After graduating from UCLA and the obligatory summer trip to Europe for the privileged, I headed up Highway 99 (there was no highway 5) for Cal -- lucid about what I didn't want, rather than what I did. With mentors such as Erving Goffman, Charles Glock, Marty Lipset and Neil Smelser the latter quickly changed. After the orals exam, spent a year traveling around the world, including going by land from Iran to Calcutta. I received the Ph.D. in 1966 and taught at Berkeley in 1966-67; before moving to the Harvard Department of Social Relations with appointments at the Joint Center for Urban Studies and later the Law School's Criminal Justice Center, moved to MIT in Urban Studies and Planning 1973-1994. I have been privileged to have had a variety of shorter teaching and fellowship sojourns in France, England, Santa Barbara, La Jolla, Italy, Stanford, Belgium, Spain, Boulder, Vienna, Nankai (PRC), Washington D.C., and most recently at UCI, Northwestern, UCB Law School and the University of Washington.
Books on the civil rights movement, undercover police, and new surveillance technologies kept notoriety and resources coming in. I moved, in a trajectory I could not have predicted, from initial work in race relations and stratification, to social movements and collective behavior, social control, and technology and society and from quantitative to qualitative methods. I have worked with a variety of commissions, Congressional committees, government agencies and non-profit groups on issues of inter-group relations, civil liberties, social control and technology and society.
Change the world? Nowadays I am happy if I can get through the day with my dignity in tact having done no harm. Yet I have tried as the poet said, 'to patch the world as best I can.' Among contributions to social change :keeping large sums flowing into the civil rights movement as a result of the findings from Protest and Prejudice; contributing to the report of the National Advisory (Kerner) Commission on Civil Disorders and the Senate Select Committee On Undercover Activities; helping provide the intellectual rationale that led the phone companies to eventually reign in Caller-Id; increasing national and international awareness of the social issues raised by new information technologies through popular and academic writing and training students.
Articles on my web page dealing with success and failure and the search for meaning in academic life, 37 moral mandates for aspiring sociologists, Erving Goffman, Neil Smelser, travel, muckraking sociology, dirty data and whites in the civil rights movement reflect the anvil of Berkeley.