Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daniel Bell, influential sociologist, dies at 91

NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Bell, a leading sociologist of the past half-century who wrote groundbreaking books about the demise of revolutionary politics and about the economy and lifestyle of what he helped label a "post-industrial" society, has died. He was 91.

Bell died Tuesday at his Cambridge, Mass., home after a short illness, said his son, David Bell.

Daniel Bell was a teen radical who in middle age became an apostle of pragmatism. He is credited for at least two seminal works: "The End of Ideology," which predicted a post-Marxist, post-conservative era, and "The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society," in which he prophesied the shift from a manufacturing economy to one based on technology.

"Many people would testify to his influence, and I am one of those," said Nathan Glazer, his longtime friend and fellow sociologist. "He always had large ideas. He was enormously energetic and had an amazing memory of names and dates. And some of his ideas about what was happening to society were very much on target."

Bell's other books included "Work and Its Discontents," ''The Reforming of Education" and "The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism," which explored how a bourgeois economy coexisted with an anti-bourgeois culture.

"A corporation finds its people being straight by day and swingers by night," he wrote.

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