Longtime Californ book

by Victor Nee and Brett de Bary

Harvard University Press, 1976

Beginning with the immigrants who left poverty-ridden villages in China to try for a better livelihood in America, the narratives and extensive interviews of Longtime Californ’ tell the true story of the Chinese in America. A young Chinese girl tells of being sold into slavery, brought to America, and rescued by a missionary; men of Chinatown recall the awful conditions and long waits on Angel Island before being allowed into the country, and remember the backbreaking experience of building the railroads that opened the West. The young Chinese are also here: some are angry and frustrated, spending their time on street corners and in gang fights; other are Marxist radicals trying to create social, political, and economic change in Chinatown ghetto. And there are the workers who go back and forth each day to the garment factories and the shops, each with his or her own story to tell, each contributing his or her share to the country that is San Francisco Chinatown.

Remaking the American Mainstream book

by Richard Alba and Victor Nee

Harvard University Press, 2003

In this age of multicultural democracy, the idea of assimilation—that the social distance separating immigrants and their children from the mainstream of American society closes over time—seems outdated and, in some forms, even offensive. But as Richard Alba and Victor Nee show in the first systematic treatment of assimilation since the mid-1960s, it continues to shape the immigrant experience, even though the geography of immigration has shifted from Europe to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Institutional changes, from civil rights legislation to immigration law, have provided a more favorable environment for nonwhite immigrants and their children than in the past.

The New Institutionalism in Sociology book

Edited by Mary C. Brinton and Victor Nee

Russel Sage Foundation, 1998

In sociology, new institutionalists led the revival in interest in institutions in organizational theory and economic sociology by shifting the focus of causal reasoning from agent-centric studies of economic and organizational actors to the relationship connecting the firm with its institutional environment. We suggest a multilevel causal model incorporating the connection between the subinstitutional domain of social action and concrete social relationships, and the meso- and macroinstitutional environment of customs, conventions, law, organizations, ideology, and the state as the key elements explaining the rise and demise of institutions. In this model, norms bridge the microworld of individual actors and social groups, and the broader institutional environment.

The Economic Sociology of Capitalism book

Edited by Victor Nee and Richard Swedberg

Princeton University Press, 2005

This book represents a major step forward in the use of economic sociology to illuminate the nature and workings of capitalism amid the far-reaching changes of the contemporary era of global capitalism. For the past twenty years economic sociologists have focused on mesa-level phenomena of networks, but they have done relatively little to analyze capitalism as an overall system or to show how such phenomena emerge from and shape the dynamics of capitalism. The Economic Sociology of Capitalism seeks to change this, by presenting both big-picture analyses of capitalism and more focused pieces on institutions crucial to capitalism.

Capitalism from Below book

Edited by Victor Nee and Sonja Opper

Harvard University Press, 2012

The emergence and robust growth of a private enterprise economy in China was neither envisioned nor anticipated by its political elite. In launching economic reform in 1978, the initial motivation was to address failures of central planning within the institutional framework of state socialism. The political elite approved reform policies in order to stimulate productivity in a command economy weighed down by years of lagging economic performance. With their continuing emphasis on public ownership, the post-Mao reforms seemed nothing other than an ambitious project to shore up the state-owned economy in the aftermath of a calamitous decade of political turmoil. Compared to the sweeping changes under way in other transition economies, the Chinese reform seemed overly conservative, committed to restoration rather than transformative change. Contrary to expectations of economists in the West, however, China’s economic reforms gave rise to a thriving market economy. This book reports the results of a six-year (2005–2011) study that aims to explain the institutional change in China that gave rise to this new economic order.

The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research

Edited by Rafael Wittek, Tom A.B. Snijders, and Victor Nee

Stanford University Press, 2013

The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research offers the first comprehensive overview of how the rational choice paradigm can inform empirical research within the social sciences. This landmark collection highlights successful empirical applications across a broad array of disciplines, including sociology, political science, economics, history, and psychology. Taking on issues ranging from financial markets and terrorism to immigration, race relations, and emotions, and a huge variety of other phenomena, rational choice proves a useful tool for theory- driven social research. Each chapter uses a rational choice framework to elaborate on testable hypotheses and then apply this to empirical research, including experimental research, survey studies, ethnographies, and historical investigations. Useful to students and scholars across the social sciences, this handbook will reinvigorate discussions about the utility and versatility of the rational choice approach, its key assumptions, and tools.

 What are the mechanisms that cause human societies to undergo transformative change? 

⸺ Victor Nee