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JOHN PORTER: Sociology in 1965-66 and still dabbling

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ronprice On December 23, 2014

George Town, Australia
#1New Post! Jun 16, 2012 @ 02:17:18
John Arthur Porter(1921-1979) was one of Canada's most important sociologists during the period from 1950 to the late 1970s. His work in the field of social stratification opened up new areas of inquiry for many sociologists in Canada. The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada, Porter's most important work, was published in 1965 by University of Toronto Press. It was the study of equality of opportunity and the exercise of power by bureaucratic, economic, and political elites in Canada.

I graduated from Hamilton’s McMaster University in 1966 with a degree in sociology. I remember The Vertical Mosaic, and I remember John Porter, but both he and his book were far out on the periphery of my life at the time. There they remained until just the other day. In 1965/6 I was up-to-my-ears in several courses in sociology, in dealing with the rigours of bipolar II disorder, in keeping a lid on my libido, in activities associated with the promotion of the Baha’i Faith on campus—as the only Baha’i at the university from 1963 to 1966, in handling a transition in my family life on the death of my father, in learning to live alone for the first time as a young adult, and in preparing to leave southern Ontario, the Golden Horseshoe, for Baffin Island and the beginning of my teaching career among the Inuit.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 15 June 2012, and Rick Helmes-Hayes, Measuring the Mosaic: An Intellectual Biography of John Porter, University of Toronto Press, 2010.

You graduated from the London
School of Economics in the same
year, ’49, I started school in little
Burlington Ontario. By 1962 you
were teaching at the university in
Ottawa and I began travelling for
the Canadian Baha’i community in
another small town in the Golden
Horseshoe. By ’65 we were both
immersed in sociology, but you were
in the academic big-leagues while I
struggled to get my B.A.; the world
of sociology was swimming in my
brain & a chemical mix that has kept
me busy all my life….C Wright Mills
and Talcott Parsons strongly influenced
you and I and still do as I troll the fields
of sociological theory in this the evening
of my life dabbling, dabbling, dabbling.

Ron Price
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