Balch was an American sociologist who pioneered the concept of role and the use of statistical techniques in sociology. She carried out important comparative analyses of immigrant life in both Europe and America, and forged links between feminism, pacifism, and peaceful arbitration. In 1892 she co-founded a social settlement in Boston—Dennison House—with Vida Scudder and Helena Dudley. Balch was active in numerous women's trade-union activities, and from the start Dennison House became a centre for women workers. Her commitment to world peace during the First World War created much furore and subsequent ostracism, although her work in this field was finally given recognition in 1946, when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Balch combined both statistical data and sociological theory in her important study Public Assistance of the Poor in France, at a time when few other sociologists were doing so. However, her best-known volume is Our Slavic Fellow Citizens (1910), which pre-dated and in some ways complemented the much-praised and more widely recognized work of the Chicago sociologists W. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki on The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918–20).
Subjects: Philosophy — Social Sciences.