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Biography & Autobiography Social Scientists & Psychologists

Measuring the Mosaic

An Intellectual Biography of John Porter

by (author) Rick Helmes-Hayes

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2010
Social Scientists & Psychologists, General, Philosophers
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2010
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2010
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Measuring the Mosaic is a comprehensive intellectual biography of John Porter (1921-1979), author of The Vertical Mosaic (1965), preeminent Canadian sociologist of his time, and one of Canada's most celebrated scholars. In the first biography of this important figure, Rick Helmes-Hayes provides a detailed account of Porter's life and an in-depth assessment of his extensive writings on class, power, educational opportunity, social mobility, and democracy.

While assessing Porter's place in the historical development of Canadian social science, Helmes-Hayes also examines the economic, social, political and scholarly circumstances - including the Depression, World War II, post-war reconstruction, the baby boom, and the growth of universities - that contoured Porter's political and academic views. Using extensive archival research, correspondence, and over fifty original interviews with family, colleagues, and friends, Measuring the Mosaic stresses Porter's remarkable contributions as a scholar, academic statesman, senior administrator at Carleton University, and engaged, practical public intellectual.

About the author

Rick Helmes-Hayes is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Waterloo.

Rick Helmes-Hayes' profile page


  • Winner, John Porter Award awarded by Canadian Sociological Association

Editorial Reviews

‘Helmes-Hayes is gifted with a very reader friendly style of prose… This book should regenerate interest in the work of porter and prove useful to anyone interested in Canadian Sociology, class relations, and the history of sociology.’

Canadian Review of Sociology, vol 48:04:2011

Measuring the Mosaic is a real intellectual biography… A book to read if we want to know something about John Porter, the history of sociology in Canada and the relation of different generations of Canadian sociologists with Porter’s work.’

Sociologica, 1/2012

‘This biography eloquently highlights the career of a remarkable social scientist and a committed intellectual; it is also a living testimony to the institutionalization of Canadian sociology.’

Simon Langlois; <em>Canadian Journal of Sociology</em>: vol 36:03:2011

‘This book offers the reader more than a description of an individual's scholarly career… It locates the life and work of John Porter in a broad and changing social educational context.’

Roy Todd: <em>British Journal of Canadian Studies</em>: vol 24:02:2011

A well researched and beautifully written biography of Canadian Sociologist John Porter.

William Christian, <em>Guelph Mercury</em>, Sept 25, 2010

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