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Twenty years after the collapse of communism, the societies of Eastern Europe continue to provide an extraordinary opportunity to study the interaction of political, economic, and social change.

One Way or Multiple Paths? For a Comparative Sociology of East European Capitalism

This essay, written with my frequent co-author, Laszlo Bruszt, was published in The American Journal of Sociology (January 2001) as part of a very lively debate with Michael Burawoy.

American Journal of Sociology, January 2001, 106(4):1129-1137.

Resolving Identities: Successive Crises in a Trading Room after 9/11

How do organizations cope with extraordinary crisis? In the second paper about the experiences of our Wall Street traders after September 11th, Daniel Beunza and I report on the process whereby they returned to their restored trading room in the World Financial Center. The trading room did not face one crisis – the immediate aftermath of September 11th – but many: anxiety about additional attacks, questions of professional identity, doubts about the future of the firm, and ambiguities about the future re-location of the trading room. A given crisis was resolved by restoring identities; but identities, once restored, redefined the situation and lead to new crises. That is, the successive waves of crisis were produced by each success in managing crisis.

Pp. 293-320 in Nancy Foner, Wounded City: The Social Impact of 9/11. New York, Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2005.

Opportunities of Constraints: A Sociologist's Reflections on Janos Kornai's By Force of Thought

This essay reviews the intellectual memoir by János Kornai, the leading economist working under the constraints of politicized academic life in the former Sovietbloc. Kornai retells the major ideas of his work through the lens of the various periods in his life and the ethical dilemmas faced in each. Constraints, it is shown, provided opportunities. Kornai's work offers a model of a public intellectual, committed to empirical analysis of social processes, and independent from political parties and from intellectual camps in the economics profession.

Theory and Society October 2007 36(5):469-476.

Postsocialist Pathways:

Is there a distinctly East European capitalism? This volume analyzes democratization and economic change in the postsocialist societies of East Central Europe. It demonstrates that the collapse of communism was not the same across the region and that the differences in how the pieces fell shaped the building blocks used for reconstructing political systems and restructuring economies in the region. Among the key concepts are the importance of social networks in the economies and of deliberative institutions in the polity that include the interests of subordinate groups in policymaking.

Restructuring Networks in Post-Socialism:

This book is about change in Central and Eastern Europe, and about how we think about social and economic change more generally. In contrast to the dominant 'transition framework' that examines organizational forms in Eastern Europe according to the degree to which they conform to, or depart from, the blueprints of already existing capitalist systems, this book examines the innovative character, born of necessity, in which actors in the post-socialist setting are restructuring organizations and institutions by redefining and recombining resources. Instead of thinking of these recombinations as accidental aberrations, the book explores their evolutionary potentials.

Social Times of Network Spaces: Network Sequences and Foreign Investment in Hungary

In this paper, Balazs Vedres and I develop a social sequence analysis to identify distinctive pathways whereby firms use network resources to buffer uncertainty, hide or restructure assets, or gain knowledge and legitimacy. In place of properties of the global network, we focus on variation in local properties. In place of a single system time, we model the processes of social times. Our contribution to a more historical network analysis does not simply include time as a variable but, instead, recognizes time as variable.

American Journal of Sociology, March 2006, 111(5):1367-1411.

Attention Networks: A Two-Mode Network View on Valuation

When multiple agents allocate their attention across multiple situations, they create an attention network. In this paper, Matteo Prato and I study how attention networks shape cognition. We argue that how we value something depends on the viewpoints from which we assess it (the background of other objects across which we allocate our attention) and the views of others to which we are differentially exposed because of the network structure of attention. We analyze US financial analysts' stock coverage portfolios and their estimates of listed firms' earnings per share from 1993-2011. The study is based on some 10,994,000 analyst-firm observations.