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Daniel Bell died in January 2011 after a long life of passionate engagement with many of the most important political and cultural issues of the 20th century. He was born just after the First World War on the Lower East Side of Manhattan into a Yiddish-speaking immigrant family from Eastern Europe. In 1929, when Daniel was 10, his uncle (and legal guardian) changed the family name from Bolotsky to the more WASP-sounding (and culturally acceptable) "Bell."
As a child of the Great Depression from poor, immigrant Jews, it was not surprising that young Daniel was attracted to the left-wing politics that was prevalent among working-class New York City Jews of his generation. At the age of 13, Bell proclaimed himself a socialist.
Bell graduated from New York City’s famed Stuyvesant High School at the age of 15, and entered the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1934 where he majored in sociology. Much of his time at CCNY, however, seems to have been spent not in the classroom but hanging out with classmates such as Irving Kristol, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Irving Howe—all of them Trotskyists or other non-Stalinist Marxists.
Despite these beliefs, Bell was a defender of both parliamentary democracy (what Marxists called "bourgeoisie democracy") and some degree of private ownership of the means of production. Bell’s description regarding his views on politics and culture: "I am a socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture." In terms of economics Bell is better described not as a socialist but a social democrat. Few of the major ideas that Bell put forth from the 1940s onward needed to be repudiated in the face of subsequent events.
Bell’s most important early book, which elevated him to national prominence and made him one of America’s leading public intellectuals, was The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties. It was a collection of 15 previously published essays dealing with topics related to the modern labor movement and the ideology and policies of the Left. Its greatest impact was in its claim that the major ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, most derived in one form or another from Marx and other utopian thinkers, had revealed themselves as dangerous illusions which led to many political and humanitarian horrors and ultimately to a loss of faith in their own veracity.
The major political ideologies of the 19th and 20th century, particularly communism and fascism, functioned as secular religions, Bell believed, insofar as they provided simplifying beliefs, a claim to truth, and a path to action, just as Christianity and Judaism had always done. They also tapped into the same emotions as the historical religions, but they came to resemble those religions in their extreme periods of fanatical frenzy rather than in their more subdued, ritualized, and pacifistic modes. What was to give an ideology like Marxism and fascism its force, Bell said, was its ability to tap the kinds of human emotions that religion had always dealt with.
Bell’s criticism of ideology was not only of the revolutionary utopianisms of the Marxist variety, but of any fixed and unchanging conceptual structure through which people tried to grasp the complexities of social dynamics and social change. Indeed, it was because of this perceived conceptual and ideological rigidity that Bell, one of the co-founders of The Public Interest, resigned from the editorship of that journal when Kristol, its chief editor, spoke of the need for a coherent ideology on the Right to combat the power of the ideologies of the Left.
Bell remained a prolific writer for many years after publishing The End of Ideology, with his later interests focused on the structural changes that had taken place in late capitalism and the increasing importance of cultural change to understanding how societies functioned in America and Europe. One must understand the all-pervasive influence of the Marxist analysis of culture on the Left to realize just how far Bell had moved away in his two most influential later works, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, from the kind of thinking that was almost universal in the circles in which he had earlier moved. For the leftist thinkers influenced by Marx, the ideas, thoughts, moral principles, normative judgments, and that are seen to have little if any independent power or efficacy in shaping the course of human history. Bell in his later works rejected this viewpoint, and recognized that while economic developments can influence culture, culture can influence economic development as well.
The advertising and marketing industries, Bell explained, were successful in translating the modernist emphasis on self-enhancement and the quest for personal experience into a materialistic-hedonistic ethic of capitalist consumerism. By the 1950s, Bell claimed that industries had largely replaced the older Protestant Christian ideals of thrift, frugality, self-discipline, and self-restraint. Credit buying, Bell believed, was particularly important in breaking down some of these older inhibitions and restraints, as it encouraged a live-for-the-day kind of attitude, with America rapidly moved towards an ethic of consumption and enjoyment.
As his longtime friend and fellow Harvard sociologist Nathan Glazer remarked g, "[Bell] always had large ideas. … And some of his ideas about what was happening to society were very much on target." Bell himself may have phrased it best as a graduate student at Columbia when he was asked what his specialty was: "I specialize in generalizations." Throughout his life, he did indeed specialize in generalizations—that is, in the big picture, in exposing long-term, sweeping trends over broad cultural terrains. His non-ideological openness to viewing things as they are, combined with his acute perceptiveness of human institutions and human nature, lent to his work an air of integrity and authority that came to be appreciated by millions. The London-based Times Literary Supplement listed The End of Ideology and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism among the 100 most influential books of the latter half of the 20th century.
With his three biggest ideas Bell clearly got it right: 1) Marxism and the radical ideologies that had so stirred Europe in the early decades of the 20th century were thoroughly discredited among thinking people and would eventually die on the vine; 2) antinomian modernism and consumerist hedonism as a focus to one’s life’s energies leads to spiritual emptiness and an agonizing sense of forlornness in the world; and 3) America was ripe for a religious revival that would assume a traditionalist, even fundamentalist, cast in theology and morals.
"He was a terrific father, a wonderful friend, and a generous individual," his son Daniel Bell said at the time of his death. And those of us who knew him only through his writings would add: always a perceptive and profound thinker.
Bell is survived by his wife Pearl Kazin, his son Daniel, his daughter Jordy Bell, and four grandchildren.
The original and longer version of this article, by Russell K. Nieli, is on the National Association of Scholars website at http://www.nas.org/polArticles.cfm?Doc_Id=1817Back to Top of Page
Sociologist and gerontologist Neil Bull died on September 26, 2010, in Kansas City, MO, at the age of 70 after a brief illness. He was born in Cleveleys, England. He attended Cheltenham College, a prestigious boarding school in the Cotswolds of England. Neil was an avid rugby player in his youth, but after a serious injury he turned to more scholarly pursuits. His studies took him to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1965 and 1967. He received his PhD in sociology from the University of Oregon in 1971 and joined the faculty in sociology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) with specializations in formal organizations, leisure studies, and the sociology of time. Here he spent his entire career and rose to the rank of full professor.
From 1974 to 1976, Neil was a postdoctoral fellow with the Midwest Council for Social Research on Aging so his research interests turned increasingly to the field of gerontology. He focused primarily on volunteerism and retirement. From 1987 to 1990, he co-directed the Center on Rural Elderly at UMKC funded by the Kellogg Foundation. He successfully applied for grant funding from the U.S. Administration on Aging to create the National Resource Center on Rural Elderly for which he was principal investigator from 1988 to 1992. In 1989 he was a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where he collaborated with sociology colleagues to do comparative studies of public health and welfare in the United States and Australia. He continued to work on other projects related to rural elderly volunteers and training of service providers on mental health issues through the 1990s. He was a fellow of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.
Neil’s publications throughout his career ranged widely from reporting on his own research on leisure, volunteerism, and rural aging to translations and applications of research, particularly a series of resource manuals that he helped develop as part of the National Resource Center on Rural Elderly. He edited the book Aging in Rural America (1993) and co-edited Health Services for Rural Elders (1994) with Raymond Coward, Gary Kukulka, and James Galliher. He also contributed teaching materials on rural aging and volunteerism that were published through the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. He was a frequent presenter at conferences including the Midwest Sociological Society, the American Sociological Association, and the Gerontological Society of America.
Professor Bull was a greatly valued teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He taught core research methods and senior capstone classes as well as courses in his focus area of complex organizations, leisure studies, gerontology, and the sociology of time/space. Students appreciated his intelligence, ability to make concepts so clear, and his dry humor. Neil also served ably as an administrator. As soon as he was tenured, he became Chair of the UMKC Department of Sociology—a position he held for two terms. In 1985, he held an administrative internship in the academic vice chancellor’s office, which eventually led to several other administrative posts. He served as an associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 1992 to 1996. In academic years 1993-94 and 2000-01, he chaired the Department of Theatre during times of transition where his intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the university, his love of the theatre, and his wry English humor made him a popular administrator.
In 2002, Neil Bull took an early retirement incentive offered throughout the University of Missouri and became professor emeritus. While many wondered how one so young (62) would do in this new role, Neil provided a model that many of us watched with great interest, admiration, and a bit of envy. He developed a clear plan for how he would spend his time that included forming a regularly meeting group of colleagues who retired around the same time, volunteering regularly with Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty, and most importantly, returning to the university nearly every semester to sit in on classes on topics he had always wanted to explore in more depth—physics, philosophy, Islam, art, and geology. Just before his death he had completed a course in history on Darwin, which he had found enormously interestingly.
Neil is survived by his wife, Catherine Anderson, former wife, Sheelagh Hope Bull Manheim, daughters, Hillary Bull Urich of Shawnee, Kansas, Catriona Bull Briger of Philadelphia, four grandchildren, and two brothers in England.
Linda Breytspraak, University of Missouri-Kansas CityBack to Top of Page
In the course of his intellectually extraordinary and social adventurous life, Shmuel Noah (S.N.) Eisenstadt was a central actor in the three dramatic phase shifts that marked post-World War II sociological theory. Each was propelled by dramatic, world-historical changes in Western culture and institutions and their relation to the greater world.
During the 1950s, Eisenstadt was a brilliant member of Talcott Parsons’ functionalist school. During the climate of postwar expectations for a peaceful and triumphant modernity, he wrote about incorporation and assimilation, in The Absorption of Immigrants (1955), and in From Generation to Generation (1956) neatly historicized the hope that peer groups allow new generations not only emotional independence from parents but moral creativity vis-à-vis traditions.
In the decades that followed, the postwar consensus splintered and polarized and Parsonian hegemony was challenged. Eisenstadt absorbed these challenges without abandoning his filial loyalties, not only to Parsons but to his personal mentor Edward Shils. In 1976, Eisenstadt wrote (with Curelaru) that "despite many claims to the contrary, especially by opponents, the structural-functional school was neither uniform nor unchanging," and that, "within this school," not only were there "many internal controversies" but also many "openings."
Some of the most intriguing openings were being made by Eisenstadt himself. For example, in his historical and comparative analysis The Political System of Empires (1963) differentiation is viewed as creating problems, not adaptation, and voracious new forms of domination. In the essay with which Eisenstadt introduced his edited collection, Max Weber on Charisma and Institution Building (1968), while placing Weber squarely into the Parsonian camp, he insists that cultural values, rather than providing stability, actually trigger disruptive struggles for personal fulfillment and collective identity.
In the late 20th century, the zesty cocktail of Weberian Realpolitik and Shilsian luminosity carried Eisenstadt into a third phase. He became engaged in a vast imaginative effort to reveal the historical logic of a major evolutionary transformation. This "Axial age" breakthrough was now thoroughly sociologized, its ramifications systematically thought through in a radically cultural way. Eisenstadt’s theory of the Axial Age put intellectuals in the driver’s seat, decentralizing the material and ideal interests of class and status groups.
Eisenstadt historicized the project of criticizing the world; the Frankfurt school mistook critical theory as a universal law of reflection. What he discovered was a way to express the vulnerability of the modern project and the tenuousness of its meaningful order. The Western hue of his earlier writings gradually disappeared, transformed by a new sensibility that was more responsive to inner-directed spiritual, moral, and symbolic concerns. One sees a relativization of rationality (1991), a responsiveness to the rebirth of religious consciousness (1983), a new orientation to emerging Asian society (Eisenstadt and Ben-Ari 1990). There was a shift in emphasis from the "challenges" of social change and modernity to the "dilemmas" they pose, from a focus on the central role of "organization" to the energizing force of "ideas," from the role of "entrepreneurs" as key agents to the critical position of "intellectuals," and from "system" to "civilization" as the primary referent of social collectivity.
For this fully matured Eisenstadt, institutionalization is no longer the resolution of conflict through organizational means, but the attempt to make earthly a transcendental ideal. Compared with his classical and modern predecessors, Eisenstadt later conceived of value institutionalization in a fundamentally new way.
While the later Eisenstadt took his profound interest in the meaning of modernity from Weber and Parsons, he no longer shared his mentors’ fascination with the uniqueness of modernity in its western form. Expanding his horizons to China, Japan, and India, Eisenstadt insisted on the idea of multiple modernities. He understood that every post-Axial civilization is modern in its own way. They can have capitalism, democracy, bureaucracy, law, and science; their cultures may be filled with tensions and their emotional lives fragmented and split. At the same time, the institutions, meanings, and emotions of the great civilizations will still seem different and distinct.
To understand the twisting pathways that have allowed global understanding and, at the same time, ensured contemporary frission—this is what Eisenstadt’s ambitious research program into multiple modernities was about. In close cooperation with area specialists, anthropologists, historians, and humanists, it inspired the immensely productive later years of his life.
As a human being, Shmuel Eisenstadt embodied his own intellectual paradigm. He was a gentleman of cosmopolitan manners, complex imagination, and critical mind. He was an inveterate traveler between Chicago and Budapest, Uppsala and Tokyo, Jerusalem and Konstanz. He was a mastery of irony who never got entangled in pedantic details and who kept an elegant distance from the slaves of methodological virtue. Not only was he at home everywhere, but it often seemed that everywhere was his home.
In the thousands of lectures that he presented in every corner of the world, Shmuel rarely used notes, though sometimes he took a blank paper to the lectern "in order to calm the hosts." He could be breathtakingly erudite and full of hauteur. Usually, however, Shmuel was easygoing, folksy, and earthy. He laced his lectures with jokes, whimsical paradoxes, and digressive asides. His gift for synthesizing different, seemingly antagonistic strains in a debate were legendary, and it was his openness and sensitivity to interdisciplinary dialogue that inspired so many to join him in his intellectual endeavors. Yet, as amicable and charming as he was in person, his scholarly judgment was uncompromising and occasionally even merciless, right up to the very end.
For all his globe trotting and cosmopolitanism, Shmuel Eisenstadt remained a prototypically Jewish intellectual who liked surreal jokes and the sarcastic heightening of reality. He was closely associated with the newly founded state of Israel and with the moral heritage of his first teacher, Martin Buber, and he considered the rightward political developments in Israeli society with alarm. He resisted the temptation of attractive offers from the world’s most prestigious American and European universities, though he made frequent long-term visits. The Chinese Academy of Science elected him its "Man of the Year," and he received the highest honors to which a sociologist can aspire.
Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt was born in Poland in 1923. He narrowly escaped the terror of German occupation, immigrating first to America, soon after to Israel. After completing his studies with Buber, he quickly rose to professor in sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he lectured until his retirement in 1989. He had lost relatives in the death camp of Nazi Germany, yet Germany became—with Sweden and Switzerland—his favorite host country in Europe. His friendly and sympathetic relationship with German sociologists provided a remarkable example of the new ties between German and Israeli academics, and a personal demonstration of how post-Axial culture continuously inspires the renewal of universalism and hope.
Shmuel Eisenstadt has left us, but these values, which he generously shared and crystallized in multiple modernities, remain.
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University and Bernhard Giesen, Konstanz UniversityBack to Top of Page
Roland J. Pellegrin, 87, died on December 29, 2010, in State College, PA. At the time of his death he held the rank of Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Pennsylvania State University. His contributions to the discipline were far ranging—from mentor to Research Center Director to Department Head to scholar focusing on organizations, work, and occupations. Roland leaves behind a host of students, colleagues, and friends who remember his sense of justice, wit, and dedication to enhancing knowledge.
Born in Chacahoula, LA., the son of Octave and Claire Lajaunie Pellegrin, he is survived by his wife Jean and two sons, Stephen (and wife Mary Anne Braund), of Seattle, WA, and Robert (and wife Elizabeth Ohmer Pellegrin), of New Orleans, LA, as well as four nieces; and two nephews. A veteran of World War II, Pellegrin served as a medic in the European theater. He was among the first wave of troops to enter Berlin at the end of the war. After graduating from Terrebonne High School in Houma, LA, Roland earned a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University in 1947 and a Master of Arts in 1949. In 1952, he completed a PhD in sociology and anthropology at the University of North Carolina.
Roland began his career as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at Louisiana State University. From 1961 to 1973, he was Director of the Institute for Community Studies at the University of Oregon. He moved to Penn State in August of 1973 to assume the Headship of the Department of Sociology, a position he held until 1983. He retired in 1986.
The author of numerous publications on a wide variety of topics in educational administration and the social sciences, Roland’s research interests included work in industrial and post-industrial societies; innovation in organizations; the sociology of work, occupations, and professions; social organization; and social change. He was a member of the American Sociological Association, the Southern Sociological Society, and the Pennsylvania Sociological Society.
Although Roland was a significant scholar, he also made a major impact on the discipline as an administrator, especially at Penn State. As an expert on organizations, Roland laid the infrastructure for the department’s major leap forward in the 80s and 90s. He consistently recruited young faculty members who matured under his leadership. His Headship was marked by a dedication to research, teaching and service. He had a sense of justice that stabilized the department during turbulent times. Roland told his successor as Department Head: "Even if you hate the SOB, you have to treat him fairly."
Roland loved to read. He was equally happy with P.G. Wodehouse or de Tocqueville. As a social scientist, he was particularly fond of works that involved other societies, other times, and other points of view. He drove his family across the country almost every summer when his boys were young. After retirement, he and Jean were able to travel the world, visiting Europe, Asia, South America and the South Seas. Fluent in several languages, Roland loved to meet local people and talk to them in their own tongue. Dr. Pellegrin was active in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, OR, and attended the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, PA. Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Frank Clemente, Pennsylvania State UniversityBack to Top of Page
Paul Sites, an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Kent State University, passed away on July 7, 2010, at the age of 83. Paul received his BA from Indiana Central University and his masters and doctorate from Purdue University. He earned his PhD in 1960, and while at Purdue, studied with Louis Schneider, an early student of Robert Merton.
Paul joined the Kent State University Sociology Department in 1965. He served the department in many ways including Director of Graduate Education and as Chair. He also served as Vice President of the North Central Sociological Association.
Paul was a social theorist who developed his ideas on "control theory" in several books. However, he is best remembered at Kent State for his work as a teacher, and returning graduates often remarked about the high quality of his courses in social theory. Bertice Berry, the popular television comedian and talk show host, who earned her PhD in sociology at Kent State, remembered Paul in her autobiography as her primary inspiration for choosing sociology. Paul’s teaching was recognized in many ways, but particularly in 1971 with his winning of the university’s highest teaching award, The Kent State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award. This award is based on student and faculty nominations and the finalist is picked by a select panel made up of students and previous award winners.
On a personal basis, Paul was one of the most honorable colleagues we have known in the department at Kent State. Though being honorable is usually considered an asset, for Paul it was often somewhat of an impediment. Commensurate with his interest in theory, he was as well an idealist in his personal relations, and as chair of our department he occasionally ran into difficulties with the upper administration. For example, when the Kent State Dean of Arts and Sciences demanded implementation of "merit increase" salary guidelines for faculty, Paul, as department chair, realized the difficulties in implementing these edicts on an equitable and impartial basis and suggested less divisive and more impartial means for salary distribution—a move not hailed with impartiality by the dean. In this connection, Paul and one of the writers of this obituary (Gregory), presented a paper at an early 1980s ASA convention on the subject of "Honor Systems" at the U. S. military academies. At the time, there were several news reports of breaches in the honor code regarding cheating on exams at some of the academies. The title of the paper was "When Honor Became a System." In a recalled conversation with Paul in connection with our writing the paper, he felt it was an abomination to relate the word "honor" to the institutionally imposed self-penalization system established by the service academies at the time. His contrarian view of honor was embodied in a socially founded trust established by persons locked together by social interaction, and not by a distant administrative code imposed by a larger system to better advance its goals. That was Paul’s view and that was how he seemed to us to run his own life’s social relations—with honor.
At the time of his death, Paul had completed a book with his son, Danny, titled Truth for Human Existence and Happiness. He is survived by his wife Goldie, his daughters, Catherine and Mary and his son Danny.
Stanford W. Gregory, Jr. and Jerry M. Lewis, Kent State UniversityBack to Top of Page
James J. Teevan, 67, emeritus professor of the University of Western Ontario (UWO), died of a heart attack in the early morning of September 7, 2010. Jim lived in London, Ontario, having served on the faculty of UWO from 1971 to his retirement in 2001. Prior to joining the faculty there, Jim spent three years as an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Maryland.
Born in New York City, where Teevan’s father worked as a film editor for the Jackie Gleason show, Jim did his undergraduate work at Harpur College, now SUNY-Binghamton. The Maryland appointment was his first academic position following his PhD studies at Indiana University, where he studied deviance, crime, and quantitative analysis under Michael Schwartz, Austin Turk, and Elton Jackson. He met his wife of 44 years, Bonnie, an English teacher and guidance counselor, while both were graduate students in Bloomington.
Jim’s arrival at Maryland in 1968 coincided with a period of heightened campus unrest that culminated with widespread demonstrations of students and faculty in spring 1970, in opposition to the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Jim was among many Americans who left the United States in the early 1970s in protest of Nixon Administration policies and, most specifically, of the continuing war in Southeast Asia.
During his years at Western Ontario, Jim became an admired, even loved, teacher and colleague. As word of his passing is circulated more widely, virtually thousands of students will not have to try to remember who he was or what course they took from him. They will see him and hear him. Jim did not just show up and teach his classes, he presided over them. His energy and compassion for what he taught brought both the materials and the minds of his students to life. In many cases they will also remember how he influenced their lives well beyond the classroom. Jim brought to his students and colleagues a tremendous sense of humor, a captivating way with words, and imaginative insights. Talking with him was more than conversation, it was shared entertainment. Jim was open and direct—you never had to wonder what was on his mind or where he stood on any given issue. Not only did you find out, it often came at you in a double-barreled explosion of wit, humor, analysis, and mirthful incredulity. It was difficult to take yourself too seriously around Jim. He just wouldn’t let you.
Jim’s Christmas letters were particularly noteworthy and, for his many friends living from Athens to Vancouver or otherwise scattered to the four winds, an annual gift that we treasured very much. The notes were singularly smart, funny, and self-deprecating (and clearly transcended the usual banalities of that particular cultural genre). His stories of what it was like to turn 50 or 60 had a way of making the rest of us almost look forward to our own birthdays.
For all of his colleagues, Jim was an estimable model of the professional sociologist and scholar. He was productive, dedicated to his students and colleagues, committed to maintaining a balance between work and his home life as husband to Bonnie and father of Elizabeth and Nicholas. He loved them all deeply and reveled in their own career successes. At leisure, Jim was someone for whom there were always more books, newspapers, and plays than time. He loved bridge, singing in choir, coaching the local high school academic challenge team, trips to Toronto for ballet and theatre, his two grandchildren (Ben and Ruby Kate), movies, and, travel. Since their retirement, Jim and Bonnie basically went everywhere and did everything.
We will all miss him greatly.
Craig Boydell, Ingrid Arnet Conidis, (University of Western Ontario), and James J. Dowd, (University of Georgia).Back to Top of Page
George A. Theodorson, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Pennsylvania State University, died on December 20, 2010, in State College, PA. George had a productive 30-year academic career at Penn State from 1956-1986.
A specialist in social theory and human ecology, George was perhaps best known for his exposition of sociological concepts through his book Modern Dictionary of Sociology. First published in 1969 and updated in 1979, this book was translated into Italian and Spanish and also published in British and Canadian editions. A touching human interest feature of this work was that George enlisted his father, Achilles Theodorson, as a researcher and co-author in this sociological scholarship. George also publishes a book on Sociological Theory with N.S. Timasheff.
Human ecology was another major intellectual focus of George’s work, highlighted by the publication in 1961 of Studies in Human Ecology, which was revised and updated in 1982 with the publication of Urban Patterns: Studies in Human Ecology. This work also was translated into Spanish.
Born in 1924 on Long Island, NY, he graduated from Bayside High School in 1942. After serving in WWII, he received a bachelor’s in sociology in 1950, a masters of arts in sociology in 1951, and a PhD in sociology with minors in social psychology and cultural anthropology in 1954, all from Cornell University. From 1953-54, he was a research associate at the Family Study Center at the University of Chicago. He taught at the University of Buffalo from 1954-56 as an instructor and assistant professor.
George joined the Penn State faculty in 1956 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 1960, and to professor in 1966. He served two terms as director of Graduate Studies in Sociology. During his tenure at Penn State, he held Fulbright grant-supported visiting professorships at the University of Vienna (Austria) and at the University of Rangoon (Burma).
In addition to his books, his numerous journal articles were primarily in the area of industrialization, experimental small groups, family sociology, and sociological theory. From 1959-65 he was director of a Cross-Cultural Study of Family Role Expectations, which involved a group of international researchers in a comparative study of Burmese, Indian, Singapore, Chinese, Puerto Rican, and mainland American university students.
George enjoyed gardening and his home was a virtual greenhouse of plants, which he tended with care. His gardening interests included the introduction of a new apple variety, which originated in the Ukraine into the United States, and he published the history of the Reinette Simirenko apple in the horticulture literature.
George is survived by many friends and family members, including his wife of 60 years, Lucille.
Gordon F. De Jong, Penn State UniversityBack to Top of Page