Tilly, Charles,1929–2008, American sociologist, b. Lombard, Ill. Educated at Harvard and Oxford, Tilly taught at the Univ. of Michigan, the New School for Social Research, and Columbia, among other institutions. He sought to synthesize history, sociology, and political science, and was particularly interested in the development of nation-states. His book The Contentious French (1986) painstakingly documents people confronting the power of the nation-state and modern capitalism and examines how the growth of social structures influenced their "repertoires of collective actions." His numerous other books include From Mobilization to Revolution (1978), Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons (1985), European Revolutions, 1492–1992 (1993), Cities and the Rise of States in Europe, A.D. 1000 to 1800 (1994), Durable Inequality (1998), and Why? (2006).
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Tilly, Charles(1926-) influential US historical sociologist, and head of the Center for Research on Social Organizations based at the University of Michigan. Tilly's work is remarkable, in that it has interested historians and sociologists alike. His methods, in works such as From Mobilization to Revolution (1978) and Strikes in France, 1830-1968 (with Edward Shorter) (1974), has involved the assembly of large data sets and the testing of hypotheses over time. His historical inquiries have focused especially on the exploration of changes in the patterns of‘collective action’ -including violent political action – which are associated with long-term structural transformations of society such as urbanization, industrialization, the expansion of the state, and the spread of capitalism. Rejecting those conceptions of ‘collective action’ that emphasize its basis mainly in social disorganization, Tilly's research findings have emphasized instead the increasingly ‘strategic’ character of such action. Other major works by Tilly include The Vendée (1964), regarded by many as his best book, The Rebellious Century 1830-1930 (with Louise and Richard Tilly) (1975), As Sociology Meets History (1981) and European Revolution 1492-1992 (1993).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
Tilly, Charles(1929– ) sociologist; born in Lombard, Ill. Harvard-educated, he taught at institutions including the University of Michigan (1969–84) and the New School for Social Research (1984), where he directed the Center for Studies of Social Change. He combined sociological, political, and historical analysis in his studies of early capitalism, war, and social action. He wrote among other works The Contentious French (1986).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.