Blau, Peter

Peter M. Blau (1918–2002) was a twentieth-century, Austrian-born, American social theorist who contributed widely to sociology in the areas of organizational theory, exchange theory, social mobility, stratification, and macrostructural theory. Committed to a nomothetic approach to social science, Blau developed insightful and creative theory, which he rigorously tested through the innovative use of previously underutilized data sources. His empirical work often revealed new insights inspiring modifications to his original theories; this explains the broad scope of Blau's work. The publication of The American Occupational Structure (1967), with Otis Dudley Duncan, demonstrated the effectiveness of linear regression and path analysis, thus popularizing those techniques now considered indispensable for statistical analysis in sociology. Two themes that run through Blau's research are the interrelationship between the individual ...

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