Irving Louis Horowitz

Irving Louis Horowitz

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Irving Louis Horowitz is an American sociologist, author and college professor who has written and lectured extensively in his field.

Personal Life

Horowitz was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 on September 25, 1929, to Louis and Esther Tepper Horowitz. He was educated at City College of New York (now City College of the City University of New York, or CUNY), B.S., 1951; Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, New York City, M.A., 1952; and the University of Buenos Aires
University of Buenos Aires
The University of Buenos Aires is the largest university in Argentina and the largest university by enrollment in Latin America. Founded on August 12, 1821 in the city of Buenos Aires, it consists of 13 faculties, 6 hospitals, 10 museums and is linked to 4 high schools: Colegio Nacional de Buenos...

, Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Ph.D., 1957. In 1951, he married Ruth Narowlansky, with whom he had two children, Carl and David; they were divorced in 1964. He married Danielle Salti in 1964; the couple was divorced in 1978. He married Mary Ellen Curtis in 1979.

Academic positions and consultancies

After beginning his career as an assistant professor of social theory at the University of Buenos Aires
University of Buenos Aires
The University of Buenos Aires is the largest university in Argentina and the largest university by enrollment in Latin America. Founded on August 12, 1821 in the city of Buenos Aires, it consists of 13 faculties, 6 hospitals, 10 museums and is linked to 4 high schools: Colegio Nacional de Buenos...

, 1956-1958, Horowitz spent the next forty-plus years at various academic institutions in India, Tokyo, Mexico, and Canada. In addition to his teaching positions, he was an advisory staff member of the Latin American Research Center, 1964-1970; and consultant to the International Education Division, Ford Foundation, 1959-1960.

From 1963 to 1969, Horowitz was professor of sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also been a visiting professor at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, the University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...

, Queen’s University in Canada, and the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

, and a Fulbright Lecturer in Argentina, Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, and India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

; a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Scientific Information, 1969-1973; consulting editor for Oxford University Press, 1969-74, for Aldine-Atherton Publishers, 1969-1972; an external board member of the Radio Marti
Radio Martí
Radio y Televisión Martí is a radio and television broadcaster based in Miami, Florida, financed by the United States government , which transmits Spanish radio broadcasts to Cuba...

 and Television Marti Programs of the United States Information Agency
United States Information Agency
The United States Information Agency , which existed from 1953 to 1999, was a United States agency devoted to "public diplomacy". In 1999, USIA's broadcasting functions were moved to the newly created Broadcasting Board of Governors, and its exchange and non-broadcasting information functions were...

, beginning in 1985; chair of the board of the Hubert Humphrey Center, Ben Gurion University, Israel, 1990-1992; and has served as an external board member of the methodology section of the research division, United States General Accounting Office. Horowitz's latest academic post was Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

 University Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

, since 1992.

Transaction Publisher and Society

He the founding president of the Transaction Society, whose Transaction Publisher has been an international publisher of scholarly monographs, including academic monographs that need not have been viewed as profitable. He was the founding editor of Society
Society (journal)
Society is a scientific journal that publishes discussions and research findings in the social sciences and public policy.It was founded as Transaction: Social Science and Modern SOCIETY by Irving Louis Horowitz in 1962. It was published by Transaction Publisher for decades before being purchased...

, which published articles on sociology, politics, and social criticism.

Honors and awards

Throughout his academic career, Horowitz received many awards, including a special citation from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for his 1957 book, The Idea of War and Peace in Contemporary Philosophy; recognition by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine as a leader of a new breed of radical sociologist; the Centennial Medallion from St. Peter's College, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1971, for outstanding contribution to a humanistic social science; and a Presidential Outstanding Achievement Award, 1985, from Rutgers University. He is a member of the Carnegie Council, American Association of Publishers, American Political Science Association
American Political Science Association
The American Political Science Association is a professional association of political science students and scholars in the United States. Founded in 1903, it publishes three academic journals...

, American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

, and past president (1961-1962) of the New York State Sociological Society.

Scholarly contributions

As the author of more than twenty-five books and editor of numerous other titles, Horowitz has analyzed such diverse topics as the influence of Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon is the Korean founder and leader of the worldwide Unification Church. He is also the founder of many other organizations and projects...

 and the Unification Church
Unification Church
The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea, as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity . In 1994, Moon gave the church...

 on American politics, the future of book publishing, and politics in Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. Horowitz is the founder of Studies in Comparative International Development. He is also chairman of Transaction Publishers
Transaction Publishers
Transaction Publishers is a New Jersey-based publishing house that specializes in social sciences books. Some of its books have been published with the imprint "Transactions Publishers".-Overview:...


Early in his career, Horowitz was an acolyte of Leftist sociologist C. Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills
Charles Wright Mills was an American sociologist. Mills is best remembered for his 1959 book The Sociological Imagination in which he lays out a view of the proper relationship between biography and history, theory and method in sociological scholarship...

, a Texas-born professor at Columbia University whose most significant books include, White Collar
White Collar: The American Middle Classes
White Collar: The American Middle Classes is a study of the American middle class by sociologist C. Wright Mills, first published in 1951. It describes the forming of a "new class": the white-collar workers. It is also a major study of social alienation in the modern industrialized world and...

, The Power Elite
The Power Elite
The Power Elite is a book written by the sociologist, C. Wright Mills, in 1956. In it Mills calls attention to the interwoven interests of the leaders of the military, corporate, and political elements of society and suggests that the ordinary citizen is a relatively powerless subject of...

, and The Sociological Imagination
The Sociological Imagination
The Sociological Imagination is a book by American sociologist C. Wright Mills, first published by Oxford University Press in 1959 and still in print....

. Horowitz edited two posthumous collections of Mills' work, including The cultural apparatus.

Over the past several decades Horowitz has worked to develop a political sociology that can measure the extent of a society's personal freedom and State-sanctioned violence. As a result of his work, a standard for the quality of life in any particular nation or social system has been constructed based on the number of people arbitrarily killed, maimed, injured, incarcerated, or deprived of basic civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

. Horowitz has tried to build a bridge between his current analysis of state power and authority and his earlier studies of comparative international stratification and development. He was key to introducing the phrase "Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

" into the lexicon of social research. Horowitz articulated the view that republication of previous publications in different formats is necessary in the social sciences to disseminate research results and make them useful to society.

Horowitz wrote about genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

: “First comes the act and then comes the word: first [the crime of] genocide is committed and then the language emerges to describe a phenomenon." He published lasting contributions on the subject, including Genocide: State power & mass murder; Taking lives: Genocide & state power; and "Genocide and the reconstruction of social theory: Observations on the exclusivity of collective death" in Armenian Review. Horowitz's last scholarly pieces on genocide were his preface to R. J. Rummel's Death by government, and his essay on state-sponsored terror, "Counting Bodies. The Dismal Science of Authorized Terror" in Patterns of Prejudice. In Summer 1994 a volume of essays in honour of Horowitz was published by Transaction Publishers.

In 1990, he published an autobiography, a brief "sociological biography" rather than one that is intellectual or intimate. This was Daydreams and nightmares: Reflections on a Harlem childhood, for which he received the National Jewish Book Award. It is an unromanticized look at growing up as the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants in the streets of predominantly black Harlem, New York City, in the 1930s. Among his most recent books are Tributes: Personal reflections on a century of social research; and Behemoth: Main currents in the history and theory of political sociology.

A list of scholarly publications including more than two hundred works by Horowitz is found at the beta-version of Google Scholar.

Criticism of Marxist trends in sociology

Horowitz is noted for his 1994 work The Decomposition of Sociology, in which he argues that the discipline is in decline due to overly-ideological theory, a shift away from American sociology and toward European (particularly Marxist) trends, and an apparent lack of relevance to policy making: "The decomposition of sociology began when this great tradition became subject to ideological thinking, and an inferior tradition surfaced in the wake of totalitarian triumphs."