chapter  7
43 Pages

POLITICAL ECONOMY IN THE NORTHERN CIVIC UNIVERSITIES

ByKeith Tribe

Political economy was in later nineteenth-century England more a subject of discussion than a subject for teaching. Despite widespread interest in the topics with which it dealt, and a significant volume of associated publications, it nowhere formed the core of a regular course of study. At most, it formed a small part of ordinary BA degrees, or honours history. There were, it is true, a number of academics in Oxford, Cambridge and London who gave the subject a great deal of their attention; but there were very few by 1890 who either gave it their undivided academic attention, or who could be said to have made their living by teaching it. In Cambridge and London it was securely established as part of a course of study-as a paper in the moral sciences tripos taught by Marshall in Cambridge, and in courses at King’s and University Colleges.1 The actual substance of such teaching varied from course to course, and from teacher to teacher-but the low level of teaching activity provided little stimulus towards the formation of a general consensus on the specific content of a university course in political economy. Instead, the teaching that did take place was not clearly distinguishable in substance and level from that to be found in

extension teaching and other, more popular, forms of public dissemination.