Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.
Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.
Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, and visual anthropologist. Along with his colleagues, he developed the double-bind theory of schizophrenia. Also a cyberneticist, he was part of the core group of the Macy Conferences in Cybernetics. He was a member of philosopher William Irwin Thompson's esoteric nonprofit foundation Lindisfarne Association.
Sociologist Beatrice Webb is best remembered for coining the term collective bargaining. Along with her husband, Sidney Webb, whom she met at the Fabian Society, and others, Beatrice co-founded the London School of Economics. In spite of her lack of formal education, she was a prominent educator and an avid diarist.
Best known for his work on the pre-industrialized societies, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown visited Andaman Island and Western Australia to study the social structure of the people there, later writing two important books on them. A renowned scholar, he taught at various preeminent universities across the globe before returning to England to establish the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford.
Ralf Dahrendorf was a German-British sociologist, philosopher, and political scientist. As a class conflict theorist, he was a leading expert on analyzing class divisions in modern society. He was the author of multiple articles and books, including Class Conflict in Industrial Society (1959). He served as a professor of sociology in several universities in Germany and the UK.
Ernest Gellner was a British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist who was considered one of the leading theoreticians on nationalism. A prolific author, he was able to attract critical attention with his very first book, Words and Things, in which he fiercely attacked what he called linguistic philosophy. He eventually developed an interest in social anthropology, before turning his attention to nationalism.
Best known for his work on symbols and rituals, British cultural anthropologist Victor Turner embarked on his lifelong study of the Ndembu people when as a young man he went to Zambia to work as a research officer. Spending his entire career studying rituals and rites of passage, he later applied them to world religion, publishing important works on them.
British sociologist Michael Young, also known as Lord Young, or Baron Young of Dartington, not only helped shape the manifesto of the Labour Party but also coined the term meritocracy. A qualified barrister, he was also instrumental in forming the Consumers’ Association and a prototype of the modern Open University system.
Though he initially studied chemistry, Seebohm Rowntree soon joined his family cocoa business. He soon introduced employee-friendly policies, such as the 5-day work week and a pension plan, in the company. His pioneering study of working-class homes in York became an iconic sociological treatise on the poor.
Apart from teaching at Cambridge, British social anthropologist Jack Goody also penned books such as Death, Property and the Ancestors. He had also fought in World War II. His work in sociology earned him the knighthood. He was also made a Fellow of The British Academy.
Political scientist and Fabian Society leader Graham Wallas is best known for his iconic work Human Nature in Politics. He contributed to the development of the London School of Economics and was one of its first professors. He also proposed one of the first models of the creative process.