miércoles, 16 de abril de 2008

Strauss, Anselm

Anselm L. Strauss
18th December 1916 - 5th September 1996

por Adele Clarke, University of California, San Francisco
y Susan Leigh Star, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Sociologist Anselm Strauss, 79, died on the 5th September in
San Francisco of a heart attack. Professor Emeritus at the
University of California, San Francisco, Strauss was
internationally known as a social science methodologist and as
a medical sociologist, especially for his pioneering attention
to the problems of chronic illness. Strauss developed an
innovative method of qualitative research called grounded
theory, with sociologist Barney Glaser, which was widely
adopted in sociology, nursing, education and social work.

An alumnus of the University of Virginia, Strauss received
both Master's and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He
came to the University of California, San Francisco in 1960 at
the behest of the dean of nursing to teach research methods in
a new doctoral program in nursing, the first in the Western
USA. He had built this research unit into a full-fledged
doctoral program in sociology by 1968. As Professor, Founder,
Chair and visionary of the Department of Social and Behavioral
Sciences, Strauss forged a unique focus on health, illness and
qualitative research. He became Professor Emeritus in 1987,
but continued teaching and researching until his death.

Strauss' inquiries into medical work included studies of dying
patients, an array of chronic illnesses, the psychology of
pain, psychiatric practice, kinds of medical work, risk and
the politics of medical care. During the course of a long
career, he made contributions to several other branches of
sociology as well, including urban sociology and social

Many of Strauss' early books are still in print, including a
social psychology textbook first written in the 1940s (now in
its 9th edition) and his first monograph Mirrors and Masks.
His works have been translated into many other languages. His
culminating theoretical statement was Continual Permutations
of Action (1993). He had just finished proofreading his 32nd
book the day before he died.

Strauss received numerous prestigious professional awards
including the Leo G. Reeder Award for Distinguished
Contributions to Medical Sociology, the Mead Career Award from
the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, the Cooley-
Mead Award of the Social Psychology Section of the American
Sociological Association, the Faculty Research Award and the
Helen Nahm Research Lectureship for the School of Nursing,
both from the University of California, San Francisco, and the
Cooley Award for best book from the Society for the Study of
Symbolic Interaction in 1978 for Negotiations: Varieties,
Processes, Contexts and Social Order.

Strauss had been an invited visiting professor at the
Universities of Frankfurt and Constance in Germany, Cambridge
and Manchester in England, Paris and Adelaide. He maintained
extensive research networks in Germany, as well as Japan and
France. He was a consultant for the World Health Organization
on nursing education in Southeast Asia in 1962 and 1970. After
serving as an assistant professor at Indiana University and
the University of Chicago, Strauss directed research at
Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago. He was well known for a
gentle and informal style of teaching. Dozens of students sat
for lessons held at his kitchen table, where conversations
would invariably open with a smiling, 'Now, tell me what
you're working on'. He is survived by his wife of fifty-six
years, Frances, his niece Louise Resnick, his sister-in-law
Sylvia Zucker, several nephews and nieces, and the many
students and colleagues who became part of his 'adoptive

Adele Clarke, University of California, San Francisco Susan
Leigh Star, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

A further appreciation of the life and work of Anselm Strauss
will appear in the next issue of Sociological Research Online.

Copyright Sociological Research Online, 1996

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