Mario Luis Small is the Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He was previously Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences and Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Small has published books and numerous articles on urban poverty, social capital, personal networks, and the relationship between qualitative and quantitative social science methods. His first book, Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio (2004), examined how poverty affected social capital among residents of a Boston housing complex. The book received numerous honors, including the C. Wright Mills Award for Best Book and the Robert E. Park Award for Best Book. His latest book, Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life (2009), examined how the social networks of New York City mothers were affected by the institutional conditions of their children's childcare centers. Among other honors, Unanticipated Gains also received the C. Wright Mills Award for Best Book, making Small the only two-time recipient in the history of the Award.
Small is currently studying institutional approaches to urban disadvantage, formal and informal systems of support among low-income mothers, and help-seeking behavior among students in higher education. A former Chair of the Department of Sociology and founding Faculty Director of the University of Chicago Urban Network, Small has organized numerous conferences on campus and led a team that recently launched the Urban Portal, an initiative to stimulate innovative and transformational scholarship on urban issues.
Small received a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College in 1996, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1998 and 2001 respectively.