Welcome to Berkeley Sociology

Berkeley’s Sociology Department is known around the world for its excellence in research and teaching. For the past six decades, Berkeley’s Sociology Department has consistently been among the world’s top sociology departments. While our graduate program is ranked #1 in the latest U.S. News and World Report, our undergrad degree is currently the best in the US according to College Factual and features on Grad reports’ Best college list 2020.

We are proud to contribute to the world’s leading public university, to international sociology, and to the life of the mind beyond the academy. Our faculty teach and do research in most sociological specialties.

Our PhDs are leaders in universities and research centers across the US and in many other countries. And our BAs populate the ranks of innumerable professions, bringing with them the skills and special perspective of Berkeley sociology.

Faculty Spotlight
Neil Fligstein
Economic sociology, organizations, methodology and statistics, political sociology
Jennifer Johnson-Hanks
Culture and population, intentions, uncertainty, epistemology, history of population thought, sub-Saharan Africa, family, fertility, gender, life course
Sandra Susan Smith
Professor and Department Chair
Urban poverty and joblessness, job search, social capital and social networks, trust and cooperation, and more recently, re-entry and the front end of criminal case processing
In Memoriam
Albert Einstein (1941)
Albert Einstein (1941)

Prof. Einstein served graduate students as a model of prudence in remaining unfashionably true to the grand…

Faculty Publishing
Teach-In Seminar
[homepage] colloquium

Departmental Colloquium Series

Yuen Yuen Ang, "Invisible Innovators: How Markets Emerge Under Adversity in the Global South"

Monday, Feb 24, 2-3:30pm
402 Barrows Hall

For decades, academics and policymakers have debated a chicken-and-egg problem: Which comes first in development—economic growth or good, strong institutions? My research, supported by the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, changes the question: In the first place, how do new markets sometimes emerge in the stark absence of first-world conditions? The simple yet surprising answer, as I discovered in my first book, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap (2016), is: “use what you have.” Upon opening markets, the first step of development in China was neither “stimulate growth first” (such as through foreign aid or massive infrastructure investment) nor “establish first-world institutions first”—rather, it involved adapting indigenous resources and practices to kick-start entrepreneurship at the local levels, often in unorthodox ways. In this sequel, I investigate three other emerging markets: the spurt of tech start-ups in Cambodia despite the lack of first-world supporting conditions, the explosion of home mortgages in India despite dysfunctional courts, and the rise of Nollywood in Nigeria despite the lack of intellectual property rights protection. Although the context of each case is unique, all four cases demonstrate that the strategies and institutions for building new markets are functionally and qualitatively distinct from those that later enable fledgling markets to consolidate and expand.