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Peter Blau
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Peter Blau

Peter Michael Blau was a sociologist, born February 7, 1918 in Vienna, Austria. In 1939 he emigrated to the United States. He received his PhD at Columbia University in 1952 before moving on to teach at the University of Chicago from 1953 to 1970. In 1970 he returned to Columbia, where he continued to teach until 1988. His sociological specialty is in organizational and social structures, in particular bureaucracy. He theorized explanations for many social phenomena, including upward mobility, occupational opportunity, heterogeneity, and how population structures can influence human behavior. He also was the first to map out the wide variety of social forces, dubbed "Blau space" by Miller McPherson. Blau-space is still used as a guide by sociologists and has been expanded to include areas of sociology Blau himself never specifically covered.

In 1974 Blau served as president of the American Sociological Association.

He died on March 12, 2002 of acute respiratory distress syndrome.