A unique contribution to discussions of social theory, this book counters the argument that no social theory was ever produced in Britain before the late twentieth century. Reviewing a period of 300 years from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century, it sets out a number of innovative strands in theory that culminated in powerful contributions in the classical period of sociology. The book discusses how these traditions of theory were lost and forgotten and sets out why they are important today.
Chapter 7: Robert Maciver: Building an Intellectual Base
Robert Morrison MacIver was one of the first academics in Britain to describe himself professionally as a ‘sociologist’ and to have this description included in his job title (MacIver 1968). Born in 1882 in the Outer Hebrides, he studied Classics at Edinburgh University and went on to study Philosophy at Oxford. While at Oxford he took minor courses in political theory and social philosophy and it was through these courses that he first encountered sociological ideas. Fascinated by the subject, he began a period of self-education at the British Museum, reading into the works of Durkheim, Simmel, and Levy-Bruhl. He travelled to London to attend early meetings of the Sociological Society, where he ...