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Table 1: CUYB data, British pre-1992 universities: teaching staff by gender

The CUYB appears every year, and for each university lists all members of teaching staff under departmental headings; it is therefore possible to compile from it figures of the numbers to be counted as sociologists. This is so laborious that it was not practicable to list the names from which to compile the figures for every year; they have, therefore, been taken at intervals of 4 or 5 years, which is sufficient to show trends. (The dates used are ones at intervals chosen - for other reasons - to relate to the dates at which British Sociological Association Registers of members were produced, with some additional dates interpolated to make a more even sequence.)

A major problem is the changing composition of the official category 'university' over the period studied. For a considerable number of years 'polytechnics' offered degrees in Sociology to large numbers of students, and provided job opportunities for many sociologists on their staff; however, the CUYB did not list those staff, since the institutions were not formally universities until 1992, and there is no corresponding published source which gives the equivalent information about them. It has, therefore, been regrettably necessary to leave them out of the quantitative picture. As Fulton (1993) shows, their character differs, in ways potentially relevant to our concerns. Some discussions in this field draw on statistics which combine teaching and research posts; the latter have always been found to have more women, so the definition chosen can make a considerable difference. This paper is concerned only with teaching posts.

Another problem is who to count as a sociologist when the departmental structure of universities changes, new names are given to what may be more or less the same department, some departments of sociology contain members formally belonging to another discipline who may not be identified as such, and some sociologists are members of other departments. However, any other count would equally rest on problematic definitions - who is 'really' a sociologist? Those counted are all those in departments of Sociology not listed as affiliated with other disciplines, and those in some departments with titles such as 'Social Studies' when they contained members known as sociologists for whom there was no other home. In the last category, a few people clearly identifiable as mainly in social work have been excluded. Where people in other units (e.g. medical schools, Oxbridge colleges) were listed as sociologists or are generally known as such, they too have been included. Practice in labelling individuals by discipline has been inconsistent between years and institutions; in a few cases informants with direct knowledge of the department have helped to identify who should be counted. But, of course, there are some colleagues whose commitments genuinely fall between Sociology and Social Anthropology, Social Policy, or Cultural Studies, and others whose affiliations have changed over time. Thus the figures below based on these data should not be taken as exact.

Gender has usually been indicated in the CUYB by the convention of giving women's, but not men's, full first names rather than just initials, though in recent years that has not uniformly been followed, so some knowledge from other sources has been drawn on.