Stanley Aronowitz

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Stanley Aronowitz
Stanley Aronowitz by David Shankbone.jpg
Stanley Aronowitz by David Shankbone
Born (1933-01-06) January 6, 1933 (age 84)[1]
New York, New York
Nationality American
Occupation professor, editor, activist
Title Distinguished Professor[2]
Spouse(s) Ellen Willis
Academic background
Education Ph.D
Alma mater Union Graduate School (Ph.D., 1975)
The New School (B.A., 1968)
Brooklyn College (1950)[3]
Thesis title Technology and Labor
Thesis year 1975
Influences C. Wright Mills,[4] Herbert Marcuse[5]
Academic work
Discipline Sociologist, Cultural critic
Sub discipline Labor unions in the United States, Education, Technology, Science Studies
Institutions University of California at Irvine, Columbia University, City University of New York[6]
Notable students Randy Martin, Suzanna Danuta Walters, Cornel West[citation needed]

Stanley Aronowitz (born January 6, 1933) is a professor of sociology, cultural studies, and urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is also a veteran political activist and cultural critic, an advocate for organized labor and a member of the interim consultative committee of the International Organization for a Participatory Society.[7] In 2012, Aronowitz was awarded the Center for Study of Working Class Life's Lifetime Achievement Award at Stony Brook University.[4]


Early Life, Labor Organizing, & the Civil Rights Movement: 1933-1963[edit]

Born and raised in New York City, Aronowitz attended public primary school in The Bronx before enrolling in The High School of Music & Art in Manhattan. Subsequently, Aronowitz attended Brooklyn College before being suspended by the school's administration for engaging in a demonstration. Instead of returning to school the following year, Aronowitz moved to New Jersey in search of work where he would become employed in several metalworking factories. Aronowitz became involved in the American labor movement while in New Jersey, and in 1959, while laid off from his job as a metalworker, he found work with the New Jersey Industrial Union Council. Collaborating with the council's president, Aronowitz cowrote New Jersey's unemployment compensation law, subsequently enacted by the state legislature in 1961. His work with the Industrial Union Council lead into Aronowitz' appointment as director of the organizing and boycott department of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. Aronowitz would spend the following four years traveling throughout the United States to develop the union's campaigns.

In the 1960s, while employed with the Clothing Workers, Aronowitz began participating in the Civil Rights Movement. Aronowitz engaged in lunch counter sit-ins, as well as gave speeches on behalf of the labor movement to the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee on the confluence of African-American civil rights and economic issues. Through his work in the civil rights movement, Aronowitz secured the role of labor coordinator, appointed by Bayard Rustin, on the planning committee of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1962-1963. Aronowitz was tasked with soliciting the support of American labor unions for the March, and while encountering resistance from the majority of trade unions, most notably the AFL-CIO, he secured the endorsement of the United Auto Workers, United Packinghouse Workers of America, as well as rubber and clothing workers' unions.[6]

Social Text[edit]

Aronowitz is the author of numerous books on class, culture, sociology of science, and politics. With Fredric Jameson and John Brenkman, he is a founding editor of Duke University's Social Text, a journal that is subtitled "Theory, Culture, Ideology." He defended the journal from criticism after it published a hoax article in its Summer 1996 issue (see Sokal Affair).[8] In that article, he stated that with this publication, "Our objective was to interrogate Marxists' habitual separation of political economy and culture and to make a contribution to their articulation, even reunification." Aronowitz, however, was not a working editor at the time of the Sokal scandal and had not seen the paper before publication. In an interview in the Brooklyn Rail after the publication of Taking it Big: C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals, Aronowitz cites Mills's influence on his beliefs when he states, "My own insights, as a result of my own experience as a worker, as a trade unionist, and as an activist, were stimulated and, to some extent, guided by Mills’s example. His three major books on American social structure—The New Men of Power, White Collar, and The Power Elite—together constitute a compelling intellectual program for our own times."[4]

Green politics[edit]

In 2002, Aronowitz led efforts to maintain the official ballot status of the Green Party in New York and ran for governor on that ticket the same year. He ran a grass roots campaign based on a radical democratic program that combined opposition to corporate power and plutocratic government with commitment to sustainability, racial equality, feminism, gay liberation and individual freedom. His campaign finished in 5th place, receiving 41,797 votes (.89%). He is also an active trade unionist and a member of the executive council of his university's union, the Professional Staff Congress, AFT. Aronowitz is a proponent of a reduced work week, among other strategies for improving everyday life, and works actively with the Basic Income Earth Network toward the furtherance of such goals.[citation needed]

Other activities[edit]

In 1965 Aronowitz was one of the lecturers at the Free University of New York shortly after it was founded.[9]

In 2005 Aronowitz co-founded the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination. He has also published articles in numerous publications and with a core group of intellectuals—faculty and students—at the Graduate Center, he spearheaded the effort to create the Center for Cultural Studies (now the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work) in the spirit of fostering intellectual debate, multidisciplinarity, and the toppling of high cultural privilege in academia. In 1969, Aronowitz, Jeremy Brecher, Paul Mattick Jr., and Peter Rachleff, began sporadically publishing a magazine and pamphlet series called Root & Branch[10][11] drawing on the tradition of workers councils and adapting them to contemporary America.[citation needed]


Aronowitz lives in New York City. He was married to Ellen Willis until her death in November 2006. He has five children.[citation needed] One of his children is Nona Willis-Aronowitz.[12]


Aronowitz has authored, co-authored, or edited over 26 different books, as well as authored over 200 articles and reviews.[2]


  1. ^ "Aronowitz, Stanley - LC Authority Name File". the Library of Congress. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Stanley Aronowitz". Faculty - Core Bios. Graduate Center, CUNY. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  3. ^ Aronowitz, Stanley (October 15, 2014). "A ‘Post-Political’ Labor Movement". In These Times (Interview). Interview with David Moberg. Chicago: In These Times and the Institute for Public Affairs. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Aronowitz, Stanley (August 1, 2012). "InConversation STANLEY ARONOWITZ with Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker". Express (Interview). Interview with Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker. Brooklyn: BR. Retrieved August 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ Ward, Tony (May 8, 2013). "Stanley Aronowitz". Tony Ward Education. Retrieved December 8, 2016. [Stanley] was deeply influenced by Herbert Marcuse's Eros and Civilisation and One-Dimensional Man and in 1972-3 he met Marcuse who had responded to the manuscript for his first book, the acclaimed False Promises: The Shaping of American Working-Class Consciousness. 
  6. ^ a b Aronowitz, Stanley (2016). "Biography". Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "International Organization for a Participatory Society: Consultative Committee". International Organization for a Participatory Society. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Aronowitz, S. (1997) Alan Sokal's "Transgression". Dissent, Winter 1997.
  9. ^ Berke, Joseph (29 October 1965), "The Free University of New York", Peace News: 6–7  as reproduced in Jakobsen, Jakob (2012), Anti-University of Londin–Antihistory Tabloid, London: MayDay Rooms, pp. 6–7 
  10. ^ "Root & Branch". A Liberatarian Socialist Journal. 1973. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Root & Branch: The Rise of the Workers' Movements. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett. 1975. 
  12. ^ "Willis, Ellen. Papers of Ellen Willis, 1941-2011: A Finding Aid". Retrieved 2017-04-28. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Al Lewis
Green Party Nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Malachy McCourt