Peter Worsley

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Peter Maurice Worsley (6 May 1924 15 March 2013) was a noted British sociologist and social anthropologist. He was a major figure in both anthropology and sociology, and is noted for introducing the term third world into English. He not only made theoretical and ethnographic contributions, but also was regarded as a key founding member of the New Left. [1] [2]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

New Left political movement

The New Left was a broad political movement mainly in the 1960s and 1970s consisting of activists in the Western world who campaigned for a broad range of social issues such as civil and political rights, feminism, gay rights, abortion rights, gender roles and drug policy reforms. Some saw the New Left as an oppositional reaction to earlier Marxist and labor union movements for social justice that focused on dialectical materialism and social class, while others who used the term saw the movement as a continuation and revitalization of traditional leftist goals.


Early life and education

Born in Birkenhead, Worsley started reading English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He served in the British Army as an officer in Africa and India. During this time he developed his interest in anthropology. After the war he worked on mass education in Tanganyika and then went to study under Max Gluckman at the University of Manchester. He received his PhD from the Australian National University in Canberra. [1] [2]

Birkenhead town in Merseyside, England

Birkenhead is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. Historically until 1974 in Cheshire, it is on the Wirral Peninsula, along the west bank of the River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 88,818.

Emmanuel College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Emmanuel College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.


He lectured in sociology at the University of Hull and then went on to become the first Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester in 1964. [1] [2]

University of Hull university in Kingston upon Hull, UK

The University of Hull is a public research university in Kingston upon Hull, a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It was founded in 1927 as University College Hull. The main university campus is located in Hull and is home to the Hull York Medical School, a joint initiative with the University of York. Students are served by Hull University Union.

Victoria University of Manchester British university (1851-2004)

The former Victoria University of Manchester, now the University of Manchester, was founded in 1851 as Owens College. In 1880, the college joined the federal Victoria University, gaining an independent university charter in 1904 as the Victoria University of Manchester after the collapse of the federal university.


Winner of the Curl Bequest Prize (1955) of the Royal Anthropological Institute for The kinship system of the Tallensi: a revaluation (Published in JRAI 1956, pp. 37–75). [3]

Tallensi, also spelled Talensi, are a people of northern Ghana who speak a language of the Gur branch of the Niger-Congo language family. They grow millet and sorghum as staples and raise cattle, sheep, and goats on a small scale. Their normal domestic unit is the polygamous joint family of a man and his sons with their wives and unmarried daughters. Married daughters live with their husbands in other communities, commonly nearby.

Key works

University of Chicago Press university press in the United States

The University of Chicago Press is the largest and one of the oldest university presses in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, numerous academic journals, and advanced monographs in the academic fields.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas Bottomore
President of the British Sociological Association
Succeeded by
Sheila Allen