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David Stark

Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology and International Affairs
Sociology Department
701C Knox
  • Director, Center on Organizational Innovation

David Stark is Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Columbia University where he directs the Center on Organizational Innovation. Stark studies how organizations and their members search for what is valuable. Dissonance - disagreement about the principles of worth - can lead to discovery. To study the organizational basis for innovation, he has carried out ethnographic field research in Hungarian factories before and after 1989, in new media start-ups in Manhattan before and after the crash, and in a World Financial Center trading room before and after the attack on September 11th. Stark's current research employs large datasets to study the social sources of creativity. Supported by a major grant from the National Science Foundation (with Co-PI Balazs Vedres), his research team is developing network analysis to examine the historical structures whereby teams assemble, disassemble, and resassemble. They are currently analyzing data on every commercially released video game (some 28,000 video games involving an estimated 310,000 unique invididuals) and approximately 40,000 jazz recording sessions involving some 400,000 musicians).

His book, The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life, was published by Princeton University Press in 2009. His most recent book, This Place, These People (with photographer Nancy Warner) was published by Columbia University Press in 2013.

Stark was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002. He has been a visiting fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne; the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham, UK; the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City; the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto; the Institute for Advanced Study/Collegium Budapest; the Center for the Social Sciences in Berlin; the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study; and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the Ecole Normale Superieure - Cachan in 2013.

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