Albert O. Hirschman (1915-2012)

by on 2012-12-11 in Duck- 2 Comments

If you haven’t heard yet, Albert O. Hirschman passed away today. Some good discussion at Crooked Timber, including a link to a terrific piece by Rajiv Sethi. Hirschman’s stature in the social sciences was of such magnitude that, while still alive, the Social Science Research Council named a lifetime achievement award after him.

I don’t have a great deal to add myself. I learned a tremendous amount from his works, including The Passions and the Interests and Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Perhaps I am getting on myself, but it seems like we’re gradually losing a group of scholars whose influence across the spectrum of social sciences is unlikely to be repeated in the future.


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  • Adrienne LeBas - 2012-12-11

    I agree, Dan. Hirschman was a kind of wide-ranging intellect that seems increasingly rare … but it’s also the accessibility and elegance of his writing, no? Just this semester, I got an email from an undergrad saying he was passing through Lincoln Tunnel and couldn’t help but think of Hirschman. It’s this: Hirschman influenced lots of disciplines but also trained normal folks to think in terms of exit & voice, the tunnel effect, the rhetorics of intransigence, etc. He pops up in the oddest places — magazine articles, policy discussions … I’ve even encountered a fairly good description of Exit, Voice & Loyalty on a Zimbabwean newspaper editorial page. What a wonderful use of a life.

  • LFC - 2012-12-12

    “it’s also the accessibility and elegance of his writing, no?”

    Yes. Some quotes at my blog:

    (Haven’t read Rajiv Sethi yet. Will be interested to see what he says.)

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