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
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)
1996 Elected Fellow, British Academy
1997 Elected Hon. Fellow, Somerville College Oxford
2001-4 Member of Council, British Academy
1990 Associate, Finnish Literature Bureau
1996 Fellow of the British Academy
1997 Hon Fellow Somerville College Oxford
2000 Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Social Sciences.
2002 Honorary Member, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth
20.. Folklore Fellow [Finland]
2016 Rivers Memorial Medal, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
2017 International Fellow American Folklore Society