Commentary, Politics and Current Events, Sociology

David E. Apter, 1924—2010

David E. Apter, professor emeritus of comparative political and social development at Yale University and author of many books on the political and social struggles of developing nations including The Politics of Modernization published by the Press in 1965, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 85.
According to this obituary in the New York Times:

[Apter’s work draws] on social science and political theory and his own forays into impoverished lands, where he encountered peasants, politicians and sometimes terrorists.… In his travels, he interviewed colonial bureaucrats, nationalist leaders, generals, foot soldiers, tribal chiefs, trade unionists, farmers, fishermen and merchants in the bazaar.
“He was a tireless field worker, learning the fine grain of life out on the surfaces of the world where people actually live, and had a remarkable capacity to make broader theory out of it,” Kai T. Erikson, a former president of the American Sociological Association, said in an interview.
“It’s hard to pin him to the wall as a political scientist or a sociologist,” Professor Erikson said. “He had huge influence in both fields, bringing them together as an inventor of interdisciplinarity—almost the coiner of the term.”

David E. Apter is survived by his wife as well as his two children Andrew and Emily Apter, both of whom are leading academics in their fields have published several books with the Press.