Comedy and Distinction nominated for BSA prize
Dr 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
On 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 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.
Runnymede Trust now hosted by LSE Sociology
We are very pleased to announce that from December 2014 the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equality think tank is to be hosted by the Department of Sociology at the LSE. The Runnymede will continue to operate as an independent charity, working with a wide range of partners and stakeholders, but we also plan a range of collaborative activities over the coming period. We are in the process of organising a conference on ‘race and class’ in summer 2015 which will pool our expertise on these issues, as well as involve leading commentators from across the UK. The possibility of joint research and teaching collaborations is also being explored.
The language of light
We are all affected by light, with both its presence and its absence able to influence how we feel and how we act. Yet academic exploration of light and its impact has largely been ignored by social scientists. Dr Don Slater and Mona Sloane from LSE Sociology explain why the Configuring Light programme is looking to change this, in an article for the Winter 2014 issue of LSE Connect magazine: The language of light.
Inequalities: Mike Savage to direct Leverhulme doctoral studentships at LSE
The Leverhulme Trust has awarded LSE 15 doctoral scholarships, worth £1million over the next three years, for students to undertake interdisciplinary research on ‘the challenge of escalating inequalities’. The prestigious scholarships, worth £70,000 each, will be affiliated with LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute and directed by Professor Mike Savage, Head of Department of Sociology. These awards, the new Institute- which opens in May 2015 - and the new MSc Inequalities and Social Science (see our Study pages) are all part of the School’s increased focus on interdisciplinary research which tackles inequality and social cohesion. Read more.
The new sociology of wealth elites
Professor Mike Savage guest edits the latest edition of online journal Discover Society with John Holmwood on the topic of elites, wealth and inequality, in response to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which has had a remarkable public impact since its publication in English. Read his article: FOCUS: Social change in the 21st century: the new sociology of ‘wealth elites’. Other contributors include Professor Nigel Dodd on 'Why money costs more when you're poor' and LSE Sociology research student Katharina Hecht on 'Why sociologists should research the increase in top income and wealth inequality'. Image of Antilia Residence, Mumbai by Mike Savage.
Nigel Dodd talks on money and the economy
On 14 November 2014 Professor Nigel Dodd will be participating in Open Here, held at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, giving a keynote address called "The social life of money". Other speakers at the event include Brett Scott, Lúí Smyth, Lana Swartz, Eli Gothill, Duncan McCann, and the artist Geraldine Juárez. For details see programme. On 16 November he will be speaking at an event organized by the Alternative School of Economics called "The Fiction of Money" at London's Hayward Gallery. The talk will be followed by a public discussion, see event webpage. On 20 November he will be taking part in the Bristol Festival of Economics, on a panel devoted to the theme "Should the economy be more local?". Fellow panelists will be Ciaran Munday of the Bristol Pound, Charlotte Alldritt of the RSA Growth Commission, and Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation. See Festival of Economics webpage for details. Finally, on 25 November 2014, he will be speaking about The Social Life of Money to the Political Science and Philosophy Society at the Royal College of Art in London.
Read Nigel Dodd's opinion piece for the Financial Times (you will need to sign up, which is free if you are a student or staff at LSE): Cast aside the moral judgment and give debt the credit it deserves.
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).
For news from previous academic years please see our News archive.