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William BeveridgeA Biography$
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Jose Harris

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206859.001.0001

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Social Science and Academic Freedom

Social Science and Academic Freedom

(p.277) [12] Social Science and Academic Freedom
William Beveridge

Jose Harris

Oxford University Press

The debate on the nature of the social sciences was the most prolonged and all-pervasive of all the disputed subjects which concerned Beveridge. Beveridge as a young man had firmly attached himself to the ‘empirical’ tradition in social science. These beliefs were sharply distinguished from both the ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ traditions of sociological inquiry established at the London School of Economics (LSE). Beveridge's opinions on the nature of social science became controversial and his conflicts with his staff were closely bound up with the method and manner of his government of the LSE. In his history of the School, Beveridge recalled that it had once been described by a committee of inspection as a ‘benevolent autocracy’. Such a combination of attitudes probably greatly facilitated the rapid growth of the LSE but it did not leave much scope for sharing important decisions with members of his staff.

Keywords:   social sciences, LSE, political debate, benevolent autocracy, political economy, Student Vanguard, London School of Economics

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