Friday, November 7, 2014

Obituary Edward Charles Cuff

Edward Charles Cuff:
Ted Cuff died, aged 76,  on 24th, October 2014 shortly after suffering a stroke. Ted was the author of  Problems of Versions in Everyday Situations and co-editor of and contributor to the widely used textbook Perspectives in Sociology (a sixth edition is in preparation). He also co-edited Crisis in the Curriculum and Doing Teaching. After graduating from the LSE, Ted joined the Sociology Department at Didsbury College of Education, Manchester  in 1968, developing a small but high quality sociology teaching department. The department was dissolved owing to changes in education policy and administrative structures, with the College being absorbed into Manchester Polytechnic, now Manchester Metropolitan University.  As Head of the Educational Studies department Ted’s main focus became an administrative one, leading to increasing disillusionment with both the direction of educational policy and the priority of process over substance in the  administrative setting. After only the briefest reflection he took   the opportunity for  early retirement in the 1980’s. In retirement he took a fine arts degree at Manchester University and pursued his interests in opera, painting, theatre and, above all, literature, though he continued close contact with his circle of sociological colleagues.
Ted was a founding member of the  ‘Manchester School’ of Ethnomethodology, making Didsbury an organising centre for the Group’s activity , creating there a  comprehensive archive of ethnomethodological writings, many of which were then unpublished. He was much admired for the fineness of his intelligence, the acuity of his judgement and the precision of his prose as well as  his nuanced mastery of administrative skills. He set himself the highest   standards of integrity,  and will be affectionately remembered for his warm,  engaging and witty presence.

He is survived by Janet, his wife of fifty four years, and by daughters Jacqueline and Susan.


  1. I was a student in the sociology department Didsbury College of Education, Manchester from 1972 - 1976. Ted Cuff was a great teacher and leader, as well as being kind, open minded and non-judgmental. I learnt a lot from him.

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