Margaret S. Archer (President)

Margaret Archer

Birthplace Grenoside (UK)
Nomination 19 January 1994
Field Sociology
Title Professor

Most important awards, prizes and academies
PhD London School of Economics, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, University of Cambridge, University of Reading, University of Warwick; President of the International Sociological Association 1986-90; Editor of Current Sociology, the Journal of the International Sociological Association, 1972-80; Member of the Amalfi Scientific Prize Committee; Member of the Academia Europaea; Member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and Councillor (1994-). One of the main speakers at the "IV Convegno Ecclesiale Nazionale", organized by CEI, Verona 2006; Speaker in the "Hacia un consenso multilateral solidario" Conference, Chile 2008.She became Professor of Social Theory at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in 2011. Winner, with co-author Pierpaolo Donati, of the Cheryl Franck Memorial prize for the best book in Critical Realism, 2016. Doctor honoris causa, Uniwersytet Kardinala Stefana Wyszyńskiego, Warsaw, 2017; and at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, 2018.

Summary of scientific research
My research is in the area of philosophy of social science. It has fundamentally been concerned with the "problem of structure and agency", that is with justifying these as irreducible entities with their own emergent properties and powers. From that follows the question of how to theorise the interplay between society, culture, structure and its human agents and to explain how their interaction leads to an elaboration of all three elements. To this end, I have developed the "morphogenetic approach" within social theory. These issues first emerged in my Social Origins of Educational Systems (Sage, London, 1979). However, they are most fully explored in my trilogy of books, which deal sequentially with culture, structure and agency: Culture and Agency, 1988; Realist Social Theory, 1995; and Being Human: the Problem of Agency, 2000. All of these are published by Cambridge University Press. I am working on the manner in which human reflexivity serves to mediate between our personal concerns and our structural conditioning as the next stage in the above project. The first of a new trilogy of books, Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation, was published again with CUP, 2003; Making Our Way Through the World; Social Mobility and Reflexivity, 2007 and The Reflexive Imperative, 2012.

Main publications
Besides 60 articles and chapters published between 1965-2014, her principal books are: Social Conflict and Educational Change in England and France: 1789-1848 (with M. Vaughan), Cambridge University Press, 1971; Contemporary Europe: Class, Status and Power (ed. jointly with Salvador Giner and joint Introduction), Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1971, and St Martin's Press, New York, 1971; Students, University and Society (edited, Introduction and Ch. on France), Heinemann, London 1972; Contemporary Europe: Social Structures and Cultural Patterns (ed. jointly with Salvador Giner), Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1978, including "The Theoretical and Comparative Analysis of Social Structure", pp. 1-27; Social Origins of Educational Systems, Sage, London and Beverly Hills, 1979; The Sociology of Educational Expansion: Take-Off, Growth and Inflation in Educational Systems (Ed.) Sage, London and Beverly Hills, 1982; Social Origins of Educational Systems, 1979. This was followed by Culture and Agency: The Place of Culture in Social Theory, Cambridge University Press, 1988; Realist Social Theory: the Morphogenetic Approach, Cambridge University Press, 1995; Being Human: The Problem of Agency, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000; Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003; Transcendence: Critical Realism and God (co-authored with Andrew Collier and Douglas V. Porpora), Routledge, London, 2004; Making our Way through the World: Human Reflexivity and Social Mobility, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007; Pursuing the Common Good: How Solidarity and Subsidiarity Can Work Together, Margaret S. Archer and Pierpaolo Donati (Eds.), Vatican City Press, 2008. p. 706; Riflessività umana e percorsi di vita, Trento, Erickson, 2009; Teoría social realista: El enfoque morfogenético, Santiago, Ed. Universidad Alberto Hurtado, 2009; Conversations about Reflexivity (edited), Routledge, Abingdon, 2010; The Reflexive Imperative in Late Modernity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012 (p. 340); Margaret S. Archer and Andrea M. Maccarini (Eds.), Engaging with the World: Agency, institutions, historic formations, London and New York, Routledge, 2013 (p. 215); Social Origins of Educational Systems (Reprinted as a 'Classical Text in Social Realism' with a new Introduction) (p. 26), London and New York, Routledge, 2013 (p. 842); Margaret S. Archer (Ed.), Social Morphogenesis, New York, Springer, with Introduction, ‘Social Morphogenesis and the Prospects of Morphogenic Society’, 2013 (pp. 1-22); Margaret S. Archer (Ed.) (2014), Late Modernity: Trajectories Towards Morphogenic Society, New York: Springer, with Introduction, ‘‘Stability’ or Stabilization’ – on which would Morphogenic Society Depend?’; Pierpaolo Donati and Margaret S. Archer (2015), The Relational Subject, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press; Margaret S. Archer & Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo (Eds.) (2016), Human Trafficking: Issues Beyond Criminalization, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City; Margaret S. Archer (Ed.) (2015), Generative Mechanisms Transforming the Social Order, New York: Springer, with Introduction, ‘Other Conceptions of Generative Mechanisms and Ours’; Margaret S. Archer (Ed.) (2016), Morphogenesis and the Crisis of Normativity, Dordrecht, Springer; Margaret S. Archer (Ed.) (2017), Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing, Dordrecht Springer.

Professional Address

Director, Centre for Social Ontology
Department of Sociology
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Being Trafficked to Work: How Can Human Trafficking Be Made Unsustainable? (PDF) 2014

A Sociological Approach to Human Trafficking (PDF) 2013

Solidarity and Governance (PDF) 2013

The Current Crisis: Consequences of Neglecting the Four Key Principles of Catholic Social Doctrine (PDF) 2010

Education, Subsidiarity and Solidarity: Past, Present and Future (PDF) 2008

Comments (PDF) 2007

Persons and Ultimate Concerns: Who We Are is What We Care About (PDF) 2005

The Concept of the Person as the Gift of Society (PDF) 2005

Family Concerns and Inter-Generational Solidarity (PDF) 2004

Report on ‘Work & Human Fulfillment’ (PDF) 2004

Social Integration, System Integration and Global Governance (PDF) 2003

The Impact of Globalisation on Cultural Identities. A Comment on Pedro Morandé’s Paper (PDF) 2001

Unemployment: Social Needs and Economic Tendencies. Scenarios for their Ethical Reconciliation (PDF) 1999

The Sociological Approach to the Tension between Human Equality and Social Inequality (PDF) 1994

Lectio Magistralis

©2012-2017 The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences


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