Maurice R. Stein

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Maurice R. Stein (born 1926) is an American sociologist and innovator in higher education.[1][2][3] Stein is co-recipient of the 1987 Robert and Helen Lynd Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed by the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section, while his pedagogical innovations have been highlighted of late by Harvard University’s Jeffrey Schnapp in Schnapp’s studies in the digital humanities (see for example, the interactive companion site to Stein's Blueprint for Counter Education at ).[4] Retired from Brandeis University since 2002, Stein resides with his spouse, Phyllis Stein (née Rosenstein), at their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a long-time member of the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement.

Early Years and Education[edit]

Stein was raised in the Jewish community of Buffalo, New York. After a tour of duty in the Second World War, he earned his B.A. at the University of Buffalo, where he led the fieldwork and co-authored the methodological appendix for Alvin W. Gouldner’s famous study, Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy (1954)[5][6] Stein received his doctorate in sociology from Columbia University in 1958 on the strength of a dissertation which would become a classic in sociology, The Eclipse of Community (1958).[7]

Main Works in Sociology[edit]

Stein’s principal contribution to sociology is perhaps best captured in his contribution to Reflections on Community Studies (1964) as well as the aforementioned studies.[8] A student of Erik Erikson and colleague of such figures as Morrie S. Schwartz [9] Stein’s co-edited Identity and Anxiety (1960) received acclaim and wide circulation,[10] while his co-edited Sociology on Trial (1963),[11] dedicated to C. Wright Mills, and his contribution to The Critical Spirit (1967),[12] a festschrift for Herbert Marcuse, together reflects Stein’s critical approach to sociology and to social, political, cultural, and aesthetic theory generally.

Pedagogical Innovation[edit]

Never a conventional sociologist, Stein actively joined in support of sixties student, anti-war, and other later liberation movements,[13] helped found the graduate program in sociology at Brandeis University and later served as chair of the department from 1966-1969, co-authored Blueprint for Counter Education (1970),[14] and served as founding dean of the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts.[15] Influenced by such sources as Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and Buddhism, as well as by his participation in the early years of the then-experimental curriculum at Brandeis University (founded in 1948), Stein pioneered use of peer teaching, subaltern texts, and meditation practices over twenty-five years of teaching the course “The Sociology of Birth & Death” to thousands of Brandeis undergraduates.[16] These practices are just a few of the highlights of a career that spans fifty years dedicated to higher education.


  1. ^ Dandaneau, Steven P. “Sisyphus Had It Easy,” in Teaching Sociology Vol. 31, no. 1: 8-19.
  2. ^ Dandaneau, Steven P. and Elizabeth A. East, “Listening to Sociological Elders: An Interview with Maurice R. Stein,” in The American Sociologist (2011) 42: 129-144.
  3. ^ Dandaneau, Steven P. and Elizabeth A. East, “The Sociology of Birth & Death: An Interview with Maurice R. Stein,” in Humanity & Society (2011) Vol. 35 (1 & 2): 176-188.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gouldner, Alvin W. Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy. (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1954)
  6. ^ Stein, Maurice R. “The Dialectic of Marxism and Sociology During the Buffalo Years,” in Theory & Society (1982) Vol. 11, no. 6: 889-897.
  7. ^ Stein, Maurice R. The Eclipse of Community. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958).
  8. ^ Stein, Maurice R., ed., with Arthur J. Vidich and Joseph Bensman. Reflections on Community Studies. (New York: Wiley, 1964).
  9. ^ Stein, Maurice R. “Psychoanalytic Thought and Sociological Inquiry,” in Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Review (1962) Vol. 49, no. 2: 21-29.
  10. ^ Stein, Maurice R., ed., with Arthur J. Vidich and David Manning White. Identity and Anxiety. (Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960).
  11. ^ Stein, Maurice R., ed., with Arthur J. Vidich. Sociology on Trial. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963).
  12. ^ Wolff, Kurt H. and Barrington Moore, eds., with the assistance of Heinz Lubasz, Maurice R. Stein, and E.V. Walter, The Critical Spirit: Essays in Honor of Herbert Marucse. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967)
  13. ^ Stein, Maurice R. The Re-Emergence of Community (unpublished manuscript, 1975, 203 pages)
  14. ^ Stein, Maurice R. and Miller, Larry. Blueprint for Counter Education. (New York: Doubleday, 1970; Expanded Edition (New York: Inventory Press, 2016) available at ).
  15. ^ Rossman, Michael. “The Day They Purged Maurice Stein,” in On Learning and Social Change (New York: Random House, 1972), pp. 355-365.
  16. ^ Dandaneau, Steven P. and Elizabeth A. East, “The Sociology of Birth & Death: An Interview with Maurice R. Stein,” in Humanity & Society (2011) Vol. 35 (1 & 2): 176-188.