LSE Sociology and the Inequalities Agenda
Professor Mike Savage writes for LSE's Researching Sociology blog about the growing international concern over rising inequality, and the initiatives which the Department of Sociology is launching in response to what may be the most serious problem facing societies across the world:
'It hardly needs emphasis that rising inequality within and between nations is increasingly in the public eye. The success of protest movements such as Occupy has highlighted the distinctiveness of the top ‘one per cent’. The World Economic Forum recently identified income disparity as one of its principal risks to economic and political security in the twenty-first century... This is an arena where the potential of academic research to cross-fertilise with such interests to produce a genuinely public social science is huge, as testified by the remarkable interest in the work of Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, Thomas Piketty, Danny Dorling, Owen Jones, David Graeber and others. I am therefore delighted that the Department of Sociology at the LSE is pushing forward with a series of initiatives to bolster and enhance this current of work'.
Read the full article: LSE Sociology at the forefront of the Inequalities agenda.
Suzanne Hall invited to Amsterdam
Dr Suzanne Hall has been invited by the University of Amsterdam to give a number of public and student lectures in October. She has an invited visitorship from the 25th to the 31st of October, sponsored by the Centre for Urban Studies and the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies.
Urban Lightscapes/Social Nightscapes Symposium
Image: Dr Don Slater is interviewed for Urban Lightscapes film
The Symposium was the finale of a five day workshop on Peabody's Whitecross estate in Islington, London from 13-17 October, bringing together lighting design professionals, architects, planners and social scientists around the topic of social research in lighting design.
The focus of the workshop is the creation of new lighting design interventions to help improve the outdoor spaces on the estate. In this workshop researchers including Dr Don Slater and Mona Sloane from LSE Sociology will support the design teams in their social research to help them better understand the Whitecross estate and its community in order to come up with sensible public lighting ideas. The final day of the workshop will see these proposals presented in a symposium to an audience consisting of the Whitecross community, Peabody, invited guests and the public. A guest panel, chaired by Professor Fran Tonkiss and including renowned lighting master planner Roger Narboni, will comment on the design teams’ presentations and engage the audience in a discussion around social research in design.
For more information follow link to LSE Cities webpage.
Financial Times reviews The Social Life of Money
Professor Nigel Dodd’s new book, The Social Life of Money (Princeton University Press) has just received a glowing review in the Financial Times. “Dodd presents a wide-ranging and sophisticated review and integration of the academic work related to alternative conceptions of modern money”, writes the reviewer, drawing on “perspectives from sociology, anthropology, psychoanalysis, philosophy and literary theory, with contributions ranging from Marx, Derrida and Kant to the most recent technical scholarship”. The reviewer, Pietra Rivoli, praises the book for its interweaving of theoretical and empirical concerns, noting that “Dodd is exceptionally skilled at bridging the gap between scholarship and relevance”. She concludes: “[T]his is a richly rewarding book. Those of us accustomed to thinking of money as something we exchange for beer and pizza will never again have such a simple story”.
You can read the FT review here (you will need to sign up, which is free if you are a student or staff at LSE), while Nigel answers questions about the book here: http://press.princeton.edu/releases/m10319.html. He will be giving a public lecture to launch the book at LSE on 23 October 2014.
Suzanne Hall awarded ESRC Future Leaders research grant
Dr Suzanne Hall, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Research Fellow at LSE Cities, has been awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant (Ref: ES/L009560/1) for a comparative project on ‘Super-diverse Streets: Economies and spaces of urban migration in UK Cities’. The project is a multidisciplinary exploration of the spatial infrastructures, economic practices and forms of civil organisation on selected ethnically-diverse streets in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford. The project will engage with questions of migration and societal reconfiguration through a detailed analysis of each street, and aims to provide a broader perspective of the role of migrants in making urban space.
The Future Research Leaders scheme enables outstanding early-career social scientists, in partnership with their host organisation, to acquire the skills set to become future world leaders in their field. It is open to high-quality candidates from anywhere in the world with a maximum of four years postdoctoral experience and the support of an eligible UK research organisation.
Talking Biopolitics with Charis Thompson
Professor Charis Thompson will be talking about about her latest book Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research with David Winickoff at the Center for Genetics and Society, UC Berkeley on 2 October 2014. The event will be live web cast and available as a podcast afterwards, for more information see webpage.
Nigel Dodd on Bitcoin
Professor Nigel Dodd is speaking on the subject "Is Bitcoin Utopian?" at the Money Talks symposium, held at the Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University, on 12 September 2014. The symposium has been organized by Nina Bandelj, Daniel Markovits and Frederick F. Wherry. Other speakers include Viviana Zelizer, Bruce Carruthers, Akinobu Kuroda, Akos Rona-Tas, Kieran Healy, Marion Fourcade, Supriya Singh, Eric Helleiner and Bill Maurer. Further details can be found at http://ccs.research.yale.edu/events/money-talks. The Yale press release is at http://news.yale.edu/2014/09/03/symposium-explore-impact-money-society-0.
On August 20-21, Professor Nigel Dodd participated in a conference at the University of Pretoria, convened by the Human Economy Group, called Money in the Making of World Society. His paper was called "The Social Life of Bitcoin". The conference featured most of the world's leading scholars in the money field, including Keith Hart, Bill Maurer, Supriya Singh, David Pedersen, Mateo Taussig-Rubbo, Tom Boellstorff and Noam Yuran.
Don Slater and Mona Sloane Interviewed in illumni
Dr Don Slater and Mona Sloane from LSE Sociology were interviewed by Sarah Adams, illumni’s European Editor, about the ideas behind the ‘Configuring Light / Staging the Social’ research programme of social science interventions into the configuration of light (with Dr Joanne Entwistle, KCL), the aims of the programme, and its deliverables. Read the article.
New York City. Photography by Lukas Krohn-Grimberghe
Lisa Mckenzie nominated for teaching award
Congratulations to Dr Lisa Mckenzie, who was recently nominated for the LSE Students' Union Teaching Excellence Award by students for ‘always having an open door’, ‘being able to answer questions about the University structure that most students can ask their parents, being first in my family to go University I didn’t have this support’ and ‘encouraging students to take on new experiences’.
New appointments in the Department
[First announced when appointments made in April]
We are delighted that three new members of faculty will be joining us in the next academic year. Dr Fabien Accominotti completed his doctorate from Columbia University, New York. His research interests are in economic sociology, the sociology of culture, historical sociology, social networks, and the study of status and inequality. Using network and sequence analytical methods, Fabien's EHESS dissertation explored the social organization of the market for modern painting in Paris between 1870 and 1930, and showed how this organization affected the creativity of artists, their economic value, and the inequalities of success between them. Fabien’s dissertation at Columbia further examines how collaborations influence the careers of artists in three creative industries, and how individuals manage these collaborations as relational resources that help them navigate uncertain economic environments.
Dr Sam Friedman (until now Lecturer in Sociology at City University, London) has a long-standing interest in the study of cultural taste and his book, Comedy and Distinction: The Cultural Currency of a ‘Good’ Sense of Humour (2014, Routledge), examines the relationship between social class and the consumption of comedy. Representing the first ever exploration of British comedy taste, the book explores what comedy people like (and dislike), how comedy taste lubricates everyday interaction, and whether some comedy tastes are valued higher than others in British society - representing a new resource of contemporary cultural capital. Outside academia, Dr Friedman is also the publisher of Fest (www.festmag.co.uk), an arts magazine that runs during the Edinburgh Festivals. The magazine is a reviews guide which covers every inch of the world's largest arts Festival. Now in its twelfth year, Fest has a circulation of over 150,000. Dr Friedman has also written freelance for a number of other publications, including The Guardian, The Sunday Herald and The Big Issue.
Dr Leon Wansleben, until now Research Associate, Institute of Sociology, University of Lucerne National Research, is an expert on the sociology of knowledge (sociology of classifications, institutions, knowledge and expert cultures), economic sociology (history and sociology of markets, sociology of calculation), and financial market and money sociology (social studies of finance, political economy).
Judy Wajcman gives evidence on digital skills at House of Lords
On 8 July Professor Judy Wajcman gave evidence at the House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills about gender inequality in this area. Listen to the recording of the proceedings on parliamentlive.tv.
Ayça Çubukçu to be visiting scholar at CUNY
Dr Ayça Çubukçu has been appointed as Visiting Research Scholar with the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. While visiting the Committee on Globalization and Social Change in September and October 2014, she will be collaborating with the Committee in addressing its annual research theme of "humanity," and will also work towards expanding the Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Solidarity research network in the United States, see webpage.
Claire Moon joins citizen-led forensics project
Dr Claire Moon has been invited onto the Advisory Board of an ESRC Transformative Research Project, Citizen-led forensics: DNA and data-banking in the search for the disappeared in Mexico. The project is being led by anthropologist Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin, with co-investigator and geographer Arely Cruz-Santiago, both of whom are based at Durham University.
The project will explore new forms of citizenship related to the use of forensic science in the search for the missing in Mexico by analysing the consequences of placing forensic techniques in the hands of the relatives of the disappeared/non-governmental forensic experts, and/or in other interested citizens in Mexico.
Typically within existing academic debates, forensic databases are seen as tools of state surveillance and are deeply connected to issues of privacy. This project moves the debate beyond these themes to explore how citizen-led forensic databases can be used as a tool for reparation and truth finding. The project promises to forge new pathways for forensic research and intervention in the mass atrocities of today and of the future. Read more.
'Super-diverse street': Suzanne Hall on urban migration
Dr Suzanne Hall gave a public lecture on urban migration at the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity on 19 June. Suzi also participated in a two-day workshop on 'super-diversity'. For details see flyer (PDF).
REPS PhD Symposium at LSE
The 'Race', Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies (REPS) PhD Symposium 2014 was held at LSE on 12 and 13 June, providing an intimate forum for PhD research students at UK academic institutions to exchange ideas, present new work, receive constructive feedback from scholars and work collaboratively with peers across disciplines and institutions. Sessions were chaired by leading academics in the field. Follow link to the REPS PhD Network webpage.
Judy Wajcman talks on Pressed for Time
Professor Wajcman gave a seminar on 12 June at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation, Mines Paris Tech, about her forthcoming book, Pressed for Time: The acceleration of life in digital capitalism (University of Chicago Press, November 2014). See publisher's webpage.
She was also on a panel on ‘How do we innovate responsibly in a digital world?’ at the Science Museum, London on 19 June.
Nigel Dodd nominated for teaching award
Congratulations to Professor Nigel Dodd, who was a Highly Commended Nominee for Collaborative Research and Guidance at the LSE Students’ Union Student Led Teaching Excellence Awards. The ceremony was held on 27 May 2014. Professor Dodd's new book, The Social Life of Money, will be published by Princeton University Press in September 2014.
BSA Early Career Theory Symposium
The British Sociological Association hosted an Early Career Theory Symposium in the Department of Sociology at LSE on 6 June 2014, organised by Dr Suzanne Hall (Assistant Professor in Sociology at LSE). Professor Fran Tonkiss (LSE Sociology), Professor Claire Alexander (University of Manchester) and Professor Patrick Baert (University of Cambridge) provided comment on 11 selected papers, and additional early career scholars were invited to join the forum for discussion.
Latest doctorates awarded in the Department
Congratulations to Dr Hannah Abdullah (supervisor Professor Nigel Dodd), thesis title ‘"New German Painting”: Painting, Nostalgia & Cultural Identity in Post-Unification Germany’ and to Dr Arturo Arriagada (supervisor Dr Don Slater), thesis title 'Cultural Mediators and the Everyday Making of "Digital Capital" in Contemporary Chile'. You can see more about our current and recent PhD students on our webpage: Research students.
Nigel Dodd gives lecture on Bitcoin in Cologne
Professor Nigel Dodd gave a public lecture at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne on May 22, entitled 'Vires in Numeris: Taking Simmel to MtGox'. He will also be speaking at Yale on 12 September 2014.
Suzi Hall gives lecture on migration in Berlin
Dr Suzi Hall gave a public lecture on the urban localities of accelerated migration on 6 May at the Centre for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin. The lecture was followed by a workshop with PhD students on the 7th on urban ethnography.
Configuring Light/Staging the Social: Lighting London
The ESRC Configuring Light seminar series got off to a brilliant start at LSE Cities on 24 April 2014. It kicked off in the morning with the fantastic public panel discussion ‘Lighting London’, chaired by Professor Ricky Burdett. For more see the LSE Cities event webpage and read the blog.
London and Global Cities at LSE Summer School
Professor Ricky Burdett, Philipp Rode (LSE Cities)and Professor Tony Travers (LSE London) are launching a new initiative at LSE: this year, for the first time, they are offering a one-week course as part of the LSE’s Executive Summer School on ‘London and Global Cities: Governance, Planning and Design’ which will take place from 30 June to 4 July 2014 at LSE.
The five day course will be an intensive exploration and analysis of how London is governed and managed, drawing parallels with and implications for other major cities. The course draws from the collective research work they have done on cities and London at LSE over the past years. Key themes will include governance, planning and design, infrastructure, transport, housing and economic competitiveness. The course will include classes given by the core teaching group; guest lectures by key members of London’s political, development, transport and housing sectors; and, visits to London’s newest redevelopment area surrounding King’s Cross, and the expanding Canary Wharf development in East London.
For a broader course outline and detailed learning outcomes visit the webpage.
Bridget Hutter gives lecture on risk regulation and crisis at Princeton
On 10 April Professor Bridget Hutter is giving a public lecture on ‘Risk Regulation and Crisis: A Social Science Perspective on Global Uncertainties’, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Research Community on Global Systemic Risk, Princeton University, for details see poster (PDF).
Nigel Dodd promoted to Professor of Sociology
Congratulations to Nigel Dodd, who has been promoted to Professor of Sociology. Professor Mike Savage, Head of the Sociology Department, says 'This is a truly well-deserved recognition of his profile as probably the best social theorist of money in the world, as well as of his outstanding teaching and service to the Department and LSE over many years.'
Judy Wajcman appointed to Anthony Giddens Chair in Sociology
The Department of Sociology is delighted to announce that Judy Wajcman has been appointed to the Anthony Giddens Chair in Sociology, in succession to Paul Gilroy (who was Chair in Social Theory). She is pioneer in several fields over the course of her distinguished career. She conducted one of the earliest British studies of women workers, was a co-founder of the first women's studies programme, at the University of Cambridge, and was the first woman fellow at St. John's College. Books on the sociology of work and organisations include Women in Control: Dilemmas of a Workers' Co-operative, Managing Like a Man: Women and Men in Corporate Management and The Politics of Working Life. She is however best known for her contribution to the development of science and technology studies. Her co-authored book The Social Shaping of Technology is regarded as a landmark in the field, as are her books on the gendered character of technology Feminism Confronts Technology and TechnoFeminism. She has been President of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and was recently awarded the William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award by the Communications and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association. Her latest book, Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism, will be published this autumn by the University of Chicago Press.
Mike Savage appointed to Martin White Chair in Sociology
Mike Savage has also been appointed to the Martin White Chair in Sociology, in succession to Nikolas Rose. He has played a leading role in the re-invigoration of the study of class and inequality over recent decades. Trained as an historian, his early work, notably his first book The Dynamics of Working Class Politics (1987) argued that the changing fortunes of working class politics needed to be understood in local context, and informed not only be the analysis of work relations, but also urban dynamics and local gender inequalities. This work initiated a long standing interest in the historical sociology of Britain, the most recent manifestation of which is his recent Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940: the Politics of Method (2010) which examines how the social sciences have themselves become key agents of social change over the past 50 years. His many studies of social class inequality have emphasised the need to turn the sociological lens on privileged and powerful and include the Class Analysis and Social Transformation (2000) and the co-authored Culture, Class, Distinction(2009). His current work on the BBC’s Great British Class Survey has attracted great academic and public interest. He was made Fellow of the British Academy in 2007 and is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Fran Tonkiss promotion and new book
We are delighted to report that Fran Tonkiss, who joined the Department of Sociology in 2003 has been promoted to Professor of Sociology. This is fitting recognition of Fran’s role as an internationally-recognised scholar in the fields of urban and economic sociology. She has carved out a distinctive international profile through linking debates about economic change with the built urban form. Her major publications in these fields include Space, the City and Social Theory (Polity, 2005), and Contemporary Economic Sociology: Globalisation, Production, Inequality (Routledge, 2006). She is also the co-author of Market Society: Markets and Modern Social Theory (Polity, 2001, with Don Slater), and co-editor of Trust and Civil Society (Macmillan, 2000, with Andrew Passey). Her most recent book is Cities by Design: the social life of urban form published by Polity in November 2013. Fran is currently the managing editor of the highly-rated journal Economy and Society, and was the LSE-based editor of the British Journal of Sociology from 2007 to 2010. She is also active in the field of policy and public engagement: she has provided expertise to a number of architectural competition juries, publishes regularly on social and policy issues in the architectural press, acted in the capacity of scientific expert on the committee for a new Swiss spatial strategy in 2009-10, and since 2011 has been a member of the UN-Habitat Urban Private Sector Advisory Board.
Claire Moon joins European Network for the Social Study of Forensics
Dr Claire Moon was an invited participant in the launch of the new European Network for the Social Study of Forensics in Amsterdam, 22-23 November 2013. The launch brought together around 15 scholars from around Europe working on the intersection of the forensic sciences and social and political issues. The launch raised a variety of issues including human rights, privacy, social control, policing, and disaster and atrocity victim identification. The network is planning a range of future activities including conferences, seminars, lectures, public events and collective writing projects.
Money as the measure of man
Claire Moon published a chapter entitled 'Money as the measure of man: values and value in the politics of reparation' which compared reparations granted to victims of gross violations of human rights in South Africa and Argentina. It was published in an edited collection entitled 'Value and Values in Criminology and Community Justice' which explores the inherent, although sometimes invisible, values in crime theory, criminal justice and research practice. The collection spans Marxist, postmodern and feminist perspectives on criminology, analysis of the dynamics of race, gender and age, research methods and ethics, the working of the criminal justice system, and engages with current debates about new challenges for criminology such as the green movement and Islamophobia.
‘Configuring Light/Staging the Social’ project receives ESRC funding for three year international seminar series
The ‘Configuring Light/Staging the Social’ project led by Dr Don Slater (LSE Sociology) and Dr Joanne Entwistle (King’s College London) has received ESRC funding for a three year international seminar series on light as material culture, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of practitioners and academics to discuss a wide range of issues around light and lighting. Confirmed speakers of the seminar series include professionals and academics from Qatar, New Zealand, USA, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.
‘We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to create a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural forum that will bring together not only academics of different disciplines, but also enable collaboration with leading-edge lighting professionals in design, building and planning,’ Don Slater commented on the launch of the ESRC seminar series.
The 30,000 GBP funding ensures that the seminar series can run three international seminars per year for three years. Eight will be hosted in UK venues and one will be held in a European capital. Each seminar will have one international speaker and three domestic presenters with an additional audience of about fifty people. The first event will be hosted at LSE in spring 2014, the second seminar will take place in summer 2014 at King’s College London. For more information read press release (PDF).
For news from previous academic years please see our News archive.