Professor David Morgan

David H. J. Morgan, 1937-2020, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

A sketch of David Morgan

David Morgan, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, died on 17 June 2020, only shortly after having been diagnosed with cancer.

We have collected tributes to David from friends and colleagues. To add your own, please email your tribute and any photos to

During a career spanning over six decades, David Morgan had a major influence on sociology. Many of David’s publications on families and masculinities remain landmark works that helped shape and transform these fields of study. David is perhaps best known for launching the ‘family practices’ approach in Family Connections (1996). In his later work, he explored hitherto under-researched areas of everyday life, such as Acquaintances (2009) and Snobbery (2018). A defining characteristic of his work is that it addresses issues and topics that resonate with the everyday experiences of a wide range of people, and does so in a way that allows for new sociological insights into seemingly mundane facets of life.

David was a key figure in the British sociological community. He was one of the original staff members of the Department of Sociology at the University of Manchester when it was founded in 1964, and he taught there for almost 35 years He acted as President of the British Sociological Association (BSA), editor of Sociology, co-editor of the Palgrave ‘Studies in Family Sociology’ book series, and Open Space editor on the journal Families, Relationships and Societies. After retiring he held an Emeritus Professorship at Manchester together with visiting Professorships at Keele University and NTNU, Trondheim.

David was known by generations of sociologists for his extraordinarily generous collegiality. In his inimitable style that combined a keen sense of humour and kindness, he mentored and supported numerous colleagues at various stages of their career. In 2016, David was awarded the BSA’s Distinguished Service to British Sociology Award.

In 2005, in recognition of David’s standing as one of the foremost sociologists in the fields of families, relationships, personal life and everyday lives, the newly created Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives at the University of Manchester was named after him.  As well as wishing to pay tribute to his groundbreaking sociological works in the name of our Centre, we wanted to celebrate his commitment to collegiality and collaboration in academic endeavour. He was among a select group of scholars to have a centre named after them during their lifetime, a fact that attests to the exceptional nature of his body of work. David played a central role in the Centre from the beginning, and engaged in Centre activities until his death. We will treasure our memories of him as a warm and supportive colleague whose character and scholarship helped shape the intellectual and collegiate atmosphere of the Centre.

Major works:

  • Social Theory and the Family (Routledge 1975)
  • The Family, Politics and Social Theory (Routledge 1985)
  • Discovering Men (Routledge 1992)
  • Family Connections (Polity 1996)
  • Gender, Bodies and Work (Ashgate 2005) with Berit Brandth & Elin Kvande (eds)
  • Transitions in Context: Leaving Home, Independence and Adulthood (Open University Press, 2005) with Clare Holdsworth.
  • Acquaintances: The Space Between Intimates And Strangers (Open University Press 2009)
  • Snobbery (Policy Press 2018)