Eric Lybeck

Eric Lybeck


Personal profile


Dr Lybeck is an historical sociologist of knowledge currently working on synthesis of three traditions:

  • American neopragmatism / processual sociology (Abbott, Du Bois, Elias*, etc.)
  • Scottish civics (Geddes, Mumford, etc.)
  • Italian social generativity (Maggati and Giaccardi et al.)

Bringing these together under a rubric of a reconstructed Civic Arts and Sciences – that is, co-development of practice and theory/technique – this scholarship seeks to both map and change societies through problem-solving, professional practice and increasing generative civic action in particular places – in other words, through creative placemaking. 

In 2018, he founded the open-access journal Civic Sociology published by University of California Press: 

He was also the winner of the 2018 Bennett Prospect Policy Prize for an essay proposing relocation of the knowledge economy to left-behind areas – and is currently collaborating with a number of seaside towns to reimagine the role of these places in the 21st century.

The University Revolution since 1800

Lybeck's doctoral research at Cambridge explored the history of the social and legal sciences during the late 19th century transfer of university models from Germany to America.

He has since published two books related to the long-term development of higher education:

The University Revolution: Outline of a Processual Theory of Modern Higher Education (2021)


Nobert Elias and the Sociology of Education (2019) - *links Elias and German sociology of knowledge tradition to American pragmatism

Prospective Students

Dr Lybeck would be especially keen to correspond with prospective postgraduate students interested in the fields of civic education, sociology of education, historical sociology, social theory and comparative policy. Interdisciplinary projects are especially welcome - there are several civic research, policy and knowledge-exchange projects on-going if you need inspiration or ideas. Send an email with your academic and broader interests to see what can be arranged.

Consultancy and Media

Lybeck is also available for consultancy work for local governments, HEIs, social enterprises, community organisations and others interested in better integrating knowledge, education and civil society.

He also contributes regularly to media in print, television, radio and online on a number of topics including issues around culture wars, higher education policy and politics/culture generally. 

Visit LinkedIn, Social Media and/or YouTube channels for further details. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Progressive Sociology, Conservative Universities: Tracing the Legacies of German Legal Science in American Social Science, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jun 2016

Master of Arts, Modernity, Capitalism, and War: Toward a Sociology of War in the Nineteenth Century, 1815-1914, University of Tennessee

Award Date: 31 Aug 2010

Bachelor of Arts, Runes, Vikings, Kings and Christ: Scandinavian Religions from 800 to 1250 C.E, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey

Award Date: 1 Jun 2003

Areas of expertise

  • HM Sociology
  • LB2300 Higher Education
  • LA History of education
  • H Social Sciences (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester
  • Policy@Manchester
  • Sustainable Futures


  • higher education
  • sociology
  • social theory
  • historical sociology
  • civics


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