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Talk: The Emergence of Organizations and Markets

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
12:00 AM
411 West Hall 1085 S. University Street

Darwin’s question about the origin of species is worth posing and exploring as much in the social sciences as it was in biology. Human organizations, like living organisms, have evolved throughout history, with new organizational forms emerging and transforming in various settings:new types of banks and banking in the history of capitalism; new types of research organizations and research in the history of science; new types of political organizations and nations in the history of state formation. All of these examples are discussed in this book. The histories of economies and polities are littered with new organizational forms that never existed before. In biological language, this emergence of new organizational forms is the puzzle of speciation. Professor Padgett is a graduate of the University of Michigan PhD Sociology and Public Policy, University of Michigan 1978

Description of the recent published "The Emergence of Organizations and Market", eds. John Padgett and Walter Powell. 2012. Princeton University Press.

The social sciences have sophisticated models of choice and equilibrium but little understanding of the emergence of novelty. Where do new alternatives, new organizational forms, and new types of people come from? Combining biochemical insights about the origin of life with innovative and historically oriented social network analyses, John Padgett and Walter Powell develop a theory about the emergence of organizational, market, and biographical novelty from the coevolution of multiple social networks. They demonstrate that novelty arises from spillovers across intertwined networks in different domains. In the short run actors make relations, but in the long run relations make actors.

John Padgett, Professor of Political Science (courtesy Sociology, History)