Emeritus Professor David Beetham

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 5 July 2022, of Emeritus Professor David Beetham, former Head of Department and Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics. 

A black-and-white portrait of David Beetham

David came to Leeds from the University of Manchester in April 1980, taking up the Professorship of Politics in succession to Ralph Miliband, already having an international reputation as a scholar. Of all his intellectual achievements at Leeds, it is probably David’s work on the concept of ‘democratic audit’, described in his own words as ‘the simple but ambitious project of assessing the state of democracy in a single country’ which has had the greatest worldwide influence.

David served two terms as Head of Department; from his arrival at Leeds and again from 1987-90, and countless people testify to the wise advice, support and encouragement that he gave them.  He also gave very generously of his time to the wider University community. He retired in December 2001, but continued his political writings until a few days before his death.

It was David’s wish that there should be a private cremation and the flag on the Parkinson Building will be flown at half-mast on that day in David’s memory. There will be a celebration of David’s life later in the year to which former colleagues and friends are invited, and details will follow later. 

Colleagues can read Professor Beetham’s obituary.

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