Mao Zedong and Cultural Revolution: history versus myth
Ralph Miliband Programme and Department of Sociology Public Event, 16 March 2017. Speaker: Andrew Walder. Chair: Robin Archer
As the Mao era, and in particular the Cultural Revolution fade in memory, its history has fallen out of focus and has been infused with myth. Drawing on his recent book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, Professor Andrew Walder from Stanford University will take up two related questions. First, what were Mao's intentions and what were the actual outcomes of his radical initiatives? Second, why did these outcomes occur? Mao emerges from the historical record as a revolutionary whose radicalism was undiminished by the passage of time. His initiatives frequently had consequences that he had not intended and that frustrated his designs. Despite creating China's first unified modern national state and initiating its modern industrialisation drive, Mao left China divided, backward, and weak.
Housing, Financialisation, and Human Rights: A conversation with Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing
Department of Sociology Public Discussion, 6 March 2017. Speaker: Leilani Farha. Chair: David Madden.
From mass foreclosures to unoccupied luxury towers, the housing sector across the world is increasingly dominated by corporate finance and global investors. What impact does this have on social wellbeing and governance? How can housing be reclaimed as a human right in the face of these forces? What difference would it make if states and financial actors were held accountable to human rights obligations regarding housing? This event will explore these issues through a conversation with Leilani Farha, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. Ms Farha will discuss the human rights dimensions of the financialisation of housing, as addressed in her forthcoming UN report. She will be in dialogue with Bruce Porter, Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre in Canada and an expert on access to socio-economic justice, and Dr David Madden, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the LSE and co-author of In Defense of Housing: The politics of crisis (Verso, 2016).
Understanding Self-Injury: A Symposium for National Self-Injury Awareness Day
Department of Sociology Public Lecture and Book Launch, 1 March 2017. Speakers: Kay Inckle (LSE), Conor McCafferty and Noella McConnellogue (Zest, NI), Wedge (LifeSIGNS UK). Chair: Kay Inckle
March 1st is the National Self-injury Awareness Day. This event will include speakers from across the researcher, practitioner and service-user spectrum. It will explore and focus on three essential requirements for understanding and responding helpfully to self-injury: social justice, embodiment and harm-reduction. The presentation will also draw from and launch Kay Inckle's latest book 'Safe with Self-Injury: A Practical Guide to Understanding, Responding and Harm-Reduction' (PCCS Books).
Sociologies of Competition
A workshop organized by the Economic, Technology and Expertise Research Cluster, 21 February 2017
How can we conceptualise competition and how can we study it with sociological means? Tobias Werron (Bielefeld) traces the historical origins of the ‘competitive spirit’ in the 19th century and shows how this spirit changed the cultures of international politics. Alex Preda (Kings College) turns to the concept of rivalry in the micro-sociological traditions Simmel and Goffman. Andrea Mennicken (LSE) and Léonie Hénaut (Sciences Po) will comment on their papers.
A Material Sociology of Markets: the Case of ‘Futures Lag’ in High-Frequency Trading
Auguste Comte Memorial Lecture, 23 February 2017. Speaker: Professor Donald MacKenzie. Chair: Dr Bryan W. Roberts, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, LSE.
It is very tempting to think of today’s financial system as abstract and virtual, to imagine that globalisation has led to a “flat world” and “the end of geography”, and assume that both time and space have shrunk. MacKenzie’s talk will cast doubt on those assumptions by focusing on the physicality of finance. He will discuss the “high-frequency trading” of US shares. HFT is automated, ultra-fast and typically involves very large numbers of trades. His focus will be on how HFT algorithms predict prices, and the main example given will be “futures lead”: algorithms’ use of data from the stock-index futures market to predict movements in the stock market. MacKenzie will show how “futures lead” was created and is held in place by the relationship between US financial regulation and the political system, and also how it takes material form in underground cables, microwave towers, and computer data centres.
The Big Picture: The People vs. America
Department of Sociology and Al Jazeera Film Screening, 7 February 2017. Moderator: Richard Gizbert, Al Jazeera English Senior Presenter. Chair: Dr Michael McQuarrie
The American people’s disillusionment with the US establishment is greater now than at any point in history. The institutions that served US citizens are increasingly regarded as self-serving, and the American people are increasingly divided, increasingly polarised along racial, political and economic lines. As new President, Donald Trump, enters the White House on a wave of populism, The Big Picture explores just how America has become so fractured, and how for many, the American Dream has been lost. We chart the history of that mythic dream to unravel the ways in which, throughout the last 70 years, it has been undermined by institutional powers, and how race has always been used for political gain.
Do We Really Live in an Acceleration Society?
Department of Sociology Public Lecture, 12 January 2017. Speaker: Professor Hartmut Rosa. Discussant: Professor Judy Wajcman. Chair: Professor Nigel Dodd
Do We Really Live in an Acceleration Society? There is a widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be. In his lecture Professor Rosa argues that popular and scholarly claims about acceleration gloss over the complex relationship of technology, speed and time. This event celebrates the launch of 'The Sociology of Speed', edited by Judy Wajcman and Nigel Dodd.
Society and Politics in the Age of Trump: Sociological reflections and critical discussion
Department of Sociology Open Discussion, 8 December 2016
How can we understand the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States? What sense can we make of the multiple crises shaping political and social life in the US, the UK, and elsewhere? And how should we—as intellectuals, activists, and citizens—respond to the contemporary moment? The Sociology Department at the LSE is holding an open discussion on society and politics in the age of Trump. The event will begin with contributions from Dr Ayça Çubukçu, Dr Rebecca Elliot, and Dr Michael McQuarrie, who are each invited to make three points to start the discussion. Following this, all attendees are invited to join the debate with questions, critiques, or contributions of their own. The event will be moderated by Dr David Madden.
In Defense of Housing
Department of Sociology and Department of Geography and Environment Public Discussion, 25 October 2016. Speaker: Dr David Madden. Discussants: Dr Melissa Fernandez, Dr Suzanne Hall, Dr Paul Watt. Chair: Dr Hyun Bang Shin.
Housing is one of the most pressing urban issues of our time. In In Defense of Housing, Peter Marcuse and David Madden explore the causes and consequences of the housing problem and detail the need for progressive alternatives. They argue that the housing crisis has deep political, social, and economic roots and will not be solved by minor policy shifts. As a critical response, they explore the potential of a radical right to housing. #LSEhousing. @LSEsociology.
Sociology After Brexit
Department of Sociology Workshop, 10 October 2016. Speakers: Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor William Outhwaite, Professor Gurminder K. Bhambra, Dr Will Davies, Dr Lucy Mayblin, Dr Lisa McKenzie.
We are delighted to be hosting a workshop on "Sociology After Brexit", which will explore the sociological ramifications of 'Brexit'. We will examine the dimensions of sociology to which the post -Brexit era call attention - migration, finance, inequality, populism/nationalism, anti-elite politics - as well as considering the broader global patterns in which Brexit appears to fit. The workshop will consist of a serises of informal talks by our main speakres, each followed by Q&A - with a 'roundtable' session at the end in which we hope to map some of the broader ramifications of these issues for our discipline. #sociologybrexit. @LSEsociology.
Sociology of WE Du Bois: why Du Bois is the founder of American scientific sociology
British Journal of Sociology 2016 Annual Public Lecture, 20 October 2016. Speaker: Professor Aldon Morris. Chair: Professor Nigel Dodd.
In this talk Aldon Morris discusses evidence from his book, The Scholar Denied, showing Du Bois, an influential 20th century black scholar, was the founding father of modern scientific sociology. See: Event Webpage. #LSEBJS. @LSEsociology
Resist: Festival of Ideas and Actions
Department of Sociology Festival
Launching on 26 September 2016 with a public lecture by fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood, followed by three days of events from 28-30 September.