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VERY SAD NEWS. PASSED AWAY MELVIN KOHN

On March 20, 2021, at the age of 92, a well-known American sociologist, former president of the American Sociological Association, honorary professor of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and our (mine and Valerii Khmelko) great friend Melvin Lester Cohn passed away. Very, very sad.

We met Melvin in 1987 in Vilnius at the first Soviet-American conference he organized, and this acquaintance had a profound effect on the lives of my family and the lives of Valerii Khmelko and his family. Melvin's project and our joint research in Ukraine, which lasted about 15 years, helped us create the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. I spent a year at Johns Hopkins University and worked with Melvin on data analysis, it was a unique experience. And friendship with Melvin all these years, our meetings in different countries - the USA, Poland, China, trips across Ukraine - some of the happiest memories in my life.

Many well-known sociologists, such as Merton, very highly appreciated Melvin Cohn's contribution to sociology. We published a book of M. Cohn 's works in Ukrainian, in which, in addition to articles about our joint research, Cohn made a selection of his works - Social structures and personality: research by Melvin Cohn and his collaborators, Kyiv: Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Publishing House, 2007 It is also available electronically on our website http://kiis.com.ua/materials/books/MKohn_III_edition.pdf. He said that this is the most complete review of his works, in the United States and other countries there was no such publication (he also said that this is a unique book - his only book in the super-cover). When Melvin read the introduction to this book, written by V. Khmelko and S. Oksamytna, he said - "Oh, now I know who to order my obituary!" Melvin had an amazing sense of humor, a slight irony, and even when it came to you, it was not insulting at all. Irony did not leave him even in dramatic circumstances, for example, during a visit to the doctor with suspected tumor. And after the September 11 terrorist attacks, he once told me, "I get the impression that Osama bin Laden hates Bush even more than I do." And his sociological essay in the same book - "Two visits to my mother's village: a look at social change in rural Ukraine" - reads like a humorous story (Melvin Cohn's mother was born in a Ukrainian village near Kaharlyk and emigrated with her parents to the United States when she was still child). The preface I wrote (three prefaces in the book) was not highly praised, but the photo I took for the book Melvin loved above all his other photos and used it in other books and in information about himself on the sites. I quote only one paragraph from the foreword by V. Khmelko and S. Oksamytna (there are about 30 pages of review of the works of M. Cohn):

"In the theoretical and methodological sense, M. Cohn's work is the most significant in the second half of the twentieth century, theoretically and empirically convincingly substantiated, contribution to the study of micro- and macro-levels of cognition of social reality, and thus an important step in building a holistic sociological knowledge through reliable empirical laying of theoretically expected connections between macrosociology and microsociology. And thanks to this contribution, those research problems become clearer which, as the results of research conducted and organized by M. Cohn have shown, sociology is in principle already capable of researching, but which so far remain either not studied at all or studied only indirectly. One of the most important areas of such researches, the methodological foundations of which are laid by the works of M. Cohn, is, in our opinion, the search for those characteristics of social macrostructures that in one way or another affect the reproduction of humanistic values, the prevalence of human principles in human relations.".

I will only add that Melvin Cohn loved Ukraine, loved to come here ("my mother's country"), to travel around Ukraine. And his works are important not only for the development of sociology in the world, but also for understanding the social structure of Ukrainian society.

 


26.3.2021
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