Robert Nisbet

Robert Nisbet

Robert Alexander Nisbet (September 30, 1913, Los Angeles – September 9, 1996, Washington D.C.) was an American sociologist, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Vice-Chancellor at the University of California, Riverside and as the Albert Schweitzer Professor at Columbia University.[1]



Nisbet was born in Los Angeles in 1913[2] and raised in the small California community of Maricopa,[3] where his father managed a lumber yard. His studies at the Berkeley culminated in a Ph.D. in sociology in 1939. His thesis was supervised by Frederick J. Teggart. At Berkeley, "Nisbet found a powerful defense of intermediate institutions in the conservative thought of 19th-century Europe. Nisbet saw in thinkers like Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville—then all but unknown in American scholarship-an argument on behalf of what he called 'conservative pluralism.'"[3] He joined the faculty there in 1939.[2]

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.


Nisbet's first important work, The Quest for Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969) he contended that modern social science's individualism denied an important human drive toward community as it left people without the aid of their fellows in combating the centralizing power of the national state.

He is seen as follower of Emile Durkheim in the understanding of modern sociocultural systems and their drift.[1] Often identified with the political right, Nisbet began his career as a political liberal and never fully became a part of any conservative movement.

Brad Lowell Stone has written an intellectual biography of Robert Nisbet, published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.[4][5]

Nisbet was a contributor to Chronicles.

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


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b Woods, Thomas (2005-12-05) Twilight of Conservatism, The American Conservative
  3. ^ a b McWilliams, Susan (2010-02-01) Hometown Hero, The American Conservative
  4. ^
  5. ^

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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  • Robert Nisbet — Robert Alexandre Nisbet (30 septembre 1913 à Los Angeles aux États Unis 9 septembre 1996 à Washington DC aux États Unis) était un sociologue conservateur américain. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Publications …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Robert Nisbet — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Robert Alexander Nisbet ( * 30 de septiembre de 1913 , Los Ángeles 9 de septiembre de 1996 , Washington D.C.) fue un sociólogo estadounidense. Vida Nisbet obtuvo un Ph.D. en Sociología en 1939 en Berkeley. Luego de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Robert Nisbet (disambiguation) — Robert Nisbet may refer to:* Robert Nisbet (1913 1996), conservative US sociologist * Robert Parry Nisbet (1793 1882), British sheriff and member of parliament * Robert Nisbet (rower) (1900 1986), British rower (full name Robert Archibald Nisbet) …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Nisbet (journalist) — Robert Nisbet is the Environment Correspondent for Sky News in the UK. CareerRobert Nisbet spent several years at the BBC, mainly as a correspondent for BBC News, however also as chief reporter on BBC Choice s entertainment news show Liquid News …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Nisbet Bain — (* 1854; † Mai 1909) war ein britischer Historiker, Folklorist und Linguist, der dank seiner umfassenden Sprachkenntnisse Arbeiten zur skandinavischen und russischen Geschichte sowie Übersetzungen aus skandinavischen, slawischen und der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Nisbet (rower) — Robert Archibald Nisbet (born November 23, 1900 died September 13, 1986) known as Archie Nisbet was a British rower who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics.In 1928 he won the silver medal with his partner Terence O Brien in the coxless pairs… …   Wikipedia

  • Nisbet — ist der Name folgender Personen: Eugenius Aristides Nisbet (1803–1871), US amerikanischer Politiker Harold A. Nisbet, britischer Tennisspieler Hugh Barr Nisbet (* 1940), britischer Germanist Robert Alexander Nisbet (1913–1996), US amerikanischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nisbet (surname) — For other uses, see Nisbet. Nisbet Family name Region of origin English / Scottish Related names Nisbeth, Nisbett, Nesbit, Nesbitt Nisbet is an English and Scottish surname that originated around the border region. It is also found in Scandinavia …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Parry Nisbet — JP DL (1793 ndash; 31 May 1882) was a British public man. He was High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1849, [LondonGazette|issue=20944|startpage=431|date=13 February 1849|accessdate=2008 04 11] from 1852 a Deputy Lieutenant for the county,… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert A. Nisbet — Robert Alexander Nisbet (* 30. September 1913 in Los Angeles; † 9. September 1996 in Washington D.C.) war ein US amerikanischer Soziologe. Der als konservativ geltende Nisbet promovierte (Ph.D.) 1939 an der University of California, Berkeley und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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