February 7, 1918–March 12, 2002


PETER BLAU WAS A LEADING figure in sociology throughout the second half of the twentieth century, and by its end among the most cited of all active sociologists. His major contributions were to the study of macrosocial structure—analyzing the large-scale systems of organizations, social classes, and the dimensions around which societies are structured. At the same time he was the author of an enduringly influential microsociological study of exchange relations. He was one of the founders of the field of organizational sociology and the coauthor of a highly influential study of the American occupational structure that transformed the study of social inequality and mobility. His contributions to conceptualizing and measuring the parameters of societal systems continue to inspire and guide current theory and research.

Peter was productive throughout his career, beginning with a pathbreaking and influential dissertation and first book examining the dynamics of bureaucracy. He continued to advance his macrostructural theory of society well beyond his formal retirement, submitting journal articles and working with graduate students into his eighties. He was a dynamic and inspiring teacher, and mentored a large and distinguished collection of graduate students and junior colleagues. He

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement