May/June 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 4

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Obituaries

Deaths

Carol H. Weiss, Harvard Graduate School of Education, died January 8, 2013, in Boston, MA.

Raymond Boudon, Paris-Sorbonne University, passed away on April 10 at the age of 79.
                 

Obituaries

Gerald R. Garrett
1940-2013

Emeritus Professor of Sociology Gerald R. Garrett passed away unexpectedly in Hoosick Falls, NY, on January 14, 2013. Professor Garrett received his MA and PhD degrees from Washington State University and his BA from Whitman College. His 1971 dissertation, “Drinking Behavior of Homeless Women,” anticipated his lifelong interest in disaffiliated populations. He worked initially in alcoholism research at Columbia University with sociologist Howard M. Bahr.

Garrett joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston in 1970 and played many important roles in the department and the larger University community until his retirement in 2002, after which he was named professor emeritus. He was a founder of the Department of Sociology’s Criminal Justice major, director of the University’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Studies program, and acting chair for one year of the Department of Sociology. He taught key courses in the sociology and criminal justice curricula, including Criminology, Corrections, and an internship in Alcohol and Drugs. His students rated his teaching as outstanding and he was a popular and beloved adviser to many.

Gerald R. Garrett was a nationally recognized expert in criminal justice, substance abuse studies, and homelessness. He was coauthor, with Richard Rettig and Manuel Torres, of Manny: A Criminal Addict’s Story (Houghton Mifflin), with Howard Bahr, of Women Alone: The Disaffiliation of Urban Females, with Calvin J. Larson, of Crime, Justice, and Society (Rowman and Littlefield), and, with Russell Schutt, of Responding to the Homeless: Policy and Practice (Plenum). He also published many articles and book chapters on these and related topics. He served as President of the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences, President of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education, was a member of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention,  was senior consultant for the Addiction Technology Transfer  Center of New England (with the goal of infusing alcohol and substance abuse knowledge into college curricula), and more recently, served as an adviser to the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling Program at Middlesex Community College. He helped build a strong legacy of applied sociology at UMass Boston.

Russell K. Schutt, University of Massachusetts-Boston

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David E. Lavin

Emeritus Professor of Sociology David E. Lavin, who died on March 14, 2013, had a 40-year career at the City University of New York. In the early 1970s, he moved from a tenured position at the University of Pennsylvania to CUNY’s Lehman College to study the historic shift in access to CUNY known as “Open Admissions.” Under that new policy, any graduate of a New York City high school had a right to admission into one of CUNY’s community colleges and those with a high enough GPA could enter a four-year CUNY college. Over a period of five years, the socio-demographic makeup of CUNY’s undergraduate population shifted dramatically, enrolling far more black and Latino students than previously, although numerically the largest beneficiaries of the new policy, as Lavin and colleagues documented, were ethnic whites.

Through the decades, Lavin and his co-authors followed the lives of this cohort, resulting in a series of books including Right Versus Privilege (with Richard Alba and Richard Silberstein) and Changing the Odds (with David Hyllegard) and other studies of student progress undertaken with the collaboration of CUNY’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

The most recent of those books, Passing the Torch, co-authored with Paul Attewell, Tania Levey, and Thurston Domina, focused on women in the Open Admissions cohort and traced them some 30 years after they entered CUNY. They found that much higher proportions of these women had completed degrees in the long run than anyone had previously realized. The benefits of a CUNY education could also be discerned in the educational progress of their children, who outperformed counterparts whose mothers had not had a CUNY education. That book won the prestigious Grawemeyer Prize in Education and the outstanding book award from the American Educational Research Association.

Lavin was an active member of the doctoral faculty in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center where he taught courses on the sociology of education and supervised dissertations. He was a delightful colleague, known for his wry sense of humor, his passion for sports and music, and his appreciation for fine food.

The PhD Program in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center is planning an event to memorialize David Lavin and his research on educational opportunity. Details of that event will be announced shortly.

Paul Attewell and Richard Alba, CUNY Graduate Center

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Gerald Marwell
1937-2013

Gerald Marwell, a social scientist internationally renowned for his pioneering research on social cooperation and social movements, died in New York City on March 24, 2013. He was 76.

Marwell’s productive career spanned the last half-century and was distinguished by far-sighted contributions that ranged across the social sciences. He was one among a highly select group of American scholars during this era to publish articles in the top professional journals of sociology, economics, political science, and psychology. All told, Marwell published more than 60 articles and book chapters. He also coauthored five influential books.

A creative theorist and researcher, Marwell conducted studies on topics as varied as conflict in the U.S. House of Representatives, adolescent delinquency, parental child-rearing practices, geographical obstacles to women’s academic careers, and processes of religious secularization.

He cemented his stature with an audacious series of studies on different facets of the “problem of collective action.” These studies culminated in two landmark co-authored books, Cooperation: An Experimental Analysis (1975) and The Critical Mass in Collective Action (1993).

Motivating these studies were some of the central questions of contemporary social life: under what conditions will individuals in a social group forgo self-interest in favor of cooperation and other potentially costly courses of action that benefit other members of the group? When will individuals who could obtain publically available benefits at no personal expense abstain from free-riding and act to increase the general supply of public goods?

In the 1970s when Marwell first began tackling these questions, scholars in social psychology assumed that individuals were fundamentally non-cooperative, while economists insisted that individuals exhibited a natural tendency to free-ride when they are provided with public goods.

Marwell effectively confuted these theories by means of elegantly designed small-group experiments and computer simulations. His research showed that, because of their perceptions of fairness, individuals were significantly less likely to free ride than previous scholarship predicted.

Still further, Marwell demonstrated how the presence of a “critical mass” of individuals, able to devote substantial resources to collective undertakings, deterred free-riding and induced other individuals to join and contribute to those undertakings. These findings, as well as a range of complementary results from additional experimental work that he carried out, have had worldwide impact on altering the direction of research on collective action.

Marwell’s concern with this subject led him also to conduct one of the earliest systematic studies of the American Civil Rights movement. Reported in his seminal 1971 book, Dynamics of Idealism: White Activists in a Black Movement (co-authored with N.J. Demerath and Michael Aiken), the study analyzed the experiences of Northern college students who worked as volunteers for the 1965 voter registration drives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Using evidence from a novel blend of interviews, questionnaires, diaries, and other documentary sources, Marwell examined what happened when the high idealism that originally inspired the student activists collided with the cold realities of local community power in the South. He documented the ways in this collision pushed activists to adopt more radical views about community organization and American politics.

Marwell was born in Brooklyn on February 12, 1937, the only child of Henry Hilton Marwell, who ran a local business, and Pearl Berman Marwell, a history teacher. He earned a BS in engineering and business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957. In 1959 he received his MA and in 1964 his PhD in sociology from New York University. His first teaching position was as an instructor at NYU, followed by a year as an instructor at Bard College.

In 1962, Marwell joined the sociology faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he remained until his retirement in 2000. During his Wisconsin years, he combined his path-breaking program of research with unstinting work as a teacher, mentor, and citizen of his university and his profession.

A skillful and benevolent academic administrator, Marwell served as Chairman of the Wisconsin Sociology Department from 1982 to 1985 and helped to spearhead its rise to the first-ranked department of sociology in the United States. In 1989, the American Sociological Association chose Marwell as Editor of its flagship journal, the American Sociological Review.

In recognition of his career of outstanding scholarship, bold leadership, and dedicated teaching, in 1991 the University of Wisconsin awarded Marwell the prestigious Richard T. Ely endowed chair of sociology.

Following his retirement from the University of Wisconsin, Marwell was appointed Professor of Sociology at New York University, where he taught courses on the sociology of religion and the sociology of sport and continued his innovative research on American religious practices. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, psychologist Barbara Marwell, their children Nicole and Evan, and four grandchildren. 

For a press release issued by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, see <www.news.wisc.edu/releases/17854>.

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Carol H. Weiss
1926-2013

Carol Hirschon Weiss died on January 8, 2013. She was professor emerita at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a long-time Research Associate at the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia. There she earned her PhD in 1977, submitting in lieu of the usual dissertation her best-selling book, Evaluation Research: Methods for Assessing Program Effectiveness (1972), which generations of evaluation researchers have learned from. The latest version, at over 300 pages, is Evaluation: Methods for Studying Programs and Policies (1998).

After getting her BA at Cornell in 1947 and an MA in political science at Columbia in 1949, she and her husband began raising three children. By the 1960s she was serving as a consultant for a federal program on juvenile delinquency, an early part of the War on Poverty, and was research director for ACT, one of Harlem’s community action programs. This brought her into contact with poverty researchers at the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia, which she joined and carried out research for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare regarding problems of data collection from low-income populations and methods of research on community action agencies. Out of this came her brief but influential 1972 book on evaluation research, in which she developed the idea that social action programs have an explicit or implicit set of theories about the causes and interventions of problems, which need to be tested in evaluation research to determine the simple question “Did the program work?”.

She joined Paul Lazarsfeld’s last major project, a study of the influence of social research on policy, and carried out with Michael Bucuvalas an ingenious survey experiment with a sample of policymakers in the mental health field. They were asked to rate actual research papers, presented as two-page abstracts, as to their possible usefulness to their programs as well as rate a set of features of the research presented in the abstract. This brought out the dimensions of policymakers’ concerns with research, summarized as “truth tests” and “utility tests.” She also worked on the Bureau’s survey of more than 500 leaders of major governmental bodies and private institutions (big corporations, big unions, ethnic rights organizations, leading national media) on their perceptions of social problems and their policy ideologies. Based on this research, her Public Opinion Quarterly paper, “What America’s Leaders Read,” was the Bureau’s most-requested reprint of that period, especially by the New York Times. This article demonstrated different ways in which policy administrators used research and eventually led to her book on Social Science Research and Decision-Making (1980).

Moving to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she brought her skills of evaluation research and studying how research influenced (or failed to influence) policy to America’s biggest and oldest “social program,” public education, teaching educational researchers both the techniques of “effects research” and how to make the results relevant to policy makers. In 1992 she published Organizations for Policy Analysis: Helping Governments Think, which summed up what she had learned from her research and practice.

She held several prestigious fellowships, including the first ASA Congressional Fellowship in 1983. the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Brookings Institution. She retired in 2006 but continued writing. Her daughter Janet, who had collaborated with her as a Columbia student, continues her work as Professor of Public Policy at University of Michigan.

She was a great colleague and a great teacher, but could easily joke about herself. She once told me about her trip to Paris as a student, on which she noticed on the subway map the Place de la Bastille. So she decided she had to see the famous prison and took the train there. Coming up in the Place, she immediately recalled that the whole building had been torn down stone by stone by the revolutionaries.

Allen Barton, Director of the Bureau of Applied Social Research, 1962-1975 

 

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