Seymour Martin Lipset

Seymour Martin Lipset
Seymour Martin Lipset
Born March 18, 1922(1922-03-18)
New York, USA
Died December 31, 2006(2006-12-31) (aged 84)
Arlington, Virginia
Occupation Political sociologist

Seymour Martin Lipset (March 18, 1922–December 31, 2006) was an American political sociologist, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason 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 also wrote extensively about the conditions for democracy in comparative perspective.


Early life and education

Lipset was born in New York, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He graduated from City College of New York, where he was an anti-Stalinist leftist and later became national chairman of the Young People's Socialist League. He left the Socialist Party in 1960 and described himself as a centrist, deeply influenced by Alexis de Tocqueville, George Washington, Aristotle, and Max Weber. Lipset received a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University in 1949. Before that he taught at the University of Toronto.

Academic career

He was the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University (1975–1990) and the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. He also taught at Columbia University, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Toronto. Lipset received the MacIver Prize for Political Man (1960) 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 the National Academy of 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, and the Society for Comparative Research. He was also the president of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Society in Vienna.

His publications include 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).

Lipset was active in public affairs on a national level. He was a director of the United States Institute of Peace. He has been a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute, a member of the U.S. Board of Foreign Scholarships, co-chair of the Committee for Labor Law Reform, co-chair 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 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. He worked for years on seeking solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict. This was part of his larger project of researching what factor allow societies to sustain stable and peaceful democracies. His work focused on the preconditions to democracy -- especially high socioeconomic development--(see also Amartya Sen's work)--and the consequences of democracy for peace. [1]

Lipset's first wife, Elsie, died in 1987. With her, he had three children: David, Daniel, and Cici. David Lipset is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his three children, and six grandchildren, Lipset is survived by his second wife, Sydnee, whom he married in 1990.

Besides making substantial contributions to cleavage theory, with his partner Stein Rokkan, Lipset was one of the first proponents of the "theory of modernization", which holds that democracy is the direct result of economic growth.


“The more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.”[2]

"Those who only know one country know no country."



  1. ^ Metta Spence, "Lipset's Gift to Peace Workers: On Getting and Keeping Democracy
  2. ^ Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy, Seymour Martin Lipset,The American Political Science Review, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Mar., 1959), pp. 69-105.Stable URL:

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  • Seymour Martin Lipset — (* 18. März 1922 in New York; † 31. Dezember 2006 in Arlington, Virginia) war ein US amerikanischer Soziologe und Politikwissenschaftler. Seymour Martin Lipset hat 1967 zusammen mit Stein Rokkan die für die Parteienforschung wichtige Cleavage… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Seymour Martin Lipset — (18 de marzo de 1922 31 de diciembre de 2006) fue un sociólogo y político de los Estados Unidos, miembro senior de la Institución Hoover , profesor de política pública en la Universidad George Mason y presidente de la American Sociological… …   Wikipedia Español

  • LIPSET, SEYMOUR MARTIN — (1922–2006), U.S. sociologist. Born in New York City, Lipset taught at Columbia University, the University of Toronto, and at Berkeley, California, before becoming professor in the department of social relations at Harvard University. He served… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lipset, Seymour Martin — born March 18, 1922, New York, N.Y., U.S. U.S. sociologist and political scientist. He received his bachelor s degree from the City College of New York and his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he later taught (1950–56). While teaching at the …   Universalium

  • Lipset — Seymour Martin Lipset (* 18. März 1922 in New York; † 31. Dezember 2006 in Arlington, Virginia) war ein US amerikanischer Soziologe und Politikwissenschaftler. Seymour Martin Lipset hat 1967 zusammen mit Stein Rokkan die für die Parteienforschung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lipset, Seymour Martin — (n. 18 mar. 1922, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.). Sociólogo y cientista político estadounidense. Obtuvo su grado de bachiller en el City College de Nueva York y su Ph.D. de la Universidad de Columbia, donde más tarde enseñó (1950–56). En la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Seymour — Seymour, Edward Seymour, Jane * * * (as used in expressions) Benzer, Seymour Bridges, Robert (Seymour) Cray, Seymour R(oger) Fonda, Jane (Seymour) Hersh, Seymour (Myron) Lipset, Seymour Martin Seymour, Jane Somerset, Edward Seymour, 1 duque de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lipset —   [ lɪpsɪt], Seymour Martin, amerikanischer Soziologe, * New York 18. 3. 1922; 1956 66 Professor in Berkeley (Calif.), seit 1966 an der Harvard University in Cambridge (Massachusetts). Schwerpunkte seiner Arbeit sind politische Soziologie und… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Seymour — /see mawr, mohr/, n. 1. Jane, c1510 37, third wife of Henry VIII of England and mother of Edward VI. 2. a city in S Indiana. 15,050. 3. a town in S Connecticut. 13,434. 4. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Benzer Seymour Bridges… …   Universalium

  • martin — /mahr tn/, n. any of several swallows having a deeply forked tail and long, pointed wings. Cf. house martin, purple martin. [1425 75; late ME (Scots) martoune; presumably generic use of the personal name ( < F < LL Martinus), traditionally by… …   Universalium

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