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Joseph Berger (b. 1924), theorist and founder of research programs in status processes, served in the U.S. Army in England, France, and Germany during World War II, and studied at Brooklyn College (AB, 1949) and Harvard University (PhD, 1958).

Berger taught at Dartmouth College from 1954 to 1959 and then moved to Stanford University, where he resides today. Berger, Bernard P. Cohen, Morris Zelditch Jr., and other sociologists established a distinctive approach that came to be called “Stanford Sociology.” It entails abstractly conceptualizing aspects of social structures and social processes, developing explicit abstract explanatory principles, and extending and testing theories, often with laboratory methods. While such work was sometimes characterized as experimental sociology, Berger insisted that the true subject matter was the theories, to be tested ...

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