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Dr Eric Lybeck


Extension: 5605

Telephone: 01392 725605

Lecturer (Sociology)

Eric Royal Lybeck is an historical sociologist whose research focuses on the evolution of the modern research university and its changing role in society since the conferral of the first PhD in Germany in 1810. In addition, Lybeck writes on the history of sociology, social theory, and his previous research was within the field of war and society.

Lybeck is a core member of the Centre for Research in Professional Learning at the Graduate School of Education at Exeter. He is the co-convener of the British Sociological Association’s Historical and Comparative Study Group. He is a member of the editorial board for Current Perspectives in Social Theory. He was the conference co-organizer for the 2015 meeting of the International Social Theory Consortium which explored the need for ‘reconstruction’ in social theory and the social sciences in general. His most recent book, Sociological Amnesia, edited with Alex Law, explores the forgotten legacies of once influential sociologists whose work has since been neglected by the discipline.

From 2016-2019, Lybeck is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow working on the project 'The Academic Self: Changes in University Expectations since 1800'. More information on this project is accessible HERE.


Historical Sociology, Social Theory, Sociology of Knowledge, Political Sociology


Books, chapters and articles:

Sociological Amnesia: Episodes in Disciplinary History, A. Law and E.R. Lybeck eds., Ashgate, July 2015

Geist (Spirit): History of the Concept’ in: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 9. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 666–670. 2015

‘Conclusion: Barriers and Conduits to Social Justice —Universities in The Twenty-First Century’ (with Harry F. Dahms). in Social Justice and the University. J. Shefner, H. Dahms, R. Jones, and A. Jalata, eds., New York: Palgrave, 2014

‘Discourse Formation in Early American and British Sociology: The Cases of Patrick Geddes and Lester Ward’. History of Human Sciences, vol. 26 (2), pp. 51–69, 2013

‘For Pragmatic Public Sociology: Theory and Practice after the Pragmatic Turn’. Current Perspectives in Social Theory, vol. 29, pp. 169 – 185, 2011



Reconstructing Social Theory, History and Practice - International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC) annual meeting – conference host, Cambridge, UK, June 2015

‘Whither History and Comparison in UK Sociology?’ symposium co-organizer, British Sociological Association (BSA) annual meeting, Glasgow, UK, April 2015

‘Failed Sociologists and Dead Ends in the History of Sociology’, panel organizer with Christian Fleck, International Sociological Association (ISA) World Congress, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

‘Professional Academics / Disciplinary Jurisdictions’, panel organizer, Social Science History Association (SSHA) annual meeting, Chicago, IL, Nov 2013

Revaluing the Sociology of Patrick Geddes – symposium organizer with Alex Law, University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland. June 2013

Invited Papers:

‘The German-American Professorial Exchange and the History of Higher Education Policy’, Centre for Education Policy Analysis, Liverpool Hope University, Feb. 2015.

‘Why Mockingbird and not Gatsby?: Exploring the Common Curriculum Debate in the Abstract and Concrete’, Oxford Student PEN: What's Education for Anyway?: The Curriculum, Gove's Reforms and National Literature, Oxford, UK, Oct. 2014.

‘Universities, Law, Jurisprudence, and Sociology: A History’, American Sociological Association, panel session, New York, NY. Aug. 2013

‘The Ideological Organization of University Systems: A Theoretical Framework’, BSA Early Career Theorists’ Symposium, London UK. April 2013

‘University reform as state-making: the Research Excellence Framework, the Bologna Process, and the “Althoff system”’, BSA Weber Study Group Conference: The University, the Scholar and the Student, Manchester UK, Dec. 2012.

Other Conference Papers:

‘The Coming Crisis of Academic Authority’, Crisis and Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons, Cambridge, UK, September 2014

‘Federalization and Academization: Stages in the Consolidation of New Class Power’, British Sociological Association, Leeds UK, April 2014

‘Critical Organicism: Systems, Processes, Organisms’, International Social Theory Consortium, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 2013