Thu 5 Aug 21
A new book Pioneering Social Research: Life Stories of a Generation written by sociologists from the University of Essex and published by Policy Press shows how modern social research in the UK was shaped.
The authors, Emeritus Professors Paul Thompson and Ken Plummer with Dr Neli Demireva from the University of Essex’s Department of Sociology, shed new light on the lives, methods and motivations of those who helped develop a new world of research methodology, pioneered feminist research, and first confronted the issues of race and ethnicity.
The book combines a fascinating history of the generations who built outstanding and influential social research with a valuable resource for future research and teaching on methods.
Interviews with 58 ground-breaking social researchers, active from 1950-1990, vividly illustrate the foundations of modern sociology and the publication is set to become a textbook on the history of methodology. It charts the move away from colonial anthropology into the era of the explosive growth of sociology in universities, and then the founding of theme-based women’s, ethnic and cultural studies and the development of ethical practices and systematic methodologies.
The book is based on the Pioneers of Social Research project at the UK Data Service, a resource for students, teachers and researchers of social sciences.
A seminar, to be held on Friday 3 September, will bring sociologists together, including some of the pioneers themselves and will touch on several important questions.
Dr Neli Demireva, organiser and chair of the seminar, said: “We want to examine further how social research has developed in the UK in the 20th Century? What were the key moments of discovery? Who were these pioneers and what did they study? What impact did this have? Are they relevant to contemporary debates on intersecting inequalities, feminist inquiry, methods, racism and decolonisation? It will be a fascinating event.”Among the life-stories revealed are:
The full list of researchers interviewed are found on the UK Data Service Website.