Most of Claude Fischer's early research focused on the social psychology of urban and rural life and on social networks, finally coming together in To Dwell Among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City (1982). In recent years, he has worked on American social history, beginning with a study of the early telephone, America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 (1992); a study of social trends since 1900 written with Michael Hout, Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years (2006); and a synthetic book covering all of American history, Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character (2010). His most recent book is a study of changes in personal networks, Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970 (2011). Along the way, Fischer has worked on other topics, including writing a book on inequality with five Berkeley colleagues, Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (1996). Fischer is currently wrapping up a six-year project funded by the National Institute of Aging on personal networks. He is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Sociologist Claude Fischer, cognitive scientist Michael Jordon and theoretical chemist Martin Head-Gordon have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.