Departments of Sociology






This page gives an alphabetical listing of the various departments that I have studied with a summary history of each. I have drawn the information from a variety of sources including Prefaces, Acknowledgements, footnotes, obituaries, departmental websites, and directories. The sources of particular importance for the earliest period have been the publications of Chris Husbands (Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1904–2015, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019, and his contributions to the Palgrave Handbook of Sociology in Britain and to Plamena Panayotova's collection The History of Sociology in Britain, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019). The listing is very partial and incomplete, especially as regards the 'pre-history' of many Departments, the post-92 universities, and the recent decades. I am continuing to work on the list and will be pleased to receive corrections, additions, and fuller details through my contact page.



When Robert MacIver, a lecturer in politics at Aberdeen, began to teach political sociology he persuaded the university to attach the label ‘sociology’ to his job title in 1911. Although he produced the most important sociological monograph of the period, Community (1917), this was published just as he left Britain for a post in Canada and he spent the rest of his career in North America.

In 1964 Raymond Illsley, a long-serving member of the Medical Research Council research unit on medical sociology, was appointed as head of a new department of sociology. Illsley recruited Mike Mulkay, Robert Moore, and then, in 1970, Mick Carter, from Sheffield. Aberdeen had a strong focus on medical sociology through the MRC unit, which was directed by Gordon Horobin from 1965 and to which Sally Macintyre was later appointed from Bedford College. Appointees under Mick Carter’s headship included Ian Carter, Norman Stockman, and Geoff Payne.


Sociology was taught from within a department of management and organisational behaviour under John Child in 1973.


A small department was established from within a Department of Politics at Bangor by Huw Morris-Jones in 1966.


Bath university appointed Stephen Cotgrove as professor of sociology in 1966. He worked alongside anthropologist Leslie Palmier and his new appointments included Mike Rose, Colin Crouch, and Harry Collins.

Bedford College

Bedford College for Women, a part of London University, had started a course in ‘Social Studies and Economics’ in 1918, basing this on a war-time Charity Organisation Society course on ‘Social Ethics and Social Economics’. The course became a BA degree in Sociology in 1925. The department was modelled on the LSE Department of Social Science and Administration and its female students were taught by a female staff. A research effort began in 1935 when Henry Mess was appointed as Reader and Head of Department. Mess had formerly been a settlement worker for the Student Christian Movement and then lecturer in social science for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Congregational Union before undertaking a survey of Tyneside for the Church Socialist League’s conference on Christian Politics, Economics and Citizenship.

In 1948 Barbara Wootton was appointed as Professor of Social Studies. The teachers of social work were joined by ‘Mac’ McGregor (later Lord McGregor), George Brown, Ron Fletcher, and Ron Dore. Statistical teaching was undertaken by Jim Illersic.

The long-standing sociology degree was dropped in the early 1980s and the departmental name was changed to ‘Social Policy and Sociology’. In 1985 the College itself merged with Royal Holloway College to form Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (RHBNC), now Royal Holloway University.


A Department of Social Studies had been set up at Queen’s University Belfast in 1948 to provide social work training. In 1969, John Jackson was appointed from Sheffield as professor of social theory and institutions to inaugurate expansion in sociology.


A small department of Politics and Sociology was set up at in 1972. Headed by Bernard Crick as professor of politics, its sociologists included Sami Zubaida and Paul Hirst.


Courses taught in the Birmingham University Women’s Settlement were incorporated into the university in 1905 as a diploma course in ‘Social Study’ for welfare administrators. Economic historian William Ashley was recruited as professor of commerce—a post for which Victor Branford was an unsuccessful applicant—to oversee its introduction and to work alongside John Muirhead, who was recently appointed as professor of philosophy. The social study course included social philosophy (taught by Muirhead), industrial organisation (taught by Ashley), welfare administration (taught by historian Howard Masterman), and lectures in education, health, and housing that were later consolidated as ‘social economics’.

When Philip Sargant Florence was appointed as Ashley’s successor in 1929, he began a more active involvement in empirical research on industry and regional issues. A Department of Social Study was incorporated into the School of Social and Political Science (part of the Faculty of Commerce) in 1939 and the diploma became a degree course in 1945. Florence taught industrial sociology and oversaw a programme of research for which German émigré Gi Baldamus, a former student of Karl Mannheim, was appointed as research assistant in 1948.  With the intention of expanding social research, anthropologist Leo Kuper was appointed to the Department of Social Study in 1948 but left for South Africa two years later.

Charles Madge, formerly running Mass-Observation, was appointed as professor of social studies in 1950 with a remit to build the department into a successful research unit and recruited Chelly Halsey and Norman Dennis. The Department became a Department of Sociology in 1960. Baldamus transferred his industrial research into the department in that year and became its head ten years later. Outside the department, John Rex and his research assistant Robert Moore began their research on ‘race’ for the Institute of Race Relations during 1963. Richard Hoggart in the Department of English, carried out pioneering studies of popular culture and formed the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in 1964. Hoggart appointed Stuart Hall two years later and built a parallel sociologically oriented unit to that in the sociology department.

Problems arose at Birmingham in 1971 when the informal offer of a lecureship to LSE graduate and radical activist Dick Atkinson was not confirmed because of support that Atkinson had given to student protest while employed as a temporary lecturer. A BSA blacklisting was not fully lifted until 1973, by which time Atkinson had left a temporary lectureship at Manchester to pursue a career in community work in Balsall Heath. He was later named by Tory leader David Cameron as a prime example of a successful social entrepreneur and was awarded an OBE in 2007.

The Department of Sociology was closed down by the university in 1988, leaving its students to be taught by a consortium of staff that had been moved to other departments. Sociology was reintroduced in 1999 under the headship of Frank Webster by merging the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies into a Department of Cultural Studies and Sociology. in 2001, however, the university took the decision to once more close it down and eleven staff lost their jobs. In 2004, the university once again re-established a sociology department under the headship of John Holmwood. Despite a strong performance in the 2008 RAE, the university again closed the department and transfer a reduced staff into the School of Politics and International Relations. Sociologists were subsequently moved into a new Department of Social Policy, Sociology, and Criminology after REF 2014.


In 1969 John Eldridge was appointed as the founding professor.


Some occasional teaching for a certificate in social studies took place at Bristol from 1911 through the university settlement at Barton Hill and with support from professor of psychology Conwy Lloyd Morgan. This training did not really take off until the 1939 appointment as settlement warden of Hilda Jennings, formerly a voluntary researcher on the Quaker-directed community experiment at Brynmawr in South Wales. A Department of Social Policy was later formed.

In 1965 Michael Banton was appointed as head of a new Department of Sociology and he appointed a wide range of specialists: industrial researcher Theo Nichols from Hull, religion specialist Willie Watts Miller, political sociologist Chris Husbands, educationalist Miriam David, together with his own doctoral student and police researcher Robert Reiner. 


A department at Brunel emerged in 1964 under the leadership of management specialist Elliot Jacques.


Alfred Haddon delivered anthropological lectures in 1896 under the designation ‘sociology’ and Henry Sidgwick expressed some limited support for sociology, having himself lectured on ‘Sociology and Philosophy’. In 1895 the university invited Benjamin Kidd to talk about the possibility of establishing regular teaching in the subject within the philosophy faculty’s Moral Sciences Tripos, but despite being dined at King’s, Emmanuel, and Peterhouse, the discussions led nowhere. When, in 1924, the Rockefeller Foundation offered to fund a chair in sociology this was turned down by the university.

The introduction of sociology at Cambridge was again considered during the early 1950s, and in 1956 Talcott Parsons was invited to deliver the Marshall lectures. His dense and obscure presentation alienated many of his listeners, and it has been claimed that opponents of sociology had deliberately invited Parsons in order to bolster opposition to the subject. Some appointments in the subject were, however, made. Lockwood moved to Cambridge from the LSE in 1958, Garry Runciman returned to Trinity College from research fellowships at Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley, and the historian Philip Abrams, who had studied sociology at the LSE, steered the introduction of sociology courses to the Economics Tripos in 1961. John H. Goldthorpe was appointed the following year. Sociological research on industry was, however, nurtured within the Department of Applied Economics, which sponsored the work of Lockwood and Goldthorpe on workers in Luton, industrial studies by Bob Blackburn and Ken Prandy (both of whom moved from Liverpool), and the doctoral work of Geoff Ingham, and Mick Mann.

The first professor of sociology to be appointed at Cambridge was the Manchester anthropologist John Barnes, the same year—1969—that Tony Giddens was appointed as a lecturer and Fellow at King’s College.


A joint department of sociology and social work was set up in 1966 and Paul Halmos was appointed as its head. The department grew through the appointment of criminologist Howard Jones to head social policy and social work and the two elements were then divided into separate departments, in part because of growing opposition between Halmos and Jones. When Halmos moved to the Open University in 1974, Martin Albrow (previously at Reading) became head and was promoted to professor. Other staff appointed included Anne Murcott and Paul Atkinson, and then Tony Coxon from Edinburgh, and Sara Delamont from Leicester.


Jeremy Tunstall was appointed as founding professor in 1974.


In 1964 Leeds theorist John Rex was appointed, to a chair. Rex took Robert Moore with him from Birmingham and recruited Richard Brown from Leicester and Stan Cohen from Enfield College of Technology. After Rex left in 1971, Philip Abrams was recruited from Cambridge to head the department and researchers such as Jim Beckford were recruited. 

East Anglia

In 1965, Roy Emerson was appointed, from Nottingham, as the founding professor.


A School of Social Study and Training was set up in Edinburgh in 1918, headed by Nora Milnes from the LSE social science and administration department. The School was incorporated into the university in 1928. The teaching of social workers at Edinburgh was supplemented in 1940 by a course on Christian Sociology taught by William Tindal, the professor of practical theology, but it was not until after 1946 that a strong research orientation in social research began to be established.

It was in 1946 that a Department of Social Anthropology was set up. Specialising in studies of West African societies, it also began studies of the British communities in which African migrants were beginning to settle. Kenneth Little, a Cambridge graduate who had worked closely with Raymond Firth during the war-time evacuation of LSE to Cambridge, became its head in 1950 and recruited Michael Banton and Sheila Patterson to boost its research on ‘race’ relations. The department also attracted Chicago-trained Erving Goffman to undertake his doctoral fieldwork in Shetland.

A year later, Anthony Richmond, also researching on ‘race’ issues, was recruited from Liverpool to head the Department of Social Study, as the earlier social work training department had now become. German émigré Werner Stark was employed as a lecturer in social studies between 1945 and 1951, and Tom Burns, appointed as a research lecturer in 1949, built a research unit that became the base for establishing a Department of Sociology in 1964. Burns later appointed Gian Poggi, Frank Bechhofer, Tony Coxon, Brian Elliott, and David McCrone to the department.

The remaining part of the School of Social Study became the Department of Social Administration in 1967, when John Spicer, an LSE graduate who had taught at Bristol and Manchester, became its first professor.


The Vice Chancellor, Albert Sloman, sought to build a small number of large social science departments and recruited Peter Townsend from the LSE Department of Social Administration to head the new sociology department. The department aimed to recruit from all areas of sociology, including history and philosophy, and appointed David Lockwood, oral historian Paul Thompson, and later Dennis Marsden, Lee Davidoff, Colin Bell, and Howard Newby. Many others held shorter-term appointments at Essex during the 1960s and 1970s before moving on to careers overseas, these included Roland Robertson, Herminio Martins, Dorothy Smith, and Alasdair Macintyre.


The University College of the South West, which was granted its charter as the University of Exeter in 1955. Some teaching in sociology took place from 1948 and in 1952 LSE graduate Margaret Hewitt was appointed, becoming head of sociology until the appointment as professor, in 1966, of another LSE graduate, Duncan Mitchell to head a new sociology department. Mitchell had previously been at the University of Liverpool and gave his inaugural lecture in 1969. Teaching in the department from this time were Bill Jordan, John Hughes, Stephen Mennell and, from Joan Woodward’s Industrial Sociology Unit at Imperial College, Barry Turner.


The Glasgow University Women’s Settlement began social work training in 1902, later employing economist Harry Jones to teach a course, later published, on social economics. This was formalised after the First World War as a School of Social Study and Training and James Cunnison, formerly lecturing at the Quaker Woodbrooke College in Bourneville, was appointed as a settlement warden and as a lecturer in social economics. Although Cunnison published on issues of labour organisation, the School remained largely a teaching unit until it was incorporated into the University in 1943. In 1921 the university had separately established within the political economy department in the Stevenson Lectureship in Citizenship, an annual lecture series taught through the 1930s by South Place Ethical Society lecturer Cecil DeLisle Burns.

Glasgow had formed an interdisciplinary Department of Social and Economic Research in 1946, but it was not until the early 1960s that a sociology unit was set up within the Department of Politics. Zev Barbu taught sociology and social psychology from 1961 to 1963, and Alan Wells was appointed two years later, after a period in Singapore. This unit became a Department of Sociology in 1969, and in 1971 John Eldridge was recruited from Bradford as its professor. Appointments included Bridget Fowler, historian Kirsty Larner, and Manchester anthropologist Simon Charsley. The department became an important centre for mass communications research when Greg Philo became head researcher in the Glasgow Media Group.

The university had incorporated its School of Social Study into the university in 1943 and John Mack and Kay Carmichael became important researchers. In 1969 Fred Martin was appointed and the School was renamed the Department of Social Administration.


Goldsmith’s College set up a Department of Social Science and Administration in 1964 with a small group of sociologists. The department was chaired by Bob Pinker until he split from the sociologists in 1972 to form a new Department of Social Administration. The theoretically-oriented sociologists remained as a department under a rotating chairmanship, but without a professor, and began to teach the London University external degree.


Social administration was taught from within the department of social and economic history and in the mid-1950s Francis (Don) Klingender began to cooperate with anthropologists to teach on sociology. In 1955, after Klingender’s death, Peter Worsley, who had recently completed an anthropology doctorate at Manchester, was appointed to develop the subject. LSE graduate Gordon Horobin had already been appointed to work on a study of Hull fishermen, and this research was later taken up and completed by Jeremy Tunstall. Early students included undergraduate Tony Giddens, studying psychology and sociology, and postgraduate David Morgan.

Worsley moved to Manchester in 1963 and a full department of sociology and social anthropology was set up in 1966, with Ian Cunnison as professor of social anthropology. Cunnison, son of Glasgow social economist James Cunnison, appointed staff with particular interests in the sociology of development, an uncommon specialism at the time. There was no professor of sociology at Hull until the appointment of LSE sociologist Valdo Pons, then at Manchester, in 1975.


The University College of North Staffordshire was founded in 1949 and took the name University of Keele when it received its charter in 1962. The university's founder, Sandie Lindsay was influenced by the ideas of Patrick Geddes and was instrumental in taking over the assets of the Institute of Sociology, including the publication rights to the Sociological Review, in the early 1950s. The Review was relaunched under the editorship of geographer Bill Williams and with an editorial board that included Tom Simey and Kenneth Little. Despite this, sociology was not taught at Keele until 1969, when Ronnie Frankenberg was appointed as professor.


A joint department in sociology and anthropology was headed by anthropologist Paul Stirling from 1964, but sociology became the dominant element with the appointments of Ray Pahl, Chris Pickvance, Frank Parkin, Krishan Kumar, and Steven Box.


The final campus university to set up a sociology department was Lancaster, which appointed Michalina Clifford-Vaughan from LSE as its founding professor in 1972. Important early appointments at Lancaster were John Urry, John Wakeford, Nick Abercrombie, Keith Soothill, and somewhat later Sylvia Walby. The department had close links with the social policy department, where Janet Finch was working.


Leeds University introduced courses on sociological topics from 1909, including a course on social economy taught by economist David Macgregor. This was formalised in 1912 as a Diploma in Social Organisation and Public Service, taught within the Department of Economics, Harry Jones was principally involved in this work after moving from Glasgow. A specific course in sociology was introduced to the diploma in 1919-20.

Central to the development of Sociology was Arnold Shimmin, a lecturer in Economics who was appointed Professor of Social Studies and in 1946 founded a Department of Social Studies separate from Economics. One of his first appointments as Lecturer in Social Anthropology in 1948 was Fernando Henriques. John Rex was initially appointed to the extra-mural department but moved into Social Studies. A demographer colleague of David Glass at the LSE, Eugene Grebenik, was appointed to head Social Studies in 1954. Grebenik subsequently appointed Norman Dennis from Birmingham and Dennis worked with Henriques and Cliff Slaughter on a major study of the nearby coal mining town of Featherstone. In 1963 anthropologist and development specialist John Ernest Goldthorpe was recruited from Mekerere University and then, after the completion of their doctorates, Tony Coxon and mass communications researcher Denis McQuail were appointed. A later appointment was Roland Robertson, who worked closely with Peter Nettl (a member of the politics department), to explore developments in American system theory.

Polish emigré Zygmunt Bauman was appointed to a chair in 1971


Sociology teaching began in 1949 when Ilya Neustadt, a Russian refugee who obtained a second doctorate at the LSE under Ginsberg, was appointed to a lectureship in the economics department. Sociology became a separate unit in 1954, when Norbert Elias, a student of Alfred Weber and a former teaching assistant to Karl Mannheim at Frankfurt, was appointed. The unit became a full department in 1959, Neustadt becoming its first professor in 1962.

Neustadt and Elias advocated comparative and developmental studies of historical change, giving sociology teaching at Leicester a more international and theoretical orientation than was common elsewhere. Their links were, nevertheless, with the LSE: John Goldthorpe and Percy Cohen were appointed as lecturers, both Joe and Olive Banks were called back from Liverpool, and David Lockwood was external examiner. Other appointments over the years included Tony Giddens, Keith Hopkins, Martin Albrow, John Eldridge, Richard Brown, Miriam Glucksmann, and, in 1976, John Scott.


A School of Training for Social Work was formed in Liverpool by economist Edward Gonner in 1905 to work in association with the University Settlement for Women. Frederic D’Aeth, a London curate, was recruited as a lecturer in social work. Emily Simey, the Warden of the settlement, joined university staff Elizabeth Macadam and Eleanor Rathbone to provide its teaching of courses in social ethics (by D’Aeth), social economics (by Gonner), local government and poor law administration (by Rathbone), urban problems, and child welfare. Sixty seven students were enrolled in its first year and a small amount of research was undertaken. The School was incorporated into the university in 1917 as the Department of Social Science.

A major step forward was taken when Alexander Carr-Saunders was appointed to the new Charles Booth Professorship in 1923. David Caradog Jones was soon appointed as lecturer in social statistics and two additional teachers were appointed. The new staff began to build a strong research base, undertaking a social survey of Merseyside. A degree course in Social Science began in 1925. Emily Simey’s nephew Tom was recruited in 1931 to teach public administration and in 1935 he married Margaret Todd, the first person to have graduated from the degree scheme. When, in 1939, Carr-Saunders became Director of the LSE, Tom Simey succeeded him as professor. Simey spent part of the 1940s at the University of the West Indies working with the Colonial Social Science Research Council.

In 1950 Simey appointed Bill Scott to develop industrial research through projects on dock work, clerical work, and automation undertaken with LSE graduates Olive and Joe Banks and, for a while, Chelly Halsey. Enid Mumford, a Liverpool graduate, joined the industrial sociology group in 1956. Dennis Chapman, a former researcher for Seebohm Rowntree and for Mass-Observation, had been appointed in 1946 to work on housing and family issues, undertaking a study of Edge Hill, and working with Madeline Kerr on a study of Toxteth. Anthony Richmond, an LSE graduate in industrial relations, joined the department to complete his study of a Liverpool dockland community. John Barron Mays, one of Chapman’s doctoral students and Warden of the university settlement in Toxteth, was appointed as a lecturer in 1955 and became a key figure in subcultural studies of crime. Later appointments included ex-seaman Tony Lane, Barry Hindess, and Ken Roberts. Simey retired in 1965 and joined the House of Lords as Lord Simey.

London School of Economics

The Webbs had been a major force in founding the LSE, running courses in economics and lecture programmes in politics, sociology, and philosophy. An early recruit to what became the Department of Sociology was Leonard Hobhouse, a moral philosopher, Liberal Party activist, and nephew of Beatrice Webb, who was in 1907 appointed to a Chair in sociology, along with Finnish anthropologist Edvard Westermarck. The initial courses in sociology at the LSE were aimed at the clergy, social workers, trade union officials, and civil servants, and were intended to be practical in character. However, the funding that made the two professorships possible was intended to establish a more theoretical and comparative orientation to teaching and to build a more academic student body. Morris Ginsberg was appointed in 1914 and during the 1920s sociology was more formally organised as a ‘department’ with a professor and a reader organising teaching into a BA in Sociology rather than simply as a ‘Special Subject’ within a BSc Econ. The syllabus became more organised and regularised and the teachers involved in sociology included Tom Marshall, John Hobson, Maude Pember-Reeves, and Harry Pear.

Funding from the Ratan Tata Foundation allowed the establishment of what became the Department of Social Science and Administration in 1922. The department stressed the practical implications of the link between ‘social philosophy’ and ‘social science’. Teaching staff included Henry Tawney and Clement Attlee, and a number of empirical studies of women’s work, casual work, and poverty were produced by associated researchers and settlement workers, including Varvara de Vesselitsky, labour activist Arthur Greenwood, statistician Arthur Bowley, and Christian social worker Henry Mess. The department was headed by Edward Urwick and had links with King’s College, where Urwick held a chair in economics and where Lionel Taylor taught on social psychology and ‘hygiene’ in its School of Home Training and Domestic Science.

The LSE Department of Sociology produced little in the way of empirical research. Ethnographic studies were produced by Westermarck, and Hobhouse himself had produced an early comparative study, but knowledge of the ‘simpler’ societies depended on the work of those in the new Department of Social Anthropology, most notably Malinowski and Firth. The most extensive empirical research project was the ‘New Survey of London’ that Beveridge launched in 1928 and for which Herbert Llewellyn Smith, formerly a research worker on Booth’s original London survey, took the academic lead. 

After the Second World War, in an attempt to strengthen empirical research, demographer David Glass was appointed to a chair in 1949 and Edward Shils, from the research department at Chicago, was appointed to a short-term lectureship. Other appointees included Betty Sharf, Jean Floud, and Donald MacRae. Post-war graduates included Joe and Olive Banks, Michael Banton, Basil Bernstein, Percy Cohen, Ralf Dahrendorf, Norman Dennis, Chelly Halsey, David Lockwood, Cyril Smith, John Smith, Asher Tropp, and John Westergaard. New appointments during the 1950s included Ernest Gellner and Bob Mackenzie in 1950, Tom Bottomore in 1952, David Lockwood and Asher Tropp in 1954, and John Westergaard and Terry Morris in 1956. Subsequent long-term appointments included David Martin, Percy Cohen, Paul Rock, Leslie Sklair, and Nicos Mouzelis.

The Department of Sociology had close teaching links and shared courses with the Department of Social Science and Administration. This was headed in the 1940s by Tom Marshall and from 1950 by Richard Titmuss. Marshall was also a professor in sociology, and criminologist Herman Mannheim also taught in both departments. Terry Morris, Mannheim’s successor, was fully within Sociology but maintained the teaching link. Teachers in social science and administration included Eileen Younghusband and Nancy Seear, a pioneering researcher on personnel management. Titmuss led its research into issues of inequality, poverty, and welfare through the work of Peter Townsend, Brian Abel Smith, David Donnison, and Pearl Jephcott. Recruits also included feminist researcher Viola Klein, and, later, Martin Bulmer.

A major student conflict occurred in 1969 following the installation of gates across corridors to prevent unauthorised access to certain areas of the administration. This resulted in further action to remove the gates and to the eventual closure of the School for some time. Sociology staff were generally opposed to student demands, but support was given to them by sociology lecturer Robin Blackburn along with economics lecturers Lawrence Harris and Meghnad Desai (later Lord Desai). Blackburn’s outspoken support led to his dismissal from his lectureship and he was unable to pursue a career in the UK university system. He instead edited and wrote for New Left Review and Verso Books until appointed to a professorship at Essex University thirty years later.


In 1967 Albert Cherns was appointed as professor of social sciences in a Department of Social Sciences and Economics, his early appointments including Alan Bryman.


Teaching was provided for social workers at Manchester University from 1912, taught by Joseph Findlay from within the School of Education. Findlay produced a textbook based on the idealist standpoint but this teaching did not continue after his retirement. In 1944 Lord Simon, a Liberal peer and industrialist, established an endowment fund to finance social science research and in 1947 a Simon Research Fellowship was held by Polish exile Ferdy Zweig, who went on to produce a series of ethnographic studies of British workers with funding from Seebohm Rowntree.

Regular social research began with the formation of a department of social anthropology in 1949. Headed by Max Gluckman and supported by social psychologist Tom Pear, it became a major centre for empirical research on British society. Werner Stark moved to Manchester from Edinburgh in 1951, remaining there until leaving for the United States in 1963. In the mid-1950s, Ronnie Frankenberg undertook doctoral fieldwork in Wales. Cyril Smith, who had worked as a research assistant on Meg Stacey’s study of Banbury, was recruited in 1961 from the LSE, and in 1965 Clyde Mitchell returned from Rhodesia to work closely with John Barnes and Elizabeth Bott in developing network techniques of social analysis. Gluckman’s former student Peter Worsley, then teaching at Hull, was appointed as professor of sociology.

Sociology was divided from Social Anthropology in 1970 to form, a new department under Worsley’s leadership. Worsley’s department recruited David Morgan, Valdo Pons, Wes Sharrock, and Teodor Shanin, and Clyde Mitchell was appointed as a second chair.


Peter Collison was appointed from Oxford as professor and established a research focus on urban planning. Norman Dennis moved from Leeds to develop work in this area. An appointee in another area was Durkheim-specialist Bill Pickering.


Philosopher Jack Sprott, a former member of the Bloomsbury Group and lover of John Maynard Keynes, had long been interested in sociology and introduced a course in social theory to his Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology in 1948. He was also the main force in persuading the university to set up a Department of Social Administration to teach social work, and in 1954 David Marsh (previously teaching at Swansea and in New Zealand) was appointed as Professor of Social Science to bring a research orientation to its work. Sprott and Marsh worked with new lecturers Pearl Jephcott and Roy Emerson in projects on crime and health, and Marsh himself produced a substantial compilation of survey work on British society.

Following Sprott’s retirement, sociology teaching was established as a separate unit within Social Administration. Julius Gould was recruited from the LSE in 1964 to head it and to transform it into a separate sociology department.


Paul Halmos was appointed from Cardiff as founding professor in 1974.


The sociology of tribal societies had been taught at Oxford by Edward Evans-Pritchard between 1935 and 1940 in his course on ‘African Sociology’, and this was continued by Geoffrey Lienhardt as lecturer in African Sociology from 1954. However, sociological research on advanced societies was introduced only in 1944, when Douglas Cole was appointed as professor of social and political theory and given the directorship of a Social Reconstruction Survey based at Nuffield College. Meg Stacey, had been appointed to teach adult education classes in sociology in the Extra-Mural Department, and from where she undertook a study of Banbury, but Cole’s research worker, John Mogey, was the only officially designated ‘Sociologist’ in the university.

In 1948 Mogey had transferred to Barnett House, a Centre for social work training that stood outside the university’s departmental structure. Barnett House was designated as a department of the university in 1958 and renamed the Department of Social and Administrative Studies in 1962, Chelly Halsey becoming its head. It was from this base that sociology teaching was introduced into the PPE Tripos. While social research was undertaken at Nuffield College, this was principally confined to studies of industrial relations under Bill McCarthy and electoral studies under David Butler. Not until the appointment of John H. Goldthorpe in 1969 did broader social research begin, with a study of education and social mobility.


In 1965 Stas Andreski was appointed as founding professor of the new Department of Sociology. Andreski, a Polish military officer who trained in anthropology at Manchester, had formerly taught at Brunel College of Technology and overseas. Appointed against competition from Tom Bottomore and Jack Sprott, Andreski brought a distinctive character and type of appointment to the Reading department. He appointed Mannheim’s former doctoral student Viola Klein, Polish emigré Maria Hirszowicz, Cambridge economist Christie Davis, Maggie Archer, Salvador Giner, former Brunel sociologist David Marsland, and LSE graduate Anthony Smith. 


Bill Scott was appointed from Liverpool in 1963 as professor of sociology within a Department of Sociology, Government, and Administration and he set up a new Department of Social Studies two years later. Important appointments included Chris Bryant, Stephen Edgell, and David Jary.


A School of Social Work Training had been set up at Sheffield in 1949 under Elinor Black, an LSE graduate who formerly taught in the Liverpool Department of Social Science. Some sociological research on city estates was undertaken jointly with Liverpool and research grew with the appointment of Peter Mann in 1951. Keith Kelsall, a demographer colleague of David Glass at the LSE, was appointed as head of the unit in 1955 and expanded this research base through the appointment of John Jackson from Cambridge. In 1960 the School was renamed the Department of Sociological Studies.


LSE graduate in social administration John Smith was appointed to head its joint department of sociology and social policy, where other staff included criminologist, and fellow LSE graduate, John Martin and industrial sociologist Peter Hollowell.


Manchester anthropologist Max Marwick was appointed as first professor. The Stirling department became especially well-known through the work of Roy Wallis on new religions and of Russell and Rebecca Dobash on domestic violence.


Following the merger of the Scottish College of Commerce with the Royal College to form Strathclyde University, an industrial research unit was formed into a sociology group nominally overseen by psychologist Gustav Jahoda. Andrew Sykes, a former researcher in Glasgow’s Department of Social and Economic Research, was appointed as Strathclyde’s first professor of sociology, the unsuccessful candidates being Mick Carter and Jimmy Littlejohn. Despite appointing Dave Berry, Keith Dixon, Dave (later Carol) Riddell, and John Scott, the department was unable to retain staff or to grow in size and had a rather chequered history.


Asher Tropp saw through the transition from Battersea College to Surrey University and built a department, established in 1967, with a strong methodological focus through the appointment of Peter Abell, Nigel Gilbert, and Sara Arber.


The Vice Chancellor Asa Briggs recruited Zev Barbu from Glasgow as the founding professor in 1962 in what was then a non-departmental university. Barbu, a political exile from Romania, had worked for a PhD in political psychology at Glasgow and began a joint scheme in sociology and politics until sufficient staff had been recruited to teach a full degree course. Important early appointments were Julius Carlebach, Jennifer Platt, a researcher at Cambridge with a Chicago MA, and then Tom Bottomore, with William Outhwaite and Pete Saunders appointed somewhat later.


Bill Williams was appointed in 1963 to the Department of Social Science, in which both sociology and social anthropology were taught.


Anthropologist Vernon Sheddick was the first professor in 1969.


Warwick established its sociology department under John Rex in 1970 and became a focus for research on race and ethnicity. Important appointments in other areas included Meg Stacey, Maggie Archer, and Bob Burgess.


Ron Fletcher was appointed as professor at York in 1964 and recruited Laurie Taylor, Roland Robertson, Keith Dixon, and Andy Tudor before taking a ‘disillusioned’ early retirement at the end of the 1960s.