CSES is a research and training center focused on advancing the sociological analysis of economic markets and economic action.

In recognition of the excellence of economic sociology at Cornell, the University established the Center for the Study of Economy and Society in 2001. Named after Max Weber’s influential book Economy and Society, the Center’s mission is to extend the core ideas and insights pioneered by Weber in a new institutionalist approach to the study of economy, society and policy. CSES focuses on supporting advances in theory and research on institutions, organizations, networks, cultural beliefs and rationality in the study of economy and society.

CSES internal board
CSES Internal Board members Michael Macy, Douglas Heckathorn, and Victor Nee

Based in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, CSES’s aim is to advance research and training in economic sociology. As the sociological approach to the study of economic behavior, economic sociology at Cornell seeks collaborative projects and novel combinations with allied subfields in social networks, organizations, and collective action. The Center also draws on the talents of affiliated faculty from other disciplines and colleges across the University who participate as faculty affiliates, speakers for events, collaborators in research, and contributors to the Center’s working groups.

CSES provides its graduate student and faculty affiliates an exceptional intellectual environment in which to develop their work. For example, we coordinate working groups in which faculty and graduate students meet to present and discuss new work in an informal, collegial atmosphere. These groups are more than just an important component of graduate training, they are literally incubators for new ideas, research projects, and collaboration between graduate students and faculty. The Center provides administrative support for extra-mural funded research projects by faculty. The Center sponsors an active book series of publications from its conferences, lecture series and funded research projects.

In addition to the working groups, the Center offers small graduate seminars taught by affiliated faculty on topics in the study of economy and society. Our Lecture Series, on-going Seminar Series on “Institutions, Market Processes and the Firm,” symposia, workshops and conferences bring to the Cornell campus leading scholars in the social sciences. Recent visitors include, Matthew Bothner, Ronald Burt, Bruce Carruthers, Paul DiMaggio, Frank Dobbin, Eiko Ekegami, Peter Evans, Neil Fligstein, Marion Fourcade, Francis Fukuyama, Jack Goldstone, Mark Granovetter, Avner Greif, Russell Hardin, Oliver Hart, Siegwart Lindenberg, Justin Yifu Lin, Ashley Mears, John Meyer, Douglass North, Sonja Opper, Walter Powell, James Robinson, AnnaLee Saxenian, David Stark, Duncan Watts, Oliver Williamson and Yu Xie. The Center’s breadth of activities contributes greatly to the rich array of opportunities—both intellectual and personal—in economic sociology at Cornell.

citation engraving
“Actors do not behave or decide as atoms outside a social context ... Their attempts at purposive action are instead embedded in concrete, ongoing systems of social relations.”— Mark Granovetter