David Stark

Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology and of International and Public Affairs
701C Knox Hall


David Stark is Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Columbia University. He also serves as chair of the Department of Sociology and directs the Center on Organizational Innovation.

Stark studies how organizations and their members search for what is valuable. Dissonance — disagreement about the principles of worth — can lead to discovery. To study the organizational basis for innovation, he has carried out ethnographic field research in Hungarian factories before and after 1989, in new media start-ups in Manhattan before and after the dot.com crash, and in a World Financial Center trading room before and after the attack on September 11.

Stark's most recent book, The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life, was published by Princeton University Press in 2009.

Stark is also conducting historical network analysis - i.e. "What is a social group across time in network terms?" Supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Stark and his former student Balazs Vedres are analyzing a large, longitudinal dataset on the ownership ties, personnel ties, and political ties of the largest 2,200 Hungarian enterprises from 1987-2006. Publications from this project include Structural Folds: Generative Disruption in Overlapping Groups, American Journal of Sociology, 2010, vol 15, no 4; and Social Times of Network Spaces: Network Sequences and Foreign Investment in Hungary, American Journal of Sociology, 2006.

Other recent publications include PowerPoint in Public: Digital Technologies and the New Morphology of Demonstration, (with Verena Paravel) Theory, Culture & Society 2008; Sociotechnologies of Assembly (with Monique Girard) in Governance and Information: The Rewiring of Governing and Deliberation in the 21st Century, 2007; Rooted Transnational Publics: Integrating Foreign Ties and Civic Activism (with Balazs Vedres and Laszlo Bruszt) Theory and Society 2006; Tools of the Trade: The Socio-Technology of Arbitrage in a Wall Street Trading Room (with Daniel Beunza) in Industrial and Corporate Change 2004; and Postsocialist Pathways: Transforming Politics and Property in Eastern Europe (with Laszlo Bruszt) Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Stark was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002. He has been a visiting fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne; the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham, UK; the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City; the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto; the Institute for Advanced Study/Collegium Budapest; the Center for the Social Sciences in Berlin; and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Stark received a BA from Princeton University and a PhD from Harvard University. He previously taught at Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, and Cornell University.