Robert Michels was a German sociologist who spent the last 10 years of his life in Italy. In the English-speaking world, he is most famous for his book "Political Parties" (1911), in which he formulated the problem of the oligarchic tendencies of organizations. "He who says organization," he asserted, "says oligarchy." But political parties, he believed, are less oligarchic than single-purpose organizations concerned with specific reforms or with technical problems. An important study of the International Typographical Union, "Union Democracy" by Seymour M. Lipset, Martin A. Trow, and James S. Coleman (1956), has been said by some scholars to challenge many of Michels's findings about organizations. Rather, by pointing out the essential characteristics of a democratic trade union, this book confirms Michels's thesis. Michels also wrote about democracy, socialism, revolution, class conflict, trade unionism, mass society, nationalism, imperialism, and intellectuals, and he made intensive studies of the politics of the working class.
Seymour Martin Lipset: March 18, 1922 - December 31, 2006 American political theorist and sociologist, Seymour Martin Lipset, was born in New York City on March 18, 1922, and educated at City College of New York and Columbia University. Lipset taught at a number of universities, including the University of Toronto, Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, and Stanford University. A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, he was also a member of the International Society of Political Psychology, the American Political Science Association, and the American Academy of Science. Among Lipset's many works are "Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics" (1960), "Class, Status, and Power" (1953), and "Revolution and Counterrevolution" (1968). He also contributed articles to a number of magazines, including The New Republic, Encounter, and Commentary. Lipset has received a number of awards for his work, including the MacIver Award in 1962, the Gunnar Myrdal Prize in 1970, and the Townsend Harris Medal in 1971. Lipset died on December 31, 2006, as a result of complications following a stroke. He was 84.