Research Sociology / Niklas Luhmann Visiting Professorship 2023/24

Professor David Stark holds Niklas Luhmann Visiting Professorship 2023/24

The 2023/24 Niklas Luhmann Visiting Professorship is held by David Stark, Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Professor David Stark is an important figure in the field of economic sociology.

David Stark will be the next Niklas Luhmann Visiting Professor in December 2023 and January 2024. As part of this visiting professorship, David Stark will hold a PhD seminar on “Algorithmic Management and New Class Conflicts”. On 24.01.2024, David Stark will give his university lecture “This is Not a Test! Preparedness, Innovation, and Uncertainty” (probably in X-E0-001 from 18:00 c.t.).

David Stark is Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology at Columbia University where he directs the Center on Organizational Innovation. A major figure in the field of economic sociology, he uses a broad variety of research methods – ethnographic, network analytic, and experimental – to study processes of valuation and innovation. He has studied factory workers in socialist Hungary, new media employees in a Silicon Alley startup, derivative traders on Wall Street, electronic music artists in Berlin, bankers in Budapest, farmers in Nebraska, video game producers, and megachurches that look like shopping malls.

In his book, The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life (Princeton University Press, 2011), Stark shows how organizations and their members search for what is valuable. Dissonance – disagreement about the principles of worth – can lead to discovery. Postsocialist Pathways (with Laszlo Bruszt, Cambridge U Press, 1998) compares the different ways in which the societies of East Central Europe dealt with the challenge of simultaneously transforming property rights and citizenship rights. In an oft-cited article, “Recombinant Property in East European Capitalism” (American Journal of Sociology 1996) he argues that capitalism in Eastern Europe was not built on the ruins of communism but with the ruins of communism.

Stark recently completed a major research project on Diversity and Performance: Networks of Cognition in Markets and Teams supported by a five-year Advanced career Award from the European Research Council. Recent publications include “Racial Attention Deficit” (Science Advances 2021), “Put to the Test: For a New Sociology of Testing” (British Journal of Sociology 2020), and The Performance Complex: Competition and Competitions in Social Life (Oxford University Press 2020). His current research project: Algorithmic Management and New Class Conflicts.

He was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the École normale supérieure de Cachan in 2013. Stark has been a visiting fellow at numerous institutes including: Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin; Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto; Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne; the Russell Sage Foundation; Collegium Budapest; and the Institute for Advanced Study in Hangzhou, China.

Stark’s edited collection, Practicing Sociology: Tacit Knowledge for the Sociological Craft, is in press at Columbia University Press. Many of his articles, books, presentations, “silent lectures,” and other materials are available at

Related links

Website Niklas Luhmann Visiting Professorship of the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University
Website of Prof. David Stark
Google Scholar of Prof. David Stark
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