Category Archives: Sociological Autobiography

A Sociological Autobiography: 69 – The Norwegian Connection

I was fortunate in 2005 to be asked to give a plenary lecture at the annual BSA Medical Sociology Conference. This represents a kind of coming of age for medical sociologists in the UK. My title was ‘Social Structure and Health: A Narrative of Neglect?’ The central thesis, which I had by then addressed often,… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 68 – Auschwitz

On the 1st of September, 2006, I gave a paper on ‘reducing health inequalities’ to the biannual meeting of the European Society for Health and Medical Sociology in Krakow. To be honest I was less than impressive. I recall wishing afterwords that I’d been more articulate, more on the ball, not least because old friend… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 67 – All Change! UCL Through 2006

2006 was a turning point for me. When I came to what was then the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1978, it was John Hinton’s Department of Psychiatry I entered. After Rachel Rosser’s premature and sad death, Stan Newman climbed a short greasy UCL pole and took over. For one reason or another, he subsequently… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 66 – Terry Boswell, 1955-2006

A quartet of Emory University acedamics and friends were the pulse of what I have previously celebrated as Emory University’s summer programme on ‘comparative health care’. I was their London coordinator for 35 years, climbing my way from postgraduate to professorial facilitator. Dick Levinson kicked it all off and remains a close friend, as does… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 65 – ‘Sport and Society’

Medical schools are strange institutions, replete with personnel and, more to the point, managers whose grasp of non-laboratory routes to knowledge and understanding is often restricted. I cited Professor Semple at the Middlesex HMS in a previous blog. He asked a sub-committee attended by Ted Honderich as well as myself: ‘this ethics, is it respectable… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 64 – And Then My Dad Left

I suppose Ron’s death was not a surprise. He was 92 and more than ready to depart. But the expected can still, and perhaps normally does, strike as if unexpected for those left behind. He had lived with us for over two years, surviving our move from Epsom to Mickleham in 2004, albeit with the… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 63 – Moving to Mickleham

After 13 years in Epsom’s South Street, in 2004 we moved. There were two principal reasons for this. First, we were more than short of space: my father, 90-year old Ron, was esconced in what used to be our sitting room (we used to call it a lounge back in Colebook Close), leaving us a… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 62 – My Peers

I have written briefly about a few medical sociologists who, early on, played an important part in my career. George Brown and Margot Jefferys were the senior protagonists, Dave Blane, Ray Fitzpatrick and Paul Higgs their successors. This may be the moment to add to this cast. This is an easy and pleasant task because… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 61 – Starting a Journal

The second half of 2003 also saw the first two issues of Social Theory and Health, a journal with Paul Higgs and I at UCL as the principal active editors and old friend Dick Levinson as our third and less active American editor (in truth he was doing us a favour by squeezing us into… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 60 – Sussex CCC and 2003!

I have always been a ‘Sussex man’. In part this identity was formed around a schoolboy support of Sussex CCC. The county team in the Dexter-Parks era used to play two matches in Worthing. Three memories from these festivals pop into my mind: fast-medium pacer Ian Thompson taking all 10 wickets; a run out, with… Read More »