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David Kyle Ph.D.

David Kyle, Ph.D.
2265 SS&H

Office Hours for Fall 2015 :

  • On sabbatical during Fall 2015.


  1. Ph.D., 1996. Johns Hopkins University (Sociology)
  2. M.A., Florida International University (Development)
  3. B.A., Loyola University (Psychology)



Curriculum Vitae

How should we think about creativity, talent, and the creative class (or elite) historically and sociologically? Sociology, and the social sciences beyond mainstream psychology, have been critical to the construction and popularization of these concepts over the past two centuries, a story that has been mostly forgotten in the popular psychological and business literatures. They form an important ideological dimension to the kind of American "meritocracy" that has led to levels of inequality not seen since the Jazz Age.

To uncover and reinterpret the foundations of these problematic concepts, I'm engaged in three inter-related historical and contemporary research agendas: (1) The historical institutional invention and management of "creativity," especially the role of the social sciences applied to business interests and labor management during the first half of the 20th Century; (2) How we think collectively about big decisions or 'leaps' and make them, with special attention to the role of cognitive migration and prospective thinking (via mental time travel), including machine-mediated decision-making, and the consequences for both low- and high-skilled labor mobility; (3) The growth of the measurement of creativity and innovation as new forms of knowledge production and distribution among social entrepreneurs, social impact investors, and activists. This project, with John Dale, is based on ongoing research in Mexico, Myanmar, and the United States, among others.

I'm a founding member of the Temporary Migration Cluster at UC Davis, which received a IFHA grant in 2013. It's next major conference will concern, "The Mobility and Creativity Nexus," to be held at UC Davis on April 8, 2016:

I've taught jazz piano privately for ten years and perform with improvisational musical groups.



Recent article in Social Research (with John Dale): "Smart Transitions? Foreign Investment, Disruptive Technology, and Democratic Reform in Myanmar." Link to Project Muse:


    • SOC 138, Economic Sociology
    • SOC 1, Introduction to Sociology (Creativity Edition)
    • SOC/ IRE 104 International Mobility
    • SOC 295 Sociology of Creativity

1283 Social Sciences & 
University of California, 
One Shields Avenue 
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-0782 phone
(530) 752-0783 fax

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