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Death notice: Professor Paul Hirst

Considered one of the most inspiring political and social thinkers of his generation, Professor Paul Hirst, died this month, aged 57. Though he began as a Marxist, his ideas helped to provide the intellectual scaffolding for New Labour.   

Paul Hirst graduated from the University of Leicester in June 1968 with first class honours in Sociology. On the staff of the Department of Sociology at that time was Elia Neustadt and Norbert Elias - contributing to what turned out to be the most ground-breaking sociology department in the country. 

Following the award of an MA from Sussex University, his first post at the early age of 23 was as a lecturer in Sociology at Birkbeck College, London, where he joined his former Leicester teacher, Sami Zubaida, eventually helping to set up a department of politics and sociology which has grown and flourished ever since. He was a generous and gifted teacher. He was later appointed a Reader in Social Theory and a Professor in 1985 - a post he held until his death on June 17, 2003.

His publications were distinctive for their richness and vitality. Starting with Durkheim, Bernard and Epistemology (1975), they included Law, Socialism and Democracy, After Thatcher and War and Power in the 21st Century. He and his wife, Sociologist Penny Woolley, co-authored Social Relations and Human Attributes in 1982. He leaves his wife, Penny, and a son, Jamie.

June 2003 

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Last updated: 25 June 2003 10:00
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