Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Dr Austin Harrington

Reader in Sociology

Primarily, my areas of research and teaching include classical and contemporary social theory; sociology of the arts and literature; sociology of religion; and sociology of European ideas and intellectuals.

Although much of my published research is theoretical in nature, I have a large amount of experience teaching core topics in substantive empirical sociology, including contributions to foundational courses and leadership of more specialised options on religion, culture and the arts and debates about European ‘identity’ in comparative historical perspective.

I have taught in Britain (Leeds, Derby), the United States (UCLA) and Germany (Erfurt, Frankfurt an der Oder) and have held post-doctoral positions in Vienna, Florence, Berlin and Los Angeles as well as pre-doctoral scholarships in Tübingen and Paris. In Germany in 2009, I was awarded a Habilitation for the field of sociology from the Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, Erfurt.

Research Interests

Currently, I am in the final stages of revisions to a large research monograph on the contemporary relevance of ideas of Europe and the West in the writings of a circle of German liberal-cosmopolitan intellectuals and social critics active in the years of the Weimar Republic and the last years of the Wilhelmine era.

I see these sources as having a substantive interest for debate about modern national and supra-national political identities; an epistemological interest for debate about ‘Eurocentric’ conceptions of the total historical development of human societies; and a diagnostic interest for debate about European political crisis between the two World Wars and the role played in this crisis by intellectuals, ideas, and ideologies.

I am also at work on an English translation of Georg Simmel’s complete essays and shorter writings on art and aesthetics.


I teach introductory sociology, classical and contemporary social theory, sociology of the arts, sociology of religion, and general cultural sociology.

PhD Supervision

I am keen to supervise doctoral candidates on any topic relevant to a cultural, historical, political or theoretical aspect of the discipline of sociology.

Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Harrington AP, ‘Weimar Social Theory and the Fragmentation of European World Pictures’, Thesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology 2012, 66-80

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