Mayer Zald on organizations and bureaucracy

Mayer Zald helped to shape the field of organizational behavior in the United States, beginning with his time as a faculty member at Vanderbilt and continuing through his long career in sociology at the University of Michigan. In 1971 he published an early version of some of his thinking on this subject in a short …

Character and history

How do features of character play into the fabric of history? The first has to do with psychology, motives, and agency; the second has to do with large events and processes.  So how might a better understanding of the domain of individual character contribute to better historical understanding?   When we talk about a person's …

Who was Leon Trotsky?

Leon Trotsky was something of a hero for a part of the anti-Stalinist left from the 1930s through at least the 1970s. Sidney Hook and John Dewey offered substantive support to Trotsky and his reputation during and after the end of his life through Dewey's role in the "Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made …

Intellectuals tell their stories

image: Holcombe Austin and Amelie Oksenberg Rorty, Wheaton College Since reading Neil Gross's book Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher I've been once again thinking about the ways that a given thinker takes shape throughout his or her life. (I touched on this question in a post several years ago on influences, and most recently …

Hobbes in context

We often think of Hobbes as being an originator in English philosophy, a strikingly innovative thinker who burst on the scene with the first formulation of a social contract theory of government. And we sometimes think of his justification of absolute sovereignty as a fairly direct reaction to the disorders Britain experienced during its Civil …

Intellectual work

It is interesting to think about the work that intellectuals do. Basically, they take on thought problems -- what is justice? How does a market economy work? Why do used cars sell for less than their real value? They gather the theories and hypotheses that they have encountered and studied. They look for a new …

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