Andrew Abbott
Andrew Abbott B.A. Harvard University, 1970
M.A. University of Chicago, 1975
Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1982
Office: Social Sciences 313 Phone: 773-702-4545 Email Interests:

Professions and work, urban sociology, historical sociology, methodology, and general social theory

Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor

Andrew Abbott is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Sociology and the College at the University of Chicago. Abbott took his BA (in history and literature) at Harvard in 1970 and his PhD (in sociology) from the University of Chicago in 1982. Prior to his return to Chicago in 1991, he taught for thirteen years at Rutgers University.

Known for his ecological theories of occupations, Abbott also pioneered algorithmic analysis of social sequence data. He has written on the foundations of social science methodology and on the evolution of the social sciences and the academic system. He has published twelve books and eighty articles and chapters.

His work includes The System of Professions (Chicago 1988), a theoretical analysis of the professions and their development that won the ASA's Sorokin Award in 1991. He has also published a historical study of academic disciplines and publication (Department and Discipline [Chicago 1999]), a theoretical analysis of fractal patterns in social and cultural structures (Chaos of Disciplines [Chicago 2001]), and a collection of theoretical essays in the Chicago pragmatist and ecological tradition (Time Matters [Chicago 2001]). Abbott has written two texts, the first a short introduction to heuristics in the social sciences (Methods of Discovery [Norton 2004]) and the second a manual for research projects in libraries and on the Internet (Digital Paper [Chicago, 2014]). His most recent English-language books are Processual Sociology (Chicago, 2016) and Varieties of Social Imagination (Chicago, 2017). He has since published Faits et valeurs (College de France, 2020) in French and two books of original and reprinted material translated into Chinese: University Education and the Future of Knowledge (Da Xue Jiao Yu yu Zhi Shi de Wei Lai. SDX:2023) and A Place to Rest Before Moving On (She Hui Ke Xue de Wei Lai. Commercial Press, 2023).

Abbott's near-term project is to finish the first volume of his theoretical work on The Social Process. Before going on to the second volume, he hopes to write a short book on the future of knowledge, growing out of his writing on the theory and history of library research and on knowledge practices more generally.

An active teacher, Abbott has served on or chaired over 130 dissertation committees, and his students teach at universities and colleges throughout the United States. He served from 1993 to 1996 as Master of Chicago's Social Science Collegiate Division and as Chair of the Department of Sociology from 1999-2002. He has also chaired his university's Library Board and the task force planning the future of the University's libraries. Abbott edited Work and Occupations from 1991 to 1994 and the American Journal of Sociology from 2000 to 2016. He was President of the Social Science History Association in 2002/3. Abbott was Norman Chester Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, in 1997 and has continued to visit Oxford regularly since. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2011 received the degree of Docteur Honoris Causa from the Universite de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines.