Charles Tilly was born in 1929, a year worryingly echoed in contemporary events. For all of his adult life, he studied the causes, patterns, cycles, changes, and continuities of such events. He focused most on social movements that responded to them and sometimes shaped them and on the states that often drove them and sometimes managed them. He studied the ways that states and others sought to coerce ordinary people and the ways that ordinary people mobilized to try to control their own lives and public affairs. He studied how capital and inequality figured in both the coercion and the struggles. And he studied how we study history, social structure, social action, and social change.
Tilly was among the most distinguished of contemporary social scientists. The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is proud, accordingly, to award him its highest honor, the Albert O. Hirschman Prize. The prize isnamed after another of the greatest figures of our era. Hirschman is one of the formative influences on the economics of development, a key researcher in Latin American studies, and a remarkable intellectual historian and social theorist