Society[ies] in Crisis

Hosted by the Department of Sociology

London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE

The LSE Sociology Department invites you to the Society[ies] in Crisis conference on 11th November 2022 (9.30am-6.00pm, followed by a reception). The purpose of the conference is to enhance the department’s research culture and strengthen a sense of community among its members. The guiding theme will be ‘Society[ies] in Crisis.’

Papers will critically engage with the various social and political urgencies we face today as a society, which are often framed as ‘crises.’ These encompass (but are not limited to) the study of protracted wars, migration and bordering practices, anthropogenic drivers and consequences of ecological destruction, the politics of urban engineering and design, the rise of social inequalities, concerns around the cost and quality of living, namely food insecurity, the housing crisis, pandemics and broader public health issues, and much more. Sociology has, since its founding, been concerned with the question of ‘what holds us together.’ This question is more urgent now than ever.


This conference works towards enhancing LSE Sociology’s research culture and strengthening a sense of community among its members. It builds on the general appetite amongst faculty and students to learn about the various research projects happening within the department. The conference aims to highlight research from each of the four clusters that make up LSE Sociology and will particularly give PhD students in their upper years, as well as those who have recently graduated, the visibility and chance to acquaint faculty and students with their work. This is also a precious opportunity for faculty members from respective clusters to introduce the department at large to some of the projects they're working on.


9:30am - Coffee and pastries to be served in the PhD Academy

9:45am - Opening remarks from the Organising Committee

10:00am - Panel discussion 1: Researching Otherwise: Emergency, Conspiracy, Solidarity, Sociology

Chair: Dr Ayça Çubukçu

The contributions to this panel reflect the complexities of the crises affecting societies across the world. From anti-migrant attitudes legalized under the Nationality and Borders Act of 2022 in the UK to the followers of conspiracy theories “left behind” as Qanon Casualties in the US; from the untenability of international development and the possibilities of decolonial solidarity to the “revolutionary sociology” proposed by the Kurdish Freedom movement, contributions to this panel highlight the politics of knowledge production as they experiment with feminist, decolonial, and activists epistemologies and methods.

The ‘State of Emergency’ and Discursive Vulnerability: The Nationality; Borders Act (2022)
Author: Lizzie Hobbs, PhD Candidate, Department of Gender, LSE

The Hidden Pandemic: Voices of The Qanon Casualties

Author: Dr Rian Mulcahy, Visiting Fellow, Department of Sociology, LSE

Decentring the West. Decolonial research at a crossroads

Author: Dr Olivia Rutazibwa, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, LSE

Societies Against the Crisis: A Revolutionary Sociology

Author: Dan Brown, PhD Student, Department of Sociology, LSE

11:30am - Coffee break

11.45am - Panel discussion 2: The anatomy and politics of wealth inequality

Chair: Professor Mike Savage

There has been a striking shift to foregrounding wealth -  treated broadly as some kind of asset, resource, or capital – as a central dynamic of contemporary inequality today. Building on very old perspectives, such as Marx’s focus on capitalist property relations, Du Bois’s exploration of post-slavery reconstruction, and feminist debates on intra-household expropriation, this argument has been given great force by the dramatic expansion of private wealth assets in the recent past, and the spectacularly booming fortunes of wealthy elites. The four papers explore different facets of the challenges of wealth inequality. Sam Friedman considers the changing relationship between family wealth and elite recruitment in Britain over time, Neil Warner reflects on the success of socialist policies designed to socialise the investment of capital during the 1970s and 1980s, and Donna Carmichael discusses how wealth can perform an insurance function for rich households. Finally, Mike Savage considers the hypothesis that in the context of booming asset prices and intense wealth inequality, racialised wealth divides may be increasing, introducing preliminary findings from two different collaborative studies, in South Africa and the UK.

Family Fortunes: Family Wealth and Elite Recruitment in Britain 1895 to 1995

Author: Professor Sam Friedman, Department of Sociology, LSE

Roads to no alternative: the rejection of proposals for the socialisation of investment in

France, Sweden and the UK, 1973-1983

Author: Neil Warner, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

The Insurance Function of Wealth Among High-Wealth Elites

Author: Donna Carmichael, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

The racial wealth divide in global perspective

Author: Professor Mike Savage, Department of Sociology, LSE

1:15pm - Lunch

2:00pm - Panel discussion 3: The material shape of crisis

Chair: Professor Suzi Hall

This panel draws together differing vantage points of the material life of crisis and exclusion. We include an array of perspectives, from the diverse contexts of hydrogen schemes for heating in the UK, to racialised categories of belonging in Turkey, to lighting design as a way of illuminating the everyday. Across these territories and infrastructures, the papers engage with how crisis is represented through political and economic vocabularies of breakdown, disrepair and the outsider. The grounded engagements of each paper also offer insights into the alternative grammars of repurposing, co-creating and disruption.

The energy crisis yet to come.Discounting the decarbonised future with hydrogen for heat. Author: Johannes Hollenhurst, PhD Student, Department of Sociology, LSE

The Racial mobilization of bordering in Turkey.

Author: Helen Mackreath, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

Ageing, health and urban design: crises of knowledge and inclusion.

Author(s): Configuring Light Research Group

3.30pm - Afternoon break

3.45pm - Panel discussion 4: Power, culture and inequality in contemporary capitalism

Chair: Dr David Pinzur

This panel asks multiple questions regarding the operation of states and markets as components of society[ies] in crisis. How has the British royal family legitimized vast inequalities in wealth through the everyday work of 'royal visits'? How do branding professionals 'rehumanize' commodities and with what consequences for culture and economy? What accounts for the power of venture capitalists and how do they reproduce inequalities at micro and macro levels? Though ranging widely in substance, all seek to unravel the intersections of power, culture and inequality in contemporary capitalism.

Branding as humanisation: A problematisation of humanising processes and new expressions of reification in British marketing practices
Author: Nicolás Arenas, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

Saving society from or driving society into crisis in digitized capitalism? Towards a sociological analysis of venture capital as ‘power bloc’ 

Author: David Kampmann, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

Ordinary acts of state symbolic power: The case of the British monarchy (1830 – 2020), Author: Marta Pagnini, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, LSE

5.15pm - Conference closing remarks from the Organising Committee

6.00pm - Conference reception at Somerset House

Organising committee

The organising committee includes PhD Candidates (Maya Adereth, Clara Cirdan, Yasmine Kherfi, and Rémy-Paulin Twahirwa) and faculty members (Ayça Çubucku, Suzi Hall, David Pinzùr, and Mike Savage) from LSE Sociology. They are collectively selecting the papers, organising the programme and chairing sessions during the conference. The committee can be contacted at


We aim to make all LSE events available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts are normally available 1-2 working days after the event. Podcasts and videos of past events can be found online.

Please note: seminars and reading groups will not be recorded as podcasts.

Social Media

Follow LSE public events on Twitter for notification on the availability of an event podcast, the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what’s happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page and for live photos from events and around campus, follow us on Instagram. For live webcasts and archive video of lectures, follow us on YouTube

LSE in Pictures is a selection of images taken by the school photographer.