Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences

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About Us

The Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences (PFLCSS) is an interdisciplinary research center housed at Columbia University. The mission of the Center is to catalyze and support new research across a wide spectrum of substantive domains. In order to support this goal, the Center plays host to several ongoing research projects and graduate training programs dedicated to using interdisciplinary methods to go beyond what traditional disciplines have been able to accomplish.

The PFLCSS is descended directly from the Bureau for Applied Social Research, established by Paul F. Lazarsfeld after his move to Columbia University. The Bureau was an organization created to make possible the large-scale studies that helped to redefine much of public opinion research and communication studies. It’s work was also instrumental in developing a great deal of the methodology involved in current social science research. Luminaries of the sociology field- including Lazarsfeld, Robert Merton, and C. Wright Mills- were involved in landmark studies undertaken by the Bureau, most notably Personal Influence.

After Lazarsfeld passed away in 1976, the Bureau was renamed The Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences in his honor. Subsequent directors Harold Watts, Jonathan Cole, and Harrison White continued Lazarsfeld’s work, using the PFLCSS as a vehicle to advance and support social science research throughout the University. In 1999, the Center was incorporated into the Institute for Social and Economic Theory and Research, which would then merge with the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.

To explore the work currently being conducted at the center, or to review the programs housed here, please use the toolbar at the top of this page to navigate to programs or projects.