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Robert Alexander Nisbet (September 30, 1913, Los Angeles – September 9, 1996, Washington D.C.) was an American conservative sociologist.

Contents

Life

Nisbet was reared in fairly humble circumstances in California, in the sort of small community his writings would later celebrate. His father managed a lumber yard. His studies at the Berkeley culminated in the Ph.D. in sociology in 1939. His thesis was supervised by Frederick J. Teggart. After serving in the US Army during World War II, when he was stationed on Saipan in the Pacific theatre, Nisbet founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley, and was briefly Chairman. Nisbet left an embroiled Berkeley in 1953 to become a dean at the University of California, Riverside, and later a Vice-Chancellor. Nisbet remained in the University of California system until 1972, when he left for the University of Arizona at Tucson. Soon thereafter, he was appointed to the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Chair at Columbia.

After retiring from Columbia in 1978, Nisbet continued his scholarly work for eight years at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. In 1988, President Reagan asked him to deliver the Jefferson Lecture in Humanities, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ideas

Nisbet was both a first rate 20th century sociologist and a political conservative. He also was a member of the "New Conservatives," a group of scholars who in the 1940s and 1950s promoted traditionalist conservatism. His intellectual kin include Willmoore Kendall, Russell Kirk, Kenneth Minogue, Michael Oakeshott, Edward Shils, and Richard M. Weaver.

Brad Lowell Stone has written an intellectual biography of Robert Nisbet, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. [1] [2]

Nisbet was a contributor to Chronicles (magazine).

He was especially concerned with tracing the history and impact of the Idea of Progress.

Books by Nisbet

  • 1953. The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom
  • 1966. The Sociological Tradition
  • 1968. Tradition and Revolt: Historical and Sociological Essays
  • 1969. Social Change and History: Aspects of the Western Theory of Development
  • 1970. The Social Bond: An Introduction to the Study of Society
  • 1971. The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: The University in America, 1945-1970
  • 1976. Sociology as an Art Form
  • 1973. The Social Philosophers: Community and Conflict in Western Thought
  • 1974. The Sociology of Emile Durkheim
  • 1975. The Twilight of Authority
  • 1980. History of the Idea of Progress
  • 1983. Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary
  • 1986. The Making of Modern Society
  • 1986. Conservatism: Dream and Reality
  • 1988. Roosevelt and Stalin: The Failed Courtship
  • 1988. The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America
  • 1992. Teachers and Scholars: A Memoir of Berkeley in Depression and War

Articles by Robert Nisbet

Articles about Nisbet

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