Mark Abrams

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Mark Alexander Abrams (Max Alexander Abramowitz; 27 April 1906 – 25 September 1994) was a social scientist and "founding father of social and market research in Britain".

He was the son of Abraham (Abram) Abramowitz (also known as Abramovich or Abrams) and Anne (née Issercorwitz)[1] and after studying at Latymer School in Edmonton, he studied economics the London School of Economics. Between 1931-1933 he was a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

In 1931, he married Una Strugnell with whom he had one son, Philip Abrams, and one daughter. The marriage ended in 1951 and he married Jean Bird, with whom he had one daughter.

In 1933 he returned to the United Kingdom to the Research Department of the London Press Exchange, a leading advertising agency, where he began his pioneering work conducting large-scale surveys of newspaper and magazine readership and consumer behaviour.

He helped many European social scientists, including Sigmund Freud, find refuge in the UK from the Nazis.

Between 1939 and 1941, he worked for the BBC, Overseas Research Department analyzing Nazi propaganda broadcasts. He then worked at the Psychological Warfare Board, investigating experiences, beliefs, and needs of the population.

In 1946, Abrams started Research Services Limited, where he worked as Managing Director and later as Chairman until 1970. Abrams was connected with the British Labour Party, for whom he conducted many public opinion polls between 1950 and 1960.

Between 1970 and 1976, he was Director of the Survey Unit at the then Social Science Research Council which was set up to advise and assist academics and others on surveys conducted with public funds. Between 1971 and 1975, he and John Hall also conducted the pioneering Quality of Life in Britain surveys.

From 1976 to 1985, he was Research Director of Age Concern and also External Examiner for the BA Applied Social Studies (CNAA) at the then Polytechnic of North London, where he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 1982.

From 1978 to 1994, he was Vice-President of the Policy Studies Institute. He was also an advisor of the Consumers' Association.

Abrams had strong links with the Labour Party and carried out many of the Party's private polls in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1970-1976, Abrams was Director of the Survey Research Unit at the Social Science Research Council, then, from 1976–1985, he was Research Director of Age Concern, Vice-President of the Policy Studies Institute, 1978–1994, and also advised the Consumers' Association.


  • Condition of the British People, 1911-1946 (1947);
  • Social Surveys and Social Action (1951);
  • The Teenage Consumer (1959);
  • Beyond Three Score and Ten (1980);
  • People in Their Sixties (1983).

Together with Richard Rose he wrote the book Must Labour Lose? where they discussed the theory of the embourgeoisement of the working class in Great Britain.


  1. "Oxford DNB article: Abrams, Mark Alexander" (PDF). Retrieved October 3, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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