Remembering Professor George Psathas

in Faculty, News
November 20th, 2018

Sociology Professor Emeritus George Psathas passed away this past Thursday, November 15th at the age of 88. A long-time faculty member of the BU sociology department, his colleagues shared messages in his memory this week:

Professor George Psathas was a distinguished sociologist whose major intellectual foci were phenomenological sociology and ethnomethodology. He founded and edited the journal Human Studies, which became a significant forum for work in these areas of inquiry. In addition, he edited several compendia of studies, giving many younger scholars an opportunity to publish their work. In many respects, George was an ‘academic talent scout’, always interested in recruiting and advancing the careers of promising newcomers to his fields of specialization. He was a very active organizer of many academic events, and entertained many meetings of the Interaction Research Group in his home. He was a co-founder of the International Institute for Ethnomethodological Studies. A dedicated teacher and mentor, George was an inspiring figure to all who had the good fortune to have known him. May he rest in peace. – Jeff Coulter, BU Professor Emeritus.


George Psathas was a leading proponent of phenomenological perspectives in sociology, and a major advocate for these perspectives in The Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy.  He also helped to establish BU’s Department of Sociology as one of the world’s major academic centers for interaction analysis and ethnomethodology during the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s. He was well known to students and fellow researchers for his keen, hypersensitive understanding of the micro details of social life. – James Ostrow, Professor of Sociology, Lasell College