Overview

“In the short run, actors make relations, but in the long run, relations make actors” is a provocative assertion from John Padgett and Walter Powell’s The Emergence of Organizations and Markets (2012). This project takes this insight about the “long run” to reimagine how scholars can better understand large-scale historical change. Focusing on novelty—“Where do new types of people, organizations, social movements, states, and markets come from?”—the project conceives of history as interacting sets of dynamically evolving networks of people and practices. This core question is the basis for developing theoretical and empirical bridges between fields and approaches not usually in close conversation: not just history and social network analysis, but evolutionary biology and biochemistry colleagues who are interested in exchange with social scientists looking at the interactions across networks and the emergence of new social actors and institutions.