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Walter Garrison Runciman, 3rd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, CBE, FBA (born November 10, 1934), is a leading British historical sociologist, usually known informally as Garry Runciman. He is married to Dame Ruth Runciman.


Career and Positions

He has been a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge since 1971, researching in the field of comparative and historical sociology. His principal research interest is the application of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory to cultural and social selection. [1]

He holds honorary degrees from King's College London and the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, and York.

He is an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He is an Honorary Bencher of Inner Temple.

He was elected to the British Academy in 1975. He served as President from 2001 to 2005[2].

He is also Chairman of the shipping company Andrew Weir and Co. Ltd.


Royal Commission on Criminal Justice

He chaired the British Government’s Royal Commission on Criminal Justice which continued Sir John May's inquiry into the convictions of the Maguire Seven and encompassed further miscarriages of justice. As a result the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 established the Criminal Cases Review Commission as an executive Non-Departmental Public Body[3].


His first major publication was Relative Deprivation and Social Justice: a Study of Attitudes to Social Inequality in Twentieth-Century Britain (Routledge, 1966), reprinted by Gregg Revivals in 1993. Since then, he has published A Critique of Max Weber’s Philosophy of Social Science (Cambridge University Press, 1972), A Treatise on Social Theory (Cambridge University Press, Vol. 1 1983, Vol. 2 1989, Vol. 3 1997), and The Social Animal (HarperCollins, 1998).

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

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Walter Leslie Runciman
Viscount Runciman of Doxford
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Trinity College Biography
  2. ^ British Academy Fellows Archive. British Academy. Accessed September 30, 2008
  3. ^ CCRC Website


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