sociology

John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

On February 8, 1819, prominent social thinker and philanthropist John James Ruskin was born. He is considered the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman and watercolourist. He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century up to the First World War and today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft. Ruskin grew up…
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Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

On January 18, 1698, French philosopher and political thinker Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally only referred to as Montesquieu, was baptized. He is best known for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. “If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin…
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Marianne Weber and the Status of Women

Marianne Weber and the Status of Women

On August 2, 1870, Marianne Weber, sociologist, women’s rights activist and wife of sociologist Max Weber was born. Weber is known for her book “Wife and Mother in the Development of Law”, where she compiled the legal, economic, and social status of women from antiquity until her present time. Marianne Weber was born as Marianne Schnitger in 1870. Her mother was Anna Wever, the daughter of a businessman named Karl Weber. After the…
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The Social Theories of Lewis Henry Morgan

The Social Theories of Lewis Henry Morgan

On November 21, 1818, pioneering American anthropologist and social theorist Lewis Henry Morgan was born. Morgan is best known for his work on kinship and social structure, his theories of social evolution, and his ethnography of the Iroquois. Interested in what holds societies together, he proposed the concept that the earliest human domestic institution was the matrilineal clan, not the patriarchal family. During the 1840s, Lewis Henry Morgan befriended Ely Parker of…
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William Isaac Thomas and the Thomas Theorem

William Isaac Thomas and the Thomas Theorem

On August 13, 1863, American sociologist William Isaac Thomas was born. Thomas developed innovative work on the sociology of migration and went on to formulate a fundamental principle of sociology, known as the Thomas theorem, in which he contended that, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences“. Thomas was born in Russell County, Virginia to Sarah Price Thomas and his father Thaddeus Peter Thomas, a Methodist minister…
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Herbert A. Simon and the Science of Decision Making

Herbert A. Simon and the Science of Decision Making

On June 15, 1916, American political scientist, economist, sociologist, psychologist, and computer scientist Herbert Alexander Simon was born. Simon was among the founding fathers of several of today’s important scientific domains, including artificial intelligence, information processing, decision-making, problem-solving, organization theory, complex systems, and computer simulation of scientific discovery. With almost a thousand highly cited publications, he was one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th century. “(If) there were no…
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Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

On February 13, 1766, English cleric and scholar Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus was born. His An Essay on the Principle of Population observed that sooner or later population will be checked by famine and disease, leading to what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. He thought that the dangers of population growth precluded progress towards a utopian society. Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. His views became…
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John Locke and the Social Contract

John Locke and the Social Contract

On August 29, 1632, English philosopher and physician John Locke was born. One of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers he became known as the “Father of Classical Liberalism“. He spent over 20 years developing the ideas he published in his most significant work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) which analyzed the nature of human reason, and promoted experimentation as the basis of knowledge.  John Locke’s Youth and Education John Locke was…
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Giambattista Vico and the Scienza Nuova

Giambattista Vico and the Scienza Nuova

On June 23, 1668, Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist Giambattista Vico was born. An apologist of classical antiquity, Vico is best known for his magnum opus, the Scienza Nuova of 1725, often published in English as The New Science, in which he attempted to bring about the convergence of history, from the one side, and the more systematic social sciences, from the other, so that their interpenetration could form a single…
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The psychologist must study mankind from the historical or comparative standpoint – Moritz Lazarus

The psychologist must study mankind from the historical or comparative standpoint – Moritz Lazarus

Moritz Lazarus and Nahilda Lazarus-Remy ca.1895 On September 15, 1824, German philosopher and psychologist Moritz Lazarus was born. He held that humanity must be studied from the historical, comparative viewpoint, analyzing the elements that constitute the fabric of society, with its customs, its conventions, and the main tendencies of its evolution. He was Jewish and a leading opponent of anti-Semitism in his time. Moritz Lazarus received a Jewish education, taking classes in…
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