcher or by a group of researchers and concluded that most of “good ideas” were developed by a collective of individual instead of one individual. Following this line of reasoning I had a specific idea regarding "communities of support" that contribute and make possible "the development of ideas". I propose to operationalize the notion of "community of support" by using the names of individuals listed in the acknowledgments of articles, which in my opinion tend play a crucial role in the development of a "good idea". It could be interesting to use network analysis techniques to examine, for instance, if some disciplines tend to have "support communities" more diverse in terms of the academic background of their members as well as the effects that different "support communities" may have in the diffusion of ideas, etc.