I introduce this memoir about my academic career by describing the fortuitous incidents involved in my coming to this country and becoming a sociologist. In graduate school my sociological orientation changed under the influence of Merton and Lazarsfeld from grand theories to systematic theory grounded in research. My dissertation was a field study of bureaucracy in terms of Weber’s theory, which led to a book on exchange theory. Next I collaborated with Duncan on a nationwide study of occupational achievement and mobility, for which I learned regression analysis, reluctantly at first, but later becoming converted to it. During the next decade I conducted a research program on bureaucracy, specifically of quantitative studies of various types of formal organizations, from which I developed a limited organizational theory. The limitations of this theory prompted me to construct a formal macrostructural theory of population structure’s influences on intergroup relations, which was subsequently tested in empirical research on the 125 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Keyword(s): Autobiography

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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