Professor Gavin Kitching

Job: Visiting Research Fellow

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: n/a




Personal profile

Born 16th Feb 1947, Shiney Row, Co Durham, educated at local primary schools and Washington Grammar School. Higher education at Sheffield (1965-8) and Oxford (1968-72) universities. Research and teaching posts at the University of Oxford, University of Dar es Salaam, University of Nairobi, University College of Swansea,  The Polytechnic of North London and University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Research and consultancy experience in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Brazil and Russia. Partnered with two sons. Currently residing in Boston, Lincolnshire.

Research group affiliations

International Centre for Sports History and Culture

Key research outputs

Class and Economic Change in Kenya: The Making of an African Petite-Bourgeoisie 1905-70, London: Yale University Press, 1980,   

Development and Underdevelopment in Historical Perspective, London: Methuen, 1982 (second edition 1989)  

Rethinking Socialism, London: Methuen, 1983  

Karl Marx and the Philosophy of Praxis, London: Routledge, 1988  

Marxism and Science: Analysis of an Obsession, Pennsylvania: Penn State Press, 1994

Seeking  Social Justice through Globalization: Escaping a Nationalist  Perspective, Pennsylvania:Penn State Press, 2001

(edited with N.J.Pleasants) Marx and Wittgenstein: Knowledge, Morality and Politics, London: Routledge, September 2002.

Wittgenstein and Society: Essays in Conceptual Puzzlement, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.

The Trouble with Theory: The Educational Costs of Post-Modernism, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2008.

Research interests/expertise


Politics and economics of development and globalization, Wittgenstein’s later philosophy and its implications for social science, the history of football in the north-east of England as a prism for regional history.


Extensive experience of development research and consultancy in Africa, Latin America and Russia. Oral and archival historical research conducted in East  Africa and (currently) in the North-East of England. Once spoke Swahili fluently, also some Portuguese and Russian.


  • Bsc in Politics and Economics, 1st Class Hons, University of Sheffield 1968
  • D Phil in African Politics, St Antony’s College, Oxford, 1972

Honours and awards

1980: Winner of Herskovitz Award of the US African Studies Association 1980 (for book Class and Economic Change in Kenya).

1983: Rethinking Socialismnominated as one of the New Statesman’s ‘Books of the Year’.

1983-88: Teaching Consultant and Guest Lecturer, Third World Studies Program, British Open University. (My book, Development and Underdevelopment in Historical Perspective was adopted as a set text for students on this program).

1987-88: Fulbright Fellow, Cornell University and State University of New York at Cortland 

1995: Soros Foundation award for research project on ‘Agrarian Reform in Post-Communist Russia’, conducted in conjunction with Centre for Humanitarian Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, University of Moscow.

2000: Appointed to Advisory Board of the Journal of Peasant Studies, and, later, the Journal of Agrarian Change

2003: Brockington Visiting Fellow, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

2003: Wittgenstein and Society chosen as one of History Today’s twenty books of the year for 2003.

2004: Visiting Professor, Department of Political Science, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York

2004: Appointed Professor and Head of School, School of Politics and International Relations, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

2007: Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences

2008: Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities

2009: Visiting Professor, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Research (CURDS) University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

2011-13: Visiting Research Fellow, International Center for Sports History and Culture, Simon de Montfort University, Leicester, UK

2012: Retired from service at UNSW and appointed Emeritus Professor.

Forthcoming events

British Wittgenstein Society Annual Lecture, Nov 2013

Gavin Kitching

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