Resources for Sociology Majors


Career Graduate School Famous Sociologists AKD Penn State Homepage

The following page provides sociologists and non-sociologists alike with information about the famous founders of sociology, as well as some information about current famous figures who majored in sociology.  Sociology encompasses a wide range of topics, and people who major in sociology enter a variety of different fields.

Famous Sociologists Sociologists Who Are Famous


Famous Sociologists

Karl Marx (1818-1883) - Studied economics, capitalism, technology, class struggle, and ideology.  He believed that social structure and interactions were fundamentally related to the material economic foundations of society, and that social change corresponded to changes in economic systems.  He was concerned with establishing grand theories of the evolution of human society and the possibility of reconstructing society in an entirely different form, called communism, which was an inevitable result of capitalist development and advancement.

Emile Durkheim (1859-1917) - Attempted to establish scientific laws and to professionalize sociology.  He produced comprehensive analyses of Suicide, the Division of Labor in Society, and the Elementary Forms of Religious life. 

Max Weber (1864-1920) - Was concerned with stratification in society, but unlike Marx, believed that there were multiple factors in addition to economics that affected inequality and social relations.  He dealt with the rise of capitalism, bureaucracy, and the rationalization of society. 

Ferdinand Tonnies (1855-1936) - Was interested in the forms and patterns of social ties and organizations and attempted to classify societies into either Gemeinschaft (community) or Gesellschaft (association).  Tonnies was concerned with the loss of community and the rise of impersonality which were related to the study of the city. 

George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) - Addressed interpersonal relations and communication; he believed that the "self" was constructed and reconstructed through interactive behavior.  He was one of the founders of the symbolic interactionism theories, and concluded that the self can only develop through interactions with other people, so that the self is inherently social.

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Sociologists Who Are Famous

It is interesting to see the famous people who have majored in sociology!  There are many accomplished people with degrees in sociology, who are not necessarily professional sociologists per se. 

Politics Arts Sports


Wellington Webb, mayor of Denver

Brett Schundler, mayor of Jersey City

Annette Strauss, former mayor of Dallas

Rev. Martin Luther King

Roy Wilkins, former head of NAACP

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Rev. Ralph Abernathy

Shirley Chisholm, former Congresswoman from NY

Maxine Waters, Congresswoman from LA

Barbara Mikulski, US Senator from Maryland

Tim Holden, Congressman from Pennsylvania

Cardinal Theordore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, DC

Saul Alinsky, father of community organizing

Saul Bellow, novelist

Ronald Reagan (double major in sociology and economics)

Emily Balch, 1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner (a social worker and social reformer)

Francis Perkins, social reformer and former Secretary of Labor

Richard Barajas, Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court


Saul Bellow, novelist

Regis Philbin, no-talent TV host

Dan Aykroyd, actor/Blues Brother

Robin Williams, actor/comedian

Paul Shaffer, bandleader on David Letterman Show (and before that, Saturday Night Live)

Dinah Shore, singer

Ruth Westheimer, the "sex doctor"


Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat

Bryant Stith, Boston Celtics

Brian Jordan, Atlanta Braves

Joe Theisman, NFL quarterback

Eric Bjornson, Dallas Cowboys

Bobby Taylor, Eagles cornerback

Ahmad Rashad, Sportscaster

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This list was adapted from the website of the American Sociological Association.