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The Ralph Miliband Programme

Convenor: Dr Robin Archer, Director of the Postgraduate Programme in Political Sociology

The Ralph Miliband Programme is one of the LSE's most prestigious public lecture series, receiving attention not only at the LSE but across London, the UK, and globally. It was set up in 1996 thanks to a generous anonymous benefaction from a former PhD student inspired by 'Ralph Miliband's contribution to social thought'. He specified that the funds be used in memory of his friend and mentor 'to advance his spirit of free social inquiry' and the diversity of thought that has always been the hallmark of LSE. 

Progress and its Discontents

This year our aim is to consider whether there has been a loss of confidence in the possibility of progress and whether it can be reversed. Scepticism has often been a friend of progress, but when does it become destructive or debilitating? Progressive proposals are now often dismissed by a public that assumes that no one will do what they say and that governments can do little or nothing to improve things.  Elected representatives are routinely assumed to be venal. And some intellectuals of a radical temper reject the very idea of progress as at best an illusion.

Upcoming Events:

Arab Spring - Arab Winter 

Dr Alaa Al Aswany and Jack Shenker 

Date: Wednesday 20 January 2016
Time:   6.30-8pm
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Five years on from Tahrir Square, is Egypt's revolution still alive?

Dr Alaa Al Aswany is an award-winning novelist and prominent Egyptian activist.

Jack Shenker is an award-winning journalist and former Egypt correspondent for the Guardian. His new book is The Egyptians: A Radical Story.


Whither France? The Pessimistic Turn in Modern French Thought 

Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh 

Date: Monday 25 January 2016
Time:   6.30-8pm
Venue: Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
Chair:  Dr Robin Archer

How have the rise of conservative and inward looking intellectual traditions undermined France’s progressive imagination? Can French progressive ideals be revived?

Sudhir Hazareesingh is CUF Lecturer in Politics and Tutorial Fellow in Politics, Balliol College, University of Oxford.

Are Conspiracy Theories Bad for Democracy?

Professor David Runciman 

Date: Wednesday 10 February 2016
Time:   6.30-8pm
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Conspiracy theories go hand in hand with political mistrust. Are they symptom or cause of current levels of mistrust in democracy and what can be done about it?

David Runciman is Professor in Political Thought, University of Cambridge.

We Don't Have to Live Like This: experiments in utopian living 

Michael Caines, Benjamin Markovits and Jacqueline Yallop

Date: Tuesday 23 February 2016 
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Why are utopian communities so appealing and are they always doomed to failure? The panel discuss utopian experiments in British history and consider whether utopian living would be possible today.

Michael Caines is an Assistant Editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

Benjamin Markovits is the author of six previous novels, essays, stories, poetry and reviews. He teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. His latest novel You Don’t Have to Live Like This   explores a utopian plan to regenerate a Detroit neighbourhood.

Jacqueline Yallop is author of Dreamstreets: A Journey through Britain’s Village Utopias, as well as three novels and a history of Victorian collecting. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Aberystwyth.

The EU: friend or foe for progressive politics? 

Caroline Lucas MP 

Date: Thursday 3 March 2016
Time:   6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Caroline Lucas will explore the role of the EU as a force for progress; the likely impact ofthe EU referendum campaign and what green progress means in the EU context.

Caroline Lucas is MP for Brighton Pavilion and former Leader of the Green Party.