Mark Granovetter is Joan Butler Ford Professor and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University. He grew up in Jersey City, NJ, received an A. B. in modern European and American History from Princeton in 1965, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard in 1970. He holds honorary doctorates from Stockholm University and Sciences Po (Paris), and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the National Academy of Sciences. Before coming to Stanford in 1995, Granovetter taught at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Stony Brook and Northwestern. He is known for his 1974 book Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers, and has published on social networks, social theory, collective action and economic sociology. He is the author of two of the three most cited papers in Sociology, “The Strength of Weak Ties” (1973) and “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness” (1985), both in the American Journal of Sociology, for which Google Scholar shows together more than 98,000 citations. In 2017, his book, Society and Economy: Framework and Principles was published by Harvard University Press, to be followed by a sequel, Society and Economy: Cases and Applications.

Research Interests

From the time of his undergraduate studies in History, Mark Granovetter has had a consuming interest in the way that individual and small-scale interaction cumulate into larger-scale societal patterns, and how those patterns affect the smaller scale in turn. His first approach to these questions led him to the analysis of social networks. He showed how weak ties rather than strong serve to bridge different cliques that might otherwise be disconnected, thus conveying information to individuals about jobs, rumors and discoveries about which they might otherwise be unaware. He followed with models of collective behavior, in which small differences in the distribution of individual thresholds for action might lead to huge differences in collective outcomes. His recent book on the social foundations of the economy explores how individual action, trust, social norms and the details of networks accumulate into macro-level outcomes that then shape what individuals do. The second volume of this ongoing work on the economy will use this framework to illuminate the study of such important cases as corruption, corporate governance, organizational form and the emergence of new industries like the American electricity industry and the high-tech industry of Silicon Valley.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 54: Economic Sciences