Social Capital, Social Support and Stratification
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Social Capital, Social Support and Stratification

An Analysis of the Sociology of Nan Lin

Edited by Ronald S. Burt, Yanjie Bian, Lijun Song and Nan Lin

This insightful book explores the spread of network imagery in three areas of sociology – social capital, social support, and China – using as its protagonist a man active in all three: Nan Lin. Social Capital, Social Support and Stratification provides a unique combination of Nan Lin’s core contributions to the field presented alongside new and original analyses.
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Chapter 11: Lessons learned from lifelong studying and conducting

Nan Lin


After I successfully defended my dissertation, my committee members congratulated me. One of them said, “Nan, you should feel good. This is probably the high point of your knowledge!” I was shocked because I was impatient to finish the dissertation so that I could move on to a number of projects. I felt that there was so much more to be learned, and I was eager to learn it. His remarks taught me a great lesson: while respecting and learning from senior scholars and authorities, never accept their wisdom in their entirety. For the next five decades I followed this lesson and continued to benefit from it. In this reminiscent chapter, I recount some of the highlights of my lifelong learning and share this pleasure with the readers.

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