Expertise: Political sociology, trade union organization, social stratification, public opinion, sociology of intellectual life, conditions for democracy in comparative perspective
Seymour Martin Lipset was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University until 2006. He passed away on Dec. 31, 2006. Previously he was the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University (1975–90) and the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.
His major work was in the fields of political sociology, trade union organization, social stratification, public opinion, and the sociology of intellectual life. He wrote extensively about the conditions for democracy in comparative perspective.
He authored and coauthored numerous books and monographs, including American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword (W.W. Norton, 1996) and Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada (Routledge, 1990), and with Earl Raab Jews and the New American Scene (Harvard University press, 1996). Some of his works have been translated into eighteen languages. He also edited twenty-four books and published more than four hundred articles.
Lipset received the MacIver Prize for Political Man and the Gunnar Myrdal Prize for The Politics of Unreason. His book The First New Nation was a finalist for the National Book Award. He was also awarded the Townsend Harris and Margaret Byrd Dawson Medals for significant achievement, the Northern Telecom-International Council for Canadian Studies Gold Medal, and the Leon Epstein Prize in Comparative Politics by the American Political Science Association. He has received the Marshall Sklare Award for distinction in Jewish studies. In 1997, he was awarded the Helen Dinnerman Prize by the World Association for Public Opinion Research.
Lipset was a member of various honor societies in the United States and abroad: the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in which he served as vice president for the social sciences.
He was the only person to have been president of both the American Sociological Association (1992–93) and the American Political Science Association (1979–80). He also served as the president of the International Society of Political Psychology, the Sociological Research Association, the World Association for Public Opinion Research, the Society for Comparative Research, and the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Society in Vienna.
Lipset was also active in public affairs on a national level. He was the director of the United States Institute of Peace and has been a member of the U.S. Board of Foreign Scholarships, cochair of the Committee for Labor Law Reform, cochair of the Committee for an Effective UNESCO, and consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the American Jewish Committee.
He was also former president of the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, chair of the National B'nai B'rith Hillel Commission and the Faculty Advisory Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal, and cochair of the Executive Committee of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East.