J. Miller McPherson
Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology

Most of my research focuses on voluntary groups and the social networks that draw people into and out of them. But my research agenda is more ambitious than that. I think that the general ecological theory of affiliation that I have developed shows how any social entity that spreads through networks behaves. We’ve already applied the theory to occupations, musical tastes, religious congregations, voluntary organizations and other social groups. Now I am working on applying it to fuzzier cultural entities like attitudes, beliefs and social identities. I think that the theory will explain some important things about the behavior of virtually any social characteristic.

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