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The calling of social thoughtRediscovering the work of Edward Shils$
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Christopher Adair-Toteff and Stephen Turner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526120052

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526120052.001.0001

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Edward Shils and his Portraits

Edward Shils and his Portraits

Chapter:
(p.191) 10 Edward Shils and his Portraits
Source:
The calling of social thought
Author(s):

Bryan S. Turner

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526120052.003.0011

Edward Shils’ Portraits offers various intellectual biographies of major figures that played a large role in his life, mainly at the University of Chicago. The list is diverse including economists, sociologists, natural scientists, and historians of the ancient world. The diversity illustrates the breadth of Shils’ academic work. The famous Committee for Social Thought was a key institution in Shils’ intellectual development and, while Portraits can be read as a history of the University of Chicago during the twentieth century, Shils was a trans-Atlantic intellectual with close connections to Peterhouse College Cambridge and the London School of Economics. Portraits is a celebration of the Chicago tradition created by Robert Maynard Hutchins University President (1929-1945) for the in-depth study of ‘great books’, but Shils concludes with a nostalgic reflection on the end of the ‘age of books’. The narrative is haunted by the figure of Max Weber, whose rationalization thesis has been borne out with the rise of the bureaucratic corporate university and the narrow specialization of research.

Keywords:   Committee for Social Thought, intellectuals, disenchantment, professionalism, University of Chicago, Max Weber

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