In Memoriam: Mattei Dogan, 1920-2010

by Arnaud Sales, Université de Montréal, Former ISA Vice-President, Research

Mattei Dogan, Founder and Chair (1971-1986) of Research Committee 24 on Environment and Society and Research Committee 20 on Comparative Sociology (1986 to 2006) passed away in Paris on October 10, 2010. A generous man with a strong character, he will be greatly missed by many colleagues and friends. Born in Romania, he studied at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (BA), then History and Philosophy (MA) at the Sorbonne where he subsequently received a Doctorat d’État ès Lettres et Sciences Humaines. In 1953, he joined the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, capping his formal career at the CNRS as Emeritus Research Director. He was also Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1973 to 1991, in addition to being a visiting professor at various universities including Tokyo, Yale and Firenze.  Mattei Dogan was able to transmit his dynamic enthusiasm into the academic life of sociology and political science; he created and led various research committees as part of both the ISA and the IPSA, in addition to organizing a number of conferences and contributing to the editorial committees of about ten journals.

He was the author of more than 200 publications, many of which involved empirical research, in addition to theoretical, methodological and epistemological analysis. A large number of his publications focussed on political and governmental administrative elites. Included among his books are Mandarins of Western Europe (1975); Pathways to Power (1988); Elites, Crises and the Origins of Regimes (1998); and Elite Configurations at the Apex of Power (2003). He is known for his work in the area of political behavior and electoral studies, specifically women’s voting patterns and the sociology of values (nationalism, religion, and political legitimacy). Although much of his work focussed on France, early in his career he did research on Germany, Italy and Great Britain, as well as Europe and the United States. This helped forge his vocation as a comparative sociologist. He enthusiastically and skilfully developed and promoted this comparative approach to political sociology as shown in his work How to Compare Nations (1990). His analysis of the fragmentation of disciplines, interdisciplinarity and the hybridization of branches of disciplines in the social sciences is also of particular note. See Creative Marginality: Innovation at the Intersections of Social Sciences, 1990, (with R. Pahre).

Early in the year 2000, he created a foundation devoted exclusively to the social sciences. This foundation provided the ISA Research Council with the opportunity to create the Fondation Mattei Dogan/ISA Prize to honour distinguished sociologists in the World Congresses, which unfortunately was terminated by the last Executive Committee of the ISA in July 2010. The foundation offers twenty-one prizes for excellence in academic research and oversees three online anthologies.

The International Sociological Association is very grateful to Mattei Dogan for his leadership in RC 24 on Environment and Society and RC 20 on Comparative Sociology, and for all his accomplishments in the development of our discipline and the social sciences in general. May he rest in peace.

Canada, Volume 1, Issue 2

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