Stanley Aronowitz

Stanley Aronowitz (January 6, 1933 – August 16, 2021) was a professor of sociology, cultural studies, and urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center. He was also a veteran political activist and cultural critic, an advocate for organized labor and a member of the interim consultative committee of the International Organization for a Participatory Society.[8] In 2012, Aronowitz was awarded the Center for Study of Working Class Life's Lifetime Achievement Award at Stony Brook University.[4]

Stanley Aronowitz
Stanley Aronowitz by David Shankbone.jpg
Born(1933-01-06)January 6, 1933
DiedAugust 16, 2021(2021-08-16) (aged 88)
  • Jane O'Connell
    (div. 1962)
  • (m. 1998; died 2006)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisMarxism, Technology and Labor[2] (1975)
Academic work
Doctoral students
Notable studentsImmanuel Ness[7]
Main interests


Born on January 6, 1933, and raised in New York City, Aronowitz attended public primary school in The Bronx before enrolling in The High School of Music & Art in Manhattan.[1][9] He then attended Brooklyn College until being suspended by its administration for engaging in a demonstration. Instead of returning to school the next year, Aronowitz moved to New Jersey, where he worked at several metalworking factories.

Aronowitz became involved in the American labor movement in New Jersey, and in 1959, while laid off from his job as a metalworker, he found work with the New Jersey Industrial Union Council. Collaborating with the council's president, Aronowitz cowrote New Jersey's unemployment compensation law, subsequently enacted by the state legislature in 1961.

His work with the Industrial Union Council led to Aronowitz's appointment as director of the organizing and boycott department of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Aronowitz spent four years traveling throughout the United States to develop the union's campaigns.

In the 1960s, while employed with the Clothing Workers, Aronowitz began participating in the Civil Rights Movement. He engaged in lunch counter sit-ins and gave speeches on the labor movement's behalf to the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee on the confluence of African-American civil rights and economic issues.

Through his work in civil rights, Aronowitz secured the role of labor coordinator, appointed by Bayard Rustin, on the planning committee of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1962–3. Aronowitz was tasked with soliciting the support of American labor unions for the march, and while encountering resistance from the majority of trade unions, most notably the AFL–CIO, he secured the endorsement of the United Auto Workers, United Packinghouse Workers of America, as well as rubber and clothing workers' unions.[6]

Aronowitz died on August 16, 2021, from complications of a stroke, in Manhattan.[1][10]


Aronowitz was the author of numerous books on class, culture, sociology of science, and politics. With Fredric Jameson and John Brenkman, he was a founding editor of Duke University's Social Text, a journal that is subtitled "Theory, Culture, Ideology". He defended the journal from criticism after it published a hoax article in its summer 1996 issue (see Sokal Affair).[11]

In that article, he stated that with this publication, "Our objective was to interrogate Marxists' habitual separation of political economy and culture and to make a contribution to their articulation, even reunification." Aronowitz, however, was not a working editor at the time of the Sokal scandal and had not seen the paper before publication. In an interview in the Brooklyn Rail after the publication of Taking it Big: C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals, he cited Mills's influence on his beliefs when he states, "My own insights, as a result of my own experience as a worker, as a trade unionist, and as an activist, were stimulated and, to some extent, guided by Mills’s example. His three major books on American social structure—The New Men of Power, White Collar, and The Power Elite—together constitute a compelling intellectual program for our own times."[4]

Green politicsEdit

His campaign finished in 5th place, receiving 41,797 votes (.89%). He was also an active trade unionist and a member of the executive council of his university's union, the Professional Staff Congress. Aronowitz was a proponent of a reduced work week, among other strategies for improving everyday life, and worked actively with the Basic Income Earth Network toward the furtherance of such goals.

Other activitiesEdit

In 1965 Aronowitz was one of the lecturers at the Free University of New York shortly after it was founded.[12]

In 1976, Aronowitz (then living in San Diego and teaching at UC-Irvine, joined the New American Movement. In 2010, he would write a lengthy essay titled, "The New American Movement and Why It Failed" for the journal Work and Days.[13]

In 2005 Aronowitz co-founded the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination. He has also published articles in numerous publications and with a core group of intellectuals—faculty and students—at the Graduate Center, he spearheaded the effort to create the Center for Cultural Studies (now the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work) in the spirit of fostering intellectual debate, multidisciplinarity, and the toppling of high cultural privilege in academia.[citation needed] In 1969, Aronowitz, Jeremy Brecher, Paul Mattick Jr., and Peter Rachleff, began sporadically publishing a magazine and pamphlet series called Root & Branch.[14][15]


Aronowitz lived in New York City. He was first married to Jane O'Connell until divorcing in 1962 and was then married to Ellen Willis from 1998 until her death in November 2006.[1][16] He had five children, including Nona Willis-Aronowitz.[17][1]


Aronowitz has authored, co-authored, or edited over 26 different books, as well as authored over 200 articles and reviews.[18]


Title Publication Date Publisher ISBN
Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and its Discontents 2015 Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 1137438878
The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers' Movement 2014 Verso Books ISBN 1784783005
Taking It Big: C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals 2012 Columbia University Press ISBN 0231135408
Against Schooling: For an Education That Matters 2008 Routledge ISBN 1594515034
The Last Good Job in America: Work and Education in the New Global Technoculture 2007 Rowman & Littlefield ISBN 0742560260
Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future 2006 Routledge ISBN 1594513112
Just Around The Corner: The Paradox of the Jobless Recovery 2005 Temple University Press ISBN 1592131387
C. Wright Mills 2004 SAGE Publications ISBN 0761973710
How Class Works: Power and Social Movement 2004 Yale University Press ISBN 0300105045
The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning 2001 Beacon Press ISBN 0807031232
From The Ashes Of The Old: American Labor and America's Future 1998 Basic Books ISBN 0465004091
The Death and Rebirth of American Radicalism 1996 Routledge ISBN 0415912415
Radical Democracy 1994 Blackwell ISBN 1557865469
Dead Artists, Live Theories, and Other Cultural Problems 1993 Routledge ISBN 0415907381
Roll Over Beethoven: The Return of Cultural Strife 1993 Wesleyan University Press ISBN 0819552550
The Politics of Identity: Class, Culture, Social Movements 1992 Routledge ISBN 0415904366
Science as Power: Discourse and Ideology in Modern Society 1988 Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 0816616590
Working Class Hero : A New Strategy for Labor 1983 Adama Books ISBN 0915361132
Crisis In Historical Materialism: Class, Politics, and Culture in Marxist Theory 1981 Praeger Publishers ISBN 0897890116
Food, Shelter, and the American Dream 1974 Seabury Press ISBN 082640104X
False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness 1973 McGraw-Hill Education ISBN 0822311984
Honor America : The Nature of Fascism, Historic Struggles Against It and a Strategy for Today 1970 Times Change Press ISBN 0878100113

Coauthored worksEdit

Author(s) Title Publication Date Publisher ISBN
Stanley Aronowitz and William DiFazio Jobless Future: Sci-Tech and the Dogma of Work 1995 University of Minnesota Press ISBN 0816621942
Stanley Aronowitz and Henry A. Giroux Education Still Under Siege 1993 Bergin & Garvey ISBN 0897893115
Stanley Aronowitz and Henry A. Giroux Postmodern Education: Politics, Culture, and Social Criticism 1991 University of Minnesota Press ISBN 0816618801
Stanley Aronowitz and Henry A. Giroux Education Under Siege: The Conservative, Liberal and Radical Debate over Schooling 1986 Routledge ISBN 0710213182
Jack Barnes, Stanley Aronowitz, Peter Camejo, Michael Harrington, George Breitman, and Carl Haessler The Lesser Evil? Debates on the Democratic Party and Independent Working-Class Politics 1977 Pathfinder Press ISBN 0873485181


  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Sam (August 21, 2021). "Stanley Aronowitz, Labor Scholar and Activist, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Aronowitz, Stanley (1975). Marxism, Technology and Labor (PhD thesis). Union Institute and University. ProQuest 302786098.
  3. ^ Díaz, Kim. "Paulo Freire (1921–1997)". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ISSN 2161-0002. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Aronowitz, Stanley (August 1, 2012). "InConversation STANLEY ARONOWITZ with Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker". Express (Interview). Interviewed by Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker. Brooklyn, NY: The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  5. ^ Ward, Tony (May 8, 2013). "Stanley Aronowitz". Tony Ward Education. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016. [Stanley] was deeply influenced by Herbert Marcuse's Eros and Civilisation and One-Dimensional Man and in 1972-3 he met Marcuse who had responded to the manuscript for his first book, the acclaimed False Promises: The Shaping of American Working-Class Consciousness.
  6. ^ a b Aronowitz, Stanley (2016). "Biography". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Ness, Immanuel (1995). Trade unions and the unemployed: Organizing strategies, conflict, and control (PhD thesis). Graduate Center, CUNY. p. iii. OCLC 1043905373. ProQuest 304187945.
  8. ^ "International Organization for a Participatory Society: Consultative Committee". International Organization for a Participatory Society. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Staff. "Stanley Aronowitz: LC Authority Name File". Library of Congress. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "Stanley Aronowitz, longtime labor and civil rights activist, dies at 88". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
  11. ^ Aronowitz, S. (1997) Alan Sokal's "Transgression". Dissent, Winter 1997.
  12. ^ Berke, Joseph (October 29, 1965), "The Free University of New York", Peace News: 6–7 as reproduced in Jakobsen, Jakob (2012), Anti-University of Londin–Antihistory Tabloid, London, UK: MayDay Rooms, pp. 6–7, archived from the original on 2012-10-12
  13. ^ Aronowitz, Stanley. "The New American Movement and Why It Failed." Work and Day Issue 55/56; Vol. 28, 2010; pp. 21-34
  14. ^ "Root & Branch: A Liberatarian Socialist Journal". 1973. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  15. ^ Root & Branch: The Rise of the Workers' Movements. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett. 1975.
  16. ^ Fox, Margalit (10 November 2006). "Ellen Willis, 64, Journalist and Feminist, Dies". The New York Times.
  17. ^ "Willis, Ellen. Papers of Ellen Willis, 1941-2011: A Finding Aid". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  18. ^ Staff. "Stanley Aronowitz". Faculty - Core Bios. Graduate Center, CUNY. Archived from the original on June 9, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Green Party of New York nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by