Sociology in Britain
I have written a number of accounts of British sociology for various collections, trying to put British sociology in a global context. The story is covered more fully in my books British Social Theory. Recovering Lost Traditions Before 1950 (Sage, 2018) and Sociology in Britain (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020), though much remains to be said about the theoretical and empirical work of British sociologists. The preparatory and more detailed papers can be found in my publication list, using the filter tags for ‘History of sociology in Britain’ and ‘Social theorists’.
A collection of papers produced with others is The Palgrave Handbook of Sociology in Britain. This contains papers on the past and present of British sociology. More details on the Handbook and some reflections on the future of British sociology can be found here.
My research has involved studies into the history of various departments of sociology, social science, and social policy, from which I have compiled a database of mini-histories. This database can be found here.
As an introduction to this area, I have set out below a summary overview of sociology in Britain from the earliest days to the present, documenting some of its principal concerns and themes.
An Overview of British Sociology
The word ‘sociologie’ was famously invented by Auguste Comte in 1830, and this neologism was taken up in Britain as ‘sociology’ by Herbert Spencer as he constructed his own intellectual system from the mid-1850s. Regarded by linguistic purists as a barbarous combination of Latin and Greek, the name that Spencer gave to his evolutionary ideas on society was rejected by many people, along with those ideas, until well into the twentieth century.
A Sociological Society was, however, formed in 1903 to promote the establishment of the subject and a journal (The Sociological Review, originally the Sociological Papers) was formed as a means of professional publication. The first university professorship with the designation ‘sociology’ was established at the London School of Economics four years later. The association and journal failed to build on their initial success and had lost much of their momentum by the time of the First World War. The Department of Sociology at the LSE grew only slowly and it was not until after the Second World War that there was any significant growth in university teaching and research in sociology. A new journal, The British Journal of Sociology was formed under the firm control of the LSE and new departments were sponsored in provincial universities under the leadership of the LSE and its staff, who acted as ‘external examiners’ for these universities. It was in the 1960s, when a major expansion of university teaching was encouraged and financed by the government, that many more new departments of sociology were founded in the new universities and in colleges that were later to expand and to acquire university status. Sociology was finally established as a university discipline, though it has continued to be the target for financial cuts and political hostility ever since.
However, sociology as a subject is more than just a name. It is a way of thinking about social life and a way of reporting on different forms of social life, and this way of thinking and reporting has a much longer history in Britain than does its university organisation under the label ‘sociology’. As was the case in many countries, social thought and social investigation developed outside the universities and was often developed by those who identified with long-established disciplines and practices. Sociology as a way of thinking—what would today be called ‘social theory’—developed in the work of self-identifying philosophers, historians, and literary critics who produced the key ideas that eventually became classical economic theory as well as forms of sociological thought. Sociology as an approach to the empirical investigation of social life developed as ‘statistical’ studies of living conditions by religious and social reformers and came to be thought of as a ‘social science’ of poverty. Any study of sociology in Britain must recognise the importance of this ‘pre-history’ of the university discipline.
Early social theory in Britain
General reflection on human society has its origins in the religious and philosophical writings of the late medieval and early modern periods, but specifically modern reflections date from the eighteenth century Enlightenment. It was in the work of those philosophers who followed John Locke and David Hume that the basis of a mainstream approach to social theory was developed. Empiricist and individualist in character, this line of thought was largely a product of Scottish philosophers who had especially close connections with the French theorists Montesquieu and Rousseau. Most important were Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, and John Millar, who saw individuals as culturally formed by their interactions with others yet acting always within definite physical and biological conditions that constrained their actions and that were also transformed by those actions. Through their actions individuals produce complex structures of social relations such as markets, divisions of labour, and political constitutions, but they produce these as unintended consequences of their actions and often remain unaware of the structures that shape their behaviour. Adam Smith summarised this in his view of the ‘hidden hand’ of the market that brings about particular patterns of social distribution and inequality.
The Scottish theorists developed this as a theory of class and class conflict that could explain the development of human societies through a series of stages, each marked by a particular mode of production and subsistence. They saw social development in western Europe as a movement from ‘savage’ hunting and fishing societies, through ‘barbaric’ pasturing and shepherding, to an agricultural stage and finally to a commercial stage of mercantile activity and manufacturing. Their explanations were further developed as the analysis of market transactions in commercial, capitalist society that became the classical economics and utilitarianism of David Ricardo, James Mill, and Jeremy Bentham.
The wider implications of utilitarianism were recognised by Harriet Martineau, who undertook a major study of American society that complemented Tocqueville’s study of American politics and society. Martineau showed that the dominant value system in America emphasised equality, democracy, and justice but co-existed with a wealthy aristocratic social structure that sustained both racial slavery and the subordination of women. This stimulated much discussion of female inequality by Harriet Taylor Mill, Millicent Garrett Fawcett, and Josephine Butler. Martineau herself produced a virtual textbook on sociological methods and undertook a widely-read translation of Comte’s Cours.
The effects of the physical environment on human action were further explored by Henry Buckle, who sought to establish laws of human action that reflected the interplay of culture and environment. Such laws, he felt, could allow us to explain the development of human societies through the various stages identified by the Scottish writers and would show why the development of the West differed from that of the Oriental societies of Asia and Africa. In Europe, he argued, the growth of technology had resulted in enhanced powers of control over the environment and so led to a correspondingly greater capacity for cultural character and spirit to shape social life. He noted, in particular, the growth of rationality and scientific thought.
The culmination of this mainstream line of theorising was the work of John Stuart Mill. Initially inspired, like Martineau, by Comte’s early work, Mill developed an independent approach that eschewed both the label ‘sociology’ and the word ‘positivist’. Mill’s view was that individual beliefs and emotions develop through socialisation as character traits that define the habits and dispositions of action. The actions of individuals intertwine and, through their unintended consequences, produce social structures that can be analysed in terms of their varying states of equilibrium. Laws of structural change can be developed, but they are far more complex than those of economics, where it is possible to use monetary values to make mathematical calculations.
Comtean positivism was directly taken up by George Lewes, who combined Mill’s arguments with Comte’s later reflections in his Système. These ideas were popularised by Richard Congreve—appointed by Comte to head the Positivist Church in Britain—and by Frederick Harrison, the leading figures in producing English translations of a number of Comte’s publications. Harrison applied these in studies of order and change in British society.
This mainstream view was far from the only strand of social theory in Britain. Alongside it, and intertwining with it, were three other lines of thought. Their interconnections were such that they must be regarded as ‘lines’ of thought and not distinct ‘schools’ of thought. These three approaches to the social world were evolutionary, idealist, and socialist in character.
Evolutionary thought originated in the imperial expansion of Britain, which disclosed the importance of human difference and cultural diversity and the need to explain the differential rates and patterns of development found in various societies. Early nineteenth century reflections on ‘race’ led to ethnographic accounts of the linguistic and cultural evolution of different ethnic groups. While some of this writing emphasised a biological basis for race, others saw evolution as due to cultural and environmental factors. This latter orientation was furthered by the evolutionary ideas of Charles Darwin, which stressed the importance of environmental adaptation. This made it possible to explore the environmental selection of cultural traits and to use this as an explanation of social differences.
The most important elaborations of this view were those undertaken by John Lubbock and Edward Tylor, now seen as founding figures in, respectively, archaeology and anthropology. Lubbock applied evolutionary ideas to human prehistory and the movement from savagery to barbarism and civilisation. Tylor undertook comparative studies of contemporary societies to explore the transition from tribal to civilised ways of life. Around the works of Lubbock and Tylor arose a series of other investigations into the evolution of kinship, religion, and mythology.
The most important evolutionary thinkers were those who explicitly adopted the label ‘sociology’ in their work. Herbert Spencer constructed a multi-volume series of ‘Principles’, the Principles of Sociology appearing between 1873 and 1893. He constructed a concept of the ‘social organism’ as comprising a population of interacting and communicating individuals located in a particular physical environment and developing particular cultural traits. Culture itself was seen as a social consciousness that has real effects yet exists only as dispersed in individual consciousness. Individuals produce a culture in which environmentally-adapted traits are transmitted from generation to generation through socialisation. Through their actions, as the mainstream tradition had shown, individuals build the structures of the social organism that acquire a reality of their own. The development of these structural forms can be explained, Spencer argued, by the selective effects of the environment on the cultural traits that become the basis of individual habits of action.
Social evolution for Spencer is a process of growing complexity and he reconstructs the established series of stages as a scale of evolutionary development that involves a continuous process of ‘compounding’ or structural elaboration. The process of differentiation produces new ‘sustaining’, ‘regulating’, and ‘distributing’ structures that emerge to integrate and coordinate the differentiated parts of the society.
Following this insight, Benjamin Kidd constructed an alternative evolutionary theory that traced the gradual development of progressively stronger forms of altruism and solidarity. Both Spencer and Kidd were highly influential outside Britain, though they had less direct influence on the growth of sociology on Britain itself.
The idealist line of theory is rooted in a Romantic critique of the liberal, industrial modernity that the mainstream and evolutionary theorists saw as the high point of social progress. The conservative politician Edmund Burke’s critique of the French Revolution looked back to the cohesion and sense of community that he claimed had characterised the society of the ancient régime and that still survived in Britain. Burke saw British advocates of radicalism and reform as threatening to unleash similar revolutionary tendencies in Britain itself. It was essential, he argued, to recognise that any stable and secure society must rest upon the moral bonds of community and not upon individual economic calculation or political coercion. Like his French counterparts de Bonald and de Maistre, Burke emphasised the importance of ‘tradition’ and the established ‘institutions’ of a nation, which define its unique character and are central to the maintenance of social order.
This point of view was taken forward largely within a literary tradition, initially by the Romantic poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. They shared Burke’s opposition to liberal individualism and extended his argument to the disruptive effects of capitalist industrialism. The development of industry and urbanism, they argued, were destroying traditional communal life and were creating socially disorganised and conflict-ridden cities in which isolated individuals were increasingly alienated from the social order. This view was developed largely in poetry and ballads that described the failures and losses of traditional country communities and the beautiful countryside in which well-integrated humans had lived. William Blake deplored the effects of the ‘dark-satanic mills’ on ‘England’s green and pleasant land’.
Mary Wollstonecraft was an advocate of the principles of the French Revolution and of the rights of both women and men, but she, too, argued that modernity was in danger of losing the sense of community that could result only from the communication and conversation of those who are unconstrained by commercial calculation and could develop a fellow-feeling and solidarity that would be the basis of their own identity and sense of security. Wollstonecraft’s daughter, Mary Shelley, was to extend this argument in her novel Frankenstein, where she examined the dangers inherent in the unfettered pursuit of individual ambition and scientific rationality.
The Romantic vision of community, communication, and cohesion was taken up by religious writers and educationalists who stressed the importance of literary culture in producing an elite with the cultivation of ‘soul’ that made them capable of leading society away from sheer commercialism and industrialism. The strongest expression of this view, however, was that of the literary critic Thomas Carlyle, who set out a comprehensive critique of ‘mechanical society’ and ‘Mammonism’. He saw works of art and literature as no longer being creative products but simply the mechanical results of routine intellectual labour that produced repetitive and stereotyped products. The individuals of a society, he argued, must be clothed in social institutions and customs that express an organic national spirit and that must underpin all constitutional and economic arrangements.
It was in the latter part of the nineteenth century that this view began to be formulated as a coherent ‘social philosophy’ rooted in the idealism of Kant and Hegel. A group of idealist philosophers associated with Oxford University reconstructed what they knew of Spencer’s concept of the social organism, holding that it must be seen as held together by the ‘internal relations’ that comprise its ‘moral bonds’. Bernard Bosanquet, the most important of these writers, became the first British theorist to take seriously the ideas of Durkheim, who he saw as having drawn on German idealism to recognise the importance of organic solidarity and the conscience collective. On this basis he built a conception of the social construction of reality: society is ‘mind-made’, built from the meanings that people have constructed in their minds on the basis of their socialisation into their culture. The institutions and practices of a society are the external projection of the mental system constituted in the minds of the interacting individuals. This view was taken forward organisationally in a School of Ethics and Social Philosophy, later renamed the School of Sociology and Social Economics, within London University, though its concern was with the training of social workers on the basis of a conception of citizenship and not with the intellectual development of a discipline called sociology.
The final line of social theory in the pre-history of British sociology was linked to the development of socialist thought. British socialism was, of course, closely linked to the Romantic critique of industrial capitalism, its early forms comprising the views of Christian Socialists and the aesthetic socialism of John Ruskin. Robert Owen’s cooperative ideas and the utopian socialism of the followers of Charles Fourier also shaped these emerging concerns. British socialism developed as a form of ‘ethical socialism’, reflecting the absence of an orthodox Marxist movement, despite the fact that Marx and Engels spent much of their lives in Britain.
British ethical socialism combined ideas from Ruskin and Marx and there were important statements in the work of William Morris and his colleagues in the Socialist League. Morris reconstructed a stage model of social development, each stage characterised by a particular pattern of integration but undermined by changing class relations. The class relations of capitalism had produced a ‘mechanical’ society in which the alienation and dehumanisation of work was associated with a destruction of both nature and human community.
This view was extended into an analysis of sex and gender relations by Eleanor Marx and Edward Carpenter. Eleanor Marx explored the combination of capitalism and patriarchy in a study of the American working class, while Edward Carpenter developed an account of the dehumanisation of sexuality.
The most characteristic development of socialist social theory in Britain was that of a group of writers associated with the Fabian Society, an early forerunner of the Labour Party. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, George Bernard Shaw, and, for a while, H. G. Wells, developed a non-Marxist alternative to utilitarian economics and advocated the development of a new science of ‘sociology’ that would explore the implications of economic concentration, monopoly, and class divisions within the social organism. The Webbs were a major force in the establishment of the LSE, though sociology was not to figure as one of its departments for some years.
Associated with the Fabians, though pursuing an independent line, was John Hobson, who developed this radical idea of the social organism. Going beyond idealism, Hobson held that the social organism had to be seen as a combination of cultural with economic forces, the economic aspect comprising its material base. This point of view was sketched rather than elaborated, though Hobson devised influential analyses of class relations in modern capitalism and the structure of imperialism.
Early statistical studies of society
A variety of censuses and surveys of British society were undertaken in the medieval period, but it was in the eighteenth century that these took a more rigorous and systematic form as the needs of national economy and social reform became more pressing. Shortly after Smith and Ferguson had theorised the conditions for the wealth of nations and the development of agriculture and commerce, a Scottish Member of Parliament, Sir John Sinclair, sent questionnaires to every parish in Scotland, asking the parish Ministers to report on the living conditions of the population, trends in prices and in agricultural costs, and to produce written reports on the state of their parishes. The results were compiled into a 21 volume series of The Statistical Account of Scotland. Just a few years after Sinclair’s survey, in 1797, Sir Frederick Eden produced a similar, but shorter survey of English parishes, published as The State of the Poor.
This focus on statistical measures of poverty provided the basis for subsequent empirical research on British society. Malthus’s Essay on Population stimulated public concern over agricultural productivity and poverty and in 1801 the government launched the first national census of population. A growing interest in statistical measurement led the British Association for the Advancement of Science to establish a statistical section in 1833. As a result, a number of provincial statistical societies were formed, most notably in Manchester and London. These societies comprised clergymen, medical doctors, and others committed to social reform on the basis of their studies into an increasingly urbanised population. The statistical societies organised a number of house-to-house surveys and were influential in establishing a more regular national census in 1841: a census has been held every 10 years since then. This marked the beginning of a massive growth in the collection of statistics by national government agencies.
The statistical surveys were complemented by a number of ethnographic studies of the urban poor. This began with Engels’s study of Salford—carried out in 1845 but published in English only in 1887—continued through Henry Mayhew’s studies of London’s East End, and culminating in Charles Booth’s survey of London poverty. Booth, a Liverpool shipowner who personally financed a combination of ethnographic observation, interviewing, and statistical measurement, interpreted his results loosely in relation to Frédéric Le Play’s surveys of rural and industrial life. He showed unambiguously that one third of the population of London lived in poverty conditions brought about by low pay, casual employment, and unemployment.
Classical sociology in Britain
These lines of theory and movements in empirical research were distinct from each other, developing in parallel but without any integration. When attempts were made to establish sociology as a university discipline at the start of the twentieth century, the classical sociologists drew on the theoretical approaches in varying ways but all-but ignored empirical research. When university sociology was established it was as a largely theoretical enterprise.
Two projects for the establishment of sociology vied for position around the turn of the century, this rivalry leading to the ultimate success of Leonard Hobhouse, the new professor in sociology at the LSE. The unsuccessful project was that associated with the work of Patrick Geddes. Besides these two projects was a third, partial project that never properly took off. This was set out in the work of Robert MacIver, a political theorist at the University of Aberdeen who persuaded his university to attach the label ‘sociology’ to his lectureship in 1911. MacIver constructed a powerful synthesis of ideas from Durkheim and Simmel, using these to reconstruct the idealist line of theory in ways that would recognise the importance of the physical environment. However, MacIver left the UK for Canada in 1914 and made his subsequent career in the United States, where he became an influential contributor to American sociology and was widely thought to be Canadian or American.
Patrick Geddes was a Scottish biologist who was much influenced by the sociology of Le Play, which he regarded as ecological in character. Moving more firmly into sociological work, he was associated with the London Positivist Society and was attracted to many Comtean ideas. He combined these, however, with the ethical socialism of Ruskin and Morris and produced an ecological model of the relationship between culture, the material way of life, and the environment. His student and collaborator Victor Branford worked to popularise Geddes’s ideas and sought to establish his approach as the dominant form of sociology in Britain. It was Branford who formed the Sociological Society in 1903 and edited its professional journal.
Leonard Hobhouse was an Oxford philosopher, member of the Fabian Society, and journalist for the Manchester Guardian newspaper. An influential exponent of New Liberalism, he was closely associated with John Hobson and the Independent Labour Party. He drew on the socialist tradition to reconstruct the idealist theory of the social organism, setting out an alternative theory to that of Herbert Spencer and referring to it as a theory of ‘social development’, rather than a theory of evolution. Hobhouse’s conception of social structure owed much to the work of Mill but also drew on the insights of MacIver.
When the LSE decided to establish a full-time professorship in sociology it was Hobhouse rather than Geddes who was appointed. The Hobhouse group and the Geddes group engaged in a protracted conflict through the inter-war years and it was the approach of Geddes that was increasingly marginalised. In this period, however, sociology remained largely a concern of the LSE. Its sociologists pursued Hobhouse’s theoretical concerns, engaging in empirical studies of social class and mobility and beginning to work with the heirs of the statistical tradition who also found a base in the LSE. Sociology elsewhere was undertaken as ‘Social Science’ or ‘Social Administration’, most notably at the universities of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Leeds, and at Bedford College in London. Social anthropology developed largely in separation from sociology, despite the fact that some such as Alfred Radcliffe-Brown were happy to call themselves ‘sociologists’.
British sociology after the Second World War
The generation of sociologists trained at the LSE immediately after the Second World War turned against the ideas of Hobhouse to which they had been exposed and were increasingly attracted to the new ideas of Talcott Parsons that were becoming well-known in Britain. They took on many structural-functionalist ideas, though they tended to give much greater attention to conflict and material factors. This was the orientation that they took with them to open and head new departments of sociology in Leicester, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, and elsewhere. Sociology was beginning to find a presence across the country, though not yet in Oxford or Cambridge where hostility to the subject remained strong. Professionalisation of the subject was renewed with the founding of the British Journal of Sociology, the relaunching of the Sociological Review from Keele University, and the formation in 1951 of a new professional association, the British Sociological Association. The BSA launched its own journal, Sociology, in 1967.
University-based sociology developed as a largely empirical discipline, using structural-functional and conflict ideas rather loosely to organise this work. Influential theoretical work, however, included David Lockwood’s critical commentaries on Parsonian theory and the class theory of Ralf Dahrendorf, a long-time resident in Britain. In 1961, John Rex, a migrant from South Africa, produced a Weberian conflict theory. For the most part, however, sociological work was empirical, though departing from the highly empiricist character of the earlier statistical studies. Central concerns in empirical sociology were social class and social mobility, together with the linked areas of voting behaviour, education, trades unionism, organisational structure, and urban change. These concerns reflected the close links of many sociologists to the Labour Party and its attempts to modernise its organisation and appeal to meet changing class relations and electoral expectations. Central studies explored the consequences of the post-war policy changes in education, health, and welfare, and the implications of these changes for party support and political participation. Other areas in which substantial research took place included the sociology of religion and the sociology of crime and control, together with a long series of community studies. In all these areas, class was the key variable and sociologists were often criticised for their ‘obsession’ with class.
In the mid-1960s, sociology provision began to expand in the newly founded campus universities of Essex, Sussex, Lancaster, Warwick, and elsewhere. The growing demand for higher education also saw the expansion of Colleges of Technology (later converted to Polytechnics) in which sociology was a major subject of study. This expanded provision brought in new lecturers from other disciplines who were less committed to the established approaches to the subject. Greater attention was given to Marxist ideas that had become important in France and Germany and to American interactionist theories. A particular focus for this work was the studies on the mass media undertaken by Stuart Hall and his colleagues, which was responsible for a growth of interest in cultural studies. At a more general theoretical level, Anthony Giddens moved from his early work in the ‘conflict’ approach to an engagement with French and German theory that led to his own ‘structuration theory’.
Many of the established empirical specialisms were transformed in the period following the 1960s expansion. Sociologies of politics, industry, education, and religion largely disappeared with the movement of staff into new departments of political science, Business Schools, Schools of Education, and Departments of Religious Studies. In their place, there were new and more theoretically informed specialisms in social movements, economic sociology, socialisation, and culture. The sociology of crime was transformed by a growing interest in the sociology of deviance and then, once more, moved back to a concern with crime that stimulated the growth of new departments of criminology and to an expansion in Schools of Law. An interest in race and ethnicity had developed with the growth of immigration into Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, and a concern for ethnic identity and ethnic divisions spread from the specialism to other areas of specialisation.
From the 1970s a growing interest in feminist theory and a concern for issues of sex and gender led to a rejuvenation of many areas of teaching and research and to the emergence of new specialisms in sexuality, the sociology of the body, and the sociology of health and medicine. The growing interest in health was also encouraged by the expansion of Medical Schools and the consequent demand for sociological research into health and medicine. The internationalisation of British society brought a growing interest in postmodernism, post-structuralism, and post-colonial theories and a consequent growth of interest in issues of globalisation, the sociology of the environment, and migration studies. In all these ways, the expansion of sociology also involved a growth of sociology outside departments of sociology.
The long pre-history and the rather shorter history of sociology in Britain has produced a lively and thriving discipline that is globally engaged with sociology in other countries. I hope that this brief survey has indicated some of the principal trends in British sociological work.
This essay first appeared in French as 'Sociologie en Grande-Bretagne', Sociologies pratiques, 39, 2019.
 See the discussion in Scott, J. British Social Theory. Recovering Lost Traditions Before 1950. London, Sage Publications, 2018.
 Smith, A. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1976 (originally 1759); Ferguson, A. An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1966 (originally 1767); Millar, J. The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks. London, J. Murray (originally 1779).
 Martineau, H. Society in America. New York, Doubleday, 1962 (Abridged Edition edited by S. M.Lipset. Originally 1837).
 Martineau, H. How To Observe Manners and Morals. London, Charles Knight, 1838; Martineau, H. Comte's Positive Philosophy, Three Volumes. London, George Bell, 1896 (originally 1853).
 Buckle, H. T. Introduction to the History of Civilization in England. London, George Routledge, 1904 (originally 1857-61).
 Mill, J. S. Auguste Comte and Positivism. Bristol, Thoemmes Press, 1993 (originally 1865).
 Mill, J. S. The Logic of the Moral Sciences. London, Duckworth, 1987 (originally published as a separate volume in 1872).
 Harrison, F. Order and Progress. Brighton, Harvester Press, 1975 (originally 1877).
 Lubbock, J. The Origin of Civilization and the Primitive Condition of Man. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1978 (originally 1870); Tylor, E. B. Primitive Culture. Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art, and Custom. Two Volumes. London, John Murray, 1920 (originally 1871).
 See, for example, Robertson Smith, W. Lectures On The Religion Of The Semites. The Fundamental Institutions. Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black, 1889; McLennan, J. F. Primitive Marriage. Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black, 1865.
 Spencer, H. The Study of Sociology. London, Kegan Paul, Trench and Co., 1873-93
 Kidd, B. Social Evolution. London, Macmillan, 1894.
 See in particular Coleridge, S. T. On the Constitution of Church and State, 3rd Edition. London, J. M. Dent and Sons, 1972 (originally 1830).
 Wollstonecraft, M. Thoughts on the Education of Daughters. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014 (originally 1787).
 Carlyle, T. Sartor Resartus. Edinburgh, Canongate Classics, 2002 (originally 1833).
 See Bosanquet, B. The Philosophical Theory of the State. London, Macmillan, 1899.
 Morris, W. and E. B. Bax Socialism. Its Growth and Outcome. London, Swan and Sonnenschein, 1893.
 Carpenter’s views can be found most clearly in Carpenter, E. Civilization. Revised and Enlarged Edition. London, Swan and Sonnenschein, 1906 (originally 1889).
 Hobson, J. A. The Social Problem: Life and Work. London, J. Nisbet, 1901; Hobson, J. A. The Evolution of Modern Capitalism. London, George Allen and Unwin, 1894.
 Mayhew, H. London Labour and the London Poor, 4 Volumes. New York, Dover Publications, 1968 (originally 1861); Booth, C. Life and Labour of the People of London, 17 Volumes. London, Macmillan, 1901-2.
 MacIver, R. M. Community: A Sociological Study. London, Macmillan, 1917.
 See, in particular, Branford, V. V. and P. Geddes. The Coming Polity. Revised Edition. London, Williams and Norgate, 1919. A general discussion is in Scott, J. ‘The social theory of Patrick Geddes.’ Journal of Classical Sociology 16(3), 2016: 237-260.
 See the account in Scott, J. and R. Bromley Envisioning Sociology. Victor Branford, Patrick Geddes, and the Quest for Social Reconstruction. Albany, NY, State University Press of New York, 2013.
 Hobhouse, L. T. Social Development: Its Nature and Conditions. London, George Allen and Unwin, 1966 (originally 1924). See also Scott, J. ‘The social theory of Leonard Hobhouse’ Journal of Classical Sociology 16(4), 2016: 349-368.
 See the excellent account of this period in Rocquin, B. British Sociologists and French Sociologues in the Interwar Years. The Battle for Society. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
 Halsey, A. H. ‘Provincials and Professionals : The British Post-war Sociologists.’ European Journal of Sociology 23(1), 1973: 150-175.
 Later developed in Lockwood, D. Solidarity and Schism. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992.
 Rex, J. A. Key Problems of Sociological Theory. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961.
 There is insufficient space to list all the many empirical studies of the post-war period, but useful summaries of different specialisms can be found in Eldridge, J. E. T. Recent British Sociology. London, Macmillan, 1980, and Holmwood, J. and J. Scott, Eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Sociology in Britain. London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
 From amongst many of his studies see Giddens, A. The Constitution of Society. Cambridge, Polity Press, 1984.