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Past Events


Department of Sociology public lecture:

Authorities of Freedom: Anthropology, Aesthetics and the Culture Concept
Speaker: Professor Tony Bennett
Chair: Professor Mike Savage

Tuesday 17 June 2014, 6.30-8pm
Room STC.S219 (McKenzie Room), second floor, St Clement's Building, LSE

The anthropological concept of culture as a way of life has often been interpreted as a democratic extension of, and break with, earlier aesthetic definitions of culture. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Tony Bennett is Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory in the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney. He is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and of the Academy of the Social Sciences in the UK. His research spans the fields of cultural studies, cultural sociology, and museum studies. His most recent books include Culture, Class, Distinction (2009, co-author), Material Powers (2010, co-editor), Assembling Culture (2011, co-editor), Making Culture, Changing Society (2013), and Challenging (the) Humanities (editor, 2013).

Department of Sociology public lecture:

The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics
Speaker: Dr Gabriel Abend
Chair: Professor Mike Savage

Wednesday 28 May 2014, 6.30-8pm
Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

In recent years, many disciplines have become interested in the scientific study of morality. However, a conceptual framework for this work is still lacking. In his book The Moral Background, Gabriel Abend develops just such a framework and uses it to investigate the history of business ethics in the United States from the 1850s to the 1930s.

Gabriel Abend is an assistant professor of sociology at New York University. He read political science and history at the Universidad de la República, received his doctorate in sociology from Northwestern University, and is a 2013-2014 fellow of the Institut d’études avancées de Paris. The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics was published by Princeton University Press in April 2014.

Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Department of Sociology public lecture:

Nationalism, Internationalism and Cosmopolitanism: Some Lessons from Modern Indian History

Speaker: Professor Partha Chatterjee
Chair: Dr Ayça Çubukçu

Thursday 3 April 2014, 6.30pm - 8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE 

 This lecture deals with four strands of trans-regional political movement in India’s anti-colonial history.

Partha Chatterjee is a Professor of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University and Professor of Political Science at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Calcutta, India. This lecture will inaugurate the Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Solidarity research group convened by Dr Ayça Çubukçu at LSE's Centre for the Study of Human Rights. 

Nationalism, Internationalism and Cosmopolitanism podcast|

The Precarious Precariat Workshop

26 March 2014, 11am-4pm,  Robert McKenzie Room (STC 219), St Clement's Building, LSE

Speakers included Tracey Shildrick on 'Low Pay No Pay', Val Gillies on 'Precarious Mothering',  a speaker from the The Young Foundationon 'Inequalities and Disruptive intervention', Lisa Mckenzie on 'Stigma and stereotype' and Tracey Jenson on 'Broken Britain'.  

For programme see Stratification and Culture Research Network website|

Department of Sociology public lecture:

How Climate Change Might Save the World?

Speaker: Professor Ulrich Beck
Chair: Professor Mike Savage

Thursday 27 February 2014, 6.30-8pm, Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Public discourse and politics of climate change are blocked by the dominance of apocalyptic imaginaries and by the inability of sociological thinking to analyse the transformation of politics and to imagine new openings.

To combat the sources of climate pessimism, we need a new cosmopolitan outlook, in research and politics, capable of grasping the epochal transformations of society and politics set in motion by the global risks of climate change. For poster (PDF) click on image.

Ulrich Beck is professor of sociology at the University of Munich and Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology.

Twitter: #LSEclimate

Department of Sociology public lecture:

War and Peace in Time of Ecological Conflicts

Speaker: Professor Bruno Latour
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman

Thursday 20 February 2014, 6.30-8pm

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Although it is still useful to insist on the distinction between science and politics, the scale and importance of ecological mutations make it more and more difficult to use it effectively. The problem is that the alternative requires a redefinition of the two terms "science" and "politics". The lecture will explore in which way an alternative definition could help us to cope with the geopolitical debates that will become more and more intense in the future. For poster (PDF) click on image.

Bruno Latour is professor at Sciences Po, Paris and LSE Centennial Professor in the Department of Sociology.

War and Peace video and podcast|

Gender Institute and Department of Sociology discussion:

Risky Tranformations? Sex and the Negotiation of Hormone Treatment Risks

Speaker: Dr Sari Irni
Chair: Professor Charis Thompson

Thursday 20 February 2014 2.30-4pm, Graham Wallace Room, Old Building, Houghton Street, LSE

In this talk Sari will discuss some of the specific ways in Finland in which hormone treatments have been proposed to be ‘risky’. Most often in feminist theory the risks of hormone treatments are understood as health risks. Here however, Sari focuses on the ways in which hormone treatments have been considered risky primarily because they have seemed to challenge the two-sex binary. She is University (senior) Lecturer in Gender Studies, University of Tampere, Finland.

Youth on Religion book launch event:

A panel discussion on Youth On Religion: The development, negotiation and impact of faith and non-faith identity by Nicola Madge, Peter J Hemming and Kevin Stenson 

Thursday 16 January 2014, 6.30pm, NAB 2.04 

Kevin Stenson is a Visiting Professor in the Mannheim Centre for Criminology, and this event was co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology at LSE and Brunel University. Please follow link to event flyer| (PDF) for more details.


Culture and Social Change: The role of aesthetics

Speakers: Peter Bearman (Columbia); Vikki Bell (Goldsmiths); Claudio Benzecry (Connecticut); Georgina Born (Oxford); James Brassett (Warwick); Roberto Franzosi (Emory); Laurie Hanquinet (York); Sarah Nettleton (York); Cristiana Olcese (LSE); Marco Santoro (Bologna); Mike Savage (LSE).

16 and 17 December 2013, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, LSE

Bourdieu’s seminal work has influenced the agenda of sociology of culture like no other. As a result, art – as symbolic representations of culture – is still mainly perceived as a means of distinction. Attention has been given to dynamics of art production and art consumption actively contributing to the reproduction of existing power relations. This focus has been at the expenses of other relevant cross-class dynamics: mainly the role of aesthetics in meaning development, and its impact on social relations. This conference aims to put aesthetics at the centre of the sociology of culture’s emerging research agenda and to lay the basis for an understanding of culture and the arts beyond entertainment and the consolidation of existing social boundaries. 

Conference Programme| (PDF)

Launch of Critical Contemporary Culture Issue III:

Crisis and Considering Crisis in Critical Contemporary Culture

27th November 2013, NAB 1.07, 6.30-9pm

Following the second issue on fakeness (launched November 2012), CCC’s third issue examines the centrality of the idea of Crisis and attempts to uncover its fluid, ambivalent forms within the contemporary sphere. We are not seeking another theorization or a repetition of the apparent manifold state and the concept of crisis. Instead, we would like to talk about the blind spots within the concept. What is expected and not expected of a crisis? What are the current forms of crisis? Can crisis provide a tool for transformation and social change? In which ways does crisis become a trigger for acting in current circumstances? How does it relate to our understanding of creativity and pulsations towards freedom? How might we rethink the multiple and continuous transformative elements of crisis as moments of clarity?

Chair: Professor Mike Savage
Presenters: Alex Massouras (artwork), Alexis Milne (artwork), Nikolas Barnes (play), Rob Oldfield (play), Daniel Koczy (paper) 

Crisis video and podcast|

Inaugural Lecture: 

The Old New Politics of Class

Speaker: Professor Mike Savage
Discussant: Professor Bev Skeggs (Goldsmiths)
Chair: Professor John Hills

Wednesday 20 November, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

In his inaugural lecture at LSE, Professor Savage will unravel ‘the paradox of class’: that overt class politics and consciousness decline as divisions become more entrenched. He draws on research from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey and the public reaction to its findings. See event poster (PDF).

Mike Savage is professor of sociology at LSE. Twitter: #LSEclass 

Old New Politics of Class video and podcast|

Book launch: 

Cloning Wild Life: Zoos, captivity, and the future of endangered animals

Speaker: Dr Carrie Friese
Discussant: Professor Charis Thompson
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman

Tuesday 12 November 2013, 6.30-8pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

The natural world is marked by an ever-increasing loss of varied habitats, species extinctions, and new kinds of dilemmas posed by global warming. At the same time, humans are working to actively shape this natural world through contemporary bioscience and biotechnology, as humans seek scientific solutions to environmental crisis. Cloned endangered animals in zoos sit at the apex of these trends. In her new book Carrie Friese argues that cloning technologies significantly affect our conceptualizations of and engagements with wildlife and nature. Cloning Wild Life is published by NYU Press.

Carrie Friese is associate professor of sociology at LSE.

Department of Sociology public lecture:

The "Human Sciences'' on Trial in Iran

Speaker: Professor Ali Mirsepassi
Chair: Dr Ayça Çubukçu

Thursday 7 November 2013, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Why have the "human sciences" become the target of a major government crackdown in Iran today? This talk will focus thematically upon a specific conceptual shift. Today’s religious-reformist intellectuals articulating Iran’s contemporary mass movement for democracy draw their vision of change from the social sciences rather than philosophy, reflecting complex underlying conceptual-theoretical and organizational-practical shifts since the long struggle over independence and the future that shaped the twentieth century.

Ali Mirsepassi is professor of Middle Eastern studies and sociology and director of the Iranian Studies Initiative at New York University, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology at LSE during MT 2013.
Twitter: #LSEIran 

Human Sciences on Trial video and podcast|

Department of Sociology public lecture:

Turbulent and Mighty Continent: What Future for Europe?

Speaker: Professor Lord Giddens
Chair: Professor Craig Calhoun

Thursday 31 October 2013, 6.30-8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

The European malaise goes deeper than the euro crisis alone, protracted and still unresolved though that may be. The EU and its member states must respond to deep-rooted changes affecting all the industrial countries. Pro-Europeans (as I am) should recognise that now is the time for a far-reaching rethink of the European project as a whole to create a model appropriate to the exigencies of the twenty-first century.

This event marks the publication of Anthony Giddens' new book Turbulent and Mighty Continent: What Future for Europe?

Anthony Giddens is former Director of the LSE and a member of the House of Lords.

2013 BJS public lecture:

Values beyond value? Is anything beyond the logic of capital?

Speaker: Bev Skeggs, Sociology at Goldsmiths, London
Chair: Don Slater, Editor in Chief, British Journal of Sociology

Thursday, 17 October 2013, 6.30-8pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Many theories adopt the metaphors of capital to explore power (e.g. Bourdieu), others propose that capital has subsumed all areas of life.

Professor Beverley Skeggs explored what looking through the logic of capital reveals and obscures.

LSE Cities public lecture:

Global migration and urban renewal

Speakers: Philip Kasinitz, Michael Keith
Respondents: Rob Berkeley, Tim Finch, Sharon Zukin
Chair: Mike Savage

Thursday 10 October 2013, 6.30-8pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Philip Kasinitz and Michael Keith respectively explored US and British perspectives on global migration. This event brought together leading experts on migration, urban culture, policy and racial justice, to productively engage with migration as a central part of our urban future.

Philip Kasinitz is professor of sociology at City University, New York.  Michael Keith is director of the Centre of Migration, Policy and Social Change at the University of Oxford.

Watch the video|


Outreach event at LSE: 

Putting protest in context: Understanding the social, political and cultural effects of protest

Keynote speaker: Dr Clare Saunders
Moderator: Dr Cristiana Olcese

Monday 16 September 2013, 6-8pm
OLD 3.21, Old Building, LSE

In the permanent state of protest that we live today, how do we determine the impact/success of a protest? Other relevant questions and sub-questions are: What is the relationship between street demonstrations and protest/dissent more broadly defined? What is the impact of protest in economic, cultural and social realms? What are the conditions leading to a successful protest?

Stratification and Culture Research Network launch workshop:

Emerging Cultural Capital and New Forms of Distinction

Thursday 12 September 2013, 9am – 5pm
Room NAB 1.04, New Academic Building, LSE

According to many sociologists, cultural snobbery is dead. Taste for “High” culture is no longer a reliable status symbol and instead a new elite of cultural “omnivores” has emerged. However, this workshop aimed to explore a very different intellectual current. It examined the possibility that hierarchies of legitimacy may now exist within categories of both high and low culture and, furthermore, that the pursuit of cultural distinction may not just be a matter of what objects are consumed, but the way they are consumed. In particular, the workshop reflected on the recent findings of the BBC Great British Class Survey, which indicated that there may now be two types of cultural capital: that associated with highbrow taste, and that which the BBC team provocatively term “emerging” cultural capital. We asked, has cultural capital moved on? And does this demand fresh angles of sociological enquiry? Programme| (PDF).

Organisers: Sam Friedman (City University), Laurie Hanquinet (University of York), Andy Miles (University of Manchester), Mike Savage (LSE).  

LSE Cities event with the London Festival of Architecture: 

'Multilingual Streets: London's litmus strips of change'

Speaker: Dr Suzanne Hall 

Wednesday 5 June 2013, 6.30-8pm
Alumni theatre, New Academic Building, LSE 

Suzanne Hall discussed how accelerated change is expressed in the cultural and economic life of London’s streets. Focusing on Peckham Rye Lane and the Walworth Road, the urban dimensions of spatial and social exchange were explored. Suzi is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, teaches on the Cities Programme and leads the ’Ordinary Streets’ research project at LSE Cities. She is author of City, Street and Citizen: The measure of the ordinary (Routledge, 2012). See LSE Cities event page|

Department of Sociology public lecture:

'Things to Do with Words: Illustrations from Italian Fascism (1919–1922) and Georgia lynchings (1875–1930)'

Speaker: Professor Roberto Franzosi
Chair: Professor Mike Savage 

Monday 3 June, 6.30-8pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building

This talk illustrated the power of Quantitative Narrative Analysis, a quantitative social science approach to texts developed by the speaker using data collected from newspapers on the rise of Italian fascism and lynchings in the American ‘Deep South’, showing how narrative data lend themselves to cutting-edge tools of data visualization and analysis as dynamic network graphs and maps in Google Earth and other GIS software, and how QNA data provide the basis for fascinating digital humanities projects.  

Roberto Franzosi is professor of Sociology and Linguistics at Emory University. He is currently working on the completion of the book Trilogy of Rhetoric on the rhetorical roots of three social science approaches to text: content analysis, frame analysis, and quantitative narrative analysis (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Things to Do with Words video and podcast |

Ralph Miliband Programme and Department of Sociology public lecture:

Obama, the Tea Party, and the Future of American Politics

Speaker: Professor Theda Skocpol
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Thursday 2 May, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Barack Obama won a galvanizing victory in 2008 and has now been resoundingly re-elected to a second presidential term. As his first term played out amid the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s, Obama and Democrats achieved some major reforms, but the president also faced skepticism from supporters and fierce opposition from Republicans, who scored sweeping wins in the 2010 midterm election. As Obama's second term gets under way, he continues to pursue an ambitious agenda -- tax changes, immigration reform, gun control, and measures to address climate change. But U.S. politics remains fiercely polarized, Tea Party Republicans continue to obstruct, and fiscal constraints remain tight. How much of his sweeping "New New Deal" will Obama be able to accomplish and consolidate, and how will the ideological and generational conflicts his ascendance has brought to the fore play out in U.S. politics through 2014, 2016, and beyond?

Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.  

Obama and Tea Party podcast| 

Department of Management and Department of Sociology public lecture:

'Scarcity, Abundance, Excess: towards a social theory of too much'

Speaker: Professor Andrew Abbott
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman

Thursday 21 March, 6.30-8pm
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building

Since excess and overabundance are central phenomena of modern life, we should refound social theory on the concept of “too much of” rather than “too little of.” Professor Abbott traced the origin of the scarcity theories that dominate our reasoning, and sketched the outlines of a social theory based on excess.

Andrew Abbot is the Gustavus F and Ann M Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago. 

Scarcity video and podcast| 

Department of Sociology public lecture: 

'Off the edge of history: the world in the 21st century'

Speaker: Professor Lord Anthony Giddens
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman

Tuesday 19 February 2013, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

The risks we face, and the opportunities we have, in the 21st century are in many respects quite different from those experienced in earlier periods of history. How should we analyse and respond to such a world? What is a rational balance of optimism and pessimism? How can we plan for a future that seems to elude our grasp and in some ways is imponderable?

Anthony Giddens is former Director of the LSE and a member of the House of Lords.

Edge of History video and podcast|

International Human Rights Day Event:

'Putting Rights Back Together Again'

Speaker: Salil Shetty
Chair: Chetan Bhatt

Thursday 6 December 2012, 6.30-8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building  

The indivisibility of all human rights is proclaimed as a rhetorical goal, but the reality too often looks different. For the majority of the world's population, says Salil Shetty, separating civil and political rights from economic, social and cultural rights could result in losing the battle for both.

Salil Shetty joined Amnesty International as the organization’s eighth Secretary General in July 2010. Chetan Bhatt is Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights.

Ralph Miliband Programme movement, protest and social change lecture series with Department of Sociology :

'How Protest Movements Change America'

Speaker: Professor Frances Fox Piven
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Wednesday 21 November 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Professor Piven examined a number of pivotal movements in American history, including the mobs of the revolutionary era, the abolitionists, and the labor, civil rights and feminist movements.

Frances Fox Piven is distinguished professor of political science and sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. 

Protest movements podcast|

Sociology Department public lecture:

'Understanding the Autism Epidemic'

Speaker: Professor Peter Bearman
Chair: Professor Craig Calhoun

Tuesday 20 November 2012, 6.30-8pm
Room NAB 2.04, New Academic Building, LSE

This talk considered why autism prevalence has increased so dramatically over the past few decades. The central argument is that autism prevalence has increased because of subtle social and population level changes amplified by a dynamic social influence process. Ideas about what kinds of exogenous environmental shocks could generate the dynamics we observe are considered. The talk reflects five years of work supported by the NIH under their innovative Pioneer program. We draw on an unusual data structure that follows every child born in California (over 8 million children) over more than a 20 year period.

Professor Peter Bearman is Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE), the Cole Professor of Social Science, and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University, New York.

Centre for the Study of Human Rights public lecture:

'The Stateless Citizen: Irregular migration and cosmopolitan citizenship'

Speaker: Professor Andreas Kalyvas
Discussant: Dr Ayça Çubukçu
Chair: Professor Chetan Bhatt

Tuesday 6 November 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

The increase of irregular migration over the last two decades has led to new forms of political contestation that directly question the juridical framework of the nation-state and its institution of citizenship. Rebellions in detention camps, hunger strikes, sits-ins and occupations, demonstrations, riots and clashes with law enforcement, have given rise to a new political phenomenon: the irregular migrant in action, in active civic participation, associated with others, acting in concert, politicized, and confrontational. This event explored this politicization of irregular migrants and discussed the rise of the stateless citizen as the paradigmatic form of cosmopolitan citizenship.

Andreas Kalyvas is an Associate Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research, New York. Ayça Çubukçu is lecturer in Human Rights at the Department of Sociology and the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. Chetan Bhatt is Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. 

Department of Sociology and British Journal of Sociology public lecture:

'Consumption and the Philosophy of Denim'

Speaker: Professor Daniel Miller
Chair: Dr Don Slater

Wednesday 31 October 2012, 6.30-8pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

Daniel Miller examined the relationship between consumption, political economy and philosophy. The primary evidence comes from research based on asking the question - Why in most countries do half the population on any given day wear denim blue jeans? From this perspective consumption becomes an independent topic rather than a consequence of political economy, contributing to topics ranging from immigration to climate change. Research on denim is also used to explore how and why people struggle to become ordinary and the challenge this represents to one of the philosophical foundations of social science, the concept of the normative.

Daniel Miller is professor of material culture at University College London. His recent books include Blue Jeans (with S Woodward) and Consumption and Its Consequences (Polity Press 2012).  

Denim video and podcast|

Centre for the Study of Human Rights public lecture:

'Secularism, Human Rights and the Middle East: Challenges and reflections'

Speaker: Professor Gilbert Achcar
Chair: Professor Chetan Bhatt

Tuesday 23 October 2012, 6.30-8pm Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House

This event provided a critical reflection on the politics of secularism and human rights following the so-called 'Arab Spring' and the challenges posed for progressive thinking.

Gilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Chetan Bhatt is Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights.

BJS 2012 Public Lecture:  

'Occupy's Predicament: The moment and the prospects for movement '

Speaker: Todd Gitlin, Columbia Journalism School, Columbia University
Respondent: Craig Calhoun (Director, LSE)

Thursday 18 October 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Occupy wants to be both a way or life for militants and the heart of a reform movement. Can these two vectors cohabit?

Department of Sociology and BBC Radio 4 Analysis public conversation:

'The Crisis Always Rings Twice'

Speaker: Professor Manuel Castells
Chair and discussant: Paul Mason
Introduction by Professor Craig Calhoun, Director of LSE

Monday 8 October 2012, 6.30-8pm
Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, LSE campus

Manuel Castells and Paul Mason discussed the analyses contained in the new book Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis, edited by Manuel Castells, João Caraça, and Gustavo Cardoso, which retraces the financial crisis that unfolded since 2008 in the United States and Europe, as well as the policies dealing with the crisis, the reasons for the rampant euro-crisis, and the alternative social movements opposing financial capitalism and delegitimized governments in the aftermath of the crisis.

This public conversation was broadcast at 8.30pm on Monday 15 October and 9.30pm on Sunday 21 October as part of the BBC Radio 4 Analysis series.

 Manuel Castells is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Barcelona, and University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair Professor of Communication Technology and Society at the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.   

Paul Mason, economics editor of BBC's Newsnight, came to LSE in January 2012 to talk about the topic of his book Why it's Kicking Off Everywhere (see Previous events below). 

The Crisis podcast|



Sociology Forum and LSE Cities Event

Book launch: City, Street and Citizen

12 June 2012, 6.30-8pm, Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Dr Suzanne Hall discussed her new book City Street and Citizen: The Measure of the Ordinary (Routledge) with Caroline Knowles, Professor of Sociology and Head of the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths. This event was chaired by Dr Claire Alexander.

Sociology Department and Identities Public Lecture:

'My Britain’s Fuck All': zombie multiculturalism and the race politics of citizenship

Speaker: Professor Paul Gilroy
Chair: Dr Clare Alexander

Wednesday 30 May 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

In a re-launch for the journal Identities:global studies in culture and power, Paul Gilroy reflected on contemporary issues and challenges around identity, multiculturalism and race in Britain.

Lunchtime lecture:

Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty

Speaker: Dr Matthew Desmond

Tuesday 29 May 2012, 12.30-2pm, Thai Theatre, LGF, NAB 

Matthew Desmond (Assistant Professor of Sociology, Harvard) explored the prevalence and ramifications of eviction in the lives of the urban poor in the US. A quantitative analysis of administrative and survey data finds that eviction is commonplace in inner-city black neighbourhoods and that women from those neighbourhoods are evicted at significantly higher rates than men. A qualitative analysis of ethnographic data based on fieldwork among evicted tenants and their landlords reveals multiple mechanisms propelling this discrepancy. Just as incarceration has become typical in the lives of men from impoverished black neighbourhoods, eviction has become typical in the lives of women from these neighbourhoods. Typical yet damaging: by exacerbating these women's material hardship, increasing their rate of residential mobility, decreasing their chances of securing decent and affordable housing, and in many cases resulting in prolonged periods of homelessness, eviction contributes to their economic vulnerability.

This lecture was open to faculty and students at LSE. 

Ralph Miliband Programme and David Glass Memorial Lecture: 

'Envisioning Real Utopias: Alternatives Within and Beyond Capitalism'

Speaker: Professor Erik Olin Wright
Chair: Dr Robin Archer

Tuesday 22nd May 2012, 6.30-8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

'Fifty years ago, in 1962, a group of students drafted what came to be known as the Port Huron Statement, the core manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society, one of the leading organizations of the student movement in the 1960s in the United States. In the introductory paragraphs they wrote: “In this is perhaps the outstanding paradox: we ourselves are imbued with urgency, yet the message of our society is that there is no viable alternative to the present…. Beneath the stagnation of those who have closed their minds to the future, is the pervading feeling that there simply are no alternatives, that our times have witnessed the exhaustion not only of Utopias, but of any new departures as well….. The decline of utopia and hope is in fact one of the defining features of social life today.”

The idea of “Real Utopias” is animated by much the same feeling today as expressed by the crafters of the Port Huron statement in 1962: We need a way of thinking about social transformation that simultaneously holds on to our deepest utopian aspirations for a just and humane world and embraces the practical tasks and dilemmas of real-world institution-building and thus makes possible new departures. We need projects for social transformation within capitalism that point us in an emancipatory direction beyond capitalism.'

Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the current President of the American Sociological Association.

Real Utopias podcast| 

Ralph Miliband Programme and Sociology Department Public Lecture:

'Has the Future a Left?'

Speaker: Zygmunt Bauman
Chair: Professor Paul Gilroy

Wednesday 14 March 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Being on the left in times of globalisation and divorce of power and politics. New mechanisms of domination and reproduction of inequality, From society of producers to society of consumers. From proletariat to precariat. From solidarity to oneupmanship. Deficit of trust, crisis of agency, and people on the move.

Zygmunt Bauman is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Leeds.

Has the Future a Left podcast|  

Sociology Department Public Lecture: 

'European Community of Democracies - towards a new foundation of Europe'

Speaker: Ulrich Beck
Chair: Professor Bridget Hutter

Monday 20 February 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

German euro-nationalism is not inevitable. Europe's crisis is an opportunity to enlarge democracy.

Ulrich Beck is Professor of Sociology at the University of Munich and British Journal of Sociology LSE Centennial Professor.

European Community podcast|

Sociology Department Public Lecture:

'Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation'

Speaker: Richard Sennett
Chair: Dr Fran Tonkiss 

Monday 6 February 2012, 6.30-8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE 

Living with people who differ – racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically – is one of the most difficult challenges facing us today. Modern politics emphasizes unity and similarity, encouraging the politics of the tribe rather than of complexity. In his new book and in this lecture, Richard Sennett argues that living with people unlike ourselves requires more than goodwill: it requires skill.

Richard Sennett  is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at LSE, founder director of the New York Institute for the Humanities, and University Professor at New York University.

Together video and podcast  | 

Sociology Department Public Lecture:

'Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions'

Speaker: Paul Mason
Chair: Dr Nigel Dodd

Monday 30 January 2012, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Our world is changing dramatically. Social upheaval has followed worldwide economic crisis and the gulf between the haves and the have-nots is widening. In 2011, this profound disconnect found expression in events that we were told had been consigned to history: revolt and revolution. In his new book Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere and in this lecture Paul Mason sets out to explore the causes and consequences of this current wave of struggle, illuminating the links between the economic and social crisis. He explores and analyzes what lies behind the new revolutions – a volatile combination of the near collapse of free-market capitalism, new technologies and changes in popular culture, and a profound shift in our understanding of what freedom means.

Why It's Kicking Off video and podcast| 

Conference: Ralph Miliband and Parliamentary Socialism

Speakers: Tariq Ali, Robin Archer, Robin Blackburn, Hilary Wainwright

Friday 25 November 2011, 1-5.30pm
Morishima Conference Room, LSE

A conference to mark the 50th anniversary of Ralph Miliband's first major work, the hugely influential Parliamentary Socialism: A study in the politics of Labour.   The book argues that Labour's belief in the centrality of parliamentary politics often undermined the very social movements that were needed to bring about real change. With protest on the rise, and Labour seeking a new way forward, the conference aimed to reassess Miliband's arguments and their contemporary relevance. See Conference Programme| (PDF). 

Ralph Miliband Programme and Sociology Department Public Lecture:

'Whatever Happened to Parliamentary Socialism: Taking Ralph Miliband Seriously Today'

Speaker: Professor Leo Panitch
Chair: Dr Robin Archer 

Friday 25 November 2011, 6.30-8pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

What can Ralph Miliband's arguments tell us about contemporary British politics and the modern Labour Party in a country suffering from greater economic turmoil, social division and unrest than it has seen in decades?

Leo Panitch is Distinguished Research Professor at York University (Canada) and a renowned political economist, Marxist theorist and co-editor of the Socialist Register, who knew Ralph Miliband well. He received his MSc and PhD from LSE in 1968 and 1974, respectively.

Whatever Happened to Parliamentary Socialism podcast|

Hobhouse Memorial Lecture: 

'Bombing Savages in Law, in Fact, in Fiction'

Speaker: Sven Lindqvist
Chair: Professor Paul Gilroy

Thursday 10 November2011, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

This lecture marked the centenary of aerial bombardment and examined the relationship between racism, imperialism and aerial warfare. In November 1911 an Italian pilot dropped the first bombs from an aeroplane on to the oasis of Tagiura outside Tripoli. More than just a military revolution, this development changed both war and peace. It redrew the legal and moral boundaries between civilians and combatants, spread the theatre of war into new environments and expanded the battlefield, making cities into places of mass death and taking warfare into private, domestic spaces. The lecture was linked to the conference ‘Shock and Awe: 100 years of bombing from above’ (10-12 November), a joint initiative of LSE Sociology and the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. http://www.shockandawe.org.uk/|

Sven Lindqvist is the author of over 30 widely translated books. His work on racism, imperialism and aerial warfare has been influential, in particular his book A History of Bombing (2001).

Bombing Savages podcast| 

British Journal of Sociology  2011 Public Lecture:

'Citizenship and Immigration: Rights and Obligations of Individuality'

Speaker: Yasemin Soysal
Chair: Gillian Stevens

Tuesday 18 October 2011, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE 

This lecture addressed the recently intensified European debates and policies on immigrant integration in the context of the broad changes in the conceptions and institutions of citizenship. Yasemin Soysal is Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Essex and Gillian Stevens is Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta.



Gender Institute and Department of Sociology Discussion

'Budgeting for Gender Equality: is government economic policy fair to women?'

Speakers: Dr Claire Annesley, Beatrix Campbell, Professor Diane Elson, Professor Susan Himmelweit
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman

Wednesday 11 May 2011, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE 

This panel considered how far women, especially low income women, are bearing an unfair share of the burden of the budget deficit reduction.  Claire Annesley is senior lecturer in politics at the University of Manchester.  Beatrix Campbell is a journalist, author, playwright and broadcaster.  Diane Elson is professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.  Susan Himmelweit is professor of economics at the Open University.

Budgeting for Gender Equality podcast|


BSA Annual Conference 2011 

Over one thousand sociologists descended on LSE from 6th-8th April to take part in the British Sociological Association's 60th Anniversary conference.  Titled '60 years of Sociology', the conference involved eminent sociologists from around the world...

For more details and pictures from the event please see
BSA Conference at LSE.|


Department of Sociology and Centre for the Study of Human Rights Inaugural Lecture

Chetan Bhatt: 'The Virtues of Violence and the Arts of Terror'
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

Wednesday 23 March 2011, 6.30pm
Sheikh Zayed Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

The human bomber has come to symbolize a new kind of political violence, one that is aimed at civilians, is intended to cause fear and terror and is claimed to be linked to cosmic religion. This lecture explores what the ideologies and activities of Al Qaeda and related transnational militia might tell us about new forms of political violence in many contemporary societies. Using examples from South Asia, the Middle East, the UK and the USA, the lecture elaborates the aesthetic and cultural universe created by these armed groups and shows how aesthetic elements, as well as ideology, have appeal for some young people. Central to the political ideologies of Al Qaeda and its affiliates are new ideas about how virtue, law and sovereignty should inform politics, including violent political activity. The lecture also considers how novel visions about nature and technology (including, for example, the design of instruments of violence) have been mobilized. The links made by transnational militia between virtue and violence lead to a mixing up of the worlds of the living with the worlds of the dead. This area is explored and its challenging implications for international human rights are drawn out.

UPDATE: What has been the response of Al Qaeda and related militia to the momentous revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa? What might these events in the Middle East and the continuing violence in South Asia mean for Al Qaeda's future ideas and strategies?

Chetan Bhatt is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the LSE.

Martin White Professorship Inaugural Lecture

Nikolas Rose: 'The Human Sciences in 'the Century of Biology' -  Revitalising Sociology'

Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman
Tuesday 8th March 2011, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

We live, it is said, in the century of biology where we now understand ourselves in radically new ways, as the insights of genomics and neuroscience have opened up the workings of our bodies and our minds to new kinds of knowledge and intervention. Is a new figure of the human, and of the social, taking shape in the twenty first century? With what consequences for the politics of life today? And with what implications, if any, for the social, cultural and human sciences? 

The Human Sciences video and podcast|

Sociology Department Public Lecture

Ulrich Beck: 'The Global Chaos of Love'

Respondent: Professor Lynn Jamieson
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman
Wednesday 23rd February 2011, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

 In the global age there are increasing numbers of long-distance relationships, bi-national couples, marriage migrants, foreign domestic workers, fertility tourists etc. What are their common characteristics? Are 'global families' cosmopolitan?
Ulrich Beck is British Journal of Sociology LSE Centennial Professor.

The Global Chaos of Love video and podcast|

LSE Cities and Sociology Department Public Lecture

Sharon Zukin: 'The Naked City'

Chair: Dr Fran Tonkiss
Monday 17th January 2011, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Renowned sociologist Sharon Zukin discussed her latest book, The Naked City: the death and life of authentic urban places, which explores the gentrification of cities.  Sharon Zukin is Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and City University Graduate Center, New York.

Sociology Forum Seminar

17th January 2011, 5-7pm, S202

Shamus Rahman Khan, Department of Sociology, Columbia University spoke about his new book: Privilege: Educating an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School.
Chair: Professor Richard Sennett.
More about the book: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9294.html|

Hobhouse Memorial Lecture

Steven Shapin: 'The Long History of Dietetics: Thinking  Sociologically about Food, the Self, and Knowledge'

Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman
Wednesday 12th January 2011, 6.30-8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

A survey and interpretation of historically changing ideas about food, knowledge and the self.  Steven Shapin is Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. 

The Long History of Dietetics video and podcast  | 

David Glass Memorial Lecture

David Scott: 'The Theory of Haiti: The Black Jacobins and the Ethos of Universal History'

Thursday 2nd December 2010, 6-8pm
Thai Theatre, LGF, New Academic Building (NAB). LSE
David Scott is Professor of Anthropology and Research Fellow in African-American Studies at Columbia University, New York, and editor of Small Axe journal.  

Sociology Department and Media and Communications Department Joint Public Lecture

Pheng Cheah: 'The Physico-Material Bases of Cosmopolitanism'

Wednesday 1st December 2010, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building (NAB), LSE

The challenge of cosmopolitanism is often framed in terms of deficiencies of perception and imagination. While we can imagine the bounded community of the nation, it is more difficult to imagine common humanity, and this impedes the implementation of human rights legislation. This lecture argues for a biopolitical conception of human rights which radically challenges conventional approaches.

Pheng Cheah is Professor in the Department of Rhetoric, University of California at Berkeley. 

Sociology Department Conference: The New Conservatism

Friday 26th November 2010, 9.30am-5pm
Morishima Conference Room, 5th floor, Lionel Robbins Building, LSE

Andrew Gamble (Cambridge) on The Conservative Tradition
Paul Kelly (LSE) on Conservatism and Liberalism
Robin Archer (LSE) on Conservatism and the Left
Sarah Childs (Bristol) on Conservatism and Feminism
Tim Bale (Sussex) on Conservatism and the Big Society

The Conservatives are now back in power and newly reinvigorated. But what do they stand for? Some argue that they are really still wedded to Thatcherism, while others see Prime Minister Cameron as a new Disraeli. Still others see his stance as modelled on Tony Blair and New Labour.

What exactly is this new conservatism? What is its relationship to the conservative tradition? And how are its ideas related to those of other political traditions? Is it really possible to be a liberal conservative or a Red Tory?

Conservatism is one of the oldest and most electorally successful political traditions in Britain. The emergence of the new Conservative-led coalition government makes this an excellent time to re-examine this tradition.

See full-size Conference poster |(pdf) and Conference schedule |(pdf).

Sociology Department Public Debate

Roger Scruton and Daniel Finkelstein: 'Are the New Conservatives Conservative?'

Chair: Dr Robin Archer
Friday 26th November 2010, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building (NAB), LSE

 The newly reinvigorated Tories describe themselves as liberal, progressive, and even radical. But these ideas have long been anathema to conservative thinkers. So what is conservatism? And are the new Conservatives really conservative?

Roger Scruton is one of, if not the, leading defender of a traditional version of conservative political philosophy. His works include The Meaning of Conservatism (1980, 3rd ed 2000), Arguments for Conservatism (2006), and The Uses of Pessimism: And the Dangers of False Hope (2010). He is a resident researcher at the American Enterprise Institute and Visiting Professor in Philosophy, Oxford University.  Daniel Finkelstein is executive editor and chief leader writer of The Times, where he also has a regular column. He has been active in the Tory party for twenty years, working in the Conservative Research Department and representing them on Newsnight's regular political panel.  Robin Archer is Reader in Political Sociology at LSE.

To listen to the podcast of the lecture go to Podcast|

Department of Sociology and Runnymede Jim Rose Memorial Lecture

Revisiting the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain:
the Parekh Report 10 years on

Speaker: Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh
Tuesday 23rd November 2010, 6.30-8pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE                                  

A decade after the groundbreaking Runnymede Trust 'Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain' report, its chair, Lord Parekh, revisits the issues of race equality and multiculturalism in Britain.

Bhikhu Parekh is emeritus fellow of political theory at the University of Hull and a fellow of the British Academy.

To see the video of the lecture go to Videos of Public Lectures|.

To listen to the podcast of the lecture go to Podcast|.

British Journal of Sociology Public Lecture 2010

John Hagan: 'The Displaced and Dispossessed of Darfur' 

Chair: Richard Wright
Wednesday 20th October 2010, 6.30-8pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building (NAB), LSE

In addition to 300,000 deaths, the Darfur Genocide has forced the displacement of about three million people. Hagan examines the temporal processes of this displacement to demonstrate how state-led attacks on food and water dislodged Black Africans in Darfur from February 2003 to August 2004.

John Hagan is John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law at Northwestern University and Co-Director of the Center on Law & Globalization at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago.

Previous years

For events prior to this please see webpage: Previous years|


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