Friday, May 24, 2013

Michel Crozier Dies

Michel Crozier, the eminent sociologist best known for The Bureaucratic Phenomenon, died last night at the age of 91. His book The Actor and the System was the first I ever translated.

French sociology also lost Raymond Boudon and Robert Castel earlier this year, which has been a grim season for a discipline that blossomed in the 1970s and 80s.


Cincinna said...

Georges Moustaki, French singer and composer, died in Nice yesterday of an incurable bronchial ailment.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt to Jewish Greek parents, he arrived in Paris in 1951, and became a key figure on the French music scene performing and writing songs like Ma liberté, Ma solitude ,Le Facteur and the Piaf classic, Milord. He wrote more than 300 songs for Édith Piaf, Yves Montand, Barbara, Juliette Gréco, Serge Reggiani.
Moustaki was my neighbor and friend for many years on the Ile Saint Louis. He lived on the island for almost fifty years. It was like a small town, where everyone knew everybody. Even Baron Guy de Rothschild would pick up his morning paper and stay for a chat.
A very heavy smoker, Moustaki would jump off his motorcycle, and run into the local Tabac, or hang out at the local Librairie, where he would go to make his phone calls, and swap stories with friends and neighbors, rather than climb up the four flights to his apartment. His girlfriends through the years were all very young, and blond, riding off into the sunset on his bike. One of the nicest, kindest, gentlest people I've ever known. Rest in peace, cher ami.

FrédéricLN said...

Georges Moustaki (whom I did not know in person) was also agreat fan of bossa nova, dared to sing some titles (Les eaux de mars…), while openly admitting - I can't find the expression English — he couldn't really sing or pay bossa nova, he wasn't really good at it. I find that great. You love it, just forget you can't. (I'm fascinated by bossa nova too, and can't (for sure) sing it at all!).

I also didn't know Crozier in person. As a student, I was trained at a moment, 1985-91, where his theories of "sociologie des organisations" were the doxa, at least in the "écoles d'ingénieurs". I learned it from some of his colleagues, I thought I understood it well and applied in as a junior consultant, and got awful marks at the exam. Then I understood the theory was probably deeper and more complex than my first understanding.

Congratulations for this choice, L'acteur et le système. "Acteur" is now a word ordinary people use in ordinary life (within local associations, town councils, social moves…). The "sociologie des organisations" has not only increased science, it changed reality — the way ordinary people understand and try to influence organizations.

FrédéricLN said...

oops, " or pay" -> "or play" (the guitar)

Cincinna said...

When I wrote my post about Georges Moustaki, Some of my information about his death was from French sources. The NYT, in its obituary today, states he died of Emphysema, not surprising sing the man smoked like a chimney.
Everyone who knew him loved him. I consider myself privileged to have been his neighbor on that magical island, and to have been a friend.
He will be buried at Père La chaise cemetery on Monday. May his soul find eternal rest and peace.