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Famous Sociologists

A List of Some Of The Most Famous Sociologists


Throughout sociology's history, there have been many famous sociologists who have left their mark on the field of sociology as well as the world at large. Learn more about these sociologists by browsing though this list of some of the most famous thinkers in sociolgogy history. For a more detailed profile, click on the names of the sociologists below.

1. Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim is knows as the "father of sociology" and is a founding figure in the field of sociology. He is credited with making sociology a science. One of his most famous pieces of work includes Suicide: A Study In Sociology.

2. Robert K. Merton

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Robert K. Merton is considered one of America's most influential social scientists. He is famous for his theories of deviance as well as for developing the concepts of "self-fulfilling prophecy" and "role model."

3. Max Weber

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Max Weber was a founding figure of the field of sociology and is considered one of the most famous sociologists in history. He is known for his thesis of the "Protestant Ethic" as well as his ideas on bureaucracy.

4. Karl Marx

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Karl Marx is one of the most famous figures in the founding of sociology. He is known for his socio-political theory of Marxism, which contain theories about society, economics and politics that argue that all society progresses through the dialectic of class struggle. He wrote about these issues in his most famous piece or work, The Communist Manifesto. Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and in a 1999 BBC poll was voted the "thinker of the millennium" by people from around the world.

5. Charles Horton Cooley

Charles Horton Cooley is best known for his theories of The Looking Glass Self in which he declared that our self-concepts and identities are a reflection of how other people perceive us. He is also famous for developing the concepts of primary and secondary relationships. He was a founding member and eighth president of the American Sociological Association.

6. George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead is well-know for his theory of the social self, which is based on the central argument that the self is a social emergent. He pioneered the development of symbolic interaction perspective and developed the concept of the "I" and "Me." He is also one of the founders of social psychology.

7. C. Wright Mills

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C. Wright Mills is known for his controversial critiques of both contemporary society and sociological practice, particularly in his book The Sociological Imagination (1959). He also studied power and class in the United States, as displayed in his book The Power Elite (1956).

8. Erving Goffman

Erving Goffman is a significant thinker in the field of sociology and in particular the symbolic interaction perspective. He is known for his writings on the dramaturgical perspective and pioneered the study of face-to-face interaction. He served as the 73rd President of the American Sociological Association and is listed as the 6th most-cited intellectual in the humanities and social sciences by The Times Higher Education Guide. 

9. Pierre Bourdieu

Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist and philosopher who contributed a great deal in the areas of general sociological theory and the link between education and culture. He pioneering terminologies such as habitus and symbolic violence and is known for his work titled Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste.


10. Auguste Comte

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August Comte is known as the founder of positivism and is credited with coininging the term sociology. Comte helped shape and expand the field of sociology and placed a great deal of emphasis in his work on systematic observation and social order. 

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