Bell, Daniel,1919–2011, American sociologist, b. New York City as Daniel Bolotsky, grad. City College (1939), Columbia (Ph.D., 1960). His immigrant parents changed their surname when he was 13. Bell taught at the Univ. of Chicago, Columbia, and Harvard. His interests ranged widely, and as a noted public intellectual he spoke and wrote on many topics. His many subjects of study included contemporary capitalist society and the individual's place within it, socialism's failure in the United States, capitalism's change from a manufacturing to a service and consumerist base, and the vulgarization of modern culture. He prophesied the coming of an "information society" and of industries reliant on science and technology. Bell also was the editor of several periodicals, notably The Public Interest (1965–72), which he cofounded. Among his best-known books are The End of Ideology (1960), The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1973), and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1978).
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Bell, Daniel(1919-) US essayist and sociologist whose various descriptions of modern society have achieved a wide but contested currency. In The End ofIdeology (1960), he was among the first to suggest a sharp decline in the relevance of previously dominant class ideologies (see END-OF-IDEOLOGY THESIS). Later, in The Coming of Post Industrial Society (1973), he advanced the view that modern societies had become not only POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES but also knowledge-based, INFORMATION SOCIETIES, in which science and technology and professional and technical employment were now central. At this stage Bell's main message was one of an optimistic future and a society of declining social conflict. In The Cultural Contradictions ofCapitalism (1976), however, the tone changes. Now Bell notes the new and unresolved tensions between the three competing ‘axial principles’ of modern society: techno-economic efficiency; universal CITIZENSHIP, political equality and entitlements to social welfare; and individual self-expression and hedonistic fulfilment (see also CULTURAL CONTRADICTIONS OF CAPITALISM, FISCAL CRISIS IN THE CAPITALIST STATE, LEGITIMATION CRISIS, SECTORAL CLEAVAGES). Thus Bell's sociological analysis of modern society can be said to have captured the changing fortunes and moods of modern society. See also FUTUROLOGY.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
Bell, Daniel(1919– ) sociologist; born in New York City. A radical journalist in the late 1930s, he became a moderate liberal spokesman of distinctive intellectual power and breadth. He was labor editor of Fortune (1948–58), and spent most of his academic career at Columbia University (1952–69) and Harvard (1969–90). Of his many books, The End of Ideology (1960) and Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976) attracted the widest attention; he co-founded and edited The Public Interest (1965–73).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.