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Walter Garrison ‘Garry’ Runciman, CBE, 3rd Viscount of Doxford, (10 November 1934 – 9 December 2020) was a distinguished British historical sociologist whose principal research interest was the application of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory to cultural and social selection, making major contributions to the understanding social inequality and society’s attitudes to it.

In celebration of Garry Runciman’s extraordinary contribution to the field of social sciences we have made a collection of his works free to read.

Colour portrait of W. G. Runciman with a green hilly background.

Garry had been a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge since 1971, researching in the field of comparative and historical sociology. He served as President of the British Academy, to which he was elected in 1975, from 2001 to 2005, and was awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, London and York. He was also an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He chaired the British Government’s Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in England and Wales which was set up in 1991 and reported to Parliament in 1993, as a result of which a permanent independent Criminal Cases Review Commission was established set up to investigate possible miscarriages of justice.

His first major publication was Relative Deprivation and Social Justice: a Study of Attitudes to Social Inequality in Twentieth-Century Britain (Routledge, 1966), reprinted by Gregg Revivals in 1993. He later published A Critique of Max Weber’s Philosophy of Social Science (Cambridge University Press, 1972), A Treatise on Social Theory (Cambridge University Press, Vol. 1 1983, Vol. 2 1989, Vol. 3 1997), The Social Animal (HarperCollins, 1998), The Theory of Cultural and Social Selection (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Great Books, Bad Arguments: Republic, Leviathan and The Communist Manifesto (Princeton University Press, 2010).

In 2004, he edited and contributed to a British Academy occasional paper, Hutton and Butler: Lifting the Lid on the Workings of Power, which deals with the events surrounding Britain’s participation in the invasion of Iraq and the way in which it was presented to the British public.

A selection of 8 book covers written by or edited by W. G. Runciman

Book by W. G. Runciman - Free access