Daniel Bell (born 10 May 1919 in New York) is a sociologist and a professor emeritus at Harvard University. He is also a director of Suntory Foundation and a scholar in residence of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1990, Bell retired as professor of sociology at Harvard University. Currently he lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife Pearl Bell, a literary criticism scholar.
Bell graduated from City College of New York with a B.A. in ancient history in 1939 rather than sociology, at the behest of his academic advisor. He started his career as a journalist, being a managing editor of The New Leader magazine (1941–1945), a labor editor of Fortune (1948–1958) and a co-founder of The Public Interest Magazine (1965). In 1960 Columbia University awarded him with a Ph.D. degree. He taught sociology first at Columbia University (1959–1969) and then at Harvard University. He served as a member of President’s Commission on Technology in 1964–1965 and as member of President’s Commission on a National Agenda for the 1980’s in 1979. Bell was among the original New York Intellectuals, a group of anti-Stalinist left-wing writers.
He is best known for his contributions to post-industrialism. His most influential books are The End of Ideology (1960), The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976) and The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1973). The End of Ideology and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism appeared on the Times Literary Supplement’s list of the 100 most important books of the second half of the twentieth century. The End of Ideology has been influential in what was called endism. This is the idea that both history and ideology have been reduced to insignificance because Western democratic politics and capitalism have triumphed. At the time, Bell was attacked by political critics, left-wing and otherwise. They claimed that Bell had replaced a sense of reality with theoretical elegance, arguing that he privileged 'endism' more than he did historical accuracy. In his own words, Bell describes himself as a "socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture."
Broadly speaking, criticism of The End of Ideology boiled down to five general concerns:
In The Coming of Post-Industrial Society Bell outlined a new kind of society - the post-industrial society. He argued that post-industrialism would be information-led and service-oriented. Bell also argued that the post-industrial society would replace the industrial society as the dominant system. There are three components to a post-industrial society, according to Bell:
Bell also conceptually differentiates between three aspects of the post-industrial society: data, or information describing the empirical world, information, or the organization of that data into meaningful systems and patterns such as statistical analysis, and knowledge, which Bell conceptualizes as the use of information to make judgments.
Since the publication of his book, many of the predictions have turned true. He takes credit for predicting mass consumption, but he failed to foresee the social cost, such as loss of job security or mass unemployment.
Bell's son, David A. Bell, is a professor of French history at Johns Hopkins University, and his daughter, Jordy Bell, was an academic administrator and teacher of, among other things, U.S. Women's history at Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York, before her retirement in 2005.
BROTHER ACCUSED OF DNA FORGERY POLICE SAY DANIEL BELL FRAUDULENTLY TOOK A PATERNITY TEST MEANT FOR HIS BROTHER SAMUEL.(LOCAL)
Sep 14, 2007; Byline: ED TRELEVEN firstname.lastname@example.org 608-252-6134 For a moment, it looked like a DNA test proved Samuel Bell was not the...
Daniel Bell and the Post-Industrial Society: The Late Sociologist Was Best Known for Defining and Describing the New Era and Social Realities That Information Technologies Were Helping to Create in the Twentieth Century
May 01, 2011; Daniel Bell, who died January 26, 2011, at the age of 91, left a lasting legacy of imposing books analyzing the economic and...