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Professor Bernard Harris

Social Policy

Personal statement

My research is concerned with various aspects of the social history of health and welfare since circa 1700.  I have worked on a wide range of topics within this field, including work on the history of height, morbidity and mortality; unemployment and poverty; the relationship between statutory and voluntary welfare provision; and the origins and development of the British welfare state.


Social policy by other means? Mutual aid and the origins of the modern welfare state in Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Harris Bernard
Journal of Policy History Vol 30, pp. 202-235, (2018)
Climate effects and stature since 1800
Galofre-Vila Gregori, Guntupalli Aravinda, Harris Bernard, Hinde Andrew
Social Science History, (2018)
The social historian's view
Harris Bernard
Perspectives of a Comparative History of Insurance Law in EuropeComparative Studies in the History of Insurance Law/Studien zur vergleichenden Geschichte des Versicherungsrechts Vol 1, (2018)
Not 'radical', but not 'kailyard' either : the Paisley Community Development Project reconsidered
Crow Graham, Rawcliffe Sue, Harris Bernard
Community Development Journal, (2018)
Health and historical demography
Harris Bernard
Upside and down and inside outUpside and down and inside out, (2016)
Nineteenth century beginnings
Harris Bernard
The Student's Companion to Social PolicyThe Student's Companion to Social Policy, (2016)

more publications

Research interests

I am currently working on a number of different topics, including the following:

  • Various issues associated with the use of anthropometric indicators to study the health and wellbeing of past populations
  • The history of sickness and morbidity
  • The impact of sanitary intervention on mortality decline (with Andrew Hinde, University of Southampton)
  • The comparative history of social policy in the different parts of the UK and the English-speaking world

Professional activities

Sanitary investment and the decline of mortality in England and Wales, 1817-1914
Evaluation Panel, Eudaimonia Institute, University of Oulu, Finland (Event)
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
HEDG Workshop on Public interventions, health and population in history and 8th Annual Workshop on Growth, History and Development
Keynote/plenary speaker
PhD viva
Queen's University, Belfast, Economic History Seminar
Invited speaker

more professional activities


Gender and morbidity: Individual sickness trajectories of women and men in Sweden during the first half of the 20th century (supported by the Swedish Research Council)
Harris, Bernard (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2018 - 30-Jun-2022
Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Rawcliffe, Sue
Harris, Bernard (Principal Investigator) Rawcliffe, Sue (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Oct-2017
Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Robbin, Melvina Rachael Valrete
MacIntyre, Gillian (Principal Investigator) Harris, Bernard (Co-investigator) Robbin, Melvina Rachael Valrete (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Apr-2017

more projects