LSE Sociology Students: Their Performances and Achievements

  • Christopher T. HusbandsEmail author


Despite Bacon’s views on the benefit of knowledge, students, who are generally presumed to be seeking it, receive a mixed literary and cultural press, which is almost as bad as that for academics. The various students in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as told by the Miller and the Reeve, were devious scatological pranksters and sexually opportunistic; the Wife of Bath’s student fifth husband was a wife-beater and wife-tormenter, though she did think that he made up for this in other ways. The two students in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat were practical jokers. Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, albeit then an ex-student, was a murderer, even if one claiming to be acting by a moral principle, The Student Prince operetta involves very little studying and, despite a complex plot, is principally famous for its frivolity; ‘Gaudeamus igitur’ may be a lament for the shortness of life but is largely known as a student drinking song. There are a few alternatives, though often tragic or ambiguous. Hamlet might have had a different fate had he not been dissuaded by his mother from his wish to return to study at Wittenberg. Hardy’s Jude Fawley, though merely a would-be a student, met with tragedy and death. The moral ambiguity about imposing blame for the student or for the professor for the relationship between them as presented in David Mamet’s Oleana was noted before; one interpretation blames the student. Even the student experience of H. G. Wells’ Ann Veronica in his 1909 eponymous novel was perhaps bitter-sweet. Also, just as there are Oxford novels satirizing the donnish staff for their peculiar customs, there are others satirizing the equally peculiar customs of the students, of which Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson: Or, An Oxford Love Story is perhaps one of the best-known. Bringing these thoughts uncomfortably closer to home, LSE Sociology itself (albeit in the form of a student whose attendance would from the context have been very ephemeral) also receives its own scornful mention; in the midst of his mysterious biographical hinterland, Lee Sarason, the unscrupulous secretary of the authoritarian populist Senator Berzelius Windrip, and later his Secretary of State who then engineered a coup d’état, in Sinclair Lewis’s disturbing 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, ‘had a few sociological months at the London School of Economics’. Even so, in comparison with Oxbridge, LSE has been able to escape too many scabrous literary treatments.

Supplementary material

462218_1_En_6_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Table W6.1 Winners of the Hobhouse Memorial Prize and of the Free Press Prize in Sociology, with degree and class received, 1931 to 2015 (DOCX 21 kb)
462218_1_En_6_MOESM2_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Table W6.2 Identified Master of Arts in Sociology degrees awarded at LSE, 1931 to 1936 (DOCX 13 kb)
462218_1_En_6_MOESM3_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Table W6.3 Identified Masters of Science in Economics awarded in Sociology or Sociology/Anthropology, 1935 to 1938 (DOCX 13 kb) (DOCX 12 kb)
462218_1_En_6_MOESM4_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Table W6.4 Advanced doctoral degrees in Sociology or Sociology with Anthropology, 1912 to 1943 (DOCX 13 kb)
462218_1_En_6_MOESM5_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Table W6.5 Identified Doctorates of Philosophy in Sociology or in relevant cognate subjects, 1929 to 1940 (DOCX 18 kb)


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Reader in SociologyLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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