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Harvard College, 1952, B.A., Social Relations
University of Oxford, B.A. 1954; M.A. 1959, Philosophy, Politics & Economics
Harvard University, 1958, Ph.D.
San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, 1971
Neil Smelser is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, during the 1930s and 1940s as the middle child in a family of three boys. After his time at Oxford, at the age of 26 he co-authored Economy and Society with Talcott Parsons, a renowned American sociologist. He is a former president of the American Sociological Association. He was also the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford from 1994 to 2001. Professor Smelser is the author of over a dozen books, including The Theory of Collective Behavior. His most current publication is The Odyssey Experience: Physical, Social, Psychological, and Spiritual Journeys. It is a “very general study of taking leave from your daily circumstances and getting involved in something special.” Travel continues to remain an important aspect of his life ever since he hitchhiked all over Europe in his youth.