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Launch of the III's Atlantic Fellows programme

Mike Savage, Head of LSE Sociology, salutes the launch of the International Inequalities Institute’s Atlantic Fellows programme

As Head of the Sociology Department (as well as co-Director of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute) I am thrilled to salute the launch of the III’s Atlantic Fellows programme. This will fund 600 Fellows over the next 20 years to study at the LSE and our partner institutions to challenge inequality. The grant from Atlantic Philanthropies, the largest ever in the history of the LSE, will do much to inscribe critical social science at the heart of the LSE’s intellectual agenda, and I am delighted that the Sociology Department has been a key driving force in this success.  

One of sociology’s great strengths as an academic discipline is its capacity to analyse and challenge inequality in its many manifestations. Of particular importance is our ability to explore the intersections between different kinds of inequality, especially to recognise how economic inequalities also embody social, cultural and political dynamics. It is this wide ranging sensitivity and insistence on the fundamental importance of studying inequality which has played a key role in the formation of the III at the LSE.

LSE Sociology has had long standing interests in inequality, going back to the first UK social mobility studies under David Glass in the years after the Second World War. More recently we have had strong research and teaching interests in gender, and in race and ethnicity. We are currently host to the Runnymede Trust, Britain’s leading race equality think tank. Our interests in class inequality have also expanded recently, and several of the Department’s staff and graduate students worked on the BBC’s Great British Class Survey

In the past year the LSE Sociology has set up a distinctive new research cluster on ‘social inequality’ to highlight our interests in this area. We have an active brown bag seminar on Inequality, Culture and Expertise which showcases our interests in relational and mixed methods, and in cross-fertilising science and technology studies with Bourdieusian field analysis. This coming year we are hosting a series of high profile seminars (in alliance with the III) exploring ‘Generating Inequalities’. Other clusters at LSE Sociology, notably urban sociology and economic sociology also have intersecting interests. 

We are therefore delighted to see the announcement of the Atlantic Fellows programme and looking forward to being key drivers in this work, and that of the III more generally, over the coming years.