Berkeley, for me, was the late 1960s and early 1970s. My earlier undergraduate experience in Canada was an inspiring trip through the classics, and the movements, guided by a unique constellation of European and American scholars, temporarily gathered in British Columbia. Berkeley was a continuation, but with a tough political and academic edge. At one level, Berkeley was People's Park across the street, and Vietnam etched in veteran eyes. At another, grand theory was in decline, and big narratives were beginning to surface. Bob Blauner and Leo Lowenthal demonstrated the value of critical perspectives, and the courage to be as unconventional as necessary. Charles Glock taught me a wary respect for things empirical. He also showed me how to organize complex projects and, equally importantly, how to finish them. Michael Rogin gave me excellent advice on the independent character of American progressives. And, most of all, Berkeley was an incredibly rich set of graduate student affiliations, ranging from Leo's informal seminar on culture, to a very important dissertation drafting and support group.
I've had the good fortune to work in a joint department (with anthropologists), and a setting which is conducive to following autonomous intellectual agendas. I've been encouraged to work on interdisciplinary initiatives throughout, and have enjoyed a relatively easy transition, both geographically and intellectually, to Europe. My major projects, primarily in the area of economic sociology, have been Berkeley-inspired explorations of marginal labour markets, the persistence of small-scale primary production, and post-industrial professions. Lately, I've been making tentative forays into the cultural domain, investigating the social networks of some influential Canadian painters. I've also had the opportunity to work on a Royal Commission called to consider flaws in a provincial justice system, following on the wrongful murder conviction of an aboriginal youth, Donald Marshall, Jr. I hope my mentors would find their influence throughout my endeavours.
At an institutional level, I've been involved in some modest disciplinary advances. These include creating a doctoral program in a part of Canada which is not terribly hospitable to the newer social sciences, and helping to increase social science research capacity in the Faroes. The latter venture has been associated with some interesting academic projects, and the expansion of a circle of friends in the north Atlantic.