Mario L. Small, Ph.D., Grafstein Family Professor at Harvard University, is the author of numerous award-winning books and articles on networks, poverty, organizations, culture, methods, neighborhoods, institutions, and other topics.  His latest book, to be published fall 2017, is Someone To Talk To (Oxford).  A study of how people decide whom to approach when seeking support, the book is an inquiry into human nature, a critique of network analysis, and a discourse on the role of qualitative research in the big-data era. CV


New book, fall 2017  Small's Someone To Talk To  published by Oxford Univ Press.  A study of how people use their neworks when coping with difficulties, the book is an inquiry into human nature, a critique of network analysis, and a discourse on the role of qualitative research in the big-data era. Excerpt
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"The book is a tour de force." Karen Cook, Stanford University

"This fascinating book taps into the complex, networked fabric of our lives."  Bernice Pescosolido, Indiana University

"It's extraordinary!"  Eldar Shafir, Princeton University

"[A] valuable correction to the often overly abstract literature on social networks."  Claude Fischer, University of California, Berkeley

"The net we cast as we struggle with our anxieties and concerns is as wide and subtle as this book."  Peter Bearman, Columbia University


Congressional testimony on social capital   Small testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress on social capital and economic opportunity.  Serious investment in early education programs can help build social capital and improve the lives of both children and parents. 

Making friends in violent neighborhoods   Small's new paper with Anjanette Chan Tack finds that neighborhood violence makes elementary school children in Chicago unusually --- and distressingly  --- strategic about friendships.  See summary in NY Magazine's Science of Us.

Behavioral economics and social networks   Small's new Social Networks paper, "Because They Were There," examines how people decide whom to turn to for support.  It documents that people often don't deliberate on the matter, making spontaneous decisions that do not conform to expectations of rationality.

The problem with urban ethnography   Small's new City and Community paper, "De-Exoticizing Ghetto Poverty," discusses stereotyping and sensationalism in current research on low-income minority populations.  “Violence sells copy, and no ethnographer can feign ignorance of that fact.”

People replace confidants quickly in new contexts  Small's new Social Networks paper examines who graduate students trust with important matters over their first year.  "The core discussion network changes remarkably quickly... and it appears to do so because the obligations people face and the routine activities they engage in are transformed by new institutional environments."  Confidants are fickle.