Aage B. Sørensen


1941 –


Who is Aage B. Sørensen?

Aage B. Sørensen was born on 13 May 1941 in Silkeborg, Denmark, and died on 18 April 2001 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

In 1967, Sørensen was the first recipient of a master's degree in Sociology from the University of Copenhagen. He went on to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he earned a Ph.D. in Social Relations in 1971. From 1971 to 1984, Professor Sørensen taught at the University of Wisconsin, serving as department chair in Sociology from 1979 to 1982. He was appointed to the faculty at Harvard University in 1984. As chair of the Sociology Department from 1984 until 1992, he led a substantial renewal of its faculty and programs. From 1994 until his injury, he was chair of Harvard's Joint Doctoral Program in Organizational Behavior.

Sorensen's main contribution involved theories of how social and economic inequality reflects the unequal distribution of opportunities and social resources. His work offered a sociological alternative to some economic theories that see inequality as a result of differences in training and education. Instead, he argued that the benefits of education and training depended on whether jobs were available on a freely competitive basis or whether access to them was restricted in various ways. Persistent inequalities, he argued, occur when individuals and groups are able to limit access to jobs, education and other opportunities.

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May 13, 1941
  • Denmark
  • Johns Hopkins University

on July 23, 2013


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