Faculty Profiles

Mario SmallMario Small

Professor & Dean of the Social Sciences Division
Carleton College, 1996
M.A. Harvard University, 1998
Ph.D. Harvard University, 2001

Office: Social Sciences 312
Phone: 773-834-5313
Email: mariosmall@uchicago.edu
Homepage: http://home.uchicago.edu/~mariosmall/
CV: Curriculum Vita

Professor Small’s research interests include urban poverty, inequality, culture, networks, case study methods, and higher education. He is currently working on several projects dealing with urban conditions, organizations, and networks.

One is a study of how the ability of low-income women to access to resources—information, goods, services, social networks—is shaped by their membership or participation in organizations. Based on survey and ethnographic research among parents in childcare centers, the study examines the organizational embeddedness of social inequality. A second project investigates the availability of day-to-day organizations—such as pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, hardware stores, childcare centers—in neighborhoods of different poverty levels. A third project, still in its early stages, examines how friendships are shaped by the social contexts in which they are formed and sustained.


Dr. Small is currently on the board of Social Science Quarterly. Next year, he'll be on the boards of the Social Psychology Quarterly and Sociological Forum.

Research Interests

Urban SociologyCultureOrganizationsEducation.

Selected Publications

Small, Mario L. 2009. Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Forthcoming Small, Mario L., David Harding, and Michele Lamont. “Introduction: Reconsidering Culture and Poverty.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

Small, Mario L. 2009. “ ‘How Many Cases Do I Need?’ On Science and the Logic of Case Selection in Field Based Research.” Ethnography. 10(1): 5-38. (Lead article)

Small, Mario L. 2008.  “Lost in Translation: How Not to Make Qualitative Research More Scientific.” Pp. 165-71 in Michèle Lamont and Patricia White (eds.), Workshop on Interdisciplinary Standards for Systematic Qualitative Research. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation.

Small, Mario L. 2008.  “Four Reasons to Abandon the Idea of ‘The Ghetto’.” City and Community. 7(4):389-98.

Small, Mario L, Erin M. Jacobs, and Rebekah P. Massengill. 2008.  “Why Organizational Ties Matter for Neighborhood Effects: A Study of Resource Access through Childcare Centers.” Social Forces. 87(1):387-414.

Lamont, Michèle and Mario L. Small. 2008. “How Culture Matters: Enriching Our Understanding of Poverty.” Pp. 76-102 in David Harris and Ann Lin, (eds.), The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Lamont, Michèle and Mario L. Small. 2007.  “Cultural Diversity and Poverty Eradication.” Background paper prepared for the World Report on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO).

Small, Mario L. 2007.  “Is There Such a Thing as ‘The Ghetto’? The Perils of Assuming that the South Side of Chicago Represents Poor Black Neighborhoods.” City. 11(3):413-21.

Small, Mario L. and Christopher Winship. 2007. “Black Students’ Graduation From Elite Colleges: Institutional Characteristics and Between-Institution Differences.” Social Science Research. 36(3): 1257-75.

Small, Mario L. 2007. “Racial Differences in Networks: Do Neighborhood Conditions Matter?” Social Science Quarterly. 88(2):320-43.

Small, Mario L. 2006. “Race and Ethnic Politics.” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Small, Mario L. and Christopher Winship. 2006. "Black Students' Graduation From Elite Colleges: Do Institutional Characteristics Matter?" Social Science Research.

Small, Mario L. 2006. "Neighborhood Institutions as Resource Brokers: Childcare Centers, Inter-Organizational Ties, and Resource Access among the Poor." Social Problems. 53(2):274-92.

Small, Mario L. and Monica McDermott. 2006. "The Presence of Organizational Resources in Poor Urban Neighborhoods: An Analysis of Average and Contextual Effects." Social Forces. 84(3): 1697-1724.

Small, Mario L. and Laura Stark. 2005. "Are Poor Neighborhoods Resource- Deprived? A Case Study of Childcare Centers in New York." Social Science Quarterly. 86(s1):1013-36.

Small, Mario L. 2004. Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Small, Mario L. 2002. "Culture, Cohorts, and Social Organization Theory: Understanding Local Participation in a Latino Housing Project." American Journal of Sociology. 108(1):1-54. (Lead article)