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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
December 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Peter Eglin

Professor (RETIRED)

Contact Information

Languages Spoken


Academic Background

BA (University Coll., London); PhD (UBC)


Academic interests: ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, philosophy of social science, human rights, responsibility of intellectuals

Peter Eglin taught sociology at Laurier since 1976. He was Humboldt Research Fellow at the Universität Konstanz 1980-1981, and Visiting Research Associate at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Wolfson College, Oxford in 1981. As a visiting professor he has taught at the University of Toronto, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic and the University of Wales at Bangor. He is author of Talk and Taxonomy: A Methodological Comparison of Ethnosemantics and Ethnomethodology (1980). With Stephen Hester he is co-author of A Sociology of Crime (1992) and The Montreal Massacre: A Story of Membership Categorization Analysis (2003), and co-editor of Culture in Action: Studies in Membership Categorization Analysis (1997). His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese and has appeared (in English) in the German journal Zeitschrift für Soziologie. As a student of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis he investigates the use of categories for describing persons in practical reasoning in talk and texts in various settings, including in the university classroom (see “What do we do Wednesday?” Canadian Review of Sociology, 2009), and including work on gender categories and the category “feminist.” He has contributed chapters to the Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights (2013) and the Routledge Handbook of Language and Culture (2014).

He is also exercised by the question of intellectuals’ responsibility in a number of human rights issues, notably Canadian war crimes in Afghanistan, state terrorism in El Salvador, near-genocide in East Timor, the Montreal Massacre and Israeli crimes in Palestine. The culmination of this work is to be found in Intellectual Citizenship and the Problem of Incarnation (2013).

He is incensed by the ongoing ruination of the universities under neoliberalism. He fears for the survival of the human species under global warming, and he strives for a world liberated from capitalism and strong states.