Marshall, Thomas Humphery

Marshall, Thomas Humphery


Born Dec. 19, 1893, in London. English sociologist.

From 1944 to 1950, Marshall was the director of the social science section of the London School of Economics; from 1956 to 1960 he headed the department of social sciences of UNESCO. He was president of the International Sociological Association from 1959 to 1962.

Marshall’s conception of sociology was influenced by the views of M. Weber, A. Marshall, and M. Ginsberg. While he does not deny the existence of objective social laws that he believes should be studied by sociology, Marshall fails to detect the basic factors of social development. In doing research essentially on the class structure of modern bourgeois society, Marshall recognizes the existence of classes but tries to prove the equivalence of different systems of social stratification. According to Marshall, social status acquires major importance in modern society; to gain social status people form “functional groups” characterized by the common interests of their members. Marshall wrote that he accepts the Marxist analysis of the nature of class conflct, but he emasculates the revolutionary content of the teaching of Marxism on classes and replaces the Marxist class indicators with such indicators as income, property, education, and occupation. Marshall tries to show that a sort of leveling of social status is going on, turning capitalist society into a “system of acceptable equality and justice,” into a huge middle class. Equally typical of Marshall is his unscientific notion of the bourgeois state as supraclass, supposedly furthering establishment of social equality. From these concepts follows a direct apology for capitalism and bourgeois democracy.


James Watt, 1736-1819. London [1925].
Citizenship and Social Class. Cambridge, 1950.
International Comprehension in and Through Social Science. London, 1960.
Sociology at the Crossroads, and Other Essays. London, 1963.
Social Policy in the Twentieth Century, 2nd ed. London, 1967.