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December 18, 1916-September 5, 1996
Sociologist Anselm Strauss was internationally known as a medical sociologist (especially for his pioneering attention to chronic illness and dying) and as the developer (with Barney Glaser) of grounded theory, an innovative method of qualitative analysis widely used in sociology, nursing, education, social work, and organizational studies. He also wrote extensively on Chicago sociology/symbolic interactionism, sociology of work, social worlds/arenas theory, social psychology and urban imagery. When he died he was Professor Emeritus of Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco. Many of Strauss's books are still in print, and his works have been translated into eight other languages. His culminating theoretical statement was Continual Permutations of Action (1993). He had just finished proofreading his 32nd book the day before he died.
Strauss on Interaction
“. . . This linking of individual . . . and collective identities, as well as their respective temporal choreographies–each affecting the other over time–leads to an explicit linking also of structure and interaction. Interactions can take place between individuals, but the individuals also represent–sociologically speaking–different and often multiple collectivities who are expressing themselves through the interactions. . . . Thus, social structure and interaction are intimately linked; and also reciprocally affect each other (again) over time. This is a temporal view not merely of interaction but of structure itself, the latter shaped by actors through interaction.”
-- Strauss, Anselm L. 1992. Introduction to the French Translation of Mirrors and Masks: The Search for Identity. Paris: Editions Metailie.
Essays on Stauss' Work
- On Coming Home and Intellectual Generosity - Adele E. Clarke and Susan Leigh Star. From: Legacies of Research from Anselm Strauss. 'On Coming Home and Intellectual Generosity.' Symbolic Interaction 21(4):341-464.
- The Work Sites of an American Interactionist: Anselm L. Strauss, 1917-1996 - Isabelle Baszanger. This paper offers a situated overview of the work of Anselm Strauss. Beginning from its intellectual genesis at the University of Chicago with Blumer and Hughes, Strauss's creation of a sociology of action through concepts of routine and nonroutine action, negotiated order, social worlds, arenas, properties and kinds of work, and trajectory are examined. Strauss's ideas about medicine and chronic illness, psychiatric institutions, death and dying, awareness contexts, biography and trajectory are discussed. His profoundly innovative contributions to research methods, including grounded theory and the integration of structural elements through his conditional matrix, are also detailed. In conclusion, the ways in which Strauss himself framed the critical space of an interactionist sociologist are laid out through new interview materials.
- Anselm Strauss' Grounded Theory and the Study of Work - Roberta Lessor. Anselm Strauss was interested in the sociology of work in every sense, and used his grounded theory method to observe and analyze everything he encountered, including his own “medical work.” Drawing on the reflections of his students, this introduction briefly examines Strauss’ everyday work mode using grounded theory. The eight articles in this special issue honor Strauss by using his theories and methods for studying varieties of work in very different settings. The final article in this collection provides selected statements from graduates who had the opportunity to study with Strauss. Their voices reveal how Anselm Strauss influenced their lives and work and speak for the many sociologists he trained.
- Magdeburg Memorial Conference Statement (1999) - Soeffner and Schutze
- Letter of Recommendation for Faculty Research Award (1987) - Fritz Schutze
- Foreword to the Italian translation of Mirrors and Masks (2018) - Adele Clarke & Kathy Charmaz
A festschrift is an edited volume produced in honor of an outstanding scholar. Festschrifts usually have papers by colleagues and former students working in the tradition of the scholar being honored. Strauss’s festschrift was edited by David R. Maines and is titled Social Organization and Social Process: Essays in Honor of Anselm Strauss.
- Anselm’s Festschrift from 1997 Studies in Symbolic Interaction 21:33-37: (David R. Maines)
- Reflections, Framings and Appreciations. Social Organization and Social Process: Essays in Honor of Anselm Strauss. (David R. Maines)
- Cooley-Mead Award (1994) (Adele E. Clarke)
- Faculty Research Award Speech (1987) "CHRONIC ILLNESS: A CHALLENGE TO THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM"
- Faculty Research Award - Letter (1987) (David J. Ramsay)
- Nomination for UCSF Professor Emeritus Award (1995) (Dorothy F. Bainton)
- Helen Nahm Award - Lecture (1985) "Research on Chronic Illness and its Management"
- New York Times Obituary
- UC In Memoriam - Kathy Charmaz, Virginia Olesen, Adele E. Clarke, Leonard Schatzman, S. Leigh Star, Holly Skodal Wilson
- Obituary - Footnotes - Kathy Charmaz, Virginia Olesen, Adele E. Clarke, Leonard Schatzman, S. Leigh Star, Holly Skodal Wilson
- Obituary - Social Science and Medicine - Virginia Olesen
- Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Newsletter “In Remembrance” - Kathy Charmaz
'Anselm Strauss: An Appreciation'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 1,. (1997)
Susan Leigh Star Anselm Strauss was my teacher and my friend. I think all of his students would echo that statement: Anselm was someone for whom learning, teaching, working and playing were inextricably combined. This was not incidental to his intellectual contributions. Sociology was meant to be part of life, ongoing, entwined ... not a thing set apart. Certainly not a thing set apart within a classroom, or in a discipline, or in effete theoretical formulations. Sociology meant an ongoing series of conversations. These conversations took all manner of shapes - between the theorists of the past and we the living, between European movies and Dewey's pragmatism, between the costumes of people on the streets of San Francisco and the formal sociology of Georg Simmel. I was lucky to be part of those conversations for nearly twenty years, from the time I began as his graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco, in the 1970s, to his death on September 5, 1996...
On Coming Home and Intellectual Generosity
Adele E. Clarke and Susan Leigh Star
Both of us were Anselm's students during the early 1980s. And, for both of us, finding Anselm and his work was an intellectual homecoming, a long-awaited coming in from the academic cold. We know many others have shared this intense and life-shaping experience, many without ever having met the truly exceptional man who was Anselm Strauss... We know, too, that for those who did meet him, a fundamental part of this was meeting Fran Strauss--often the smiling person opening the door to a new world. Their lives together were team efforts always, and the wholes were always considerably greater than the sum of the parts. Before we introduce the papers in this special issue, we want to briefly comment on the breadth of Anselm's connections and the wide international network he and Fran created and maintained down to the last moments of his life, which Fran nurtures still. Anselm was an exceptionally generative teacher and colleague. His was an amazing intellectual generosity...
On Learning From the Flexible Future-Oriented Elicitor
Adele E. Clarke
What stands out most to me about learning grounded theory—or anything else for that matter—from Anselm Strauss was his insistence that you own your own work. He absolutely refused to tell us what to do. At the same time he was patient far beyond the call of duty in terms of helping us (and half of the rest of the world it seemed, as we met new faces at Moore Place all the time) think about what needed doing. Eliciting from us what next, where next, how next---always keeping the momentum of discovery/construction going. This was his important lesson for us. And it is a lesson about the integration of one’s work with one’s life. Good grounded theorizing emerges from good, grounded practices and reflexivities. And he certainly had those down pat.
Teachings of Anselm Strauss: Rememberances and Reflections
Anselm Strauss was interested in the sociology of work in every sense, and used his grounded theory method to observe and analyze practically everything he encountered, including his own “medical work.” Drawing on the reflections of his students, in this introduction I briefly examine Strauss’ everyday work mode using grounded theory. The eight articles in this special issue honor Strauss by using his theories and methods for studying varieties of work in very different settings. The final article in this collection provides selected statements from graduates who had the opportunity to study with Strauss. Their voices reveal how Anselm Strauss influenced their lives and work and speak for the many sociologists he trained.
Memorials Honoring Anselm L. Strauss
- On November 1, 1996, Celebration of The Life And Work of Anselm L. Strauss was held at the University of California, San Francisco, organized by Adele Clarke. Over 250 attended. Campus Memories: Margaret Clark (Anthropology, UCSF). School of Nursing Memories: Zina Mirsky (Dean's Office, S/N, UCSF), Holly Wilson (CHS, UCSF). Department Memories: Leonard Schatzman (SBS, UCSF), Virginia Olesen (SBS, UCSF), Carroll Estes (SBS, UCSF). Alumni Memories: Carolyn Wiener (SBS, UCSF), S. Leigh Star (University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign). Colleague Memories: Melvin Sabshin (American Psychiatric Association), Isabelle Baszenger (CERMES, CNRS, Paris, France), Fritz Schuetze (Magdeburg University, Germany), Setsuo Mizuno (University of Hosei, Tokyo, Japan).
Sessions at Professional Meetings
- In 1997, Kathy Charmaz (Sonoma State University) organized a special session "Studying Social Process: Papers In The Tradition(s) Of Anselm L. Strauss" of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction in Toronto.
- In 1997, Kathy Charmaz (Sonoma State University) and Virginia Olesen (UC San Francisco) organized a Memorial Session For Anselm Strauss at the Toronto ASA meetings jointly sponsored by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction and American Sociological Association Sections on Medical Sociology, Social Psychology, and Work, Occupations and Organizations, with a reception hosted by the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF.
- In 1997, Roberta Lessor (Chapman College) organized a Memorial Session For Anselm Strauss at the Pacific Sociological Association meetings held in San Diego.
- In 1998, Roberta Lessor (Chapman College) organized special memorial sessions in honor of Anselm L. Strauss: Papers In The Tradition Of The Work Of Anselm Strauss, I-II. Pacific Sociological Association Meetings, San Francisco, 1998.
- In 1998, Robert S. Broadhead (University of Connecticut) organized a special session of papers in honor of Anselm L. Strauss: Committing Social Change In Health Care And Illness. Society for the Study of Social Problems, Health, Health Policy, and Health Services Division.
- In 1999, Fritz Schuetze (University of Magdeburg) and Hans Georg Soeffner (University of Konstanz) organized a Conference On Anselm Strauss As Theoretician: The Impact Of His Thinking On German And European Social Sciences at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. [See also the Magdeburg Memorial Conference Statement (1999)]
Publications in Honor of Anselm Strauss
- The Fall, 1996 issue of the journal Symbolic Interaction 19(4), was not only dedicated to Anselm's memory but also included a paper of his on Everett Hughes.
- The 1997 annual volume of Studies in Symbolic Interaction edited by Norman Denzin (University of Illinois) was dedicated to Anselm's memory. It contains the papers presented at the 1997 SSSI meetings special session organized by Kathy Charmaz (Sonoma State University).
- The November 1997 Qualitative Family Research (Newsletter of the Qualitative Family Research Network, Research and Theory Section, National Council on Family Relations, was a special issue In honor of Anselm Strauss..
- Adele Clarke and Leigh Star edited a special issue: "Legacies Of Research From Anselm Strauss," Symbolic Interaction 21(4):1998.
The Anselm L. Strauss Fund, UCSF Foundation
The monies generated by this fund are used to support students in the Doctoral Sociology Program, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, who are pursuing dissertation projects that continue the legacy of Anselm Strauss.
Donations may be made to:
The UCSF Foundation/
Anselm L. Strauss Fund
UCSF Box 0248
San Francisco, CA 94143-0248