The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Kyriakos Kontopoulos


740 Gladfelter Hall

(215) 204-1451


-PhD, Sociology, Harvard University

- LLB/BA, Law School, University of Athens, Greece


areas of expertise

-Social Theory/Social Philosophy
-Globalization: Strategies of States and Corporations
-Economic and Political Sociology

courses i teach

-Making of American Society [GenEd]
-History of Social Thought [U] -Globalization [U]
-Social Theory [G]
-Seminar on Globalization [G]

links I like

OECD Reports
World Bank Poverty/ Development Project
The Economist
New York Review of Books
Le Monde Diplomatique
Foreign Affairs


Download my vita.

Visit my blog here.


My primary focus is on the development of a more "systematic" sociological (indeed, social) theory. Past training in law, politics and economics, and philosophy has been conducive to my development as a sociologist. I study complexity in the social world using the tools of recent physical and biological sciences as well as the insights of a number of well-known sociologists, such as Harrison C. White, Charles Tilly, Pierre Bourdieu, Immanuel Wallerstein, Raymond Boudon, Gudmund Hernes, among others.


I find the issues of the rise of complexity and the working of complex systems to be the core problems of social theory. Therefore, I am interested more on the overall machinery and the more specific mechanisms that create, sustain, and transform in "nonlinear dynamical" ways the social – new facts on the ground, all sorts of "emerging" collective goods and bads, strategic behavior in networks and ecosystems, inequalities and competitive advantages, and the like.


Politics and economics are rich turf to draw materials from for such a project and they serve me well. I am using data and analyses from the past but also from current, "fast-moving" sources and projections to create scenarios of the social world at present and for the near future, as macroeconomists, business managers, and IR analysts do. That is natural to those who study globalization as an ongoing process, i.e., with an eye to the future. My work reflects these more elemental concerns.


On the theoretical front, after my book The Logics of Social Structure (Cambridge U. Press, 1993) I have devoted myself to the study of scientific "nonlinear" models as these have been developed by econophysicists, computational modelers of "complex adaptive systems," and computational biologists (new "network" and "interactive pathways" theorists). I am currently completing a first book on Social Complexity and continue work on two others for a trilogy of statements on the mechanics of the surprising processes of social transformation.



manuscripts in preparation


Extreme Events: Social Theory on the Rise of the Unexpected. 2010.


Grounds for Sociology: A Fresh, Clear, and Brief Look. 2011.


Machines of the Social: Models and Mechanics of Social Transformation. 2011.



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department of sociology | 713 gladfelter hall | 1115 west polett walk
philadelphia, pa 19122 | (215) 204-7760 | fax: (215) 204-3352 |