A Short Thought

It is right and perhaps inevitable that [the many] obituary notices honouring Michael Banton should focus on his professional achievements: few can claim a greater range of academic and public policy contributions or a fuller list of publications. My focus among them was on the topics of race and identity. After nine years in the University of Toronto I returned to England and joined the Research Unit on Ethnic Relations [SSRC-RUER] which he directed in Bristol. It is Michael’s way of convening that group and his somewhat courtly director style that I want to eulogise.

RUER comprised four research arms, each a distinct project designed by its leader – one in social psychology, one in political sociology, one in social relations and my own in anthropology.  We did our field research independent of each other, even in different towns, coming together in Bristol every six weeks to debrief and to hear Michael’s careful integration of our disparate findings.

These seminars were reason enough for acolyte devotion, but there was more: occasionally Michael would preside over a gently festive dinner, consulting his pocket wine guide to be sure the vintage was right for the meal. He did everything properly. We learnt that from him too. There is more to his legacy than that impressive list of publications.



To cite this article:

WALLMAN, SANDRA. 2018 'Prof Michael Banton: A Short Thought'. Obituaries. Royal Anthropological Institute, June 2018. (available on-line: https://therai.org.uk/archives-and-manuscripts/obituaries/prof-michael-banton)


GRILLO, RALPH. 2018 'Michael Banton, 1926-2018'. Obituaries. Royal Anthropological Institute, May 2018. (available on-line: https://therai.org.uk/archives-and-manuscripts/obituaries/michael-banton)

BENTHALL, JONATHAN. 2018 'Michael Banton'. Obituaries. Royal Anthropological Institute, June 2018. (available on-line: https://therai.org.uk/archives-and-manuscripts/obituaries/michael-banton-2)

BAROT, ROHIT. 2018 'Professor Michael Parker Banton 1926-2018'. Obituaries. Royal Anthropological Institute, June 2018. (available on-line: https://therai.org.uk/archives-and-manuscripts/obituaries/professor-michael-parker-banton)