Harrison White is a highly regarded sociologist, currently the emeritus Giddings Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. He was born in Washington, D.C. in 1930. A precocious student, he began studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at only 15 years of age. By the age of 25, he had earned his first Ph.D, in theoretical physics. He then went on to earn a second Ph.D in Sociology from Princeton University.
Aside from his substantial influence on current and future sociologists, he has also been a prolific writer. His best-known works are Identity and Control: How Social Formations Emerge and its rewrite, Identity and Control: A Structural Theory of Social Action. He has also written about economics and markets in his book, Markets from Networks: Socioeconomic Models of Production.
He is credited with the development of socio-mathematical models such as blockmodels and vacancy chains. He is also the provocateur who led what is known as the “Harvard Revolution”, or the “Harvard Renaissance”, a shift rooted in his critique of conventional sociological approaches.
White is very highly regarded among social network analysts for revolutionizing the methods and approaches taken to sociological research. He was honored with the W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award in 2011.
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