Claude S. Fischer
1972 Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University
1970 M.A., Sociology, Harvard University
1968 B.A., Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
Claude S. Fischer is Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School in Sociology. He arrived at Berkeley in 1972 with an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Harvard. Most of his early research focused on the social psychology of urban life—how and why rural and urban experiences differ—and on social networks, both coming together in To Dwell Among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City (1982). In recent years, he has worked on American social history, beginning with a study of the early telephone's place in social life, America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 (1992). Along the way, Fischer has worked on other topics, including writing a book on inequality with five Berkeley colleagues, Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (1996). In 2006, Fischer co-authored a social historical book with Michael Hout, Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years (Russell Sage), which describes the shrinking of old divisions and the widening of new ones among Americans over the twentieth century. In 2010, he published Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character (University of Chicago Press), which analyzes social and cultural change since the colonial era. In 2011, Fischer completed Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970 (Russell Sage), a study, using compilations of survey data, of whether and how Americans' personal ties altered over four decades. A volume of his selected and updated columns from the Boston Review appeared in 2014 as Lurching Toward Happiness in America. Fischer's latest project, funded by the National Institute of Aging, was a six-year panel study of how personal ties and networks change as individuals experience life events. Several papers from that project have appeared and more are in progress.
Fischer taught undergraduate and graduate courses in urban sociology, research methods, personality and social structure, social psychology, and American society, and seminars on topics ranging from professional writing to the sociology of consumption.
Fischer was the founding editor of Contexts, the American Sociological Association's magazine of sociology for the general reader, 2001 through 2004. In 1996, Fischer won Robert and Helen Lynd Award for lifetime contributions to urban studies. In 2011, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2015 as David Riesman Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and in 2017 to the American Philosophical Society.
Fischer blogs at Made in America (http://madeinamericathebook.wordpress.com/).
- 2011 Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970. Russell Sage Foundation. (Amazon)
- 2010 Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character. University of Chicago Press. (Amazon)
- 2006 Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years (with Hout). Russell Sage Foundation.
- Working papers and supplementary materials for the "Century of Difference" link was broken so removed.
- Supplementary appendices to Century of Difference can be found https://sociology.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/faculty/fischer/append/Fischer-Hout_Ch%205_Supplement%20Figure.pdf and https://sociology.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/faculty/fischer/append/Fischer-Hout_Ch7_On-Line%20Appendices.pdf.
- 1996 Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (with Hout, Lucas, Sanchez-Jankowski, Swidler and Voss). Princeton University Press
- 1992 America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940. University of California Press.
- 1984 The Urban Experience. Second edition. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (Cengage).
- 1982 To Dwell Among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City. University of Chicago Press.
- 1977 Networks and Places: Social Relations in the Urban Setting (with Jackson, Stueve, Gerson, Jones, and Baldassare). Free Press.
- 1975 Human Aggression and Conflict (with Scherer and Abeles). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Selected 21st-Century Academic Papers
- 2022 Ruppell, Child, Fischer, and Botchway, “Distinct Aspects of Human Connection Associated with Subjective Well-Being.” Social Science & Medicine – Mental Health 2, 10043. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666560322000834.
- 2022 Offer and Fischer, “How New is ‘New’? Who Gets Added in a Panel Study of Personal Networks?” Social Networks 70:284-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2022.02.011 .
- 2022 Fischer and Durham, "Forms of Group Involvement: Alternatives to the Standard Question." Sociological Perspectives 65:4: 661-683. https://doi.org/10.1177/07311214211046561 . (Online Supplement here.)
- 2021 "From the Northern California Community Study, 1977-78, to UCNets, 2015-20." In M. Small, et al (eds.) Personal Networks: Classic Readings and New Directions in Ego-Centric Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- 2020 “Of Modernity and Public Sociology: Reflections on a Career So Far.” Annual Review of Sociology 46:19-35. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-110419-023001.
- 2020 Fischer and Offer, “Who is Dropped and Why? Methodological and Substantive Accounts for Network Loss.” Social Networks (May) 61:70-86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2019.08.008.
- 2019 Fischer and Bayham, "Mode and Interviewer Effects in Egocentric Network Research," Field Methods. 31(3): 195-213. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X19861321.
- 2018 Offer and Fischer, “Difficult People: Who is Perceived to be Demanding in Personal Networks and Why Are They There?,” American Sociological Review 83 (1): 111-142. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003122417737951
- 2014 Hout and Fischer, “Explaining Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Political Backlash and Generational Succession, 1987-2012.” Sociological Science 1 (October). DOI: 10.15195/v1.a24.
- 2009 Fischer and Mattison, "Is America Fragmenting?" Annual Review of Sociology 35: 435-55 (with Mattson).--- can be accessed https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-115909.
- 2008 "Paradoxes of American Individualism." Sociological Forum 23 (June): 363-72.
- 2005 "Bowling Alone: What's the Score?" Social Networks 27 (May):155-67
- 2002 Hout and Fischer, "Explaining the Rise of Americans with No Religious Preference: Politics and Generation" American Sociological Review 67 (April):165-90.
- 2002 "Ever More Rooted Americans." City & Community 1(June): 175-94.