Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mayer Zald on his development as a sociologist

I had the opportunity to have lunch with Mayer Zald in July last summer, a few weeks before his death. Our conversation was wide-ranging, but one segment in particular warrants publishing here. In this segment I asked Mayer how he thought about the connections among social psychology, organizational behavior, and social movements theory in the development of his thought.



The clip offers some interesting insights into the contingencies that occurred early in the career of this path-breaking sociologist to move his level of focus from the micro-level of social psychology to "meso"-level social phenomena like organizations. (The value of meso-level research comes up repeatedly in the conversation.) The clip provides a good example of Mayer's incisive mind, good humor, and sharp ideas about sociological thinking.