Nuestra corresponsal en New York, M. Pilar Opazo (que escribe en inglés ya que está usando un voice-recognition software), reporta sobre un reciente encuentro con tres muy connotados sociólogos económicos.
Last week, John Padgett, Walter Powell and Paul DiMaggio came to the Sociology Department at Columbia University as part of the event “Distinguished Visiting Scholar Series” organized by Professor Diane Vaughan. These series of talks were developed in honor of Harrison White, a highly influential scholar in multiple sub-fields of sociology including, network analysis economic sociology, and the sociology of arts. During three days, students from different universities of the East Coast were able to attend to talks that revolved around the topics of organizational innovation, transformation and change. Here I share three moments of this series of talks that I found particularly interesting from an academic standpoint and that, I think, can contribute to our thinking on contemporary sociology.
First, I will briefly summarize DiMaggio and Powell’s retrospective account of the process of creating their article “The Iron Cage revisited,” a seminal piece within the neoinstitutionalist approach in organizational sociology. Second, I will describe Padgett and Powell’s ongoing process of “developing innovation” by explaining their current work on the forthcoming book “The Problem of Emergence”, which examines the undertheorized question of the emergence of organizational novelty. I will finish with an anecdote of John Padgett about the first time he taught a course with Harrison White at Harvard University. I end with this, because I have had the privilege to know Harrison White personally, and I think that this story allows us to get a glimpse of what makes Harrison a great mentor and a brilliant scholar. Also, because I believe that there is much to be learned from this story for our own academic endeavors.