Daniel Bell and the Post-Industrial Society: The Late Sociologist Was Best Known for Defining and Describing the New Era and Social Realities That Information Technologies Were Helping to Create in the Twentieth Century

By Cornish, Edward | The Futurist, May-June 2011 | Go to article overview

Daniel Bell and the Post-Industrial Society: The Late Sociologist Was Best Known for Defining and Describing the New Era and Social Realities That Information Technologies Were Helping to Create in the Twentieth Century


Cornish, Edward, The Futurist


Daniel Bell, who died January 26, 2011, at the age of 91, left a lasting legacy of imposing books analyzing the economic and social trends that have shaped and now are reshaping American society.

Bell was born on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1919. His parents were Polish Jewish garment workers and, until the age of six, Bell spoke only Yiddish. By the time he was 13, however, he had no difficulty reading and speaking English.

Intensely interested in socialist ideals, Bell joined the Young People's Socialist League, but soon became critical of the ideological dogmas he found among them.

At the age of 19, he graduated from the City College of New York and began writing regularly for the liberal weekly The New Leader. Later, he became the labor editor of Fortune magazine after writing a memorandum on labor-management relations that impressed the editors. He went on to write a monthly column for Fortune but maintained his association with the academic community as a lecturer in sociology at Columbia University and, later, at the University of Chicago.

Bell's reputation as a social thinker grew with the publication, in 1960, of his book The End of Ideology, which argued that U.S. society had passed through its ideological phase, having outgrown the need for simple rubrics to describe and justify public conduct. Ideologies, Bell decided, offer attractive but often unworkable solutions for human problems.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The End of Ideology won high praise from reviewers like political scientist Andrew Hacker, who said Bell "clearly ranks among the outstanding essayists of our generation." Hacker added:

  There is a sense of relief in being able to discuss Medicare or civil
  rights or the anti-trust laws without having to cope with the
  specter of Socialism, Wall Street, or Mongrelization. Not only have
  intellectuals and politicians thrown aside the prisms that once
  clouded their eyes, but the general public too is increasingly
  suspicious of catchalls and catchphrases.

In 1965, Bell became chairman of the Commission on the Year 2000, organized by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston. The Commission brought together a stellar group of thinkers, including Daniel P. Moynihan, Karl Deutsch, James Q. Wilson, Erik Erikson, and Samuel P. Huntington, to think about the future of America and the world.

The work of the Commission was summarized in a volume edited by Bell, Toward the Year 2000: Work in Progress (Houghton-Mifflin, 1968).

Bell's masterwork The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (Basic Books, 1973) noted that, in the nineteenth century, America shifted from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy as workers abandoned farming for better-paying jobs in manufacturing. Then in the twentieth century, increasing efficiency in manufacturing led to such a sharp decline in industrial jobs that the United States could no longer be classed as an industrial society. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Daniel Bell and the Post-Industrial Society: The Late Sociologist Was Best Known for Defining and Describing the New Era and Social Realities That Information Technologies Were Helping to Create in the Twentieth Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.