Our Events

What's on




We host a range of events across a broad spectrum of topics relating to sociology. Unless otherwise stated, our events are free and open to all; entry is on a first come, first served basis.

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

We currently have no upcoming events. Please check back here in September 2018 for our upcoming Michaelmas Term events.

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 17 January 2018
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 21 February 2018

Sivamohan Valluvan (Warwick)
Topic: New Nationalism, Old Ideologies and Left Problems

Abstract and bio

Tod van Gunten
Wednesday 7 February 2018

Tod van Gunten (Edinburgh)
Topic: Overconfident hedgehogs? Subjective certainty and political ideology in the economics profession

Abstract and bio
Bart Bonikowski
Wednesday 21 March 2018

Bart Bonikowski (Harvard)
Topic: Is Civic Nationalism Necessarily Inclusive? Conceptions of Nationhood and Anti-Muslim Attitudes in Europe

Abstract and bio

Michaelmas Term

Chana Teeger
Wednesday 18 October 2017
Chana Teeger ( LSE Methodology)
Topic: “Apartheid is Boring”: The Politics of Disinterest in South African History Classrooms
Neil Gross
Wednesday 22 November 2017 

Neil Gross (Colby College)
Topic: On the Role of Idées Fixes in Economic Life: The Case of the 2008 Financial Crisis
Dingeman Wiertz
Wednesday 6 December 2017

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 5 October 2016
Mike Savage (LSE Sociology)
Topic: 'Acceleration, Redemption, or Accumulation? Modernity, Sociology, and Temporality in the 21st Century'
Jacob Habinek
Wednesday 19 October 2016

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 9 November 2016

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

Linsey McGoey
Wednesday 23 November 2016

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

John Levi Martin
Wednesday 7 December 2016

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

Romola Sanyal
Wednesday 18 January 2017

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

Wednesday 1 February 2017

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

Tobias Werron

Wednesday 22 February 2017

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 8 March 2017

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

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.