An Academic Skating on Thin Ice
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Peter Worsley's studies at Cambridge were interrupted by war service as a communist officer in the colonial forces in Africa and India, which got him interested in anthropology. He then went into mass education in Tanganyika, studied with Max Gluckman at Manchester, and won the Curl Prize of the Royal Anthropological Institute, but, in the McCarthy epoch, was banned from Africa, so went to Australia where he was again banned, this time from New Guinea, but did field-research for his Ph.D. on an Australian Aboriginal tribe. His subsequent book on 'Cargo' cults in Melanesia is now regarded as a classic, but his left-wing politics ensured that he could not get a job in anthropology, so he switched to sociology, returning to Manchester as the first Professor of Sociology, just in time to join a British Government Mission to Tanzania - and to be deeply involved in the "student revolution." His book on The Third World introduced that term into the English language, while the Penguin edition of "Introducing Sociology" sold over half a million copies. He went to China a few months after Nixon.On retirement as Professor Emeritus of the University of Manchester, he taught in New York, where he wrote Knowledges.
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