This website was initally created to gather information & sources on the history of British sociology. Below is a couple of papers I wrote on the topic, one of them being my Master thesis. My Ph.D. should extend the period and focus on the history of British sociology between 1903-1968.
Feel free to browse through and/or download a copy of it in PDF. If, by any chance, you have any (unpublished) paper on British sociology you would like to see appear here, please let me know. Enjoy your stay, BR.
'The floating discipline' : British sociology and the failure of institutional attachment (1911-1938)
Before WWI, the budding sociology in Britain suffered from the lack of a clear definition of its topic and field, and as a result of an impossible scientific compromise the Sociological Society collapsed by 1914. The creation of the Institute of Sociology in 1930 eventually reversed the inchoate state of the three "branches" of sociology. With the cooperation of the LSE (with Morris Ginsberg) and the University of Liverpool (with A. Carr-Saunders), the Institute of Sociology, led by Alexander Farquharson, saw a scientific sociology emerge. However, if not an intellectual failure, at least sociology failed to secure any institutional attachment in universities in the 1930s, owing to a fierce competition with other disciplines, and to the sociologists’ lack of academic connections.
1911-26 – The Rise
and Fall of the Sociological Society Download
a pdf copy of the full thesis.
1927-34 – The Foundation
of the Institute of Sociology
1935-38 – The Great Disillusions
: Sociologists and the Universities
Conclusion & Bibliography
"Rocquin, B. ''The Floating discipline': British sociology and the failure of institutional attachment (1911-1938)', Unpublished M.St. Thesis (Oxford University, 2006)."
If you are interested in the archives I used about British sociology:
> See a list of
Would you like to quote any of these works? Please let me know.
Other papers related to the same topic you might find of interest:
Competition, contribution and incomprehension: British
and French sociologists in the inter-war period (1904-1936)
This paper deals with the emergence of a British sociology in
the inter-war period in a context of international competition
to carry over the budding definition of sociology. Sociology
only emerged in 1904 in Britain at a time when German, American
and French sociology were already thriving. In a tense context
of competition, The Sociological Society split over the issue
of Durkheimian sociology: those who would favour the 'French'
interpretation of Le Play, following Patrick Geddes, and those
who decided to found a brand new definition sociology, following
L. T. Hobhouse at the London School of Economics. The paper
show how these independent attempts were quite close in their
methods and results although little contribution emerged before
Two sciences and a common concern: a comparative perspective
on the emergence of sociology in France and Britain (1895-1935)
This paper deals with the so-called absence of academic sociology
in Britain in the early 20th century. Continental historians
usually assume that it was a failure, whereas British historians
usually argue that sociology was unnecessary. It appears that
the two conceptions coexist : sociologists were supporters of
a party in Britain, and thinkers of a system on the continent.
Classical sociology emerged earlier in France and in Germany
in the 1890s in order to recreate a social and moral stability
under new regimes. It was not until the 1930s that a specific
British version of sociology eventually emerged British universities
as a branch of Anthropology, focused on the Empire’s needs.
In spite of many differences, including a chronological gap,
both French and British sociologies remained similarly concerned
David Evans' (1986), 'Le Play House and the Regional Survey Movement in British
work is available at www.dfte.co.uk/ios