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Events at LSE Sociology




The Department of Sociology hosts numerous lectures, roundtables, debates and workshops by our academics, visiting academics and others. Members of the Department are also involved in a series of events around LSE.

We make video and audio recordings available whenever possible.

If you would like to join our mailing list to find out about forthcoming events, please email Emma Glassey.

Find out more about LSE Human Rights events and LSE Cities events.

Upcoming Events

Beveridge 2.0
Public lecture
The Challenge of Richness? Rethinking the Giant of Poverty
Hosted by LSE Festival: Beveridge 2.0
Tuesday 20 February 2018, 8-9.15pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Dr Tania Burchardt, Amy Feneck, Dr Sam Friedman, Dr Luna Glucksberg
Chair: Professor Mike Savage
The economic and political power of the richest in our society has dramatically increased since 1942. 75 years on since his report, the panel will discuss whether Beveridge’s concern with poverty now needs to be extended to include a concern with richness.

#LSEBeveridge #LSEFestival

This event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. For full details, see Ticket Information.
For more information, see the event weblisting.


Beveridge 2.0
Public lecture
The Future of Ageing
Hosted by LSE Festival: Beveridge 2.0
Thursday 22 February 2018, 8-9.15pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Professor Joanna Latimer, Professor Michael Murphy, Jane Vass, Nicci Gerrard, Olivia Casanueva
Chair: Dr Carrie Friese
With the average life expectancy increasing from 66.7 in 1942 to 81.25 in 2017, and set to continue, population ageing is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. This panel discusses how ageing could come to dominate the giant issue of health and social care, and potentially all areas of the welfare state.

#LSEBeveridge #LSEFestival

This event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. For full details, see Ticket Information.
For more information, see the event weblisting.


Public lecture
Migration and the City
Tuesday 6 March 2018, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Professor Ash Amin, Dr Victoria Redclift
Chair: Dr Suzanne Hall

Migration is integral to the cultural and economic life of cities. Yet we live in a migration milieu in which migrants are rendered as illegal subjects, and where migration processes are reduced to crises at national border points. This event explores the relation between cities, migrants and migration systems.


The event also launches The Sage Handbook of the 21st Century City edited by Suzanne Hall and Ricky Burdett. 

This event is free and open to all. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.
For more information, see the event weblisting.


Aeron - Copy
Public lecture
Trouble at the Top: is Britain's leadership still fit for purpose?
Monday 19 March 2018, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Professor Aeron Davis (Goldsmiths), Polly Toynbee, Joe Earle
Chair: Professor Bev Skeggs (LSE)

The Brexit vote and 2017 election result are more than temporary setbacks for the Establishment. Instead, they indicate a deeper crisis of leadership that has been developing over decades.

The UK is producing a new generation of dysfunctional leaders who, although richer, have lost coherence, vision, influence and power. Their failings are not only damaging the wider public, economy and society, they are undermining the very foundations of the Establishment itself. Is Britain's leadership still fit for purpose?


The event will also launch Aeron Davis's new book Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment (MUP, 2018).

This event is free and open to all. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.
For more information, see the event weblisting.

Current Research Seminar Series

The Sociology Research Seminar is the main venue for scholars from around the world to present work in progress at the department. It is open to all, and it strives to feature innovative sociological research from a variety of perspectives. The series meets every other week in the Michaelmas and in the Lent terms.

All talks are held in the Robert McKenzie Room
St Clement's Building - Room S219
12.30 - 14.00

2017/2018 Schedule

Lent Term

Michaela Benson
Wednesday 17th January 
Michaela Benson (Goldsmiths)
Topic: Brexit and the politics of belonging among Britons resident in the EU27: recasting formations of migration, privilege and identity

Abstract and bio

Sivamohan Valluvan
Wednesday 21st February 

Sivamohan Valluvan (Manchester)
Topic: TBD
Tod van Gunten

Tod van Gunten (Edinburgh)
Topic: TBD
Bart Bonikowski
Wednesday 21st March

Bart Bonikowski (Harvard)
Topic: TBD 

Michaelmas Term

Chana Teeger
Wednesday 18th October
Chana Teeger ( LSE Methodology)
Topic: “Apartheid is Boring”: The Politics of Disinterest in South African History Classrooms
Neil Gross
Wednesday 22nd November 

Neil Gross (Colby College)
Topic: On the Role of Idées Fixes in Economic Life: The Case of the 2008 Financial Crisis
Dingeman Wiertz
Wednesday 6th December

Dingeman Wiertz (Oxford)
Topic: Durable civic disparities across the United States: Civic deserts, hotspots, and their destinies


Past Seminars

2016/2017 Schedule

Mike Savage
Wednesday 5th October
Mike Savage (LSE Sociology)
Topic: 'Acceleration, Redemption, or Accumulation? Modernity, Sociology, and Temporality in the 21st Century'
Jacob Habinek
Wednesday 19th October

Jacob Habinek (UC Berkeley and Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies)
Topic: 'Field Formation in Intellectual Networks: the Emergence of the Life Sciences in Germany, 1770-1890'

John Evans
Wednesday 9th November

John Evans (UC San Diego)
Topic: 'What Is a Human? Public Views and the Impact on Human Rights'

Linsey McGoey
Wednesday 23rd November

Linsey McGoey (University of Essex)
Topic: 'What’s Really New About the ‘New’ Philanthrocapitalism? A Critical Look at Hacker Philanthropy'

John Levi Martin
Wednesday 7th December

John Levi Martin (University of Chicago)
Topic: 'On the Other Side of Values'

Romola Sanyal
Wednesday 18th January

Romola Sanyal (LSE Geography)
Topic: 'Crossing Borders, Making Homes: Refugees and the Politics of Property'
Barbara Prainsach

Wednesday 1st February 

Professor Barbara Prainsack (Kings College)
Topic: 'Solidarity: Can an Old Concept Help with New Challenges?'

Tobias Werron

Wednesday 22nd February

Professor Tobias Werron (University of Bielefeld)
Topic: 'Why do we believe in competition? A Historical-sociological View of Competition as a Modern Imaginary'

Ivan Ermakoff

Wednesday 8th March 

Professor Ivan Ermakoff   
(EHESS and University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Topic: 'Showdown in Collective Leadership: A Methodological Outline' 

Podcasts and Videos

Eileen Barker

Is God Really Dead? Why Belief Matters

Professor Eileen Barker, Professor Conor Gearty

12 February 2018

Listen to the podcast

Nigel Dodd
Cash: the future of money in the Bitcoin age
Hosted by LSE Law

Professor Nigel Dodd, Dr Tatiana Cutts, Dr Eva Micheler, Dr Philipp Paech

28 November 2017

Listen to the podcast

Arlie Russell Hochschild

Strangers in Their Own Land: bridging a growing divide

Professor Arlie Russell Hochschild

30 October 2017

Listen to the podcast

Alondra Nelson

British Journal of Sociology Annual Lecture - The Social Life of DNA: racial reconciliation and institutional morality

Professor Alondra Nelson

26 October 2017

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Download the slides

Alex Vasudevan

What is Housing For?

Dr David Madden, Dr Alex Vasudevan and Anna Minton

23 October 2017

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Andrew Walder

Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution: history versus myth

Professor Andrew Walder

16 March 2017

Listen to the podcast

Hartmut Rosa

Do We Really Live in an Acceleration Society?

Professor Hartmut Rosa

12 January 2017


Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Aldon Morris

British Journal of Sociology Annual Lecture – Sociology of WE Du Bois: why du Bois is the founder of American scientific sociology

Professor Aldon Morris

20 October 2016

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Vivienne Westwood LSE

The Rotten Financial System (Rot $) is the Enemy. We are the Opposition, Part 1

Vivienne Westwood

26 September 2016

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Lynsey Harley

Respectable: the experience of class

Lynsey Hanley

03 May 2016

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Helen Pearson

The Life Project: the extraordinary story of 70,000 ordinary lives

Dr Helen Pearson

22 March 2016

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Walter Powell

Social Media and Social Change: analysing debates over valuation

Professor Walter W Powell

5 November 2015

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Mike Savage

Social Class in the 21st Century

Dr Niall Cunningham, Professor Fiona Devine, Dr Sam Friedman, Dr Daniel Laurison, Dr Lisa McKenzie, Professor Mike Savage, Dr Helene Snee, Dr Paul Wakeling

2 November 2015

Listen to the audio

Watch the video

Download the slides

Richard Swedberg

British Journal of Sociology Annual Lecture – Before Theory Comes Theorizing or How to Make Social Science More Interesting

Professor Richard Swedberg

15 October 2015

Listen to the podcast

Liz Fekete

Race and Class: challenging inequalities

Liz Fekete, Kiri Kankhwende, Professor James Nazroo, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard

26 May 2015

Listen to the audio

Thomas Piketty

Inequality in The 21st Century: A Day Long Engagement with Thomas Piketty

David Soskice, Wendy Carlin, Bob Rowthorn, Diane Perrons, Stephanie Seguino, Lisa McKenzie, Naila Kabeer, Dr Laura Bear, Gareth Jones, Mike Savage, Sir John Hills, Sir Tony Atkinson, Thomas Piketty

11 May 2015

Listen to the audios/Watch the videos

Fran Tonkiss

Divided Cities: urban inequalities in the 21st century

Professor Fran Tonkiss

6 May 2015

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video


"My Purse, My Person": money and identity

David Birch, Professor Nigel Dodd, Tom Hockenhull, Professor Nicky Marsh

26 February 2015

Listen to the podcast

Judy Wajcman

Pressed for Time: the acceleration of life in digital capitalism

Professor Judy Wajcman and Genevieve Bell

27 November 2014

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Troy Duster

British Journal of Sociology Annual Lecture – A Post-Genomic Surprise: the molecular reinscription of race in science, law, and medicine

Professor Troy Duster

6 November 2014

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Laurie Hanquinet

New Forms of Cultural Capital

Professor Philippe Coulangeon, Dr Sam Friedman, Dr Laurie Hanquinet

16 November 2015

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Download the slides

Nigel Dodd

The Social Life of Money

Professor Nigel Dodd and Professor Keith Hart

23 October 2014

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Danny Dorling

Inequality and the 1%: What goes wrong when the rich become too rich?

Professor Danny Dorling

7 October 2014

Listen to the podcast

Watch the video

Download the slides

Past Events: 2017-18

British Journal of Sociology Annual Lecture 2017

The Social Life of DNA: racial reconciliation and institutional morality 

Thursday 26th October 2017
18.30-20.00 | Old Theatre, Old Building

Speakers: Professor Alondra Nelson
Chair: Professor Nigel Dodd

Alondra Nelson will discuss her book The Social Life of DNA on how claims about ancestry are marshalled together with genetic analysis in a range of social ventures.

The use of genetic ancestry testing in the United States has grown exponentially since its emergence about fifteen years ago. In this same period, U.S. colleges and universities have increasingly uncovered and confronted their ties to the history of racial slavery. Although genetic ancestry tests are principally sought to provide genealogical information, these data have been marshalled into a wider range of social ventures, including the politics of remembrance and reconciliation. In this presentation, Alondra Nelson examines the recent use of genetic ancestry testing by the descendants of nearly three hundred enslaved men and women owned by Georgetown University, whom the institution’s Jesuit stewards sold to Southern plantations in 1838 in order to secure its solvency. The case of the GU 272 will be explored as a “reconciliation project”—a social endeavour in which DNA analysis is put to the use of repairing historic injury. 

Alondra Nelson (@alondra) is President of the Social Science Research Council. She is also Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, where she served as the inaugural Dean of Social Science. A scholar of science, medicine, and social inequality, her recent books include The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome  (@sociallifeofdna) and Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. She is Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology and is an elected member of the Sociological Research Associations. Nelson received her BA from the University of California at San Diego, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her PhD from New York University in 2003.

For more than 50 years the BJS has represented the mainstream of sociological thinking and research. Consistently ranked highly by the ISI in Sociology, this prestigious, international journal publishes sociological scholarship of the highest quality on all aspect of the discipline, by academics from all over the world.

What Is Housing for?

Monday 23rd October 2017
18:30 - 20:00 | Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Speakers: Anna Minton (UEL), Alex Vasudevan (Oxford), David Madden (LSE)
Chair: Suzanne Hall (LSE)

The need for a home is universal. But today, housing is dominated by economic and political logics that conflict with the ideal of housing for all. When residential space becomes a speculative investment or a tool for political repression, it raises fundamental questions about what, and whom, housing is for.

Recent books by these speakers examine housing issues from various places and perspectives. Reflecting on themes from this work, this event will explore struggles over the shape and function of the housing system in contemporary cities. It will connect an analysis of the housing crisis with debates about commodification, residential injustice and rights.

Anna Minton has recently published 'Big Capital: Who is London For?' (2017), Alex Vasudevan has recently published 'The Autonomous City' (2017), and David Madden has recently published 'In Defense of Housing: the politics of crisis' (2016) with Peter Marcuse.

Strangers in Their Own Land: bridging a growing divide

Monday 30 October 2017 | 18.30-20.00 | CLM 3.02, Clement House

Speaker: Professor Arlie Russell Hochschild
Chair: Dr Rebecca Elliott

In this lecture, Professor Hochschild describes five years of research in southern Louisiana, a center of the oil industry and heartland of the American Tea Party and support for Donald Trump. Why, she asked, are America’s poorest states, those which suffer the worst health, education, and receive the most federal aid, also those who most oppose the federal government? 

This event is free and open to all, with no ticket or registration required. Entry is on a first come first served basis.

Past Events: 2016-17

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.


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