Gianluca Manzo's Research Orientations.


A unique and simple working hypothesis lies behind my work, namely that constantly changing, local social interactions represent a fruitful analytical entry to understand how actor-level heterogeneity translates into time-resistant, macroscopic social differentiation. My goal is to develop substantively-oriented formal models of the micro-to-macro transition, to study them through simulation, and to compare the simulated outcomes to quantitative descriptions of real-world data.

Thus, my work is not limited to the quantitative description of actor-level heterogeneity, of actors’ interactions, and of the macro-level patterns that the combination of actors’ actions and interactions can generate. I attempt to theorize and explicitly to model the micro- and relational-level mechanisms underlying macro-level patterns and dynamics. As a consequence, my work is built at the intersection of sociological theory, social network analysis, statistical and formal modeling.


This combination of different perspectives explains why I constantly alternate theoretical and empirically-oriented work. On the one hand, I like to think about my own practice and reflect upon the advantages and limitations of different types of explanations and methods. This led me to contribute to debates on mechanism-based explanations, theory of rational action, and the status of analytical sociology. On the other hand, I challenge this theoretical reflection by applying it to the analysis of specific real-world phenomena. In particular, I studied educational inequalities, inequality perceptions (relative deprivation, more particularly), status hierarchies, and I am currently investigating the diffusion of technical innovations and migration dynamics.