1963-64 Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
1965-69 Lecturer and (1967) Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
1969-72 Lecturer in Sociology, Open University.
1972-75, 1978-99 Senior Lecturer, Reader (1982), Professor (1988) in Comparative Social Institutions,Open University.
1975-78 Reader in Sociology, and (1976) Head of Sociology Discipline, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.
1989 Visiting Professor in Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin.
1999- current Visiting Research Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University.
2002- Emeritus Professor, Open University.
1978-1986 Member, Social Science Research Council (later Economic and Social Research Council) Standing Committees:
Social Anthropology 1978-82
Social Affairs 1982-6
Joint Vice-Chairman Social Affairs 1985-6
1979-1993 Joint general editor (with Peter Burke) of monograph series 'Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture'
1987-9 Hon. Editor, Man (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)
1992 Member, Anthropology panel, UK Government (HEFCE) Research Assessment Exercise
1994-97 Series editor, ‘Studying family and community history: 19th and 20th centuries’, 4 volumes, Cambridge University Press in association with the Open University.
1996-2001 Joint editor of CD-ROM series Project reports in family and community history, The Open University.
1998-2002 Joint founding editor of interdisciplinary journal Family & Community History .
1998-2011 Trustee, Mass-Observation Archive (Royal Anthropological Institute appointee)
1999-2007 Member (Crown appointee), Governing Body, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; 2003-6 Vice-Chair
2012- current Founder and Senior Editor, Callender Press.
2014- Member International Research Council on Humanities and Social Sciences Studies on Africa (IRCHSSA).