Sociologists' Tales  

Sociologists' Tales cover

Contemporary Narratives on Sociological Thought and Practice

The BSA is proud to support this reflective celebration of our discipline and our Early Career Forum who will be the future sociology in Britain.

What is sociology? Why is it important? Sociologists’ Tales is the first book to offer a unique window into the thoughts and experiences of key UK sociologists from different generations, many internationally recognised, asking what sociology means to them. It reveals the changing context of sociology and how this has shaped their practice. Providing a valuable insight into why sociology is so fascinating, it gives advice to those wanting to study or develop a career in sociology reflecting on why the contributors chose their career, how they have managed to do it and what advice they would offer the next generation. This unique volume provides an understanding of sociology and its importance, and will have wide appeal among students, young sociologists thinking about their future and professional sociologists alike.

During their time as Convenors of the BSA’s Early Career Forum, Editors Katherine Twamley, Mark Doidge and Andrea Scott gathered sociologists' thoughts on why they chose their career paths, how they stayed on those paths and the advice they would offer the next generation of sociological minds. The book aims to provide an understanding of the discipline as a challenging yet intensely rewarding one and to demonstrate its importance for the future.  With contributions from established sociologists like Beverley Skeggs and Zygmunt Bauman and also scholars in the process of establishing themselves, this book makes for a fascinating read about the variety of journeys into sociology.

The book is published by the BSA and Policy Press and was launched at the BSA Annual Conference 2015.  It is available from Policy Press in hardback, paperback and ebook formats.


Foreword ~ Judith Mudd

Introduction ~ Mark Doidge, Katherine Twamley and Andrea Scott

Part 1 What can sociology do?

The sociologist as voyeur ~ Liza Schuster

Why sociology? ~ Mark Featherstone;

Sociology as a science/technology of freedom ~ Zygmunt Bauman

Why sociology matters ~ Anthony Giddens

Passion, curiosity and integrity ~ Beverley Skeggs

Sociology as democratic knowledge ~ John Holmwood

Pushing at the boundaries of the discipline: politics, personal life and the psychosocial ~ Sasha Roseneil in conversation with Katherine Twamley

Growing up as a sociologist in rural Shropshire ~ John D Brewer

On the right-of-way ~ Judith Burnett

Living sociology ~ Les Back in conversation with Katherine Twamley

Part 2 What does it mean to be a sociologist?

Sociology for some, someone’s sociology ~ Yvette Taylor

Imagining social science ~ Ann Oakley

From accidental to ambitious sociology ~ Linsey McGoey

Sociographer by design? Boundary crossings and interdisciplinarity ~ Yvonne Robinson

I am a sociologist, but what exactly is a sociologist and how do you become one? ~ Claire Maxwell

Sociology: from committing to being? ~ Paul Hodkinson

Drift, opportunity, and commitment: the shaping of a professional career ~ John Scott

A passion for empirical sociology ~ Eileen Green

Me, myself and sociology ~ Gayle Letherby

Turning to the psychosocial: drawing on sociology to address societal issues ~ Ann Phoenix

Part 3 How does one become a sociologist?

A long haul ~ Berry Mayall

Putting sociology to work in the NHS ~ Jocelyn Cornwell in conversation with Mark Doidge

Clinging to the precipice: travails of a contract researcher in sociology ~ Mel Bartley

The pursuit of a sociological career overseas and the navigation of an outsider perspective ~ Lara Killick

Tales from the field: applied policy research and the sociological imagination ~ Carol McNaughton Nicholls

What sociology means to me: exploring, imagining and challenging ~ Kate Woodthorpe

Social science which engages with the real world ~ Anthony Heath in conversation with Andrea Scott

A sporting chance? Notes on an ongoing career in the sociology of sport ~ Richard Giulianotti

Sociology: involvement and detachment ~ Robert Mears

A career spent orbiting sociology ~ Eric Harrison

Researching children’s lives: on becoming and being a sociologist in education ~ Daniela Sime

Following my star ~ Jeffrey Weeks in conversation with Andrea Scott

‘The epoch of belief … the epoch of incredulity’ ~ Howard Wollman