Sociologists

Any person who is an expert in the study of social institutions in the society and the development of humans with social circles in communities may be referred to as a sociologist. Sociologists study human behavior, their origins, evolution and other factors like their development, interactions and their collective behavioral patterns in social groups. Thus, sociologists are engaged in the scientific analysis and the examination of any social institution and its relationship and effects on the various facets of the human society. They study the reasons for behavioral change in humans over a period of time and determine the various factors that cause can in behavior. Sociology originated in the 18th and the 19th century, during the period when Western Europe was going through a host of economical, technical changes and social changes that a great impact on the social order. Sociologist may be specialized in fields like social problems, social psychology, social statistics, industrial sociology, sociology of work, sociology of occupations and professions and other files. Some other areas of specializations include race, gender, sex, cultural diversity, labor and industrial relations, personnel management and business relations. Discover some of the world’s most famous sociologists with the help of their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois
6
Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
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

Max Weber
6
Famous As: Sociologist
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

Emile Durkheim
6
Famous As: Sociologist
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 Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas is counted among the most influential philosophers across the world and is identified with the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He influenced many disciplines through his work which addresses communicative rationality and the public sphere, and includes topics starting from social-political theory to aesthetics, language to philosophy of religion, and epistemology.

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 5 Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard
6
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: July 27, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: March 6, 2007

Renowned sociologist and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard is remembered for introducing concepts of hyperreality and simulacrum. Initially a teacher of German literature in schools, he later taught sociology at Paris X Nanterre. He coined the phrase the desert of the real, which was later used in the film The Matrix.

 6 Robert K. Merton

Robert K. Merton
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: July 4, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: February 23, 2003

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.

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 7 Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour
6
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaune, France

Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.

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 8 Vilfredo Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto
4
Famous As: Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher
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.

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 9 George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead
4
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 10 Georg Simmel

Georg Simmel
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: March 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26, 1918
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 11 Karl Marx

Karl Marx
0
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 12 Pierre Bourdieu

Pierre Bourdieu
6
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: August 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denguin, France
Died: January 23, 2002

Renowned sociologist and intellectual Pierre Bourdieu is best remembered for his theory of habitus. Initially sent to Algeria as part of the French Army, he later taught and conducted ethnographic research there. His best-known work remains La Distinction, and he also inspired a hit French documentary.

 13 Anthony Giddens

Anthony Giddens
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: January 18, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edmonton, London, England

 14 Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun
4
Famous As: Historian, Sociologist
Birthdate: May 27, 1332
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tunis, Tunisia
Died: March 16, 1406

Ibn Khaldun was an Arab scholar, philosopher, social scientist, and historian. He is often credited with founding the modern disciplines of sociology, historiography, economics, and demography. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the medieval period.

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 15 Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: June 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mannville, Alberta, Canada
Died: November 20, 1982

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.

 16 Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 11, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: August 6, 1969

One of the most prominent intellectuals of the 20th century, Theodor Adorno was a pioneer of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and despised the culture industry. Born to a singer mother, the German sociologist grew up amid music and could even play Beethoven on the piano by 12.

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 17 Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin
4
Famous As: Anarchist, Socialist & Historian
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. 

 18 Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm
6
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: March 23, 1900
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 18, 1980

Erich Fromm was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and socialist. A German Jew, he fled the Nazi regime and settled in the United States. He was a co-founder of  The William Alanson White Institute and was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. He is best remembered for authoring the book Escape from Freedom.

 19 Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau
5
Famous As: Linguist, Journalist, Economist, Historian, Translator, Writer, Sociologist, Essayist, Feminist
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich
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.

 20 Herbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 19, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 29, 1979

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.

 21 Talcott Parsons

Talcott Parsons
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: December 13, 1902
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Died: May 8, 1979

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.

 22 Stanley Milgram

Stanley Milgram
6
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: August 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 20, 1984

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.

 23 C. Wright Mills

C. Wright Mills
4
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: August 28, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Waco
Died: March 20, 1962

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.

 24 Marcel Mauss

Marcel Mauss
3
Famous As: Sociologist, Anthropologist
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.

 25 Herbert Simon

Herbert Simon
6
Famous As: Economist, Political scientist, sociologist, psychologist, and professor
Birthdate: June 15, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milwaukee
Died: February 9, 2001

Herbert Simon was an American computer scientist, economist, cognitive psychologist, and political scientist. Best remembered for his theories of satisficing and bounded rationality, Simon was honored with the prestigious Turing Award in 1975. In 1978, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Herbert Simon is considered one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, complex systems, and organization theory.

 26 Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman
4
Famous As: Psychologist, Anthropologist, Sociologist, Non-fiction writer, University teacher
Birthdate: February 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

 27 Aleksandr Dugin

Aleksandr Dugin
4
Famous As: Analyst
Birthdate: January 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

One of the prime organizers of the National Bolshevik Party, Russian politologist Aleksandr Dugin is known for his association with fascism. He supports the creation of a Eurasian empire, which will oppose North Atlantic interests. He has also penned books such as The Fourth Political Theory and Foundations of Geopolitics.

 28 Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
6
Famous As: Writer
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.

 29 Ulrike Meinhof

Ulrike Meinhof
6
Famous As: Journalist, Writer, Sociologist
Birthdate: October 7, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oldenburg
Died: May 9, 1976

 30 Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall
6
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: February 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: February 10, 2014

Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.

 31 Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan
11
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 16, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Died: March 26, 2003

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was an American sociologist, politician, and diplomat. Although he was an important member of the Democratic Party, Moynihan served as an adviser to Republican politician Richard Nixon during the latter's presidency. During the course of his career, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

 32 Clifford Geertz

Clifford Geertz
3
Famous As: Anthropologist, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: August 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Francisco
Died: October 30, 2006

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. 

 33 Patricia Hill Collins

Patricia Hill Collins
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher, American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Book Award
Birthdate: May 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia

 34 Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi
3
Famous As: Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist
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.

 35 Charles Fourier

Charles Fourier
4
Famous As: Economist, Sociologist, Philosopher
Birthdate: April 7, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Besançon
Died: October 10, 1837

French social theorist Charles Fourier is regarded as one of the pioneers of utopian socialism. Apart from advocating social reconstruction based on phalanges, or Fourierism, he is also credited with coining the term feminism with respect to women’s rights. The Social Destiny of Man remains one of his notable works.

 36 Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

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.

 37 Jacques Ellul

Jacques Ellul
3
Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, Writer, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: January 6, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bordeaux
Died: May 19, 1994

French philosopher, Christian anarchist, and social scientist Jacques Ellul initially wished to be a naval officer but was pushed to study law. He is best remembered for his iconic volume La Technique, or The Technological Society. He taught social history and the history of law at various universities.

 38 Alva Belmont

Alva Belmont
3
Famous As: socialite
Birthdate: January 17, 1853
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Died: January 26, 1933

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.

 39 Fredric Jameson

Fredric Jameson
3
Famous As: Essayist, Political scientist, Writer, Professor, Literary critic, Sociologist, Journalist
Birthdate: April 14, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland

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.

 40 Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein
3
Famous As: Economist, Geopolitician, Economic historian, Historian, Political scientist, Writer, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: September 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City

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.

 41 Henri Lefebvre

Henri Lefebvre
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 16, 1901
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hagetmau, France
Died: June 29, 1991

One of the greatest Marxist philosophers ever, Henri Lefebvre is remembered for introducing iconic ideas such as right to the city and the production of space. He initially mingled with the Surrealists and the Dadaists before moving toward Communism. His Dialetical Materialism remains one of his most celebrated books.

 42 Gregory Bateson

Gregory Bateson
3
Famous As: Anthropologist, Philosopher, Sociologist, Psychologist
Birthdate: May 9, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grantchester
Died: June 11, 1980

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.  

 43 Ferdinand Tönnies

Ferdinand Tönnies
3
Famous As: Sociologist
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. 

 44 Gustave Le Bon

Gustave Le Bon
3
Famous As: Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Psychologist, Philosopher, Historian, Sociologist
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.

 45 William Julius Wilson

William Julius Wilson
2
Famous As: Sociologist, University teacher, Professor, Writer
Birthdate: December 20, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pennsylvania

 46 Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine
3
Famous As: Sociologist
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.

 47 Robert E. Park

Robert E. Park
2
Famous As: sociologist, criminologist, writer, university teacher
Birthdate: February 14, 1864
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harveyville
Died: February 7, 1944

 48 Lewis Mumford

Lewis Mumford
3
Famous As: Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist
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.

 49 Raymond Aron

Raymond Aron
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 14, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 17, 1983

Best known for his book The Opium of the Intellectuals, Raymond Aron was one of the most influential thinkers of his time. While he initially taught social philosophy, he also served the French air force during World War II. He also had long-term stints as a columnist for Le Figaro and L’Express.

 50 Max Horkheimer

Max Horkheimer
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zuffenhausen, Stuttgart, Germany
Died: July 7, 1973
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