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News and accolades



Sam Friedman selected for ESRC Future Leaders Award

Dr Sam Friedman from LSE Sociology has been awarded a substantial grant from the ESRC for his research project on The 'Class' Ceiling in Britain's Elite Occupations. This project explores rates of social mobility into, and within, Britain’s elite occupations. Improving social mobility is a key policy objective of all Britain’s main political parties. This usually centres on a commitment to raise the numbers of those from lower occupational class backgrounds who move into higher class groups during their working lives. However, this focus on class mobility misses potentially important differences in rates of mobility between occupations – particularly elite or prestigious occupations. In the past, such detailed analysis has not been possible as data sets have simply not had big enough sample sizes to meaningfully examine mobility into individual occupations. Yet in 2014 new questions on parental occupation were introduced to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), Britain’s largest employment survey with over 100,000 respondents. This project capitalises on this new data to show, for the first time, how rates of upward mobility vary between Britain’s 29 most elite occupations. It also examines the relationship between rates of mobility and other forms of disadvantage, such as gender and ethnicity, in each of these occupations.   Read more (Word).

Claire Moon researches Mexican mass graves

In August 2015 Dr Claire Moon, Department of Sociology and Centre for the Study of Human Rights, conducted field research in Mexico into the forensic investigation of clandestine mass graves arising out of the government’s ‘war on organized crime’. Since 2006 and in this context an estimated 150,000 Mexican citizens and undocumented migrants have been killed or ‘disappeared’. Around 20,000 bodies have been recovered from a number of grave sites but remain unidentified.

 The research investigated the practices and principles of a number of organizations and forensics initiatives including the Red Cross, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), the Mexican Forensic Anthropology Team (EMAF), the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), and the innovative and controversial citizen-led DNA project, Gobernanza Forense Cuidadano, run by family members of the disappeared. The research addressed forensic identification, the care of the dead, the emotional labour of forensic work, and raised the question of whether it can be argued that the dead have human rights. It also looked at conflicts of approaches within the forensic field. Read more (Word).


Super-diverse Streets

Dr Suzanne Hall (LSE Sociology/LSE Cities), Julia King and Robin Finlay will give a keynote lecture at The Sociological Review’s symposium on Streetlife: The Shifting Sociologies of the Street. Their paper focuses on their recent ESRC research on ‘Super-diverse streets’ in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Leicester (ref: ES/L009560/1). Their paper on ‘Migrant Diversities: Street views of economy and diversity’ explores how marginal places and economic practices become differentiated in relation to migration. Through their analysis of these multi-ethnic streets in comparatively deprived urban locales, they focus on notable diversities that emerge out of both structural conditions and individual resourcefulness. In particular their paper focuses on two core processes of variegation: policy-driven diversification and economic diversification.  For further research details go to: Super-diverse Streets

The politics of counter terrorism

Can Muslims hold alternative views without being considered a potential danger to society?  In her thesis 'Blurred boundaries: how the breakdown of traditional boundaries has shaped post 9/11 counter-terrorism policies in London and New York City' LSE Sociology doctoral candidate Tara Lai Quinlan looks at how politics has shaped the UK and US government’s counter terrorism policies since 9/11. Read more about her research and watch an interview with Tara on the LSE research highlights webpage: The politics of counter terrorism.

Tara Lai Quinlan has just completed her thesis and will take up a permanent position as a Lecturer in Law and Diversity in the School of Law at the University of Sheffield in September 2015.  We wish her every success in her future career.


Torsten Schroeder shortlisted for RIBA award

Torsten Schroeder's PhD thesis has been shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2015. Torsten was recently awarded his PhD (Cities) for Translating the concept of sustainability into architectural design practices: London’s City Hall as an exemplar.

Judy Wajcman Der Standard July 2015Judy Wajcman interview in Der Standard

8 July: Professor Judy Wajcman is interviewed in Austrian newspaper Der Standard, read the article online (in German): Wajcman: "Frauen verwenden Technik zur Organisation der Familie"

Photo: Heribert Corn.

Carrie Friese wins the Star-Nelkin Award 2015

Congratulations to Dr Carrie Friese, who has been selected to receive the Star-Nelkin award this year from the Science, Knowledge and Technology (SKAT) section of the American Sociological Association, for her article ‘Realizing Potential in Translational Medicine: The uncanny emergence of care as science’ in Current Anthropology 54 (2013): S129-S138. The award ceremony will be held on 22 August.


Leslie Sklair on 'starchitecture'

Emeritus Professor Leslie Sklair spoke at a seminar in Paris on 'starchitecture' in June 2015 on his forthcoming book The Icon Project: architecture, cities and capitalist globalization, to be published soon by Oxford University Press. The book puts forward a new perspective on the differences between so-called starchitects, signature architects, and those who produce locally iconic buildings for cities, and the idea that iconic architecture is a hegemonic project of the transnational capitalist class. See flyer for more information on the seminar.

Chetan Bhatt at TEDxExeter 2015

Professor Chetan Bhatt recently gave a talk at TEDxExeter 2015, which took place at the Exeter Northcott Theatre, with the theme “Taking the Long View”, a series of talks where speakers were asked to help us understand the challenges that face us now - how they shape the way we live, make decisions, and innovate. In his talk, entitled ‘Visions of a future without origin stories and identity myths’, Professor Bhatt dared his listeners to refuse the idea that origin stories give people a sense of belonging and that they should instead develop a deeper sense of personhood, responsible to humanity as a whole. Watch the video (YouTube). 

Ron Moody (8 January 1924 – 11 June 2015)

The popular actor, most famous for playing Fagin in the musical film 'Oliver'  in 1968, has died at the age of 91, leaving a wife and six children.  He spent the Second World War in the RAF before going on to study at LSE.  Years later, he remembered: "I went to the London School of Economics to study sociology and psychology on a serviceman's grant.

"While there, I got dragged into taking part in a student revue and ended up writing, and appearing in, a few sketches. In short, I got the stage bug.

"Soon after, I was discovered in an end-of-term show by two writers who put me in their stage revue, and I've never looked back."

Moody also wrote novels and musicals of his own and kept working into his eighties.  He said "Considering I set out to be a sociologist, I think I’ve really done quite well.”

Judy Wajcman public lecture at research centre launch

Professor Judy Wajcman is giving a public lecture on 'Pressed for Time: digital culture and the re-design of Modern life' at the launch of the Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences (RCASS) at Manchester Metropolitan University on 3 June, for details see event poster (PDF).


Judy Wajcman honoured by University of Geneva

Professor Judy Wajcman has been nominated for a Dr Honoris Causa by the University of Geneva’s School of Social Sciences. The University of Geneva, Switzerland, is among the best universities in continental Europe according to international rankings. Professor Wajcman said: "I am thrilled to be awarded this degree from such a distinguished university". Professor Wajcman will attend the official ceremony in October 2015.

Janet Foster wins Student Led Teaching Excellence Award

Congratulations to Dr Janet Foster, Winner in the category of Award for Innovative Teaching, and to Dr Suki Ali,  Highly Commended in the category of Award for Research Support and Guidance. The annual awards are run by the Students’ Union, supported by the Teaching and Learning Centre and sponsored by the Annual Fund. This year they received 1362 nominations from students across the School, with nominations for 555 individual members of staff.  The awards ceremony was held on 5 May.

Departmental Class Teacher Awards 2014/15

Congratulations to GTA Richard Seymour, awarded the Departmental Class Teacher Prize for his outstanding contribution to this year’s undergraduate core course Sociological Analysis; to Manmit Bhambra, awarded the Runner Up Departmental Class Teacher Prize for his contribution to undergraduate courses Key Issues in Contemporary Societies: An Introduction to Contemporary Sociology and Researching London: An Introduction to Social Research Methods; and to Paul Thornbury, awarded the Runner Up Departmental Class Teacher Prize for his contribution to undergraduate course Crime, Deviance and Control.


Claire Moon at BSA annual conference

Dr Claire Moon attended this year’s British Sociological Association’s annual conference on the theme of ‘societies in transition’. The conference took place between 15-17 April 2015 at Glasgow Caledonian University. Dr Moon participated in a wide-ranging panel discussion addressing the types of social transition that follow from the cessation of communal conflict and state violence.

The panel discussion addressed a number of central themes including the protection of human rights, the management of risk around the renewal of violent conflict, and the political, sociological and social-psychological dynamics involved in reconciling parties to conflict. In particular it looked at the ways in which transitions from conflict isolate certain categories of person – such as victim and perpetrator – and at the types of processes around which reconciliation is thought to be brought about - such as truth recovery, remembering, reparations, forgiveness, justice - and at the relation of these to socio-economic justice.

The panel highlighted a number of cases such as Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Argentina and South Africa. It investigated the multiple forms of justice - retributive, restorative, social - in post–conflict scenarios in an attempt to expand and elaborate the meanings of, and new developments in, human rights in post-conflict societies.

Launch of LSE International Inequalities Institute

The new interdisciplinary Institute, co-directed by Professor Mike Savage, Head of the Department of Sociology and Professor John Hills from the Department of Social Policy, launches with several major public events: a lecture on 30 April by Tony Atkinson on the subject of his new book Inequality: what can be done?, a conference on 'Inequality in the 21st Century: a day long engagement with Thomas Piketty' on 11 May, and Joseph Stiglitz talking about 'The Great Divide' on 19 May.  For more information please see their webpages.


Suzanne Hall talks to south London sixth formers

Dr Suzanne Hall presented the LSE Cities ‘Ordinary Streets’ research project to sixth form students from Harris Academies in Peckham, the first event of LSE's Research Festival 2015. Students got the opportunity to engage directly with research about an area they were very familiar with, and provided thoughtful and considered comments on Suzanne’s work. Read an account of the visit for the Research Festival blog.

Bridget Hutter on regulatory excellence

Bridget Hutter is participating in a high-level expert meeting on ‘Regulatory Excellence’ at the University of Pennsylvania Law School on March 19-20, 2015. This is part of the Penn Program on Regulation’s Dialogue “Defining and Measuring Regulatory Excellence.”

Nigel Dodd talks about money

On 4 March 2015 Professor Nigel Dodd took part in Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed programme, talking about complementary and alternative currencies, listen to the podcast.  On March 18-19, he will be giving the keynote on the future of money at the Consult Hyperion Forum, details here: http://www.chyp.com/tomorrows-transactions/forum-2014.  On 17 April, he will be speaking on The Social Life of Money at HM Treasury.

Judy Wajcman webinar on Pressed for Time

On 5 March 2015 Professor Judy Wajcman talked about her book Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism (University of Chicago Press, 2014) with John Naughton at the Oxford Internet Institute.  Watch the webinar.

Ayça Çubukçu speaks at Kandersteg Seminar

Dr Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights, has been nominated as a participant in the Kandersteg Seminar convened by the Remarque Institute of New York University. Every year, the Kandersteg Seminar offers a small number of invited scholars the chance to engage in an extended conversation around a defined topic over four days in a Swiss mountain retreat. From March 11 to March 15 this year, Dr Çubukçu will be participating in the Remarque Institute of NYU's Kandersteg Seminar, which will address the theme of 'sovereignty'.

Jesse PotterLeverhulme grant for Jesse Potter

Dr Jesse Potter was recently awarded a BA/Leverhulme small grant for an upcoming research project. The project is titled ‘Private Life of the Recession’ and the research will look at individuals fired and made redundant during the recent economic crisis, exploring the ways in which the uncertainty of the structural economy impacts the possibility for a sustained, coherent, and fulfilling work-life narrative. In an age where macro socio-economic ‘voices’ – of debt, crisis, and austerity – remain entrenched and hegemonic, and have come to dominate not only the everyday lives of individuals, but the purview of institutions as well, the research seeks to make public the individual voices of the recession, exploring what those stories suggest about the negotiation of meaning, value, and identity in the context of precarity.

Visiting Professor appointed

Miriam Glucksmann is an LSE alumna and former Ginsberg Research Fellow in the Department. She has worked at the University of Essex since 1991. Her first book was the classic Structuralist Analysis in Contemporary Social Thought in 1974 and in 1982 she published her acclaimed ethnography of female factory workers Women on the Line. She has followed this with other monographs on the history of gender, work, and time and in recent decades has been centrally involved in the feminist rethinking of work, care and employment. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.


Comedy and Distinction nominated for BSA prize

Comedy and Distinction coverDr Sam Friedman’s recent book Comedy and Distinction: the cultural currency of a ‘good’ sense of humour (Routledge, 2014) has been nominated for the prestigious BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize - awarded to the best first and sole-authored book within the discipline of sociology. The winner will be announced at the end of March. For details see webpage: BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize.

Claire Moon on Global Justice

Dr Claire Moon was invited to participate in a workshop on ‘Global Justice: assessing spaces of practice and institutional convergences’ at the Écoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, co-organised by the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and the journal Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales. The workshop took place on the 26-27 January and participants explored the following themes: global justice at a juncture, the limits of the global justice field, global justice and diverging paths of transnational legal fields, its organisational practices and connected fields, and global justice and national dynamics

The workshop included participants from the Centre Européen de Sociologie et de Science Politique, Sorbonne, Paris, LSE, University of Toronto, San Diego State University, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Northwestern University, University of California (Irvine), the Goethe University, Frankfurt, the War Crimes Unit of the Cour d’appel in Paris, University of Montreal and Goldsmiths.  The proceedings of the workshop will be published in a special issue of Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales.

Bridget Hutter on Regulatory Failure

Professor Bridget Hutter has just had a CARR video released, associated with their Regulators’ Forum, in which she and Martin Lodge discuss different types and sources of regulatory failure, and how ‘better regulation’ tools may support regulatory decision-making. Watch the video: Regulatory Failure.

Professor Hutter's research on Preventing disease and death from food-borne pathogens also featured as a REF 2014 LSE Research Impact case study.  You can watch the Regulatory Impact Video here: Preventing disease and death from food-borne pathogens

In Conversation with Nigel Dodd

The Social Life of Money NDOn 4 February Professor Nigel Dodd took part in an event on The Social Life of Money at NESTA in London. The evening consisted of a short lecture, an interview with Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, and a Q&A session with the audience. Watch the video (Vimeo): In Conversation with Nigel Dodd.

On 26 February he will be taking part in the LSE Literary Festival, as a member of a panel dealing with the relationship between money and identity. Other speakers will include Tom Hockenhull (British Museum), Nicky Marsh (University of Southampton), Izabella Kaminska (Financial Times) and Dave Birch (Hyperion Consulting), see event webpage.


Nigel Dodd gets a Gearty Grilling 

Nigel Dodd, Professor of Sociology, discusses the significance of money in society and explains his enduring interest in it in the latest 'Gearty Grilling', a weekly series of short, to-the-point video debates from LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) on key issues affecting the world today in which Conor Gearty, Director of the IPA and Professor of Human Rights Law, subjects academics to a five-minute grilling to showcase the School's world class research and faculty. Watch the video.  More on Nigel below.

Claire Moon speaks 'on forensic humanitarianism'

Dr Claire Moon was amongst several scholars invited to speak at an Experts Meeting on ‘Understanding Modern Humanitarianism’ at the Social Trends Institute’s Barcelona branch in January 2015. Other speakers were Michael Barnett (George Washington University), Lilie Chouliaraki (LSE), Elisio Macamo (Basel University) David Rieff (writer and journalist), Peter Stamatov (Yale), and Iain Wilkinson (Kent).

The meeting was convened to explore the historical formation, social development and cultural constitution of modern humanitarianism and to assess its progressive potential and its relationship to domination.  The meeting was organised around three broad topics: Origins, Definitions and Explanations; Ideology, Power and Politics; and Humanitarianism for Social Understanding. Claire Moon discussed her new work on ‘forensic humanitarianism’, delineating the history of its appearance within various historical co-ordinates – legal-humanitarian, political and scientific - and some of its implications, including the question of whether we can claim that the dead, now, have human rights.

Pressed for Time cover JWPressed for Time is book of the week

"Occasionally a book comes around that you feel certain will make a difference to how social scientists think about the age we live in and its impact on our daily lives."  Professor Judy Wajcman's latest book Pressed for Time: the acceleration of life in digital capitalism (University of Chicago Press) is Times Higher Education book of the week.  Read the review by Stina Lyon:  Pressed for Time.

Nigel Dodd: money talks

In December 2014 Professor Nigel Dodd took part in a Bitcoin discussion organised by the King’s Review. Speakers were Izabella Kaminska from the Financial Times, Brett Scott and Paul Gilbert, and papers from the meeting will be published soon in the King’s Review. In January 2015 Professor Dodd visited Warwick University, where he gave a paper on The Social Life of Money to the International Political Economy Group. He also took part in a debate at the Warwick Debating Society about the future of cryptocurrencies. Other speakers were Brett Scott, Jonathan Levin, and Nick Lambert. On 4 February he will be taking part in an event on The Social Life of Money at NESTA in London. The evening, which runs from 17.30-19.00, will consist of a short lecture, an interview with Geoff Mulgan, the Chief Executive of Nesta, and a Q&A session with the audience. Later on in February he will be speaking on the book at Reading's and Henley Business School's Centre for Social and Organisational Studies (CSOS), and also at the Centre for Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) at the University of Essex.

Inequalities, Culture and Expertise (ICE)

This is a new group formed as part of the Economies, Risk and Technology research cluster and bringing together 13 faculty and PhD students with related research interests committed to working together and developing a cohesive research culture, applying for research grants, recruiting and supporting PhD students. We see the success of this group as important for the strategic growth of the Department of Sociology as a whole. To find out more about it please see our webpage: Inequalities, Culture and Expertise (ICE).

Getting By: new book by Lisa Mckenzie

Dr Lisa Mckenzie's new book Getting By: estates, class and culture in austerity Britain  is published by Policy Press (January 2015).  While the 1% rule, poor neighbourhoods have become the subject of public concern and media scorn, blamed for society's ills. This unique book redresses the balance. Lisa Mckenzie, who is a research fellow at LSE Sociology,  lived on the St Ann’s estate in Nottingham for more than 20 years. Her ‘insider’ status enables us to hear the stories of its residents, often wary of outsiders. St Ann's has been stigmatised as a place where gangs, guns, drugs, single mothers and those unwilling or unable to make something of their lives reside. Yet in this same community we find strong, resourceful, ambitious people who are 'getting by', often with humour and despite facing brutal austerity. This book is published in paperback for £14.99 or £11.99 if ordered direct, see publisher's webpage.  The book was launched on Thursday 15 January at the Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham.

For news from previous academic years please see our News archive.