is a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
sociologist, political scientist, and author.
Lepenies was born near Allenstein
Olsztyn is a city in northeastern Poland, on the Łyna River. Olsztyn has been the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999. It was previously in the Olsztyn Voivodeship...
, East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...
(now Olsztyn, Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...
)), in 1945 his family fled from the Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...
's assault on East Prussia
The East Prussian Offensive was a strategic offensive by the Red Army against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front . It lasted from 13 January to 25 April 1945, though some German units did not surrender until 9 May...
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...
and from there to North Rhine-Westfalia. He eventually grew up in Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...
. He studied sociology and philosophy at the University of Münster
The University of Münster is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. The WWU is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a society of Germany's leading research universities...
in North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...
and graduated with a promotion in 1967. In 1970 he habilitated
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...
at the Free University of Berlin
Freie Universität Berlin is one of the leading and most prestigious research universities in Germany and continental Europe. It distinguishes itself through its modern and international character. It is the largest of the four universities in Berlin. Research at the university is focused on the...
. He traveled abroad, first to the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...
, then to the Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...
. In 1984 he joined the faculty of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...
before becoming a professor of sociology at the Free University of Berlin. He frequently returned to Princeton to conduct research. In 1986 he succeeded Peter Wapnewski as president of the Wissenschaftskolleg. In 2001 he was succeeded by Dieter Grimm. In 2006 he became a professor emeritus.
Lepenies is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences or Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. The Academy is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which acts to promote the sciences, primarily the natural sciences and mathematics.The Academy was founded on 2...
Since 2004 he has been a member of the supervisory board
A supervisory board or supervisory committee, often called board of directors, is a group of individuals chosen by the stockholders of a company to promote their interests through the governance of the company and to hire and supervise the executive directors and CEO.Corporate governance varies...
of Axel Springer AG
Axel Springer AG is one of the largest multimedia companies in Europe, with more than 11,500 employees and with annual revenues of about €2.9 billion. The Company is active in a total of 36 countries, including Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia and Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland...
Awards and honors
- 1984 - Alexander von Humboldt Prize
- 1988 - Karl-Vossler-Preis
From 1984 to 2002, the Free State of Bavaria biennially awarded its Karl-Vossler-Preis, named after Karl Vossler, to authors of scientific literature of distinguished literary quality written in German. The award was aimed at fostering the status of German as an academic language and came with a...
- 1998 - Leibniz Ring Hannover
- 1999 - Joseph Breitbach Prize
- 2000 - Theodor Heuss Prize
- 2003 - Leibniz Medal from the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
- 2006 - Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (awarded by Andrei Plesu
Andrei Gabriel Pleşu is a Romanian philosopher, essayist, journalist, literary and art critic, and politician.- Biography :Born in Bucharest, the son of Radu Pleşu, a surgeon and Zoe Pleşu , he spent much of his early youth in the country side...
- Melancholie und Gesellschaft, 1969 (his 1967 doctoral dissertation)
- Orte des wilden Denkens. Zur Anthropologie von Claude Levi-Strauss (with Hans Henning Ritter), 1970
- Soziologische Anthropologie. Materialien, 1971
- Das Ende der Naturgeschichte. Wandel kultureller Selbstverständlichkeiten, 1976
- Geschichte der Soziologie (a history 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...
in four volumes), 1981
- Die drei Kulturen. Soziologie zwischen Literatur und Wissenschaft, 1985
- Autoren und Wissenschaftler im 18. Jahrhundert. Linné - Buffon - Winckelmann - Georg Forster - Erasmus Darwin, 1988
- Gefährliche Wahlverwandtschaften. Essays zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 1989
- Folgen einer unerhörten Begebenheit. Die Deutschen nach der Vereinigung, 1992
- Aufstieg und Fall der Intellektuellen in Europa, 1992
- Sainte-Beuve. Auf der Schwelle zur Moderne, 1997
- Benimm und Erkenntnis, 1997
- Sozialwissenschaft und sozialer Wandel. Ein Erfahrungsbericht, 1999
- Kultur und Politik. Deutsche Geschichten, 2006
- The Seduction of Culture in German History, 2006