This new series will list some of the classics (management, organizations, institutionalism, sociology, economic sociology) and useful books that might be included in a phd course or should be read by students to get a good foundation!
Fligstein’s The Architecture of Markets is a must read to understand how markets are built up on sociological foundations. Kathleen Thelen’s book, How Institutions Evolve, is a very interesting piece on institutional evolution, chapters are taken up and discussed in many PhD courses I know of (for example at Stanford).
Below are two books on organization theory with different approaches: Stinchcombe’s Information and Organizations and Hannan & Freeman’s Organizational Ecology.
The next too are dealing with categories and their implications(Bowker & Star’s Sorting Things Out), and the social construction of reality (Berger & Luckmann).
Not a classic yet, but this book features a good collection of papers on how clusters form and evolve, with examples from hollywood to biotech in Europe, US and China. It also contain papers that analyze how policies influence cluster development.
(To be continued)
An old (2011) video from the Sante Fe institute on the research agenda on understanding the dynamics of cities. I had been interested in the biological organism and complex network metaphor in respect to cities and organizational fields, so I am a big fan of the research! The main page of the project is here.
“SFI’s Cities, Scaling, and Sustainability research effort is creating an interdisciplinary approach and quantitative synthesis of organizational and dynamical aspects of human social organizations, with an emphasis on cities. Different disciplinary perspectives are being integrated in terms of the search for similar dependences of urban indicators on population size – scaling analysis – and other variables that characterize the system as a whole. A particularly important focus of this research area is to develop theoretical insights about cities that can inform quantitative analyses of their long-term sustainability in terms of the interplay between innovation, resource appropriation, and consumption and the make up of their social and economic activity. This focus area brings together urban planners, economists, sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, and complex system theorists with the aim of generating an integrated and quantitative understanding of cities. Outstanding areas of research include the identification of general scaling patterns in urban infrastructure and dynamics around the world, the quantification of resource distribution networks in cities and their interplay with the city’s socioeconomic fabric, issues of temporal acceleration and spatial density, and the long-term dynamics of urban systems.”
– Santa Fe Institute
Also watch a TED talk by Geoffrey West about some of the insights on the mathematics of cities.
“Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.”
― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
The debate about the future of the university has traditionally been formulated as a dichotomous battle between “idealists”, or self-protecting groups of “research freedom”-loving academics, who fight under the flag of Humboldtian values, and the “market”-oriented policy makers and reform minded people, who fight with entrepreneurial spirit and Schumpeterian wit. And of course there are the disruptive innovators, say a Khan Academy, or MOOCs, who provide new ideas, new prospects, but also raise the overall entropy of the already chaotic educational system. In all, never has been the educational scene more turbulent and more diverse. It is both an exciting and a daunting time for those who are at the helm of universities.
I have always loved the middle ground though. I am an ally of innovation and market-oriented participation, yet I think it worth some time to slow down from time to time and explore some of the underlying values and cultural underpinnings.
I have been reading this interesting book on the concept of self-cultivation or ‘bildung’ which can be said to be one of the foundational concepts of the German University, and thus the modern research university (though there are some contending voices whether the ‘role model’ assumption holds).