1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Profiles of Major Sociologists

Read biographies of major theorists within the field of sociology. Discover how these individuals contributed to the field of sociology and influenced how we think about social behavior.

Pierre Bourdieu
Biography of Pierre Bourdieu, a sociologist who contributed a great deal in the areas of general social theory and the link between education and culture. Bourdieu also pioneered terminologies such as 'habitus' and 'symbolic violence.'

Patricia Hill Collins

A two-part biography and intellectual history of black feminist scholar and contemporary sociologist Patricia Hill Collins. Collins is well known for theorizing and demonstrating the concept of "intersectionality."

Patricia Hill Collins, Part 2

Auguste Comte
Biography of Auguste Comte, a sociologist best known for coining the term 'sociology.' Comte is also known as the founder of positivism and for his emphasis on systematic observation and social order.

Charles Horton Cooley
Biography of Charles Horton Cooley, a sociologist known for his idea of 'The Looking Glass Self' as well as for developing the concepts of primary and secondary relationships.

W.E.B. Du Bois
Biography of W.E.B. Du Bois, an American sociologist best known for his role in the civil rights movement. He was the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University and served as the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910.

Emile Durkheim
Biography of Emile Durkheim, a founding figure in the field of sociology. Known as the "father of sociology," Durkheim is credited with making sociology a science.

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault's contributions to how we understand knowledge and power are still widely relevant today. Get to know the man and his work.

Anthony Giddens
Biography of Anthony Giddens, a British sociologist best known for his theory of structuration, his holistic view of modern societies, and the development of his political philosophy called the Third Way. Giddens is a prominent contributor to the field of sociology with 34 published books in at least 29 languages.

Erving Goffman
Biography of Erving Goffman, a sociologist known for his role in shaping the symbolic interaction perspective as well as developing the dramaturgical perspective.

Antonio Gramsci
A brief biography and overview of key intellectual contributions of Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci is known for extending Marxist theory of power and domination with the concept of cultural hegemony.


Jurgen Habermas
Biography of Jurgen Habermas, a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is known for his theory of rationality and for his concept of modernity.

Harriet Martineau
Wrongfully neglected today, Harriet Martineau was a prominent British writer and political activist, and one of the earliest Western sociologists and founders of the discipline.


Karl Marx
Biography of Karl Marx, a major figure in the founding of sociology. Marx is best known for his socio-political theory of Marxism and his book 'The Communist Manifesto.'

George Herbert Mead
Biography of George Herbert Mead, a sociologist who pioneered the development of the symbolic interaction perspective. He is also the founder of pragmatism and one of the founders of social psychology.

Robert K. Merton
Biography of Robert K. Merton, a sociologist best known for his theories of deviance. Merton also developed the concepts of "self-fulfilling prophecy" and "role model" and is considered one of America's most influential social scientists.

C. Wright Mills
Biography of C. Wright Mills, a sociologist best known for his controversial critiques of both contemporary society and sociological practice.

Talcott Parsons
Biography of Talcott Parsons, a sociologist best known for laying the foundation for what would become the modern functionalist perspective. He is regarded by many as the twentieth century's most influential American sociologist.

Georg Simmel
Biography of Georg Simmel, a sociologist best known for his neo-Kantian approach to sociology, which laid the foundations for sociological anti positivism, and his structuralist styles of reasoning.

Herbert Spencer
Biography of Herbert Spencer, a British sociologist who was one of the first to think of social life in terms of social systems. He saw societies as organisms that progressed through a process of evolution similar to that experienced by living species. Spencer also played an important role in the development of the functionalist perspective.

Alexis de Tocqueville
Biography of Alexis de Tocqueville, a sociologist best known for his book 'Democracy in America.' Tocqueville published many works in the areas of comparative and historical sociology and was very active in politics and the field of political science.

Max Weber
Biography of Max Weber, a founding figure in the field of sociology. Weber is known for his ideas on bureaucracy as well as his thesis of the "Protestant Ethic."

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.