Famous 19th Century Sociologists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century Sociologists

 1 
W. E. B. Du Bois
(Civil Rights Activists)

W. E. B. Du Bois
6
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 2 
Max Weber
(Sociologist)

Max Weber
8
Birthdate: April 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Erfurt, Germany
Died: June 14, 1920

Max Weber was a German historian, political economist, jurist, and sociologist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important theorists, Weber's ideas had a profound influence on social research and social theory. Although he did not see himself as a sociologist, Weber is often counted among the fathers of sociology alongside Émile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, and Karl Marx.

 3 
Emile Durkheim
(Sociologist)

Emile Durkheim
8
Birthdate: April 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Épinal, France
Died: November 15, 1917

Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist. He is credited with establishing the discipline of sociology for academic purposes and is widely regarded as the chief architect of modern social science. During his lifetime, Emile Durkheim published several works on topics like morality, religion, and education. He also played a major role in the development of sociology and anthropology as disciplines.

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 4 
Vilfredo Pareto
(Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher)

Vilfredo Pareto
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1848
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Died: August 19, 1923

A qualified civil engineer, Vilfredo Pareto had initially worked for the railways and the ironworks. However, he gradually deviated to philosophy, sociology, and politics and gained fame for his application of math to economic issues and his introduction of Pareto efficiency. Mind and Society remains his best-known work.

 5 
George Herbert Mead
(Philosopher)

George Herbert Mead
4
Birthdate: February 27, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 26, 1931

American philosopher and social psychologist George Herbert Mead was one of the pioneers of pragmatism and symbolic interactionism. He taught at the University of Chicago, and his ideas later came to be known as the Chicago school of sociology. His notable lectures were published as books only after his death.

 6 
Georg Simmel
(One of the First Generation of German Sociologists and Neo-Kantian Philosopher)

Georg Simmel
4
Birthdate: March 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26, 1918

Georg Simmel was a German sociologist, philosopher, and critic considered a forerunner to structuralist styles of reasoning in the social sciences. He was neo-Kantian in his approach and laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism. He broadly rejected academic standards and wrote extensively on the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. He was married to philosopher Gertrud Kinel and had one son. 

 7 
Karl Marx
(Philosopher & Economist - Famous for His Theory of 'Marxism' )

Karl Marx
0
Birthdate: May 5, 1818
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trier, Germany
Died: March 14, 1883

Karl Marx, the philosopher, economist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary, is best-known for the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. His theories, called Marxism, maintained that class conflict leads to the development of human societies and that internal tension were inherent in capitalism, which would ultimately be replaced by the socialist mode of production.

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 8 
Harriet Martineau
(First female sociologist)

Harriet Martineau
5
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England
Died: June 27, 1876

Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.

 9 
Peter Kropotkin
(Anarchist, Socialist & Historian)

Peter Kropotkin
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

 10 
Marcel Mauss
(Sociologist, Anthropologist)

Marcel Mauss
5
Birthdate: May 10, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Épinal, Vosges, France
Died: February 10, 1950

Sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss is regarded as the Father of French Ethnology. Shunning his family business, he became influenced by his uncle, sociologist Émile Durkheim. His best-known work remains Essai sur le don, or The Gift. He also influenced Claude Lévi-Strauss, who founded structural anthropology.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
6
Birthdate: July 3, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut
Died: August 17, 1935

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an American novelist, humanist, poet, and short-story writer. Best remembered as a utopian feminist, Gilman served as an inspiration for several generations of feminists. A National Women's Hall of Fame inductee, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is also remembered for her semi-autobiographical work, The Yellow Wallpaper.

 12 
Ferdinand Tönnies
(One of the Founding Fathers of Classical German Sociology)

Ferdinand Tönnies
3
Birthdate: July 26, 1855
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oldenswort, Germany
Died: April 9, 1936

Ferdinand Tönnies was a German economist, sociologist, and philosopher. He is credited with co-founding the German Society for Sociology where he served as the president from 1909 to 1933. Widely regarded as the first prominent German sociologist, Tönnies contributed significantly to field studies and sociological theory. Ferdinand Tönnies is often counted among the founders of classical German sociology. 

 13 
Karl Polanyi
(Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist)

Karl Polanyi
5
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: April 23, 1964

Apart from being a political economist, Karl Polanyi was also a prominent Hungarian political leader. The Great Transformation remains his best-known work. He taught at institutes such as the Columbia University and is known for proposing the idea of a cultural version of economics known as substantivism.

 14 
Gustave Le Bon
(Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Psychologist, Philosopher, Historian, Sociologist)

Gustave Le Bon
3
Birthdate: May 7, 1841
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nogent-le-Rotrou
Died: December 13, 1931

French social psychologist Gustave Le Bon is best remembered for his research on crowd psychology. In his iconic work La psychologie des foules, or The Crowd, he stated that people are driven by their emotions and not by their intellect when they act as part of a crowd.

 15 
Lewis Mumford
(Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist)

Lewis Mumford
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 26, 1990

Lewis Mumford was an American sociologist, historian, literary critic, and philosopher of technology. He made significant contributions to American literary and cultural history, social philosophy, and the history of technology. His works also influenced a number of thinkers and authors like Jacques Ellul and Amory Lovins. Lewis Mumford also had a strong influence on American cellular biologist Barry Commoner.

 16 
Lewis Hine
(Sociologist)

Lewis Hine
3
Birthdate: September 26, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States
Died: November 3, 1940

Lewis Hine was an American photographer and sociologist. Hine's photographs played a key role in the passage of the child labor laws in the USA. He worked with non-profit organizations like Russell Sage Foundation and National Child Labor Committee and captured the plight of several child laborers in the steel-making districts. These photographs helped enact the first child labor laws.

 17 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)

Ruth Benedict
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 17, 1948

Ruth Benedict was an American folklorist and anthropologist. Benedict, who played an important role in the American Folklore Society, also served as the American Anthropological Association's president; the association gives away an annual prize named after Ruth Benedict. In 2005, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 18 
Gabriel Tarde
(Sociologist)

Gabriel Tarde
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1843
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sarlat-la-Canéda, France
Died: May 13, 1904

Sociologist and criminologist Gabriel Tarde is best remembered for his theory of social interaction. Initially a magistrate, he later taught modern philosophy. He is remembered for his ideas on imitation and his criticism of the concept of the atavistic criminal. He also penned a sci-fi novel.

 19 

Lester Frank Ward
2
Birthdate: June 18, 1841
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Joliet, Illinois, United States
Died: April 18, 1913

 20 
Kenneth Burke
(Philosopher, Literary critic, University teacher, Sociologist, Journalist, Writer)

Kenneth Burke
3
Birthdate: May 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Died: November 19, 1993

 21 
Wilhelm Dilthey
(Philosopher Known for the Way He Distinguished Between the Natural and Human Sciences)

Wilhelm Dilthey
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1833
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Biebrich, Wiesbaden, Germany
Died: October 1, 1911

Wilhelm Dilthey was a German psychologist, sociologist, historian, and hermeneutic philosopher. An ardent admirer of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Dilthey helped revive the former's works on hermeneutics. Wilhelm Dilthey is also credited with teaching future philosophers like Hans Lipps, Eduard Spranger, and Theodor Litt.

 22 
Patrick Geddes
(Biologist)

Patrick Geddes
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 17, 1932

Apart from being a sociologist and biologist, Patrick Geddes was known for his impeccable sense of town planning. While he initially taught botany in Dundee, he later turned to sociology and conducted studies in India, Mexico, and other countries. He was eventually knighted for his achievements.

 23 
Alfred Weber
(Economist, Educationist, Sociologist, University teacher)

Alfred Weber
3
Birthdate: July 30, 1868
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Erfurt
Died: May 2, 1958

Alfred Weber was a German geographer, sociologist, economist, and theoretician of culture. Weber's work and contribution played a key role in the progression of modern economic geography. The younger brother of Max Weber, Alfred Weber contributed theories for analyzing social processes, social change as a confluence of civilization, and culture.

 24 

Alexander Israel Helphand
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berazino, Belarus
Died: December 12, 1924

Initially inspired by Marxist ideals, Alexander Israel Helphand later got involved in revolutionary activities and was arrested. He escaped to Germany, where he later negotiated Lenin’s re-entry into Russia in a sealed train through Germany from Switzerland, where Lenin was exiled. Nevertheless, Helphand wasn’t allowed by Lenin to re-enter Russia.

 25 
Chester Barnard
(Business Executive)

Chester Barnard
3
Birthdate: November 7, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Malden, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 7, 1961

 26 
Norbert Elias
(Sociologist)

Norbert Elias
2
Birthdate: June 22, 1897
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: August 1, 1990

Norbert Elias was a German-British sociologist. He is best known for his theory of civilizing/decivilizing processes. He studied philosophy, psychology, and medicine at the University of Breslau and was deeply involved in the German Zionist movement. He later moved to the United Kingdom where he pursued an academic career. He wrote prolifically following his retirement. 

 27 
Karl Mannheim
(Sociologist)

Karl Mannheim
2
Birthdate: March 27, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: January 9, 1947

German sociologist Karl Mannheim, known for his contribution to the concepts of classical sociology and the sociology of knowledge, initially worked as a professor but later fled to the UK to escape the Nazi regime. He later joined the London School of Economics and remained there till his death.

 28 
Florian Znaniecki
(Philosopher)

Florian Znaniecki
1
Birthdate: January 15, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Swietniki, Poland
Died: March 23, 1958

Polish sociologist and philosopher Florian Znaniecki is remembered for developing sociology into a separate academic discipline. Thrown out of the University of Warsaw, for his political activities, he studied in France and Switzerland. He co-authored The Polish Peasant in Europe and America and taught in both Poland and the US.

 29 
Edwin Sutherland
(Sociologist)

Edwin Sutherland
2
Birthdate: August 13, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gibbon, Nebraska, U.S
Died: October 11, 1950

 30 
Alfred Radcliffe-Brown
(Anthropologist)

Alfred Radcliffe-Brown
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1881
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: October 24, 1955

Best known for his work on the pre-industrialized societies, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown visited Andaman Island and Western Australia to study the social structure of the people there, later writing two important books on them. A renowned scholar, he taught at various preeminent universities across the globe before returning to England to establish the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford.

 31 

Robert Morrison MacIver
1
Birthdate: April 17, 1882
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stornoway, Scotland
Died: June 15, 1970

 32 
Werner Sombart
(Former Economist, Sociologist known for Coining the term)

Werner Sombart
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ermsleben, Falkenstein, Germany
Died: May 18, 1941

Werner Sombart was a German sociologist and economist. He was one of the 20th century's most important Continental European social scientists who served as the leader of the Youngest Historical School. Werner Sombart is credited with coining the phrase late capitalism. He is also remembered for his magnum opus, Der moderne Kapitalismus.

Pierre Guillaume Frédéric le Play
1
Birthdate: April 11, 1806
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur, France
Died: April 5, 1882
French mining engineer and sociologist, Pierre-Guillaume-Frédéric Le Play, developed techniques for systematic research on the family. Le Play's first important work, European Workers was a collection of monographs on the moral life and material conditions of 36 working-class families. He utilized the device of the family budget for the purpose of determining standards of living. 

 34 
Alfred Schutz
(Philosopher)

Alfred Schutz
2
Birthdate: April 13, 1899
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 20, 1959

Alfred Schutz was an Austrian philosopher and social phenomenologist. He is recognized as one of the leading philosophers of social science in the 20th century. A lawyer by qualification, he had a prominent career in international banking and did academic work in his spare time. Philosopher Edmund Husserl described him as “a banker by day and a philosopher by night.” 

 35 

Eugenio María de Hostos
2
Birthdate: January 11, 1839
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: near Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Died: August 11, 1903

 36 
W. Lloyd Warner
(Anthropologist)

W. Lloyd Warner
1
Birthdate: October 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Redlands, California, United States
Died: May 23, 1970

 37 

Siegfried Kracauer
2
Birthdate: February 8, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: November 26, 1966

 38 
Edvard Westermarck
(Philosopher)

Edvard Westermarck
1
Birthdate: November 20, 1862
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Helsinki, Finland
Died: September 3, 1939

 39 
Harold Innis
(Economist, Historian, Philosopher, University teacher, Sociologist)

Harold Innis
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1894
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Otterville, Ontario
Died: November 8, 1952

Born into a farming community, Harold Innis was encouraged to be a Baptist minister but became a political economist and academic instead. The former University of Toronto professor is remembered for his work on the staple thesis. He had also fought on the front lines in World War I.

 40 
Otto Neurath
(Economist, Philosopher, Sociologist, Graphic designer, Statistical graphics)

Otto Neurath
2
Birthdate: December 10, 1882
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: December 22, 1945

Otto Neurath was an Austrian-born philosopher of science, political economist, and sociologist. He is known for inventing the ISOTYPE method of pictorial statistics. A native of Vienna, he was one of the leading figures of the Vienna Circle. As an economist, he advocated for ideas like "in-kind" economic accounting in place of monetary accounting. 

 41 
Theodor Geiger
(Professor)

Theodor Geiger
1
Birthdate: November 9, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: June 16, 1952

 42 
Ziya Gökalp
(Sociologist)

Ziya Gökalp
2
Birthdate: March 23, 1876
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Çermik, Turkey
Died: October 25, 1924

 43 
Maurice Halbwachs
(Former French philosopher and sociologist known for developing the concept of collective memory)

Maurice Halbwachs
2
Birthdate: March 11, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: March 16, 1945

Maurice Halbwachs was one of the few French sociologists to work empirically. One of the brightest students at École Normale Supérieure, he later joined socialist movements. Though appreciated for his work on memory and its social conditions, he was detained by the Nazis and died in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

 44 
Roger Nash Baldwin
(Sociologist, Trade unionist)

Roger Nash Baldwin
2
Birthdate: January 21, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Massachusetts
Died: August 26, 1981

Roger Nash Baldwin was a pacifist who played a major role in the development of the human rights movement in USA. He was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and also founded the International League for the Rights of Man. He was a conscientious objector during World War I. He received the Medal of Freedom in 1981.  

 45 

José Carlos Mariátegui
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1894
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
Died: April 16, 1930

 46 
Robert Michels
(Sociologist)

Robert Michels
2
Birthdate: January 9, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: May 3, 1936

 47 

Gustav Ratzenhofer
0
Birthdate: July 4, 1842
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 8, 1904

Gustav Ratzenhofer was an Austrian philosopher, officer, and sociologist. Ratzenhofer left his military career to devote his time to study sociology and philosophy. He then went on to become a respected sociologist and was counted among the founding fathers of policy sociology in the United States of America.

 48 
Corrado Gini
(Statistician)

Corrado Gini
1
Birthdate: May 23, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Motta di Livenza, Italy
Died: March 13, 1965

 49 
W. I. Thomas
(Sociologist, Writer)

W. I. Thomas
2
Birthdate: August 13, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Russell County
Died: December 5, 1947

 50 
Ernest Burgess
(Sociologist)

Ernest Burgess
2
Birthdate: May 16, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tilbury, Chatham-Kent, Canada
Died: December 27, 1966