Morris Janowitz bigraphy, stories - American philosopher

Morris Janowitz : biography

22 October 1919 - 7 November 1988


Janowitz was born in Patterson, New Jersey, the second son of Polish-Jewish immigrants. Patterson was known for its silk industry, in which his father worked until establishing his own silk business (4). Janowitz earned a bachelors degree in economics from Washington Square College of New York University (New York University), where he studied under Sidney Hook (former student of John Dewey) and Bruce Lannes Smith (former student of Harold Lasswell). Hook exposed Janowitz to Dewey's philosophy of American pragmatism, while Smith exposed him to Laswell's "Chicago School" approach to social science and psychoanalysis (5).Burk, James.(1991) "Introduction: A Pragmatic Sociology," in by Morris Janowitz. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. pp.1-56

After graduating from Washington Square College of New York University he worked for the Library of Congress and the Justice Department's Special War Policies Unit. In 1943 Janowitz was drafted into the Army, where he joined the Research and Analysis Branch of the Office of Strategic Studies, performing content analysis of communications and propaganda in German radio broadcasts, as well as interviews of German prisoners of war (6). Janowitz's experiences with the war had a profound impact on the subsequent direction of his academic career: "This experience with war, with the research that war required of him and with other social scientists engaged in the war effort, crystallized Janowitz's self-identification as a social scientist" (7).

Janowitz began his graduate studies in 1946 at the University of Chicago. Before completing his Ph.D in Sociology in 1948, he was hired as an instructor at the University of Chicago. He became an assistant professor upon completion of his PhD. In 1951 Janowitz became a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, where he taught until 1961. Towards the end of his stay at Michigan, Janowitz took an academic fellowship, during which he completed his first major publication, The Professional Soldier. During his last year at Michigan, Janowitz organized a group of scholars around the founding of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (IUS) to "support development of sociological analyses of military organization; to prepare a series of specific research papers on internal military organization; and to serve as a focal point for long-term training in and for the development of a relationship between sociology and the military establishment"(17). The IUS remains active to date, and continues to publish the journal Armed Forces & Society.

In 1962 Janowitz left Michigan and became a professor in the sociology department of the University of Chicago. In 1967 Janowitz was appointed chairman of the department. In this capacity he worked to rebuild what seemed to be a once great, but presently fractured, sociology department. Janowitz did so by encouraging "new theoretical outlooks and alternative methodological approaches" through hiring more diverse faculty members from different disciplines(18). He also sought to reconstruct the intellectual heritage of the sociology department through the creation of "The Heritage of Sociology" book series. The compilation of forty volumes in the Heritage series led Janowitz to reflect upon the philosophical foundations for sociology, recalling influential pragmatists such as George Herbert Mead, Sydney Hook, and perhaps most importantly, John Dewey (21). Janowitz completed his five-year chairmanship of the sociology department in 1972. In 1972 Janowitz was also honored as a Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions by the University of Cambridge.

Janowitz remained in the department until his retirement in 1987, focusing more heavily on his academic pursuits, which culminated into a trilogy of books published between 1976 and 1983: Social Control of the Welfare State, The Last Half-Century, and The Reconstruction of Patriotism. Janowitz died one year after retirement in 1988 on November 7 from Parkinson's disease (8).

Living octopus

Living octopus

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