Peter L. Berger: Farewell to a Great “Accidental” Sociologist

Ali Yaşar Sarıbay


(First paragraph)

The passing away of Professor Peter L. Berger on June 27 is a great loss for the world of social sciences. Berger built his name and reputation in the academic sphere, primarily thanks to his analyses on place and the role of religion in the modern world. Indeed, his horizon was far beyond the mentioned analyses. Berger first prepared for life through studies of theology with the ambition of becoming a Lutheran priest. However, the coincidences that led to his arrival in the United States as an Austrian migrant played a part in his academic career. His intention was to build on his foundation in theology, but instead he studied sociology. Therefore, he defined himself as an “accidental sociologist” in his memoir Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist (2011).

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Berger, Peter L. 2011. Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist. New York: Prometheus Books.

———. 1996. “Secularism in Retreat.” The National Interest 46: 3-12.

Hovorun, Cyril, and Robert Arida. 2016. “‘Christians Should Be Happy About Pluralism:’ A Conversation with Peter L. Berger.” The Wheel 4: 11-25.

Mathewes, Charles T. 2006. “Interview with the JAAR Editor: After the First Year.” Religious Studies News 21(4): 17.

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