American Sociological Association

Herbert J. Gans

Herbert J. Gans

Herbert J. Gans

Herbert J. Gans served as the 78th President of the American Sociological Association. His Presidential Address, entitled "Sociology in America: The Discipline and the Public," was delivered at the Association's 1988 Annual Meeting in Atlanta,and was later published in the American Sociological Review (ASR February 1989, Vol 54 No 1, pp 1-16).

Gans was born in Cologne, Germany in 1927. He left Nazi Germany for England in 1938. From England he came to United States in 1940 and became an American citizen in October 1945. After graduating from the College of the University of Chicago in 1947, he received his M.A. in Sociology and Social Science from Chicago in 1950, and his Ph.D. in Planning and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957.

From 1950 to 1953 Gans worked as a planner in private and public agencies, including an architectural firm where he did social research to help plan two new towns. He also worked at HHFA, the predecessor of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1953 he turned to academia. From 1953 to 1964 he worked at the University of Pennsylvania, advancing from lecturer to Association Professor of Urban Studies.

From 1964 to 1969 he served as Soociate and Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, as well as Research Associate for the Institute for Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. In 1971 he joined Columbia University, initially as Professor of Sociology. In 1985 he became the Robert S. Lynd Professor at Columbia.

His research and teaching activities have been concentrated in urban and community studies, urban poverty and anti-poverty planning, social planning and social policy, equality and stratification, ethnicity, the news media, the mass media, and popular culture. Gans is the author of numerous books and articles.

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