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Murray Milner

Professor Emeritus

Murray Miner, Jr. passed away in November 2019.

Murray Milner, Jr. was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Virginia and was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He received B.Sc. from Texas A & M, and M.A. from the University of Texas, and M. Div. from Union Theological seminary (New York), and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. For three years, he directed a relief and rehabilitation program in Bangladesh.

He wrote an array of articles and was a co-author of Police on Campus, an analysis of the mass police action at Columbia University in 1968. He was the author of The Illusion of Equality: The Effects of Educational Opportunity on Inequality and Conflict; Unequal Care: A Case Study of Interorganizational Relations in Health Care; and Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture, which received the 1996 Distinguished Publication Award from the American Sociological Association, and Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption (Routledge, 2004), which applies the theory of status relationships that was developed in Status and Sacredness to the behavior of adolescents.  He also authored Elites: A General Model (Polity Press, 2015), which proposes a model of the common patterns of cooperation and conflict between different types of elites and between elites and non-elites, and then uses the model to analyze ancient India, Classical Athens, and the contemporary United States.  His latest book was a revised and updated version of Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids.  This edition was subtitled "Teenagers in an Era of Consumption, Standardized Tests, and Social Media".  Based on additional fieldwork, it identifies the changes that have occurred in high schools in the fifteen years since the original study.  Special attention is paid to effects of new technologies and social media on teen culture, and the intended and unintended consequences of extensive standardized testing.

He was completing work on a book entitled "Understanding Sacredness: A Sociological Theology".

His Fellowships included: NIMH Training Fellowship, NEH Summer Institute for Cross-disciplinary Study; Senior Fulbright Fellow to India; American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship. He had been a visiting scholar at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, the Delhi School of Economics, and London School of Economics, and Downing College, Cambridge. In 1997, he was the American Sociological Association Sorokin Lecturer at the Eastern Sociology Association meetings and the Pacific Sociological Association meetings. In 1998 he received the Virginia Social Science Association Distinguished Scholar Award. In 2007 he received his second Fulbright award and served as a lecturer in sociology at Delhi School of Economics and at St. Edmund's College of North East Hill University.



Police on Campus
New York Civil Liberties Union, 1969.

The Illusion of Equality: The Effects of Educational Opportunity on Inequality and Conflict
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1972, Japanese edition with new introduction, Tokyo: Reimer Shobo, 1976.

Unequal Care: A Case Study of Interorganizational Relations in Health Care
New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture
New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, (American Sociological Association Distinguished Publication Award for 1996).

Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption
New York: Routledge, 2004.

Elites: A General Model
Wiley, 2015

Freaks, Geeks and Cool Kids: Teenagers in an Era of Consumerism, Standardized Tests, and Social Media
New York: Routledge, 2016

Understanding the Sacred: Sociological Theology for Contemporary People
Wipf & Stock, April 2019


Murray Milner, Jr. 2014. “Postmodernism and Sociology: Can Solidarity Be a Substitute for Objectivity?” in Postmodernism in a Global Perspective, edited by Samir Dasgupta and Peter Kivisto. New Delhi and Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

"Paradoxical Inequalities: Adolescent Peer Relations in Indian Secondary Schools." Sociology of Education (2013) 86-253.

"Human Rights as Status Relations," Handbook of Human Rights, ed. Thomas Cushman. London and New York: Routlege, 2011.

Murray Milner, Jr. 2002. "Caste," in Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, David Levinson and Karen Christensen, eds., New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, The Gale Group, pp.438-443.

"Status Distinctions and Boundaries" Handbook of Cultural Sociology, Edited by John R. Hall, Laura Grindstaff, and Ming-Cheng Lo, New York: Routlege (2010).

"Is Celebrity a New Kind of Status System?" Society (2010) 47:379–387.

"Youth Culture in a 'Faraway Place.'" The Hedgehog Review (Spring 2009) p. 65-73.

"Teenage Behavior: It’s Not Biology, Psychology, or Family Values" Educational Horizons vol 84 no. 4 Summer 2006, p. 240-6.

“Status,” Encyclopedia of Social Theory, Edited by Austin Harrington, Barbara L Marshall, Hans-Peter Müller, London: Routlege, 2006.

"Celebrity Culture as a Status System", The Hedgehog Review Celebrity Culture, p. 66- 77 Spring 2005

"Solidarity, the Sacred, and Human Rights: A Sociological Response," The Hedgehog Review, 3(Summer 2001):33-37.

"Status and Sacredness: Worship and Salvation as Forms of Status Transformation." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, (June 1994)

"Hindu Eschatology and the Indian Cast System: An Example of Structural Reversal," The Journal of Asian Studies, 52 (May 1993):298-319

"Status Relations in Marriage Alliances: Toward A General Theory," Contributions to Indian Sociology (NS), 22, 2(1989): 146-169

"Theories of Inequality: An Overview and a Strategy for Synthesis," Social Forces, June 1987

"Dirt and Development in India," Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 1987

"Alternative Forms of Coordination: Combing Theoretical and Policy Analysis," International Journal of Comparative Sociology, March-June, 1978. Reprinted in Policy Research, Amsterdam: Brill, 1979.


"The Rise and Fall of an Icon: the Case of the Marlboro Man," to be presented at ASA Meeting August 2011.

"A General Model of Elites and Non-elites: Applied to American Society 1980-2008," 2011.