Robert K. Merton was an American sociologist best remembered for his immense contribution to the field of criminology. Merton, who is credited with founding the sociology of science, was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1994 for his contribution to the field. He is also credited with mentoring fellow sociologists like Jonathan R. Cole.
Canadian-American sociologist, social-psychologist and writer Erving Goffman, regarded as the most influential American sociologist of the 20th century by some, is best-known for his study of symbolic interaction and development of his dramaturgical analysis. His book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was the first that treated face-to-face interaction as a subject of sociological study.
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.
The proponent of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, Herbert Marcuse largely influenced the leftist student revolts of the 1960s. Equipped with a PhD in German literature, he wrote Hegel’s Ontology and the Theory of Historicity, with Martin Heidegger. His Eros and Civilization spoke at length about capitalism.
Social psychologist Stanley Milgram was inspired by the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust to understand what drove people to harm others, and thus created his Milgram experiment. He also taught at prestigious institutes such as Harvard and Yale. His studies also included the six degrees of separation concept.
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.
Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist best remembered for his structural functionalism and social action theory. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential and important figures in sociology, Parsons played a key role in the establishment of Harvard's Department of Social Relations. He is also credited with mentoring many international scholars like Alain Touraine and Ralf Dahrendorf.
Alva Belmont was an American socialite who played a major role in the women's suffrage movement in the United States of America. Remembered for her intelligence, energy, and strong opinions, Belmont is credited with founding the Political Equality League which aimed at promoting suffrage-supporting politicians. Alva Belmont is also credited with co-founding the National Woman's Party in 1916.
C. Wright Mills was an American sociologist who served as a professor at Columbia University from 1946 to 1962. Mills is credited with writing influential books like The Sociological Imagination. His work inspired several future sociologists like Stanley Cohen, Tom Hayden, and Teodor Shanin. The C. Wright Mills Award, which is given annually, was established in his honor.
Clifford Geertz was an anthropologist who strongly supported and influenced the practice of symbolic anthropology. He attended Harvard University, where he completed an interdisciplinary program. He then embarked on an academic career and wrote several theoretical pieces and essays on symbolic anthropology. He has left a strong influence on modern anthropology and communication studies.
Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, and visual anthropologist. Along with his colleagues, he developed the double-bind theory of schizophrenia. Also a cyberneticist, he was part of the core group of the Macy Conferences in Cybernetics. He was a member of philosopher William Irwin Thompson's esoteric nonprofit foundation Lindisfarne Association.
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.
Sociologist, author, and economic historian Immanuel Wallerstein is best remembered for his iconic work The Modern World System, which was the first volume of his world-system theory. He was a Yale researcher and had first been driven to understand world history when he read up about the anticolonial movement in India.
Fredric Jameson is an American philosopher, literary critic, and Marxist political theorist. Jameson is renowned for his analysis of capitalism and postmodernity. He is credited with authoring influential books like The Political Unconscious and Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. In 2012, Fredric Jameson was honored with the Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award by the Modern Language Association.
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.
Shelby Steele is an American writer and documentary filmmaker who specializes in the study of multiculturalism and race relations. In 1990, his book The Content of Our Character earned him the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1991, he won the Emmy Award for his documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst. In 2004, Steele won the National Medal of the Humanities.
Christopher Lasch was an American historian, social critic, and moralist. He served as a professor at the University of Rochester. Christopher Lasch is best remembered for his books that aimed at using history as a tool to help Americans realize the independence and competence of families and communities. His best-selling book The Culture of Narcissism won the National Book Award.
Ted Nelson is an American sociologist and philosopher. A pioneer of information technology, Nelson coined the terms hypermedia and hypertext in 1963. He is also credited with coining several new words, including transclusion, intertwingularity, and virtuality. In 1960, he founded Project Xanadu in an attempt to create a computer network with an unambiguous user interface.
Edward T. Hall was an anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher best known for developing the concepts of proxemics, monochronic time, and polychronic time. He explored cultural and social cohesion in his research and described how people behave and react in different types of culturally defined personal space. Hall was a colleague of philosopher Marshall McLuhan and architect Buckminster Fuller.
Born in Austria, Peter L. Berger initially moved to Palestine and eventually to the U.S. after World War II. While aspiring to be a Lutheran minister, he ended up being a sociologist. He taught at various institutes, such as Boston University, and penned the iconic book The Social Construction of Reality.
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.
Pitirim Sorokin was a Russian-American political activist and sociologist best remembered for his immense contribution to the social cycle theory. His life and work have played an influential role in the life of popular American historian and scholar, Allan Carlson. Among other prominent personalities who have been influenced by Sorokin's work is American politician and 48th Vice President Michael Pence.
Jeremy Rifkin is an American social and economic theorist, public speaker, writer, activist, and political advisor. Rifkin is credited with authoring several influential books on the impact of technological and scientific changes on the economy, the environment, and society. He is also regarded as the founding father of the Third Industrial Revolution.
Carol Gilligan is an American psychologist, ethicist, and feminist. She is renowned for her work on ethical relationships and ethical community. She also serves as a professor of Applied Psychology and Humanities at New York University. Considered the chief architect of the ethics of care, Gilligan was named in the 25 most influential people list by Time magazine in 1996.
Hailed by many as the founding father of 21st-century sociology, Charles Tilly was not only a revered sociologist, but also an influential political scientist and historian. Considered a major figure in the development of historical sociology, he published numerous books, monographs and scholarly articles, providing an insight into urban sociology, European nation-state formation, democracy, social movements, labor, and categorical inequalities
Lester Frank Ward was an American paleontologist, botanist, and sociologist. He is best remembered for his service as the American Sociological Association's first president. Lester Frank Ward played an important role in bringing Sociology courses into the higher education system in America.
Apart from teaching sociology at Columbia University and LSE, sociologist Saskia Sassen has also devoted over 3 decades of her life to research. She introduced the term global city. The daughter of a Dutch Nazi journalist, she grew up in Argentina and Italy, before studying in France.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and University of Chicago professor Daniel J. Boorstin is best known for his three-volume history of American civilization, The Americans. Born to a lawyer father, Daniel J. Boorstin studied law at Harvard and had also been a communist in his youth. He also held 20 honorary degrees.
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.”
Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher, specializing in family therapy and communication theory. The most influential figure in the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute, he worked extensively on how communication is effected within families and proposed Interactional View Theory. Paul Watzlawick authored 22 books and more than 150 articles and book chapters. His books have been translated into 80 languages