Today, right before teaching my social movements class, I saw the news, on the listserv for the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association, that Mayer Zald had passed away. The post was written by Jeff Goodwin, co-editor of the reader I adopted for the course. Earlier in the course, we had considered a piece co-written by Zald and John D. McCarthy, and the partial bibliography for my syllabus contains many references to work they wrote together. I think primarily on the groundbreaking work Zald wrote with Patricia Denton, “From Evangelism to General Service: The Transformation of the YMCA.” That describes how the YMCA evolved from work primarily religious in nature to work with more broad appeal.
I do like Goodwin’s remembrance of Zald, and hope it will be published in some form.
The sociology and organizational theory world is mourning the loss of a great friend and leader of the field. Mayer Zald passed away this week. Mayer is a seminal and uniquely influential scholar. His influence has extended to multiple disciplines, including sociology, organizational theory, and political science. He wrote prolifically and was active through the last year of his life. To just give you an example of his ongoing engagement with scholarship, Mayer was to be a discussant at the session I’m involved with at ASA, a role he’d served so well many times. Earlier this year he’d emailed me about a book idea. I told him I was writing a paper about organizational character, and he sent me a list of papers that I shouldn’t forget to read. He was always doing that sort of thing, encouraging scholars to try be innovative while not forgetting our past, seeding new…
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