This month, 70 years ago, a letter was placed in The Times announcing the formation of the British Sociological Association. One can only imagine the utter excitement the thirteen signatories must have felt. No doubt the association that we are today (with annual conferences attracting around 800 delegates, a regular programme of about 50 other events, vibrant networks of over 50 specialist research study groups, four journals, prestigious prizes celebrating achievements in writing and lives devoted to Sociology) would have been the kind that they dreamt of. Sociology has gone from strength to strength and both the discipline and the association have stood the test of time. As we celebrate our 70th, we look forward to the next 70 years with equal zeal. Well done Sociology, well done sociologists, well done members, well done the BSA!
Read the full text of the letter to The Times below.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
Sir, – We hope you will grant us space in your columns in order to draw the attention of your readers to the founding of the British Sociological Association. This body, formed as the result of widely representative meetings held in London, aims at promoting interest in sociology, at advancing its study and application in this country, and at encouraging contact and cooperation between workers in all relevant fields of inquiry. Although there are at present relatively few professional sociologists in this country, the social developments and legislative reforms of recent years have greatly stimulated interest in sociological theory and research both among the representatives of other academic disciplines and among the general public. The new association believes that it can render valuable service by providing opportunities for the discussion of both theoretical and practical problems, by helping those who are interested in such questions to get into touch with the work of others engaged in studies similar to their own, and by promoting the coordination of research in a manner calculated to make results comparable. It is by such means as these that individual investigations can become cumulative in their effects and may thus lead gradually to the development of a systematic study of society.
The scope of the association has deliberately been made very wide, in order to bring together all those who are interested in the sociological aspects of their own special subjects. It is intended to cover in this way, not only contemporary, historical, and comparative studies of social structure in the widest possible sense, but also social philosophy, psychology, and biology, human geography and criminology. The association plans to bring representatives of these various fields together in periodic national conferences and also in regular local meetings in London and the provinces. It hopes to publish papers presented at these meetings and to circulate classified bibliographies of sociological works. In addition, members and associates will be entitled to receive the British Journal of Sociology at a reduced rate. Participation in the association will be open not only to those whose training and experience qualify them to be full members, but also to others who, though not yet possessing these qualifications, have an active interest in the study of society. Further details regarding conditions of membership of the association, its aims, and the services it hopes to offer may be obtained on application to the Honorary General Secretary, British Sociological Association, Skepper House, 31, John Adam Street, London, W.C.2.
We are, yours faithfully,
A.M. CARR-SAUNDERS, V. GORDON CHILDE, RAYMOND FIRTH, M. FORTES, MORRIS GINSBERG (Chairman), D.V. GLASS, R.J. GOODMAN (Honorary General Secretary), T.H. MARSHALL, T.H.PEAR (Vice-Chairman), T.S.SIMEY (Honorary Treasurer), W.J.H. SPROTT, RICHARD M. TITMUSS, BARBARA WOOTTON