Chapter 21

Conrad Arensberg: Economic and Industrial Anthropologist
Thomas Weaver

Conrad Arensberg (1910–1997) specialized in economic and industrial anthropology, urban studies, development and applied anthropology, and community studies. Well known as a scholar, Arensberg emphasized the link between theory and application in all his work. Trained in anthropology at Harvard in the 1930s, he held academic positions at Brooklyn College, Barnard College, and Columbia University. He was in U.S. Military Intelligence during World War II and later served as a research consultant for UNESCO and various U.S. government agencies. Among Arensberg’s most important contributions were his studies of industrial relations in which he helped to develop sociometric measures of human interaction and network and event analysis as a means of discovering the roots of workers’ alienation from their jobs and suggesting solutions. Because of his failing health, Arensberg did not publish his 1991 Malinowski Award address, and there is no known copy.