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Ernest Burgess

Ernest BurgessAKA Ernest Watson Burgess

Born: 16-May-1886
Birthplace: Tilbury, Ontario, Canada
Died: 27-Dec-1966
Location of death: Chicago, IL
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Congregationalist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Sociologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Introduction to the Science of Sociology

Sociologist Ernest Burgess studied the characteristics of urban populations, as compared to rural ones, and the patterns of ethnic segregation in cities. With Robert E. Park, he theorized that a "natural community" emerges within any large city, and Park and Burgess co-authored Introduction to the Science of Sociology, a college-level textbook which was widely used for several decades. After his retirement in 1951, Burgess conducted research on the sociology of aging.

He also conducted studies on marriage, compiling statistics from interviews with hundreds of married couples, and concluded in 1945 that "institutional marriage" (which he defined as "a building block of society" established and regulated by social norms) was evolving into "companionate marriage" (more defined by affection between the parties and their choice of each other as lifelong companions) in American society. Based on his research, he proposed and lectured on a formula for choosing a spouse, though Burgess himself never married.

Father: Edmund J. Burgess (Congregationalist minister)
Mother: Mary Ann Jane Wilson

    University: BA, Kingfisher College, OK (1908)
    University: PhD Sociology, University of Chicago (1913)
    Lecturer: Sociology, University of Toledo (1912-13)
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Sociology, University of Kansas (1913-15)
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Sociology, Ohio State University (1915-16)
    Teacher: Assoc. Prof. of Sociology, University of Chicago (1916-27)
    Professor: Sociology, University of Chicago (1927-66, emeritus after 1951)

    American Journal of Sociology (Managing Editor, 1936-40)
    American Sociological Association (President, 1934)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Law Institute
    American Statistical Association
    Social Science Research Council (President, 1945-46)
    Sociological Research Association (President, 1942)
    Urban League Chicago
    American Journal of Sociology Editor (1936-40)
    Canadian Ancestry

Author of books:
Socialization in Social Evolution (1916)
Introduction to the Science of Sociology (1921, with Robert E. Park)
The City (1925, with Robert E. Park and Roderick D. McKenzie)
The Urban Community (1925)
Personality and the Social Group (1929)
The Rural Community (1929)
Census Data of the City of Chicago, 1930 (1933, with Charles Newcomb)
Predicting Success or Failure in Marriage (1939, with Leonard S. Cottrell)
The Family, from Institution to Companionship (1945, with Harvey J. Locke)
Courtship, Engagement and Marriage (1953, with Paul Wallin)
Aging in Western Societies (1960)
Contributions to Urban Sociology (1964, with Donald J. Bogue)
The Basic Writings of Ernest W. Burgess (1974, posthumous collection)


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