11 January 2013

Obituary: Dr Mary McIntosh 1936-2013

Dr Mary McIntosh

Dr Mary McIntosh

Pioneering sociologist Dr Mary McIntosh, who died on Saturday 5 January 2013, was an influential member of the Department of Sociology at Essex for more than 20 years.

She was a prominent feminist and socialist activist and an active member of the Women's Liberation Movement and the Gay Liberation Front.

She was a lecturer at Essex from 1975 to 1980, then Senior Lecturer from 1980 to 1996. From 1986 to 1989 she was Head of Department and a member of Senate from 1977 to 1980 and again in 1994.

Head of the Department of Sociology Professor Eamonn Carrabine said: “Although I joined the Department a couple of years after Mary had retired, I knew she had been a major presence here for over two decades. I was aware of her pioneering work across many diverse fields, including sexuality, organised crime, family life and feminism, and that her intellectual commitments were always combined with passionate activism.

“But what I recall most is how fondly her colleagues spoke of her and continued to do so, suggesting that she left a deep and lasting impression on those she worked with and had taught in her time here.”

Professor Ken Plummer, a friend and colleague at Essex, said: “Mary was a pioneer: an influential second wave feminist, a founder member of the modern lesbian and gay movement in the UK, and, quietly, one of the most influential of sociologists of the 1960s through 1990s. She was also a much loved teacher.

She was the first woman head of Department of Sociology - between 1996 and 1999 and was at the heart of the Department of Sociology for twenty years. She was huge inspiration to a whole generation and will be greatly missed.”

She joined Essex after working at the Home Office Research Unit, the University of Leicester; Borough Polytechnic (now South Bank University) and Nuffield College, Oxford University.

Many external roles included being a founding member of the Editorial Board and first Editor of Economy and Society from 1972 to 1978; founding member and part of the Editorial Collective for Feminist Review from 1978 to 1994; and Member of the Board of Directors, Lawrence and Wishart (Publishers).

Her publications included: Editor of Deviance and Social Control (Tavistock, London, 1974); Editor of Sex Exposed: Sexuality and the Pornography Debate (Virago, London, 1992); co-writer of The Anti-Social Family (NLB, London, 1982); The Organisation of Crime (Macmillan, London, 1975).

Her online archive can be found on the Archives Hub

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