Professor Margaret Stacey

Pioneer in the sociology of health and illness

Margaret Stacey was a major influence on British sociology for over 40 years; her pioneering research and her passionate commitments, both intellectual and practical, have left an indelible mark on the discipline.

Margaret Petrie, sociologist: born London 27 March 1922; Labour Officer, Royal Ordnance Factory 1943-44; Tutor, Delegacy for Extra-Mural Studies and Delegacy for Social Training, Oxford University 1944-51; Research Officer and Fellow, University College of Swansea 1961-63, Lecturer in Sociology 1963-70, Senior Lecturer 1970-74; Professor of Sociology, Warwick University 1974-89 (Emerita); married 1945 Frank Stacey (died 1977; three sons, two daughters); died Warwick 10 February 2004.

Margaret Stacey was a major influence on British sociology for over 40 years; her pioneering research and her passionate commitments, both intellectual and practical, have left an indelible mark on the discipline.

She first made her mark through her beautifully crafted community study Tradition and Change: a study of Banbury published in 1960. Rooted in the tradition of British community studies which flourished in the post-Second World War environment, her work none the less stood out for its attention to detail, for her willingness to approach the data with an open mind and for the sharpness of intellect which produced a creative, rich and wholly convincing analysis. It marked her out as a leading figure in the development of the (then) very young discipline of sociology in the UK.

As her research agenda matured, Meg Stacey developed a strong interest in the sociology of health and illness, largely born of her experiences with her own children in hospital. She pioneered the development of this aspect of the discipline, with which her name is most strongly associated. Her particular focus of interest was in topics related to children's and women's interactions with health-care services. She published extensively on these topics, as well as undertaking innovative and influential conceptual work on constructions of health and illness.

Without compromising her intellectual rigour, Stacey's academic interests derived from her own personal commitments and led her into public service, and sometimes campaigning. Her standing in the world of health was attested by her appointment to the Welsh Hospital Board in 1970 and to the General Medical Council in 1976. She served on the latter body for eight years and, in parallel, produced some fine academic work on the topic of professional regulation in health.

A lifelong interest in gender issues, and the rights of women in particular, was another way in which her academic interests overlapped with her personal commitments. The early part of her own career had not been easy, because the academic world found it difficult to create a secure place for a young woman with five children, however talented and committed. But she succeeded and in 1974 was the first woman ever to be appointed to a professorship at Warwick.

She used the new security and influence of her position to foster the careers of other women sociologists, principally through her work for the British Sociological Association, which she served in various capacities including as its President in 1981-83.

Born Margaret Petrie in London in 1922, she was educated at the City of London School for Girls and then graduated with first class honours in Sociology from the London School of Economics in 1943. In 1945 she married Frank Stacey, a political scientist of great distinction who always supported and encouraged her. His book Ombudsmen Compared was unfinished when he died in 1977. Meg completed it and it was published the following year.

Having joined Frank after the war in Oxford, where she herself was a tutor, she followed him to Swansea in 1951, but was not appointed to a Lectureship until 1964. Her work on the study on Banbury was undertaken, completed and published without the security of an academic position and whilst rearing her children. From Swansea she moved to a Chair at Warwick, where she remained for the rest of her career, proving a guiding influence on the development of sociology there and helping to make it one of the top sociology departments in the UK.

In retirement she remained active as a sociologist and indeed published some important work, including her book on genetics and assisted reproduction Changing Human Reproduction: social science perspectives (1992). She was able to devote more time to her love of gardens and gardening and to her large family.

Retirement also provided the opportunity to focus on her commitments to peace and human rights. In her later years she became very interested in Buddhism and was a member of the Community of Interbeing, a Buddhist community based in south-west France. She was drawn to the core of Buddhist teaching about the alleviation of suffering, which she viewed as a central thread in her own life's work.

Meg Stacey is survived by five children, 16 grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and her partner Jennifer Lorch.

Janet Finch

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel