Prof. Mario L. Small

is Quetelet Professor of Social Science at Columbia University.

He is one of the most creative minds in international inequality research, conducting research on poverty in urban contexts, social relations, organizations and institutions. His innovative studies on milieu-specific segregation and the activation of social networks have refuted common assumptions about poverty, social disadvantage and social mobility and have won numerous awards. He is currently using extensive administrative data (so-called "big data") to understand isolation in urban areas. At the same time, he is one of the few inequality researchers interested in epistemological issues, combining qualitative and quantitative methods in original ways. In his latest book Someone To Talk To(Oxford), he explores how people use their networks and who they turn to when they need support. This study simultaneously provides a critique of network analysis and discusses the role of qualitative research in the age of Big Data. As an Excellence Chair at the University of Bremen, he is conducting research at the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) together with his host Professor Betina Hollstein in a joint project on "Large Scale Data and Field Research in the Study of Social Networks." The project addresses questions about the possibilities and limits of "Big Data" and how to intelligently link it with qualitative and quantitative methods of social research.

Host: Prof. Dr. Betina Hollstein


Research group:

Excellence Chair Mario L. Small