Melvin L. Kohn

Professor Emeritus Sociology
Academy Professor in The Academy at JHU/KSAS

Greenhouse 105
By Appointment Only
Curriculum Vitae


I received my PhD in sociology, with minors in social psychology and industrial relations, from Cornell University in 1952. I conducted research in the Laboratory of Socio-environmental Studies of the National Institute of Mental Health from 1952 to 1985, serving as chief of that laboratory from 1960 on. I left there to come to Johns Hopkins as professor of sociology.

I am a past-president of the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, and the Sociological Research Association, and a former member of the executive committee of the International Sociological Association. I am an honorary foreign member of the Polish Sociological Association, and am or have been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

For most of my career my research has been in the field of social structure and personality. In recent years, this work has been almost entirely cross-nationally comparative and collaborative – initially comparing Washington, D.C. to Torino, Italy, later and much more intensively, comparing the United States to then-socialist Poland and to Japan. My most recent research has focused on social structure and personality under conditions of radical social change – beginning with a comparative study of Poland and Ukraine during the early stages of their transition from socialism to nascent capitalism, currently comparing transitional China to Poland and Ukraine. All of these studies have been done in collaboration with sociologists in those countries.

Analysis of Situational Patterning in Intergroup Relations. Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, 1952. Later published in the monograph series, Dissertations in Sociology (Edited by Robert K. Merton and Harriet Zuckerman). New York: Arno Press/New York Times, 1980.

Class and Conformity: A Study in Values. 1969. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press. Translated into Italian and published as: Societa', Classe, Famiglia: Una Ricercasui Valori Parentali nella Società Industriale. 1974. Milano: Franco Angeli Editore, second edition, containing the review essay, "Reassessment, 1977," published by the University of Chicago Press, 1977. Designated a Citation Classic by the Institute for Scientific Information, publishers of the Social Science Citation Index, 1985.

Persönlichkeit, Beruf und soziale Schichtung. [Personality, Occupation, and Social Stratification.] With an Introduction by Kurt Lüscher. 1981. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Work and Personality: An Inquiry into the Impact of Social Stratification. With Carmi Schooler, and with the collaboration of Joanne Miller, Karen A. Miller, Carrie Schoenbach, and Ronald Schoenberg. 1983. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Publishing Corp.

Social Structure and Self-Direction: A Comparative Analysis of the United States and Poland. With Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, and with the collaboration of Carrie Schoenbach. 1990. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Power and Social Structure: Essays in Honor of Włodzimierz Wesołowski. Coedited with Aleksandra Jasinska-Kania and Kazimierz M. Słomczynski. 1999. Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press.

Change and Stability: A Cross-National Analysis of Social Structure and Personality. 2006. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers. Translated into Chinese and published by the Social Sciences Academic Press of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, 2007.

Social Structure and Personality: Studies by Melvin L. Kohn and his Collaborators [in Ukrainian]. Translations from English edited by Valeriy Khmelko, Svitlana Oksamytna, and Roman Lenchovskiy. The Academic Press of the University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy, 2007.

Melvin L. Kohn, Weidong Wang, and Yin Yue. 2012. "Social Structure and Personality during the Transformation of Urban China: A Comparison of Urban China to Transitional Poland and Ukraine." Social Forces. December 2012, pp. 347-374.

In Process: Adventures in Sociology: A Memoir (provisional title).