Conversation with Anne Dix, 1992

Sociological Research Online, 16 (3) 23

Received: 20 Jun 2011     Accepted: 30 Jun 2011    Published: 31 Aug 2011

Anne Dix was for many years in charge of the BSA’s office. This paper transcribes a conversation between Anne Dix and Richard Brown at the London School of Economics on Thursday, 30 July 1992. (The tape and the original transcript are kept by the BSA office.) The conversation was arranged for the record at Anne’s retirement, because she had been at the centre of the BSA for so long, as is shown below. The interview is thus an important historical document, and very appropriate to this special issue.

She died in 2003, and no relatives or executors have been identified whose permission to publish the transcript more widely could be asked. She was a very polite and considerate person, who would not speak ill of anyone; in deference to what we think her feelings would have been, therefore, a reference to a few people which could be seen as critical has been removed. Footnotes have been inserted to confirm or correct some factual points where memory lapsed or the text shows uncertainty, and to explain the positions of individuals mentioned. As is normal in recordings of live conversation, some sentences are unfinished or overlap between speakers. Richard Brown’s contributions are indicated by italics.

Richard Brown[1]

Can we start at the beginning, with how you came to be working for the BSA?

Anne Dix

Well I joined the staff of the LSE in September 1950. In the early days we had a typing pool in LSE and then I moved into the Registrar's, and then, subsequently, I was asked to go to Endsleigh Street and work for the Social Research Division in 1958 under the supervision of Gwen Ayres who at that time was secretary of the BSA. The BSA had been founded in 1950 and Gwen Ayres was involved in this work and responsible as the first secretary[2] to the honorary officers. A number of founder members were academics at LSE in the sociology and anthropology departments. When the division did not keep me busy with shorthand and typing, I helped with the BSA association matters and this slowly grew, and I noticed when going through the archives that cash books from 1959 onwards contained credit entries in my handwriting, though all payments and the annual balances continued to be done by Gwen Ayres until she retired in 1964 (?) (I'm not certain of the date.) On her retirement I took on the day to day administration of the office. As the membership grew this became more than I could do within the time available at busy periods since a portion of my time was still taken up with the work of the Social Research Division and I was still involved in the responsibility of the house at 13 Endsleigh Street.     That was Skepper House?   That was Skepper House, that's right, where many executive committee meetings took place and many other things as well.
In 1976, thanks to the suggestion of the then Hon. General Secretary, Tony Marks, I had some clerical help for one day a week for about 6 months of the year over the busy period, which was usually from January to June or so. This however did not relieve the work involved in addressing, packing and counting envelopes into packs of 50 for the GPO to collect and that continued right through until we moved to LSE in 1979. We didn't have a distributor at any point in time.
So, while you were at Skepper House, all the mailings were done by you, by hand?
That's right, in the room next door, which was otherwise used for committee meetings.Richard       That was the room upstairs ? That's right, yes. We had the room upstairs but there was also the room downstairs which I worked in to start with, which also had a number of tables, and it was easy to do. And I also had the help of somebody who, when she didn't have anything to do, would stand in and help for me but it was never unusual for me to see the night cleaner come in and also say 'goodnight' to me, and I'd still be packing the envelopes to get rid of them for the next day rather than think that I had to come in to this in the morning. But then the arrangement was that I had time off in lieu for the times when I worked late which worked out quite well in the summer.
So, when you first started, you weren't full time? Initially you were helping Gwen? That's right.       And then when Gwen went you took over?  That's right.        But still not full time on BSA matters?   No, no.     When did you .become .... ? I mean did you ever become full time?
Well, yes, I did officially become full time in the '80s but actually prior to that there had been ...,  the Social Research Division work had more or less run down completely and then it was only just sort of matters relating to the house and accommodation of people who were housed in Skepper House from LSE and they were allocated on various rooms and various floors. And of course when the LSE sit-in[3] took place, in the mid-sixties I think it would have been, a number of departments including the Sociology Department, the admin. secretaries moved into Skepper House, so that was quite a hectic few months while the School was closed.
And you ran … ?   So, yes, the Sociology Department, Anne Childs, was up there and Psychology Department, I think, as well, and one or two other departments found niches and corners there till they were allowed back to LSE. So the move to LSE was ' 79?        That's right.   And why? I mean, what had happened to Skepper House? I never really heard …?Oh right.    Well, the reason was that next door to Skepper House there was Passfield Hall, which was a hall of residence for LSE students and so the back of Skepper House went into the gardens of Passfield Hall, so they said, "Look, you know, why don't we take over this house that was hitherto left by ... in memory of a research student at the School by the name of Skepper?" So this was done, so they then, the School, set aside some rooms down in the main building, which were called 'the Skepper rooms' to perpetuate the memory of this student.        Do they still exist?       I think they do, yes, but I mean I lost all contact with them, it was no longer my responsibility once I moved down here anyway.
      And - there are a number of things I want to pick up on - the move to LSE, was that the move to Portugal Street?   That's right, and the fourth floor of the Lionel Robbins building. That was because LSE had taken over what had been the old W. H. Smith's building and the ground and basement and first, second and third floors were devoted to the library, the new building, and the fourth floor was going to be for research work. And so the BSA was offered accommodation there, which turned out to be very nice, it was two rooms next door to one another, just near the lift, and the only other occupant at that time was the administrative secretary of STICERD[4], which was to develop over the years, which was based right at the far end, and in between we just had rubble and empty rooms, etc. but that was …       It always seemed to be very much a rabbit warren that top floor; to anyone who didn't know their way around ..
Well, yes, but then I think probably most people would say LSE was a rabbit warren to start with.
I think I read somewhere that there was some discussion of getting the BSA a separate address, and that 10 Portugal Street .... I mean no one would ever find it if they didn't know how to find it, would they!?     
Yes, I mean, well originally it was thought it would be good if we, the Association, had a separate address and wasn't housed with an address within LSE, Houghton Street, but that became difficult and the administration of the LSE really thought it wasn't going to be practical, because it would mean we would have our own letterbox, and where would that be located? And so, the complexities of it were such that that no longer took place. But we didn't have an awful lot of problems with our post actually because it came through 10 Portugal Street, went into the library and it came straight up to us from there.
I see, so 10 Portugal Street was actually the library address?       Yes, that's right, that is the library address.       So, it looked as if it was nothing to do with LSE, but in fact it was really the address of the library.
Going back to the beginning, I mean, when you started working for the BSA did you ever imagine you would be with them for however many ... thirty odd years?   No, I didn't, that's right, no I didn't, and one of the things Gwen Ayres used to say to me was, you know, "if you do, you know, take on the work on the BSA when I leave, don't think you've got to stay with it, go off and find your own thing". But, it was, I mean although there were times when I sort of thought, you know, well really, I think I ought to leave this and not be a stick-in-the-mud for the rest of my life, as it were, but it had its advantages, and I suppose you weigh up the pros and cons of situations; but it was an unusual situation, inasmuch as, although there were honorary officers, and some of the honorary officers were very active, though I must say none was very interfering, I mean they were very active and things but you were in a sense your own boss to an extent, and as long as you got the work done, you had your own schedule, and I suppose in a sense I enjoyed that. Though some people would say that wasn't such a good idea.
Well, I think it means you work harder, and longer, and so on, than you would otherwise do, doesn't it, because you are responsible for what you do?  &    Well, I suppose in one sense you do, yes, and I think I could say with due respect to the various people who knew the situation in which I worked and said "Why the Dickens you ever stay on doing this?", you know, would have rebelled in a sense, but I enjoyed it, so it didn't worry me. Were there ever, and this is really a question of the end rather than the beginning but let's have it now: were there ever any times when you thought "I've had enough of this" and started looking at adverts or whatever one does when one's looking for another job?      Well I was actually offered a couple of jobs by people who knew me and sort of said, you know, "what about it, Anne, there's this vacancy?", and which was quite outside academic work altogether. And I did sort of consider the pros and cons of it but when it came to the point ... I think the particular sort of areas when we went through a period of blacking and things, I didn't really go along with that, and so that in a sense ...This was, sort of what? Atkinson and the Birmingham thing ...[5]   ?   That's right, yes, so there were certain sort of rough periods but then I mean in any job you can find this sort of problem so, although I was offered other things I eventually stayed put.
And the suggestion ... I think you were saying when we were talking before, about '76, was it, when somebody suggested you become ... there was a re-organisation of the office … you become more involved in Sociology as a subject, as it were …?
That's right, well that was after, in the mid-seventies, Jane Hoy was ... a new appointment was made as Development Officer and she stayed for I think it was about 3 years. Well, then she left and when that post was being re-assessed as to whether, what sort of post it would be entitled in future, what the work would involve, I was at that point asked whether I would be interested in leaving the administration side, the secretarial side of things, and going over to, perhaps doing a course, and being more involved in the field of sociology. This particularly related to the Book Club which was then coming into being and was at that point being run more or less as a cottage industry by Robin Ward and Martin Bulmer[6] who actually started it, and then other people took it over, but it was all run from their homes. So this would have been involved in the successor to Jane Hoy so I said then, well, I thought it up and down, and thought, no, well I don't think I want to be involved in that, so I said "no, I'll stay doing what I'm doing and you can appoint what was to be a Publications Officer". That was partly also to help me, I have to say, appointment-wise, because I was employed within the LSE administration salary scheme and it was very difficult, for them, to promote me any further, and the BSA wanted to do this. An alternative way of doing this was if I became employed by the BSA, but that also involved ups and downs, because every now and then the BSA went through a state of "shall we survive or shall we not?" and I think I tended to think "what's going to happen to my superannuation system?" at that rate, so one way and another, it didn't move that way.     So you remained actually on the LSE's payroll right up to the very end?     Yes, that's right, which has done me quite well, 'cos I've now done 40 years' service with them, so I get the maximum.
Let's go back to the sixties, when you first got involved with the BSA.: or was it, did you say '59? Well, '58 looks as if that's when I first started doing some entries. Well, '58's very early ...Well, ... I mean Gwen Ayres was involved in doing her own thesis at that time, she was doing this medical thesis, but there wasn't much work. I can't remember now …       Yes, what did the BSA do then?
Well, it used to have, let us say, I have to jog my memory, because I can't really remember, but I do remember we had activity cards and there were meetings were arranged, evening meetings I think sometimes, or Saturday meetings.[7] Yes, I remember some Saturday meetings in London.
Yes, I mean, those were the days where people would go to Saturday meetings and then we got to the point in the sixties when people didn't attend those things anyway, so it tended to be forgotten about.
Yes, that has changed indeed, because I can remember coming up to LSE for Saturday conferences. I suppose it was the Industrial Sociology section.      That would have been the study groups. There were also full meetings for BSA members regardless of whether they were members of study groups.   Yes, I think I came to one of them at Bedford [College] or somewhere like that. So were they organised from the office? They were organised from the office, yes, but Gwen Ayres did all that, I didn't do any of that, I might have typed one or two letters but the organisation side, she did all that, so I didn't become involved in the organisation side until the mid-sixties, until she left.
Which would be the first conference that you were responsible for? Well I think it was '76, [change of mind] '66, but I can't remember exactly which year Gwen Ayres left, without looking at the records, but it was the mid-sixties, '64 or '65, it will doubtless be in the AGM material. '66 was Leicester, wasn't it? That was Urbanism and Contemporary Society.[8]      Oh right, yes, well that could have been because, I remember there was trouble in Leicester, we were told we weren't to go there again, they broke a table in the bar or something [laughter all round]. And I thought "oh, dear" ...      I remember rushing there to the opening address and the man didn't turn up, and maybe we were offered free drinks and maybe this is the cause of it!?     Oh, I don't remember that bit, I only remember the embarrassing bit, because I was always involved between the catering or the administration, and the rebuffs came. Because subsequently we had a conference in Aberdeen which was run by Sheila Allen and others[9], and which was a very good conference, the weather was beautiful and everything, but that was the first year we had children in the accommodation. And then I remember a mattress got soiled and that was chaos, and Sheila was getting most irate about these people who couldn't be considerate and ..... [unclear] had a child in the bed it wouldn't be ... The housekeeper was most disturbed and perturbed. I can't remember, I don't think we did in the end, it wasn't that bad. I think it was just the principle of the thing; it had rather gone against their principles to even have children in the bedrooms.
We were talking earlier about the way many of the earlier conferences, most of those in the sixties, though I think '65 may have been different, there was just one stream and one set of papers, and it was all plenary sessions. That made it very much easier to manage?      Oh yes, that's right. I don't think there was the awful burden that subsequently occurred whenever, every year, there would be conferences, because you just had the one set of speakers. The conferences were comparatively small and ...
[interrupts] - what sort of numbers? Well, I should think something in the region of 100, 150, 200 or something. I mean bearing in mind that in 1961 there were only 547 members anyway, and then '71 it went up to 1400, but then when we get into the mid-seventies, after the change in the membership fees, we dropped right down to just under a thousand, so ...
I mean, that must ... I wasn't involved in that, 1 think, I mean, I'd not been on the executive and was no longer, not for some years, so I didn't know any of the details of that. It was a ... it must have been a fairly traumatic business, wasn't it? We lost a lot of people ....     That's right, we did, because '76 ...     … who never came back? was 1700. That's right, yes, it was sad in a way that there were so many people who opted out, but I mean the main reason was that BSA had been running on a shoestring, and LSE had been very good, providing accommodation which was, more or less, rent free, really, to all intents and purposes, and then they began to assess the situation as the work began to grow and we got a membership of nearly 1800 in '76, and they realised that (a) they didn't really have any capital, that if the Association had to wind up, they didn't have enough money, really, to wind it up and to pay off the employees and what have you, so there was this very detailed paper that went round and it was eventually agreed after much fuss and things that a motion should go to the AGM that we should. no longer have a set subscription which I think at that time was £5.50, and then if you had Sociology, which had then come into being, it was £8.50, or something like that, that we couldn't do this any longer, and that therefore we should go for a banded membership rate. And then this was set up, and although it went through the AGM, there were some people who wrote in letters of dissent but by the end of 1977, the figure dropped right down and we lost probably 800 or more members[10].     That was an example of the perennial problem of the BSA as a membership organisation, that the AGM is often a relatively small number of people? Well, that's right. I mean even now there would be no more than about 150 at an AGM when motions such as these are put to the AGM, but … and then there's no way really, I mean, other than a sort of ballot which we now do over things like conferences, don't we, there's no way of putting it to the     No, that's right, we don't have a proxy vote at all. But I think the other thing that came out of that was - with due respect to yourself who have stayed in the Association right through the years and many others who have been loyal, some have been more active than others, but they've all been loyal - there were this large number that, well, the Association was quite useful but they didn't really need it, and so they didn't see any specific loyalty to it as an Association of their particular field of study.
My impression, and it is no more than an impression, but thinking about membership, is that in the sixties if you were working in a sociology department or involved in any way with the subject, you would belong to BSA almost automatically; and it didn't cost very much, and then of course when the journal came along it was a useful extra … What seemed to happen in the mid-seventies was it was very much more a question of you decided to belong and other people decided not to. And it's never since then been the automatic body to belong to if you're a professional sociologist.
No, I mean, I think, partly that may be because they don't see that the Association, if any individual member was in any difficulty in connection with their employment or their research work, and there was any ethical or other problem arising, the Association is not in a position to take any stand on these matters, where I think perhaps the BPS[11], I may be wrong, possibly is in more a position to do something along these lines. They're also in a position to stop you working, of course, if you're not properly qualified. I mean, they are a qualifying sort of ...
Yes, they're a totally different type of organisation, aren't they? Whereas the BSA is really an opening for people to meet up with those, and I think that's why you don't find many people from London or some of the more major universities necessarily attending, but you get people from the Midlands and the North who don't have an opportunity of meeting together.
It would be very interesting to do some analysis of conference attenders, but we better not start on that! I mean, who came and who kept coming. The fact that the BSA, as you were just saying, wasn't a body that could do very much for you if you were in difficulties with employment, or professionally, that I suppose became very apparent with the thing we were talking about a few moments ago, the Atkinson and Birmingham affair? There was the blacklisting[12], and it must have caused all sorts of hassle but in fact it didn't really get anywhere.
Well I don't think it did but then some would say "yes, it did, it at least showed the Association was taking a stand" and we objected to this form of behaviour in a sense and action taken by universities at a particular point in time, when I suppose there was perhaps not quite so much freedom as there is nowadays within departments.
Yes, maybe, maybe. It was a funny time, I think, and there were all sorts of worries and scares about what people were going to do politically, and in relation to students too.
Yes, I mean, we do, we did have the professional ethics committee, of course, which was established ... I think originally probably Philip Abrams[13] was one of the ..., he was certainly on the committee involved in drawing up those guidelines, but they were only guidelines. But, I mean, it has been used, I mean there have been people who have appealed for them to look into the situation and they have done so. Yes, and we had the Disputes Officer, didn't we? Yes, I think that was on the way towards the ethical principles, to the Disputes Officer, was it? ... Or were they side by side?
That was side by side. I think the idea was that there should be somebody, not necessarily a member of the executive, who would do a sort of fire-fighting role if some issue came up, who would do the investigation and so on. The job was passed from hand to hand in three month stints
…That's right, yes ...… and you just hoped that nothing happened in your stint ... !     Yes, that's right. That was a particular period, I think, 18 months, 2 years when there were a lot of problems arising with the appointments and in departments. I don't know whether that would also have involved the equality of sexes action.
If I could take you back to conferences, because I still think there are one or two things to say about that. My impression about conferences these days is that there is an organising committee which has an awful lot of work putting a programme together, but that your end of it, as it were, has got extremely streamlined, not that there isn't still a lot of work, but that you had a pattern of the way in which you dealt with conferences which you had developed over the years, and you knew what needed to be done and by the time everyone turned up, everything was you were surrounded by paper, but it was all happening …. Now, I mean, is that right?
Well, I'm glad it looks like that from the outside, anyway. I mean that's the impression you were supposed to gain if you go into the conference office. But no, it has become very much easier than it used to be now there is a conference committee and they take on much more responsibility. And I think one has to say that with the development, or the access to, a computer, not only within departments and the local university but also the individual organisers of the committees have got computers in their own rooms and so an awful lot of stuff that hitherto was done through the office, like typing up the provisional programme and conference delegates list and all this sort of thing is now done elsewhere, and also following up the people who have offered papers. Now that would have fallen into the BSA office and now that's all done by the conference committee, so they do do an enormous amount of work now. In fact I sometimes wonder however I did cope but then I realise that I did do a lot of ..., I mean January to March was a hectic time, because there were all the subscriptions coming in for the year, and then the conference stuff was all coming in, and you were following up the speakers that hadn't responded and things. And a lot of ....
You were actually doing the writing to speakers and chasing them up and making sure they were coming ... ?
I wasn't actually writing inviting them. Usually the conference organiser did that, but when it came to the fact of, "where's your booking form?" and "are you coming?", that all fell to us. But, now, because, as I say, the conference committee have got access to computer systems and they've got all their own mailing lists of labels and things, that is no longer coming into the office, they are managing getting that done themselves. I don't know how long that's going to last but it's certainly taking place now.
Well, I know that it's quite an enterprise ... and always has been.     That's right, and that's why there's four conference committee, and they divide their work up and things, and since we've had a computer in the office, a delegates list now starts getting typed the moment I get the first booking form in, whereas before we had the last minute typing up the delegates list which somebody came in to do. The last 6 years in a sense have been very easy. You have always got the bookings?
Yes, I've always had the bookings, that's always been the office's domain, and then if there's any crèche facilities wanted, that's on the booking form and then I would pass that on to the organisers. That's another thing that has gradually moved, because now, with this problem of avoiding VAT or the possibility of avoiding VAT, it has become more diplomatic for one of the conference organisers on the site, to negotiate with the conference office on the site and so he or she would go to the conference office regarding crèche facilities and checking up on accommodation and things. They give me the number of rooms available and then from then on if there were any alterations to be done, the conference committee would often liaise with that rather than me; but it does vary from year to year as to who does what.
And in the early conferences there must have been some sort of conference committee ...      No, because I think, you will recall from your day, that you were the conference organiser and I think the executive if I remember rightly chose the themes of conferences from year to year, and they appointed the person to organise the conference, and then it was between the conference organiser and the BSA office as to how the whole thing operated. I don't think the executive took much more part, except they might have asked for a paper showing who you were inviting to speak, because in those days speakers were invited.
I can remember presenting ... I think there were two or three of us asked to come up with names; this was the 1970 conference, and we came up with the original programme and then the executive (Tom Bottomore particularly, I seem to remember, the President I think then) had all sorts of suggestions, quite good suggestions, but one felt, you wished you'd had them 6 months earlier, when we were putting it together.
Yes, I think that still arises actually because the provisional programme goes to the executive in the December before the conference takes place in the following March, which really is a bit late if the executive suddenly sort of says, "but, we don't seem to have this aspect represented", or "what about so and so, doesn't seem to be on the programme?", but if you say to the conference committee, "well, we want a provisional programme in July prior to the following March", then they sort of say, "well, that's impossible, we can't possibly do that". So I think conference committee will perpetually have a frustration there, because they'll submit their provisional programme which they've, sort of, worked on and worked on until the early hours, trying to get it more organised, with all these streams that they now have; and they put it to the executive and then they sort of pick holes in it and I think they go away feeling a bit ...     They do! At least I did, I remember. I'm sure it still happens. Yes. So, I can't remember when we moved from a sort of invited thing to inviting people to offer papers?
I can't quite remember, but it must have been the mid-seventies, I think, and it must have come up with the feeling at that time of, that the equality of sexes should be more recognised and women should be more represented in universities and also have a say in things; and I think then it was felt there should be an opportunity for people to submit papers, and it shouldn't just be, as had probably unavoidably been before, that good speakers should be thought of, and they should be asked; that it should be the up-and-coming people who were trying to get their names known who should be asked to submit their papers, which will probably be on research, very often, rather than mature speakers who had already got their lecturing posts and were readers and even professors. And I think probably all those changes, to start with we only had a president, I think ... was it Morris Ginsberg was the first president? And then Barbara Wootton.
I think he was chairman. He was president from '55 to '57, according to Joe.
Oh, right. Well then maybe before that they may not have had a president?   [14] And then Barbara Wootton.
And then gradually we got to the system whereby we shouldn't have one president we should have one elected every two years, and I think … I can't remember who was the first under the election system? Well, Marshall was after Barbara Wootton?[15]    I don't think he was elected.     And certainly by 1970 it was Tom Bottomore because I remember ... I'm pretty certain ... He might have been the first one to be elected.[16]     Well, we could check that. Well, that's right. There's lots of things ... Peter Worsley was the first editor of Network but, now, he was subsequently president.
That's interesting. I'd forgotten that.    The first issue appeared in 1975, edited by Peter Worsley[17]. Prior to that there had been a few issues of a circular called Bulletin, if you recall that; Asher Tropp used to produce every now and then, but nothing on a regular basis, and the Bulletin was a duplicated thing. So, Network was the first thing that was actually printed. And that has continued right through the years and progressed. So, I think, you see, in the seventies there are an enormous number of changes.    Yes. I mean, the earliest issues of Sociology had a sort of 'news from the departments' section, didn't it ?    That's right, and it also had 'visitors from overseas'.    Which Keith MacDonald[18] edited. This is the first issue, in fact. But in a sense it was never very satisfactory, because it was always at least 3 months out of date, just because of the time …
Yes, but of course that problem still arises in one sense with Network because that only comes out 3 times a year, so that's why we have never had a vacancies board because there's no way in which we can honour that.
Network, how did that impinge on you? Did you have to send it out in the early days?
Yes, it goes out with the regular mailings, it always did. But it was only just one more thing that was anyway going out with everything else so it wasn't an additional mailing. All the work was done from the editor's base, with the help of Jane Hoy. Jane Hoy was involved at that time, because she was then Development Officer, you see, she had just started. So that was really part of, linked in with her development, setting up this permanent bulletin which was to be called Network, which was when BSA Publications Limited came into being, because we had to have this in order to cover ourselves for libel.
So it was Network first, and then Sociology ... ?      I think so, yes. I certainly remember Network ....[19] I wonder if it was Sociology first? But certainly Network came under that umbrella.
Sociology was Oxford University Press.   Yes, it was, you see, because Sociology started in ... well, a working party was set up in 1965 to consider costings for the launching of a journal of the Association and then it was decided that it couldn't do it itself, so OUP agreed to publish it which started in 1967. Yes, and it wasn't till the late seventies that the Association took it over. So it would have been Network. Yes, that's right, because it was while Philip Abrams was editor of Sociology.    Yes. When it was realised that OUP was really making quite a lot of money out of it and the Association could make this money, and then, of course, that was when we had a business manager, Joyce Ward, that was when she became involved in that side of the work.   So that never really ... I mean Sociology never came into your ...?
Sociology has never come into my domain, except as far as the members and the subscriptions are concerned.   You just had to make sure that people who subscribe for it get the journal?    Yes. No, no, I've never had anything to do with that. Neither do I have anything to do now with Work, Employment and Society.    That very much followed the Sociology pattern, I suppose?    Yes, that's right, only more so because it is a separate subscription, subscriptions go direct to the business manager, even though some members do get a little confused. Why they can't have a standing order for Work, Employment and Society, why can't they pay for Work, Employment and Society with their subscription? But we're sticking out on that one. Because the subscriptions to Work, Employment and Society are bound to vary and change, it makes it a little bit more problematical if you're going to have it linked in with the other standing order.    Yes, that's true.
[end of first side of tape, start of second side]

Is there more to say about Sociology? It was a major development. Well, that's right, because up till then, since 1950, the British Journal of Sociology had been the only thing, but then, subsequently, there was Sociological Review though I'm not quite certain when that began.[20] This was all part of the 1970 development of the Association, that the Association should have its own journal. Why not? Everybody else does, so that's how it came to be launched. And there, again, one does have to pay tribute to a number of people who devoted an enormous amount of time; I think Otto Newman was very much involved in that working party originally, to set the whole thing going; although, no, wait, Otto Newman[21] would have been when it was transferred, became the Association's journal, as apart from being published from OUP, that's right.
Late '70s, '79, yes. Michael Banton was the first editor?    That's right, yes. Michael Banton, then John Goldthorpe.    [looking at first issue of Sociology] Well you see, this is '67; Marshall is president, Charles Madge is chairman, Bill Scott is vice-chairman, Joe Banks is hon. gen. sec., John Madge is treasurer, and Michael Banton is editor, with an advisory board consisting of Joe Banks, Basil Bernstein, Peter Collison, Stephen Cotgrove, John Goldthorpe, David Lockwood, Donald McRae, John Madge, Fred Martin was it?, Margaret Stacey and Brian Wilson. I don't know how many of those are still members of' the Association? Well, one or two of them are dead, of course.   As you were talking, I was thinking, a large number of those opted out when the subscription was upped, which was very sad, really.   Yes, Joe Banks stayed.    Yes, Joe stayed, and of course John Madge died suddenly…Meg Stacey is, and of course Joe has been a long… [unclear] [22]
To begin with, the members had to pay a separate subscription for Sociology and then it became part of the membership in the early '80s, so it was part of the benefits of being a member of the Association. So that wasn't at the same time as the sliding scale was introduced? No, no.     You still paid separately for Sociology?   That's right, yes .... to my knowledge anyway. I'd just have to check to make sure I'm right on that one. Well, I think you're probably right, I'm sure. The subscription for membership of the Association was sixty six shillings ....
You see I've got down here that in 1984 Sociology was included in the benefits of membership. Prior to that date it had been available at a subsidised rate.
That's right. It was certainly a subsidised rate, quite generously subsidised. Membership, it seems to me, has always been one of those things that has preoccupied, well, the executive and officers and so on because clearly the financial viability of the Association depends, not entirely, not so much as it used to perhaps, on membership, and it's what you can sell to members really ....
Well, that's right, I think that's why they had the Development Officer appointment in the late '70s, because they realised that they had got to try and keep the membership and increase the membership if they were going to stay viable; especially at that point in time because they had very little capital and whereas now, they can reap in quite a substantial sum of money per year from the income from investments.
When did that change? You were saying that when the subscription change took place that the problem was there was not enough capital to wind the thing up, and certainly now there is so much that ...
People think why have we got so much!
Yes. You can afford to float things like...and so on, and not really notice it. I don't know how many - well £15,000 or something has gone on that. When did the Association start to get rich?
I think it was in the late '70s, early 80's. I think the other thing you have to bear in mind is that right up until the end of the '70s, it was more than just a case of good housekeeping, you didn't spend money. Everything had to be done on a shoestring, with a lot of voluntary goodwill. Even in the early '80s I think this continued, I remember when discussions were taking place about getting a computer, and the expense that this was going to be involved. We had a sort of outside firm costing how much it was going to be! And then, at the end of the day, it was decided, no, it was too early, there were too many changes taking place, and we should wait until things were a bit more stable. So there was always this fear that you mustn't really spend money in case you needed it. And I think also the fact that they were fully aware of the fact that they were still paying peanuts rent and although they were having to pay salaries, they weren't making up the rest, and I think the coming 2 or 3 years are going to reveal what it really costs to run the Association, and that's why although there seems an awful lot of money in capital, it's vital that they have it now because when they come to see how much it really, in reality, costs to run the Association, they will then, if they are in problems, know that they have got something to draw upon. If they are not in problems, they can use it to perhaps launch the third journal?! Yes, it's just on the ice block at the moment. LSE were providing office accommodation for a relatively small ... and certainly in the early days peanuts. Were they also covering postage and all the rest of it?
No, no, we were covering our own postage, but then when we moved to the School, then there was a percentage taken for administrative costs which included postage, but it also included porterage and heating and lighting and cleaning and everything else; stationery.     Photocopying?
Photocopying. Until the last couple of years, when in excess of a certain number, then we have to pay, but it did cover an enormous amount. There was a very large hidden subsidy.   So the coming financial year's going to be quite interesting, isn't it?  Yes. I think probably it won't really reveal itself until the end of next year, this year is still carrying through.
You mentioned Network. The Development Officer idea. Jane Hoy was a student in Durham so I knew her.   Oh, right. I think she's still working for the Extramural Department. I know when she thought of applying for the job, I lent her copies of this sort of thing out of my files, but I never really got very much idea of how that particular episode worked. Was it a success, do you think?   Oh yes. I mean, I think she was put in one sense in a difficult situation because the job had never existed before. So she had to start something, by writing to study group convenors, and trying to ... and she took on the work of the publications committee, arranging the meetings and things. So during her period some of the other publications came into being, or the groundwork was done for them, so we had more than just the 'Explorations in Sociology'. So, I think it was a success considering it was quite difficult setting up a new groundwork, and it was difficult for her to know exactly where she was going because I don't think in one·sense the officers knew exactly how to spread out, spread the wings, except they knew something had to be done. So, I think it did work very well. I think she helped to an extent with the Book Club[23] indirectly, but she didn't do any of the selection or anything. That was done by others.
The Book Club has been, I suppose, one of the successes, hasn't it, over the last couple of decades? Oh yes. It has its headaches as well.     Oh, I'm sure, yes. How did it begin? Was it Robin?
Well, Robin Ward was certainly very much involved in the initial start of it, and I can remember him coming with his boot of his car full of books. He would say to me, "Who's coming to conference, can you send me a conference list?" and then people who'd ordered from the January order of the Book Club, he'd go through and see if their names were on the conference list and he'd put all those books that people had ordered in his boot of his car and turn up at conference, and his main endeavour was to try and deliver these books so that we didn't pay postage. This was the perpetual undercurrent of everything anybody did, I think - we haven't got any money, we can't spend any money. Which is how we built up the capital, it has to be said, that it was all this hard work. And then, of course, some people would say "Oh, I don't want to take those 6 books, I've only got this. No, no, I can't take them back." So poor Robin would be taking some back and posting them after all that! Because it fell within Jane's orbit, the starting of it, I don't remember a lot of the details until Mike Milotte came as Publications Officer, and then there was tightening up on formation of book clubs generally and they had to be registered and things, and Mike was involved in that, so we are registered as a registered book club run by a charity.
And Mike …? Who chose the books?   Mike chose the books, it fell into his domain. Prior to that, Robin, and subsequent people who were responsible for the Book Club, did choose the books, because if you remember, if I remember rightly, people who were selecting, there was a sort of different avenue of books. I remember at one period they became quite sort of 'arty' rather than necessarily sociology books, depending upon what people's interests were. Because, as with other things, there was always a time when it was difficult to find somebody who would do the job. But then when Mike came, he became responsible for selecting the books, and despatching and everything. That was done at LSE, and student help or something was got in. But it was a problem, and has continued to be a problem and remains a problem - I don't know whether it will ever be surmountable - because publishers give publication dates for books, and because one would like to have them on the booklist as early as possible, rather than wait until they've already been on the market 6 months, because publishers are quite prepared to give you the discount early, whereas once upon a time I think there was some way in which they had to wait a certain number of months before they could be available for book club purposes, but then the deadline for publication gets later and so we have this perpetual problem where the book was due to be published, we've got the members' money but we haven't got the book. And so it's either a case of writing out continual labels so ... problems arise now. The Book Club for last October, and we're now talking about June the following year, and there are still a couple of books hanging over from last October still have not been published. I think in one or two of those cases, the money has been refunded. It does make for a lot of extra administrative work. You can't make something tidy.
You really need to know from the publisher that it's actually ...That's right. Either you're going to say, "Well, I've got to wait till I've seen the book in the shop before I can put it on the booklist", or you're going to take the word of the publisher that, yes, it will be published.    But if you wait till you've seen it in the shops, then it's another probably three months, isn't it, before anybody can get it?    Yes, that's right, then a number of people have bought the book, and they say, "Oh, I wish I'd known it was coming on the Book Club".    Has it been difficult to get books for it? No, no, I don't think that's any problem at all. In fact, the booklist has expanded. I don't know how many books were on the list in the late seventies, but now I think it's about 60 or 70 books on the list, or more. There's no problem with books, it's more a case of selection - what do the members want. Sometimes it's quite surprising, I know once or twice Nick has said "I thought that would go, I only got 6 orders for that, and yet I got 32 for that" or something. So it's difficult sometimes.
    That's been a source of income; the other thing is conferences recently. When did conferences become a sort of money earning enterprise rather than we mustn't make a loss enterprise?     
Well, I think, when we started budgeting; annual budgets which came into being ... in the late seventies, I suppose.    There wasn't a budget before then? We just rolled on and hoped that we ...    Well yes, but I think we didn't have a budget strategy like we started to have. Perhaps at the same time - in the mid-seventies - when we had treasurers who were really on the ball, asking "what's happened to this money?", and "we've got to make some savings and get some capital" and one thing and another. Then we had six or seven years ahead, and then we had the situation where the conference [committee] had to make so much money when it ran its conference. It started off about a thousand, and then I think it went up 250 every year and, regardless, it has continued to go up on that and I think, currently, it's supposed to make about 5,000 or something. And now conference organisers do this provisional budget in which they say, "well, the minimum", and there's a middle stream, and then, being very optimistic, perhaps, you know: the pessimistic, the optimistic, and the realistic in the middle. Because it's so difficult knowing how many people are going to come to conferences and what your total expenses are going to be. Invariably, even this year; the conference in Kent, some people thought it wouldn't draw a lot of people, but in actual fact it drew a terrific number of people. But the bookings were very slow coming in, so in mid-February the conference committee were really quite worried, and thought "oh, dear ... ". But then they all came and at the end of the day, we've done very well, considering we had quite a lot of overheads for Kent, because of paying for rooms.       I've had the impression from times that there's a sort of ratchet effect; if one conference makes shall we say 3,000, that then becomes the baseline for the next one and they're expected to do even better.    Yes, probably conference committees think, we're not going to be beaten by last year, so we must do as well as last year's did. So, although you've got this sort of minimum, what you must make, I think there is a sense in which I find the conference committee ringing up immediately after the conference, when it's more or less impossible to say, "well, how have we done? Did we do better than last year?". There was the period when it was thought that institutions wouldn't pay for conferences - when would it be, mid-eighties, something like that - but that has gone now. Institutions seem to be paying for the conferences but a large number of them seem to be rather slow paying up so whereas before we would more or less have all the payments in by the conference and there would only be a few stragglers, now we have well over a hundred or more, institutions who haven't yet paid, and you have to send out reminders, or invoices.    This is where they're paying direct, the institution is paying direct to the BSA, rather than reimbursing the employee? Yes, that's right. That seems to be happening quite a bit.
The other thing, thinking about developments and achievements and money making and enterprises and so on, is publishing generally, which I suppose hasn't really impinged on you?
No. I'm really not in a position to say very much about that because it doesn't impinge on me at all. The work of the Publications Officer and my work are totally separate really; we are colleagues in the force but we don't actually overlap at all. Which is very good, because it does mean that we can operate quite separately and you are not waiting for somebody else all the time, in connection with your work, or vice versa. But, the publications work has developed. If you see the list of BSA publications available to members, it does increase, and particularly, of course, because every year you get another publication from the conference volume or more than one publication, which has produced its problems and I think, now, they're going back to just two as a maximum, because there is a recession as far as publishing is concerned; and the other problem is that there is a time lag between when the conference takes place and the papers are ready to go to the publishers. To start with, it used to be endeavoured that by the time the conference the following year was taking place, the proceedings of the previous year would be available.
That's right, because I know I've failed to match that with the '70 conference!
Now, that has fallen by the wayside totally but, within reason, it was met for quite a long time. Now I think, you see, because there were 150 conference papers given at this year's conference and the organisers only would have seen about 50, if that, before the conference because so many people bring their paper with them to the conference. Then, after the conference, they are all recuperating as far as the conference organisers are concerned, and to sit down and read 150 papers and sort out what would make a good volume, or two volumes, becomes quite a mammoth task. So it is a much longer thing than in the early days when you didn't have so many papers anyway. So it was a very different thing to be organising.    Yes. Those first two or three volumes, it wasn't quite every paper but it was whether you'd got enough, I suppose?!    Yes, it probably was. I suppose there was still this thing that you were selecting the papers and also the names so that would make a good selection for my volume, I think it still got incorporated into it, whereas, now, the names don't follow, but it's just a case of whether that collection of research material is going to make a good volume.    Yes, you'd already invited people to come and speak, so you have some idea.
Yes, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were thinking of the people to speak they were also thinking of the volume.
Yes, by the early seventies that would be the case. Another thing which was a seventies thing was the standing committee for the equality of the sexes. Did that arise out of the Aberdeen conference? Or was it before then? I can't remember which year the Aberdeen conference was.     I think it was '74.[24] '74. Oh right, well yes, then, it did. That was when it went to the '74 AGM so that there should be, the Association should he concerned about the status of women in sociology. And then subsequently to that, I think, it was agreed that this motion was approved and Meg Stacey[25], with others, prepared a paper which, I think, went forward to the next AGM. Then out of that came the standing committee on the equality of sexes, which has continued. That was why it was called a standing committee, it wasn't a sub-committee, it was going to continue through the years, which would be particularly relating to feminist issues generally. And I think it's made quite a contribution. Some of the heated arguments of those years have subsided now and we're looking into different aspects of equality; but I think it still remains an issue with the cutbacks now taking place.    Well, it's still an issue, isn't it, of people being, women particularly being in temporary jobs rather than permanent, and part-time, and being more vulnerable. That's very much still there.    That's right.
What about the executives? In terms of the annual cycle of the Association and your calendar, they must have been a point up to which you were working and after which you had a fresh set of headaches to deal with, and so forth?
Obviously, there were always four executives[26] a year, plus one at the AGM, which was usually fairly brief. To start with, it was literally just the appointment of the officers and sometimes didn't even take place round the table at all. It more or less took place round the platform after the AGM. The officers were sort of appointed, it was very much an automatic, as it still is to an extent. The Assistant Treasurer would probably become the Treasurer, the Assistant Hon. Gen. Sec. would become the Hon. Gen. Sec., etc. But, generally speaking, there was a sense in which you looked at the agenda of the previous meeting and you picked things up but, of course, there were periods when you had issues that took place and it depended sometimes on the chairman of the executive just how much influence the chairman had over the agenda. Sometimes, I confess, I tried to have a certain amount of influence over the agenda rather than the chair, which didn't always work, depending on the chairman.
Did they vary a lot? No, through the years, I don't think so. There are one or two names that do stand out specifically, on specific issues, especially during the days when there was a black-listing of the two universities in the UK, and then there was the subsequent one of Simon Fraser[27]. The executive, on the whole, I think they were favourably inclined but I think there were a couple of issues. It was particularly because of the force of the chair, that the issues were perpetuated rather than dropped in one or two situations. How much lasting effect it had, I really wouldn't know. It made the point at the time. Letters were sent hither and thither. Yes, that's right, there was a lot of correspondence wasn't there? In terms of deciding on agendas, and I suppose in terms of the nature of the ... , you in a sense, perhaps, had quite a lot of influence on the agenda, what came under where and how, and so forth, because you were the continuing memory of what needed to be dealt with to some extent.
That's right, it was obvious what had arisen in the previous Minutes and then we did change the agendas. To start with, they were just statements, but then, afterwards, we used to have in brackets 'action', so that somebody knew exactly who was going to do what. We did go through a period, I remember, when one of the Hon. Gen. Sec.s thought it would be a good idea if we had 'matters for information' and then 'matters for action' and just report matters afterwards, so that the 'matters for information' were carrying over from previous executive and then there were 'matters for action' and the 'matters for information' were just literally issues that had arisen, correspondence received and so on. Basically my agendas were drawn up in the light of correspondence that came in that I passed on to the Hon. Gen. Sec. and then he would add anything that he felt should be discussed, and was an issue. Then, of course, once a year, we met with the Social Research ... no, the SSRC[28] before it became the ESRC. At one time that was very much a case of the BSA trying to find out what the SSRC was up to because nobody seemed to know! But more recently it's been much more of a sharing issue, not such a conflict discussion. Then we went through a period when we used to meet with the 'A' level examiners, but that was dropped in more recent years. We don't seem to be pursuing it as much as we did. I think probably the ATSS[29] is pursuing it more than we are. So there were particular issues that came up. Some perpetual issues that, once the four year cycle of the executive has gone and we come in with a new set of blood completely, then issues arise and I think "oh yes, we went through all this before", so for a subsequent few executives - and I think the same thing's going to issue again, because there still talking about having a permanent venue, or three permanent venues, for the conferences instead of keep going to different places each time. I notice that's being murmured yet again, so I guess we'll go through that one again.
Yes, I'd forgotten about ... I remember being on it when we went through that one. I can 't remember, I think it just sort of faded away, didn't it? Yes, the basic problem is that you've still got to have somebody who's going to be the local organiser. Who are you going to find who's going to be the local organiser? Who's going to be willing?   It's got to be somebody different, because most conference organisers when they've done it once, say "never again". I'm sure they've enjoyed it but they just think, "no, it took too much time and things. It was great fun while we did it, but no, we won't do it again. Be somebody else's baby". And also it does produce problems because of the themes set for the conference. You would be better to have somebody, the fourth member, if that's going to be the person at the local venue, who is also a person interested in the theme. I think most people say there should be more than one person at the local venue, there should be two conference organisers from the local venue. In the last two or three years it's been three local and one outsider. So I don't see how that can work, really, even though they think it might solve a lot of problems.
Would it, do you think    The arguing point is it would solve a lot of problems because we wouldn't be having to go through management again and explain; they'd know what we wanted, it would all be on the file. But, then, management in universities changes, so I think we would still be going through the same thing, really. Local universities, their layout changes; it's so important because the publishers' exhibition is an important means of income, to have a good publishers' area, that's very important. They don't like being on the outside and they might consider whether they really want to come the following year because they had such a bad place the previous year. It doesn't make for good atmospheres if you have grumbling.
The actual physical layout of that bit of the conference - the conference office and the publishers' area, where people are mingling for coffee, and so on - is very important, to the tone and feel of the whole thing?   That's right, and it's quite complex sometimes for the Publications Officer to draw up this diagram of where the different stands are going to be, because publishers have asked for so much space. You've got three options, and then you've got to fit these tables into the area with enough room for emergency exits and things, and if you want to try and have a coffee venue within the publishers' area, because that would draw delegates in the intervals. So it is quite complicated. There again, you've got to liaise with the catering people, and say "well, we would like coffee here" and sometimes they say "oh, well, no, no, we never do that". You were hopefully hoping perhaps they might this time! So, you're going to repeat the whole thing, and I don't think it's going to save that much time by saying we'll only have three venues and then they'll know all about us and we'll know all about them because the changes that take place these days! There are so many now, with the development in universities of these 'en-suite' facilities. Once upon a time it was, there was only one type of accommodation and that was it. Standard student rooms.     That's right, and now these 'en-suites' are standard student rooms! If the student wants to pay the extra money. Now, I think, this is a new avenue we're coming into. We came into it for the first time in Kent, really, where you had the option of 'en-suite' or ... I think that in Essex is going to be 'en-suite'. Now that is going to be quite interesting, because I said, well maybe, some people won't want to pay 'en-suite' if they're students, and could there be some other accommodation as well, but I'm not certain what the outcome of that will be. So, that's a new area we're moving into.   I was thinking it could get quite expensive, but it's already quite expensive?    That's right. It will become expensive from that side of things, if people are going to want 'en-suite', but we did have quite a high demand for 'en-suite' at Kent and everybody who was in 'en-suite' was saying how nice it was. I'm sure it is. No, I go for basic and on the whole, the basic's alright if you don't mind paddling down the corridor for your bathroom and so forth.
What have you got there, that we haven't talked about?   
The study groups. Of course, the study groups have gone on through the years. They commenced in 1955, and some have started then and then they didn't continue, and then they started again - I can think of the education study group - and that was very much to the fore to begin with, as was the industrial sociology study group. Now, that one has continued quite well, but the education one has fluctuated, and then it was resuscitated, in the mid-eighties and I thought it was going to take off again, to go into areas of north-east and south, but it seems as if that has dropped out.[30] I think, like everything else, people don't want to bother to go to meetings now like they used to. The days of meetings are over, the sort of the evening meeting and things, except in a few instances where it's really up people's street and they want to attend. But they've continued. through the years, with conveners, and. there again, of course, it's subject to there being an enthusiastic convener.
There are one or two study groups who have abandoned the idea of having two or three meetings a year, but they have one conference - a theoretical study group has a conference in January, and I think the Sociology of Religion group, which is very much an independent group, as is the Medical Sociology group, the Sociology of Religion group have a conference at Easter and they are hoping that they might be able to combine their conference with our conference at some time. They approached Essex about this but it wasn't on, but they're hoping perhaps they can hold it at the same time. Because study groups are encouraged. to have meetings at the conference but not that number take part. But, of course, the Medical Sociology conference is quite a large one which takes place usually at York, but I think this year it's going to take place at Edinburgh, and it's going to be an international one, through Europe. But that group has done very well through the years.
   The other thing, which isn't a study group, is a branch, is the Scottish branch, which we haven't mentioned. That has been going on for, that's survived, gone on through the years. They now do have a proportion, a third, of the membership subscription from Scottish branch members, goes back into the branch.    That's how they get their money?    Yes, they've said, "We're very much a fringe, we're all scattered and it is quite expensive to hold meetings in Scotland, and so, why don't our members pay a third". So anybody north of the border is identified and at the end of the year, they are sent a third of the total amount received from Scottish members. Of course, they recently produced this video.[31] Yes, I've seen that. Have you seen it?     Yes, I have. It's very good, because it was edited down after it was shown; I think the Finance and Membership saw it and they felt there were one or two things that were a bit Scottish, or they didn't think were very becoming to sociology, so those bits got edited out. I think it's gone to Australia now, somebody from Australia saw it and thought it was very good, and took it out there. So that's good. It was a professionally done piece of work, that was the difference between that's an amateur thing which isn't so good. So we need to remember the study groups, and I don't know what else we haven't touched on.
I think I did think through, but as we think of the increase in membership, we said that 1981 it had gone up to 1364, from the 999[32] of '77, and then by '91 it's gone over 2,000. But, of course, we always lose about 200 a year, which is a shame. Some of them, it's just dilatory and they write perhaps when they suddenly realise halfway through the following year that they should have renewed their subscription and didn't, but some are just dropouts. A few of those do rejoin subsequently but then they drop out again. They either rejoin just for the conference; and some just join for the conference and then dropout. There's always been that.
   There was talk at one time: couldn't we get the students, because we do have an undergraduate subscription as well as the postgraduate subscription, couldn't we get more undergraduates interested, but I think the undergraduates feel there's enough going for them in their own university. They don't seem to bother very much. So they would just join if their tutors thought it would be good for them to go to a conference and their subscription is included in the fee for the conference, so they literally become members for 24 hours almost, although it is a membership for a year; it's just the f3 and nothing more. So there is quite a lot of work involved in that, if you're really trying to work out how much it's costing to keep a student for a year, which is very, very difficult, but when you think they only pay £3, by the time you've got 4 mailings and you've entered it on a computer and you've done everything, it's far more than £3 worth of time involved in it.
And we don't actually offer undergraduates very much, do we, as an Association? It 's not geared to their ..., 1 don't know quite what would be?    Well, I was going to say, it depends; if they're interested in what's going on the market in books, then, of course, they get that, and the reviews in Network of books. So it depends, I would have thought, now, with Network, because it does include quite a lot of details of overseas conferences and other conferences and things, that there might be something that would be of interest to them. But, as I say, I don't think ... they're not that drawn to it. I suppose they can reckon their own tutors and people within the department would tell them of any conferences that might be of interest to them, or papers that might be worth reading. Yes, I think postgraduates, it's a different matter because they're - at least somebody doing a Ph.D. - is setting out to be (probably) a professional sociologist.
Yes, and of course, we do have quite a large number who are unemployed, who have finished their research or their postgraduate work, and haven't got a job or who did have a research job and it's terminated.    Resting!    I don't know about resting. Then, I think as one looks back over the years, the one thing that one does need to emphasise, which ties in, as I've tried to point out through the years with the 'good housekeeping' and not spending, is the dedication of a large number of sociologists and members through the years, who've had quite responsible and very busy jobs and yet in addition to that have spent a large amount of time, especially on some of the working parties: the working party for setting up Work, Employment and Society, and then the subsequent working party for a third journal, and hours have been spent on papers, setting this out and working out the costings and the viability of it. And also treasurers through the years; there are some strategy papers which have involved a lot of work, and I think one doesn't need to overlook the fact that this will probably continue through the years, but certainly the Association in the last 30 years has owed a lot to the work of honorary members and officers. Bearing in mind that editors of journals, it's all voluntary work. Somebody was ringing me from another journal, and saying "What fee are the editors paid?". You say "nothing", and anyone who speaks at the conference, there's no fee, which is a very unusual situation in these days. If you take those things into account, the Association wouldn't have built up as much capital as it has. Whether it will be able to continue in this situation, and the subsidy from university departments where officers are working, we don't know.
Yes, that 's quite an important hidden subsidy, isn't it?    That's right, yes. And it's very difficult to assess. I have been asked, in the past, "work out your cost time", but it's almost impossible, really.     Yes, I know from editing, if you really sat down and worked out how many hours a week you spent you wouldn't think you could do it.

[end of tape]


1Richard Brown had been president for 1983-5, and was Professor of Sociology at Durham.

2This role should not be confused with the office of Honorary General Secretary, always an elected post.

3 This was part of the student unrest of the 1960s – see Blackstone et al. 1970, Platt 2003: 109-110.

4‘Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines’.

5This refers to an episode when Dick Atkinson was, in highly controversial circumstances, rejected for a sociology post at Birmingham University. For details, see Platt 2003: 112-118.

6Robin Ward was Deputy Director of the ESRC Research Unit on Ethnic Relations (and the husband of Joyce Ward, who was Business Manager for Sociology), and Treasurer forn1976-9 ; Martin Bulmer was then a Lecturer in Social Administration at LSE, and an EC member for 1976-8.

7These were meetings to hear speakers.

8Actually the official conference title was Urbanism in Contemporary Britain.

9This was the 1974 conference. The joint organiser was Diana Barker (later Diana Leonard).

10 This suggests a worse position than shown in the figures reported to AGMs (Platt 2003: 70); however, it is possible that it represents memory of how many individuals dropped out rather than of the total fall when new recruits are included.

11 British Psychological Society

12 This refers to BSA’s blacklisting of the Birmingham department.

13A first ethical code was introduced in 1967. Philip Abrams, then Professor of Sociology at Durham, joined the EC for 1972-5. The ethical code has been revised a number of times.

14Ginsberg had been chairman from the foundation of the Association; on his retirement from LSE, the office of president was created and conferred on him. After his death there was a gap of two years before another president, Barbara Wootton, took office; from then the office was always filled, though it was only with the first election that the office became one with a fixed term.

15Barbara Wootton was formally Professor of Social Studies and Economics at Bedford College, though she became commonly regarded as a sociologist.

16Tom Bottomore was then Professor of Sociology at Sussex.

17Peter Worsley started his career as an anthropologist, but moved into sociology and became the first Professor of Sociology at Manchester

18Keith Macdonald was Lecturer in Sociology at Surrey.

19This is wrong. Sociology started in 1967, Network in 1975.

20The Sociological Review was originally established in 1908, but in 1952 started the modern ‘.new series’ based at Keele.

21Otto Newman was Head of Department at the [then] Polytechnic of the South Bank, a BSA EC member and Chair of its Publications Committee.

22 Other names of people who ‘floated in and out’ or may have left are omitted here.

23The Book Club offered selected books to members at reduced prices.

24It was.

25Meg [Margaret] Stacey moved in that year from a senior lectureship at Swansea to a professorship at Warwick. She served as BSA Secretary for 1968-70, Vice-Chair and Chair for 1976-9, and president for 1981-3.

26 Executive meetings, that is.

27Simon Fraser was a recently founded Canadian university where the Department of Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology was heavily involved in the left activism of the time and serious disputes developed.

28Social Science Research Council, later Economic and Social Research Council.

29 Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences; a body for those teaching sociology, or ‘social science’, often for A levels, to pupils of school age, sometimes in further education colleges.

30For fuller data on study groups, see Platt 2003: 54-60, 187-190.

31The video was not specifically about Scotland, but about sociology as an undergraduate course.

32A considerably lower total than that given in the annual report


BLACKSTONE, Tessa, K. Gales, R. Hadley and W. Lewis (1970) Students in Conflict: LSE in 1967, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

PLATT, Jennifer (2003) The British Sociological Association: a Sociological History, Durham:


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