Florian Witold Znaniecki

Znaniecki, Florian Witold


Born Jan. 15, 1882, in Swietniki, Poland; died Mar. 23, 1958, in Urbana, 111. Bourgeois socialist.

Znaniecki studied in Krakow, Geneva, and Paris and was professor of sociology and of philosophy of culture at the University of Poznari from 1920 to 1939. He founded the Polish Sociological Institute in 1921 and the journal Przeglqd socjologiczny in 1930. He became a citizen of the USA in 1941 and was professor of sociology at the University of Illinois from 1941 to 1951 and president of the American Sociological Society for the 1953-54 academic year.

Znaniecki’s early philosophical works on problems of knowledge and values are greatly influenced by H. Rickert, W. Windelband, and H. Bergson. His work The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, published in 1918-20 and written jointly with the American sociologist W. Thomas, is considered a classic in non-Marxist sociology. The authors were the first to use the concepts of personality attitude and of values in social analysis and to develop methods for studying personal documents, such as letters, diaries, and autobiographies.

Znaniecki is one of the founders of the theory of social action. According to Znaniecki, society is a cultural system composed of social, economic, technological, and other sub-systems, the whole being the subject matter of all the cultural sciences. Znaniecki divided the social system, which forms the subject matter of sociology, into four subsystems: social actions, social relations, social personalities, social groups. The nature of the social system, according to Znaniecki, is determined by the nature of the social actions of individuals, which are based on values and attitudes. These conceptions of Znaniecki reveal the idealistic basis of his views. Znaniecki’s works had an influence on the development of non-Marxist social psychology and sociology.


Humanizm i poznanie. Warsaw, 1912.
Wstqp do socjologii. Poznan, 1922.
The Laws of Social Psychology. Warsaw [1925].
Socjologja \\ychowania, vols. 1-2. Warsaw, 1928-30.
The Method of Sociology. New York, 1934.
Social Actions. New York, 1967.
The Social Role of the Man of Knowledge. New York, 1965.
Cultural Sciences. Urbana, 111., 1963.
Modern Nationalities. Urbana, 111., 1952.
Social Relations and Social Roles. San Francisco, 1965.


Becker, H., and A. Boskow.Sovremennaia sotsiologicheskaia teoriia. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from English.)
Martindale, D.The Nature and Types of Sociological Theory. London, 1961.
Szczepanski, J.Socjologia, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1967.