Hermínio Martins at Leeds: A Personal Memoir
One of the many things I learned from Hermínio was that knowledge has its own distinctive sociologies, so I start with how I landed up at Leeds in the early 1960s. After an undistinguished record at a decidedly non-elite but intellectually challenging senior secondary school in Glasgow, my plan to study moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow was aborted by the economic necessity of earning a living, so in 1958 I got a job as a student apprentice at J&P Coats in the Ferguslie Thread Mills in Paisley. Day release meant that I could study the technology of cotton and bring what I learned back to the factory—am I the only professor of sociology with a City & Guilds diploma in cotton spinning? In 1960 the family finances had recovered, and, my interest in cotton having been stimulated, I applied to Leeds for a place on the textile technology degree. I soon realized that this was a terrible mistake and, having scraped through my first year exams, managed to get onto the general arts first year BA course—an intoxicating mixture of English literature, philosophy, politics, and sociology, about which I knew next to nothing. In my second year I chose to specialize in sociology and philosophy.