Shils, Edward

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



center and periphery, charisma, Parsons, Talcott, primary groups, tradition

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Edward Shils (1910–1995) was a transatlantic intellectual with deep roots in American sociology, especially C. H. Cooley and his teacher Robert Park. He was deeply engaged with European literature and German sociological thinking, and was a major translator of Karl Mannheim and Max Weber. He was also closely associated with Michael Polanyi and opposed to the left. His core social theory involved the relation between primary groups and the charismatic center of society. He emphasized the significance and centrality to human social life of personal primary group attachments, and criticized notions of mass society, the lonely crowd, and the authoritarian personality.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Shils, Edward, in B. S. Turner, C. Kyung-Sup, C. Fuchs, P. Kivisto, W. Outhwaite & J. M. Ryan (Eds.), The Wiley‐Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, John Wiley & Sons