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.

Leonard Hobhouse: Building Disciplinary Sociology
Leonard Hobhouse: Building Disciplinary Sociology

If Patrick Geddes was central to the attempt to professionalise sociology and Robert MacIver was someone who provided a key statement of its intellectual content, Leonard Hobhouse can be seen as central to the attempt to establish a disciplinary base for sociology within the university system. He was an unusual and somewhat reluctant pioneer of disciplinary sociology but was remarkably successful in his attempt.

Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse was socially well-connected, born into an established gentry family with deep-rooted political connections and affiliations. Trained in philosophy at Oxford University, where he was tutor to Victor Branford’s second wife, Sybella Gurney, he turned his back on his family’s Anglicanism and Toryism to become a committed New Liberal. He ...

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