American Sociological Association

William J. Goode

William Josiah Goode

William Josiah Goode

August 30, 1917 - May 4, 2003

William J. "Si" Goode served as the 63rd President of the American Sociological Association. The following article by Wilbert E. Moore appeared in the August 1970 issue of The American Sociologist:

Introducing the New President-Elect of ASA William J. Goode
by Wilbert E. Moore

William J. Goode, our new President-Elect, is known as Si to all his host of friends. Let me explain first about the nickname. Si derives from the normally suppressed middle name, Josiah. But the man, Si Goode, derives from Texas, and there are those who think that this regional origin still shows in a certain manner of grand style—one might say Panache if one wanted a French touch, or machismo if one wanted a more distinctly Latin flavor. By ethnic provenience he is from poor (and therefore honest) Protestant Irish stock, and if one wants to be mystical, that may be a bit of the reason that we have so much in common. But it may be harder getting over being poor than to suppress being a WASP. In Goode's case (and my own) I think the perception has validity.
Si Goode was my very first graduate student, at Penn State, where he was attracted by the presence of Kingsley Davis, as was I. Davis was our hero in absentia during our initial year at Penn State, but he did return for a year before he left again, and Si left for military service, and I to follow Davis to Princeton. Si, alone, returned to Penn State, to a complete his brilliant doctoral thesis Religion Among the Primitives, published soon thereafter. Although the dates of all of these encounters and events are scarcely secret, I see no reason to display them here.
Goode's many published contributions to the development of our discipline are on record, as are at least some of his activities in national and regional sociological affairs, associations, conferences, and committees. Goode also has a well-earned reputation as a teacher, or, even better, as a professor who cares, for he does care about his craft and his calling. I give to him my highest accolade: he is an "old pro" (a designation that some acquire at a tender age).
About his accomplishments as a scuba-diver or winter sportsman I am unable to judge. His attempts to be a Renaissance Man are different from mine, and possibly better, and certainly more responsive to current possibilities. What I do know is this: Si Goode is a great sociologist. He is also a great man. I know better than to make an equation of those statements, but the temptation is strong. I yield to it.

Goode's ASA Presidential Address, entitled "The Place of Force in Human Society," was delivered at the Association's Annual Meeting on August 28, 1972 in New Orleans, LA. Following the meeting, his address was published in the October 1972 issue of the American Sociological Review (ASR Vol 37 No 5, pp 507-519).

We were saddened by the unexpected loss of Dr. Goode on Sunday, May 4, 2003:

William Josiah Goode, former President of the American Sociological Association (1972) and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, died unexpectedly on May 4, 2003. He was best known for his pioneering cross-cultural analysis of marriage and divorce although his work covered basic issues in sociological theory focusing on social control systems of prestige, force and force threat, and love.
William J. Goode (known as Si to his family and friends) published 20 books and more than 80 articles on a wide range of topics, including Religion Among the Primitives (1951), Die Struktur der Familie (1960), World Revolution and Family Patterns (1963), Explorations in Social Theory (1973), Principles of Sociology (1977), The Celebration of Heroes (1978), and World Changes in Divorce Patterns (1993). His Methods in Social Research with Paul Hatt (1952 with many printings) was widely translated (including a pirated Chinese edition) and was used to teach research methods to three generations of social scientists throughout the western world and Asia.
Si Goode was best known for his 1963 book, World Revolution and Family Patterns (The Free Press). Drawing on his knowledge of nine languages, the research included data from more than 50 countries and covered a half-century. It demonstrated the critical impact of family systems on what was previously assumed to be purely economic forces, such as society's capacity to industrialize.
Thirty years later, Si published an equally pioneering cross-cultural analysis of divorce, World Changes in Divorce Patterns (Yale University Press, 1993), which laid out the conceptual basis for analyzing and predicting patterns of divorce, revealing anomalous patterns in some societies.
Goode's classic articles, such as "The Theoretical Importance of Love," "A Theory of Role Strain," "The Protection of the Inept," "Violence Among Intimates," and "Why Men Resist," offered insights into social processes that often were contrary to popular wisdom, and moved research beyond existing paradigms. His book, The Celebration of Heroes (1978), of which he was proudest, was a keystone to his overarching analysis of the subtleties of social forces involved in the production and distribution of prestige, honor, and respect.
Goode was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his scholarship was honored by numerous awards and prizes, including an honorary Doctorate of Science, Upsala College, 1971; the Merit Award for a Lifetime of Scholarship from the Eastern Sociological Association; two Guggenheim fellowships; National Institute of Mental Health Senior Scientist Career Award; the MacIver Prize for the best scholarly book, given by the American Sociological Association (ASA); and the Burgess Award in 1969.
Goode also served as President of the Sociological Research Association and President of the Eastern Sociological Society. In 1982, the ASA's Section on the Family named its annual scholarly award for the outstanding book on the family in his honor, and in 1994 he himself was granted the William J. Goode award for World Changes in Divorce Patterns (Yale University Press, 1993).
Born in Houston, Texas, in 1917, and encouraged by his high school debating coach, the future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Goode started college at the age of 16 on a full fellowship at Rice Institute. Characteristic of a lifelong tendency to nonconformity about matters of small importance, he was expelled from Rice in the spring of 1936 for violating the school's dress code by wearing shorts to class. He completed his BA and MA degrees (in Philosophy) at the University of Texas, Austin in 1938 and 1939.
He was studying for his PhD in Sociology at Pennsylvania State University when he enlisted in the Navy and became a radarman on an attack transport ship carrying and landing troops in the Pacific (1944-45). After the war, Goode became an Assistant Professor in Sociology at Wayne State University (1946-50).
He moved to Columbia University in 1950 to collaborate with Robert K. Merton on a project analyzing the professions in American society. In 1952, he became an Associate Professor and in 1956, Professor of Sociology.
Goode was named the Franklin H. Giddings Professor of Sociology at Columbia University in 1975. He was chair of the Department of Sociology for several periods in the 1960s and 1970s and also served as the Associate Director of the Bureau of Applied Social Research and on its Board of Governors from 1956-70.
During his years at Columbia, he was an early supporter of the nascent women's movement, both intellectually and personally, working with Betty Friedan when she was writing The Feminine Mystique, and with Cynthia Fuchs Epstein on a jointly edited book The Other Half: Roads to Women's Equality (1971). Unlike many male professors of his generation, he encouraged and promoted the careers of his women graduate students—from whom he demanded nothing less than excellence.
In 1977, Goode left Columbia to become a Professor of Sociology at Stanford University where he taught for the next nine years. He became an Emeritus Professor at Stanford in 1986, and joined the Department of Sociology at Harvard University (until 1993). He became affiliated with the Sociology Department at George Mason University in 1994.
Goode's reputation for scholarship and teaching was widely acknowledged internationally, and he was invited to many foreign countries. He was a Visiting Professor at the newly opened Free University of Berlin in 1954; a visitor at Wolfson College, Oxford University, in 1980; a distinguished guest lecturer in China for the Chinese Academy of Science in 1986; and a Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1992.
Si Goode was often referred to as a "renaissance man," excelling in a wide range of activities, including painting, sculpture, sailing, tennis, skiing, mycology, and birding. In the past three years he won numerous tennis trophies in the mid-Atlantic region in the over 80's singles category, saw one of his paintings published on the cover of a book, and wrote an article on "bird watching with your ears" for the East Hampton (New York) SOFO Naturalist magazine.
Goode is survived by his wife, Lenore J. Weitzman, the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Sociology and Law at George Mason University; three children, Erich Goode, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, who is currently Visiting Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland; Barbara Baldwin, Women's Health coordinator for the Washington, DC Department of Heath; and Andrew Josiah Goode, an architect in Shingle Springs, California; and a sister, Rosalie Grizzle of Magnolia, Texas.
His family is planning a funeral ceremony at the Columbarium of Arlington National Cemetery (date to be announced.) They would welcome contributions to the ASA for the William J. Goode international fellowship, which is being established in his honor to provide support for graduate students engaged in cross-cultural dissertation research.

An official ASA obituary and tributes will be published in the July/August 2003 issue of Footnotes.