Friday, December 11, 2020

The 3rd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, CBE, FBA 1934-2020

 _. The 3rd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, CBE, FBA, died 10 December, 2020. He was 86.

Garry Runciman, as he was informally known, was a historical sociologist, educated at Eton College and at Trinity College Cambridge. Former Master of Trinity, Professor Amartya Sen, recalls Lord Runciman joining the College in the 1950s and being elected to a Title A Fellowship. ‘He was still a Classicist, and his remarkable thesis was on “Plato’s Later Epistemology.”  He moved to Sociology in the 1960s, and it was in his new role that Garry was elected to Title B in 1971.’

Viscount Runciman’s principal research interest was the application of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory to cultural and social selection. His first major publication was Relative Deprivation and Social Justice: a Study of Attitudes to Social Inequality in Twentieth-Century Britain.  Other works include A Critique of Max Weber’s Philosophy of Social Science, A Treatise on Social Theory, and The Social Animal.

He was elected to the British Academy in 1975 and was President from 2001 to 2005.

Viscount Runciman chaired the British Government’s Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in England and Wales, which was established in 1991 to continue Sir John May’s inquiry into the convictions of the Maguire Seven, and which reported to Parliament in 1993. As a result, a permanent independent Criminal Cases Review Commission was set up to investigate possible miscarriages of justice

In 2004 Runciman edited and contributed to a British Academy occasional paper, Hutton and Butler: Lifting the Lid on the Workings of Power, which explores the events surrounding Britain’s participation in the invasion of Iraq and the ways in which it was presented to the British public.

Lord Runciman received honorary degrees from the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, London and York. He was an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford.

He was born 10 Nov, 1934, son of the 2nd Viscount [1900-89], and his wife the former Katherine Schuyler Garrison [died 1993], and succeeded to the viscountcy, in 1989. He married 17 April, 1963, Ruth Hellman [born 9 Jan, 1936], daughter of Joseph Hellman, of Johannesburg, by whom he had a son and two daughters.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth, Viscountess Runciman of Doxford , DBE, a former Chair of the UK Mental Health Act Commission and founder of the Prison Reform Trust. Their son, Prof the Hon David Runciman [born 1 March, 1967], is Professor of Politics at Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity Hall. He succeeds his father as 4th Viscount.


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