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The development of sociology first degree courses at English universities, 1907-1972

Fincham, J. (1975). The development of sociology first degree courses at English universities, 1907-1972. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


A descriptive historical account of the development of sociology first degree courses at English universities, 1907-1972, begins with the background to the endowment, in 1907, of the first chairs of sociology, at the London School of Economics. The archives of the School, and of the University of London, are drawn upon in describing sociology in the early London BSc Economics and BA/BSc Sociology. An outline follows of university development, and of sociology degree structure at English universities, from 1946 onwards. Examples of lecture and seminar programmes and reading lists for sociology undergraduate courses, provided by university sociology departments, are used, with published material, to delineate sociology degree structure, 1963-1972, at six groups of institutions: ancient universities; constituent colleges of London university; older civic universities; younger civic universities; new universities; technological universities. Subject-matter in sociology degrees, 1963-1972, is discussed under five core subjects (Sociological Theory, Methods, Comparative Social Institutions, Social Structure of Modern Britain, Social Psychology) and nineteen optional subjects (Social Anthropology, Social Administration, Social Philosophy, Industrial Sociology, Political Sociology, the Sociology of Deviance, of Religion,and of Education, Urban Sociology, Demography, Race Relations, Sociology of the Family, Social Stratification, and the Sociology of Medicine, of Development, of Revolutions-of Knowledge, of Science, and of Culture Technological universities were less likely to have specialised sociology, and more likely to have sandwich, degrees; otherwise, no clear relationship: - emerged between type of university and type of sociology degree. Individual lecturers, with some exceptions, were chief decision-makers in selection of detailed course subject-matter. The main changes over time were: inclusion of more empirical studies; 'real world' events reflected in courses; sociology regarded as a liberal education. Sociology attained status as an academic discipline in a piecemeal fashion, and was in a transitional stage in universities in 1972. Questions for future research are suggested.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
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