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Norman Long

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Name  Norman Long

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Books  Development Sociology: Actor Per, Battlefields of Knowledge, Miners - peasants - and entre, An introduction to the soc, Social change and the in

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Norman Long (born 1936) is a British social scientist known for his work on the sociology of international development.


Norman long 1932


Norman Long grew up in Surrey, UK and attended Wallington County Grammar School (1950–55) and also studied music at Trinity College of Music in London (1948-1955). He undertook British National Service with the Royal Air Force in Malaya (1955-1957), before gaining a BA (hons) in Anthropology, Philosophy and Religious Studies from the University of Leeds in 1960. He joined Max Gluckman's 'Manchester School' of anthropology at the University of Manchester and completed a PhD in Social Anthropology, based on research in Zambia, in 1967.

His early career was at universities in the UK, notably at University of Manchester (lecturer, 1965-1972, with secondments to Peru), then the University of Durham (Reader and Professor, 1972-1981). In 1981 he became Professor of Rural Development Sociology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and built a group of scholars working on understanding the impacts of development processes on society. He left briefly to be Professor of Sociology, University of Bath (1993-1995). He is now Professor Emeritus at Wageningen, having retired in 2001 after ill health. He holds several honorary appointments.

In the 1960s he conducted extensive fieldwork in Zambia on farmers and mine workers. In the 1970s his emphasis shifted to Peru, where it remained for much of his career.

He is married to fellow academic Ann Long, an education psychologist and editor.

Key contributions

Long's contributions have been to (1) theoretical and methodological issues concerning rural development, planned intervention and social change, with special emphasis on actor-oriented types of analysis; (2) commoditization, small-scale enterprise, livelihoods, migration and social capital, (3) knowledge/power interfaces and transformations, and (4) processes of globalization and translocality.

Long's unique contribution was the actor-oriented perspective in development sociology, working with colleagues at Wageningen University and in Latin America. Development projects are treated as 'social arenas' in which numerous actors, with different interests, interact. Knowledge and power become the focus of research, not standardized project outputs. It has been widely used to analyze the dynamics of development intervention and change on societies. He termed the development and modernization process a 'battlefield of knowledge'. He also developed sociological concepts of social interface, to identify what happens when different actors collide.


  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Universidad Nacional del Centro Peru/Huancayo (1995)
  • Key publications

  • Long N., Y. Jingzhong and W. Yihuan (eds.) 2010. Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context. The Everyday Lives of Policies and People. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar
  • Long, N. 2001. Development Sociology. Actor Perspectives, London and New York : Routledge.
  • Arce, A and Long, N. (eds.) 2000. Anthropology, Development and Modernities: Exploring Discourses, Counter-Tendencies and Violence. London and New York : Routledge.
  • Long, N. and H De Haan 1997. (eds.) Images and Realities of Rural Life: Wageningen Perspectives on Rural Transformations Assen: Van Gorcum.
  • Long N. and A.Long (eds) 1992. Battlefields of Knowledge: The Interlocking of Theory and Practice in Social Research and Development. London and New York : Routledge.
  • Long N, R. Vernooij, D.Tijerino, and V. Rivera. 1991. Como Vamos a Sobrevivir Nosotros? Aspectos de las pequenas economías y autonomía en la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua. Managua, Nicaragua: CIDCA.
  • Long, N., J.D. van der Ploeg, C.Curtin and L. Box (eds.) 1986. The Commoditization Debate: Labour Process, Strategy and Social Network. Wageningen: Wageningen Agricultural University.
  • Long, N. (ed.). 1989. Encounters at the Interface: A Perspective on Social Discontinuities in Rural Development. Wageningen: Wageningen Agricultural University.
  • Long, N. (ed.) 1984. Family and Work in Rural Societies: Perspectives on Non-wage Labour. London: Tavistock Publications.
  • Long, N. and B. Roberts. 1984. Miners, Peasants and Entrepreneurs: Regional Development in the Central Highlands of Peru . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. (republished 2007)
  • Long, N. and Roberts B. (eds.) 1978. Peasant Co-operation and Capitalist Expansion in Central Peru (edited with Bryan Roberts), Austin and London : University of Texas Press 1978.
  • Long, N. 1977. An Introduction to the Sociology of Rural Development. London : Tavistock Publications.
  • Long, N. 1968. Social Change and the Individual: A Study of the Social and Religious Responses to Innovation in a Zambian Rural Community. Manchester : Manchester University Press, 1968.
  • References

    Norman Long Wikipedia

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