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The Relational Subject

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Many social theorists now call themselves ‘relational sociologists’, but mean entirely different things by it. The majority endorse a ‘flat ontology’, dealing exclusively with dyadic relations. Consequently, they cannot explain the context in which relationships occur or their consequences, except as resultants of endless ‘transactions’.

This book adopts a different approach which regards ‘the relation’ itself as an emergent property, with internal causal effects upon its participants and external ones on others. The authors argue that most ‘relationists’ seem unaware that analytical philosophers, such as Searle, Gilbert and Tuomela, have spent years trying to conceptualize the ‘We’ as dependent upon shared intentionality.

Donati and Archer change the focus away from ‘We thinking’ and argue that ‘We-ness’ derives from subjects’ reflexive orientations towards the emergent relational ‘goods’ and ‘evils’ they themselves generate. Their approach could be called ‘relational realism’, though they suggest that realists, too, have failed to explore the ‘relational subject’.

The Relational Subject is  published by Cambridge University Press. See here for publisher details or here for Amazon.

Congrats, you did not cite any feminist work!

Posted By Sociological Imagination

HT Sara Ahmed for this interesting Tumblr blog. It only has one entry at present but it seems likely to grow:

Congrats, you did not cite any feminist work!

Congrats, you did not cite any feminist work

The Reality of LinkedIn

Posted By Sociological Imagination


CfP: Bio-power(ful) Cloud-Bodies

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Bio-power(ful) Cloud-Bodies

Host: Foucault Madness Collective

Date: Saturday, September 26th, 2015.

Location: The Historic Thibodo House (1150 Lupine Hills Drive, Vista, CA)

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jack Halberstam

The Foucault Madness Conference is back for a second year! This year’s theme brings into critical light how current norms of cyber-based speech-acts create new technologies of selfhood.  Many early, and utopian, post-structural theorists of cyberspace, such as Donna Haraway (“A Cyborg Manifesto”), surmised that digital disembodiment might mean greater liberation from the categorizing limits of race, class, and gender.

However, recent events indicate that pure dis-embodiment has not been realized. In fact, the embodied world has been in a dialectical relationship with cyberspace.  This relationship is being manifested through varying and widespread occurrences: Gamergate, doxxing threats, the new men’s rights movements, thinspiration. As such, we understand that new forms of gendered aggression and violence are an interplay between both realms of the physical and cyber. In a Foucaultian sense, what are the effects of routing our increasingly post-biological identities into entirely observed data-spaces?

This conference seeks to understand which embodied notions of selfhood have been further re-inscribed through the uncritical participation in cloud-based, “big data” technologies; and, conversely, what are the possibilities for resistance in using these technologies to challenge hegemonic forms of embodiment? Thus, the conference theme recognizes the way that cyberspace is not about pure disembodiment at this point; cyberspace produces new regimes of truth, a third site, that directly affects “real life” corporeality.

The conference solicits a wide range of papers that address the current ways internet technologies (such as social media, mmorgs, cyber communities, communication boards, etc.) directly inform: feminism, gendered norms, activism, trans and queer politics, heteronormativity, post biological colonialism, body politics, community justice, personal relationships, fields of affect, etc.

We are seeking papers from Professors or experts in the field, graduate students, and advanced undergrads. Academic disciplines and methodologies across the humanities and social sciences may be used. Research questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the role of rape speech and/or doxxing as a method of constructing the internet as an exclusively male controlled space (Anita Sarkeesian, for example)?
  • What are the real possibilities for the subaltern to speak in this new public space, given the “digital divide” and the normative, neoliberal design of the internet?
  • What are the legal implications of the collapse between the private and public into a merged space?
  • What are the modern norms of surveillance that may be going unnoticed online, and who benefits?
  • Does turning the surveillance on the perpetrator engender positive change or reinforce surveillance as hegemony and/or Truth?
  • What are the potentials of hactivism and cyber-anarchy (for example, Anonymous)?
  • How has the internet affected activism, particularly in regards to race, class, and gender?
  • How has web-based social networking affected the goals and practices of feminism and trans politics?
  • How is the human body as political site altered by social networking, including “safe spaces” of reprieve (pro-ana, thinspiration, self-branding)?
  • What are the effects of the New Men’s Rights Movement, including pick-up artist, and misogynist communities?
  • How does cyberspace reconfigure the problem of alienation and anomie?
  • How are new cloud body norms, such as neoteny, kawaii, and cuteness reinforced or subverted through cyber representations, photographic angles, the use of “cutsie” avatars and design, etc.?
  • How do male gamer communities reinforce paranoid/neurotic masculinities based around the fear of women (Zoe Quinn, for example)?
  • What role do internet White Knights play in the re-creation of traditional norms of masculinity, where women require protection?
  • How is the policing and norming of marginalized bodies represented in MMORGs and internet spaces?
  • How does the cloud affect our relationship to death, heroism, and significance (cosplay, LARPing)?

Submissions: Please submit a 250 word abstract to foucault.madness@gmail.com by July 31st, 2015.

Please NOTE: The emphasis of this conference, apart from the conference theme and quality scholarship, is the role of mentorship and networking. As such, the panels will consist of a similar theme addressed by three speakers: (1) Professor, (2) Grad Student, and (3) Undergrad.

In the email body, please include your name, institutional affiliation, category for submission (professor, grad student, or undergrad) and email address.

The Future of Social Critique

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Videos of the talks from this seminar at Loughborough:


Do professional associations compete to make their conference the most inaccessible to ECRs?

Posted By Mark Carrigan

If so then it seems the British Sociological Association win. This interesting and provocative post about the British International Studies Association (BISA) conference bemoans its exclusionary price:

If you were to ask a handful of early career scholars for their impressions of the recent British International Studies Association (BISA) conference in London they would probably say: “I wasn’t there”. The reason for the dearth in young attendees is that the conference (like all conferences) was prohibitively priced. Its four days costs a whopping £120 for early birds and £150 otherwise. For undergrads and postgrads the fee is £100 (early bird) and £130 (late). Membership to BISA is compulsory, which costs another £30 a year. It’s a hell of an entry fee into the Ivory Tower.


This seems remarkably cheap to me. The Royal Geographical Society is somewhat more expensive at £155 (members) and £175 (non-members) for those who are low income or without funding. The Social Policy Association is more expensive still at £350 (members) and £450 (non-members).This is comparable to the British Sociological Association’s charge a couple of years ago of £310 (members) and £450 (non-members).

It doesn’t follow from this that BISA are good, only that the SPA and BSA are very bad. I promised myself that I’d stop blogging about these issues after what felt like a very public meltdown a couple of years ago. But it still pisses me off immensely. Perhaps even more so as I gain ever more experience of organising events and increasingly feel confident in my view that these costs are completely unnecessary. If you do not believe they are unnecessary then publish a full breakdown of costs for the conference and engage in a dialogue with your membership about them.

If many of your members cannot afford to attend your conference then the nature of that conference must change to make it affordable. This seems so axiomatic to me that I can barely believe it needs saying. Professional associations are contributing to the disenfranchisement of the constituencies they are supposed to serve. I left my professional association for this reason and I haven’t regretted it for a single moment. I encourage other early career researchers to do the same thing. We can find our own ways of contributing to our disciplines. We don’t need these short-sighted and self serving organisations. Ultimately, I do accept they are necessary but I don’t see how they will change while we continue to give them money and free labour en masse and without protest.

Edit to add: I’ll expand on this post and do a systematic comparison of conference fees & costs once my current deadlines are out of the way. Perhaps this could be a regular exercise that other people help me in? It would be interesting to compare national associations.

I don’t think we should ‘steal this conference‘. We just shouldn’t go.


1st Conference of the European Labour History Network – Worker’s Writing in Europe

Posted By Sociological Imagination

14 – 16 December 2015, Torino/Turin (Italy)

Workshop : Worker’s Writing in Europe (19th-20th centuries)

A contribution to the cultural history of the worlds of work

Within the framework of constructing a  cultural history of the worlds of work “seen from below”, this workshop suggests studying workers’ writings on the European level.

By “workers’ writings”, we mean the body of texts produced by working men and women: those writings produced in the heat of political and/or trade union action such as leaflets, weapons for action which reflect (often, though not always) the appropriation of political or union cultures, but which are also cries of revolt against “the factory order” and/or the political regime, as well as texts written in retrospect, such as autobiographies, memoirs, personal diaries and factory journals, literary and poetic texts.  These are so many “memories of work” made up of gestures, places and practices of solidarity, but also the desirefor liberation or at least an empowerment which is not only collective but also individual.

Through diverse case studies, we propose three axes of reflection for discussion:

•          Studying workers’ writings as responses to a range of discourses employed by the powerful about workers, most often of a degoratory nature or aiming to stigmatise their alleged behaviour.  Worker writers who have read or heard these judgments reject these discourses in various ways, even in an implicit fashion.  In this way, these writings may also constitute “political acts” in themselves and means of empowerment.

•          Understanding the reasons and conditions for working men and women to engage in writing.  In other words, it will be important to consider how these individuals, carriers (or not) of a workers’ culture transmitted by their social and familial world, armed (or not) with an ideological and “romantic” baggage typical of political and trade union  requirements, and with ideas “poached” from more personal reading, moved from a political/trade-union workers’ culture to a “literary” workers’ culture.  How did they move from writing pamphlets and speeches to other forms of writing? What books and authors who can be considered as “models” or points of reference? Can we identify any “cultural smugglers”?

•          Taking account also of writings by working men and women who did not engage with or support political parties or trade unions.  What do these texts suggest about the limits of the reach and appeal of the organised labour movement?  What experiences and values were shared between militant, “engaged” workers and their non-militant, “apolitical” fellows, and what differentiated them?  What role did writing play in the lives of the latter group?
•          Starting from thematic and formal analyses of workers’ writings, to proceed to comparisons on a European level.  We can pose the question whether the European labour movement has built a common universe of militant workers’ writings.  We can also examine the autonomy of the writings of skilled workers of the generation of 1968 in relation to the labor movement: is the emergence of the emancipatory ‘I’ limited to these years, and is it a widespread process in all workers’ communities in Europe?

These approaches also allow discussion of the effects of these experiences of writing on individuals and therefore on the evolution of worker and/or militant identities at the European level (in the 19th and 20th centuries)
Workshop languages: English and French

We invite you to send an abstract of your contribution (200 words maximum) to the organisers:

Timothy Ashplant, Centre for Life-Writing Research, King’s College London, t.g.ashplant@kcl.ac.uk

Nathalie Ponsard, Université Blaise Pascal de Clermont-Ferrand, nat.ponsard@wanadoo.fr

Deadline: 30 June 2015

Toilet Talks: A Speaker Event on Bodies, Identities & Design

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Toilet Talks: A Speaker Event on Bodies, Identities & Design
Monday 29th June, 1:00 – 5:30pm
Lecture Theatre 1, Brooks Building, Birley Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University

Speakers include:

Barbara Penner (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)
‘Redesigning for the User: Alexander Kira and the Ergonomic Bathroom’

Leo Care (School of Architecture and Co-Direct of Live Works, Sheffield University)
‘Around the Toilet: From Social Mess to Architectural Touchstone’

Jo-Anne Bichard (Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design)
‘Extending Architectural Affordance or How to Spend a Penny’

Morag Rose (Sheffield University and Co-Founder of the Loiterers Resistance Movement)
‘Are you Engaged? The Secret World of Manchester’s Toilets’

Clara Greed (Emerita Professor of Urban Planning, University of the West of England)
Discussant and closing remarks

Tickets are FREE and available via our Eventbrite page:

For more information on the event or the project, please take a look at the website: https://aroundthetoilet.wordpress.com/

Vacancy for a Post-doctoral researcher in Sociology / longitudinal ethnographic research

Posted By Mark Carrigan

Part of the reason I’m reposting this is because I value longitudinal qualitative research. But I’m also intrigued that part of the job description is to “raise additional funds” – how much of academic life is coming to be dominated by fund-raising?

Vacancy for a Post-doctoral researcher in Sociology / longitudinal ethnographic research
The closing date is July 5.

The Postdoctoral researcher will prepare and conduct research and raise additional funds for a longitudinal ethnographic cohort study with varied families in Amsterdam with the aim of understanding emerging patterns of physical activity and eating in the first 4 years of life, possibly extending to later years. The ethnographic study is embedded within a large multi-disciplinary cohort study on bodily-weight set-up by the newly found Sarphati Institute. The research group actively seeks to give a public role to fundamental research.
The Postdoctoral researcher will closely collaborate with sociologists, anthropologists, epidemiologists, health care professionals and policy makers in Amsterdam. The present  appointment is for 2 years, but there is a strong commitment to prolong the position. The research is preferably combined with teaching in the sociology program.



By Alicia Gaudi [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Margaret Archer on her relationship with Pierre Bourdieu and his work

Posted By Sociological Imagination

From this interview in in disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory:

DC: How might you characterize the connection, if any, between your theoretical work and that of Pierre Bourdieu?

MA: Sadly, because he was a good friend. He was very good to me, indeed. This was a not a common experience, for important French professors to be kind to little foreign visiting post-docs. It really wasn’t. So, he was an exception in that sense, and I kind of like put it on record. Therefore, it hurt me, as it hurt many of his research team – people like Luc Boltanski and later Laurent Thévenot, when we came to the parting of the ways. You see, Bourdieu thought, he maintained until he died—and we were good friends, he used to come and stay at my place in London in the 70s and early 80s—he thought that he was putting forward a general theory; general in the sense that it worked everywhere. I wrote an article, which you can check out if you like, in the European Journal of Sociology in 1982, called “Process without System.”

Fundamentally, he was very acute in analyzing the processes of French education, but then he wrongly universalized this by saying that that process was the same anywhere, regardless of the structure of that system. I said, no, I can’t agree. I think the kind of standardization he was talking about was something that a centralized structure monumentally reinforced, whereas in a decentralized structure you could have all sorts of people who didn’t like it, for one reason or another but they could do something about it. Plenty didn’t like it in France either, but could do nothing. Particularly the French industrialists who were coming on the educational scene in the latter part of the 19th century and were finding a very intellectualized syllabus that didn’t help them produce engineers.

Conversely, in England, if you wanted to found what was the beginning of our polytechnics and if you had the money, you just founded one. It could be a school for auto manufacturing or refrigeration. The area where I was brought up, it was manufacturing cement. Well, let’s have a part of the curriculum that is about the chemistry of cement making, then how to make reinforced concrete, so on and so forth. That was why the parting of the ways came. It came over the sociology of education, but more generally it was over the effect of structure on agency.

Featured Image By Alicia Gaudi [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Social theory is something you can’t get away from

Posted By Sociological Imagination

From an interview with Margaret Archer in disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory:

Well, social theory is something you can’t get away from. It’s indispensible. People in the street are social theorists. They don’t know it, they wouldn’t appropriate the label, but what they’re doing is social theorizing. They do that every time they say things like, “Well, there wouldn’t be any benefits from doing that, would there?” Or, “That’s just how you would expect the bankers to behave, isn’t it?” It’s social theorizing. It may be crude. Quite often you can find that sociologists, really well established names, are saying very much the same thing. It’s just that their language is more technical or sometimes it’s just more
pretentious than lay or folk social theorizing. We should respect lay social theory, not just because we are respecting the people who voice it, which we should do, but because this is what prompts their action. So, whether they’re right or wrong
in what they say, that’s why, that’s their motive for acting. It’s usually a lot more interesting than the alternative. Namely, because we can’t get away from talking about human motives, we, the investigators, impose our own interpretations on
them; our beliefs about why they’re doing what they’re doing, and these can be wildly wrong

Decolonizing Knowledge: Invitation to participate in workshop

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Decolonizing Knowledge
Invitation to participate in workshop
November 2-3, 2015

For at least two centuries, the only knowledge which has been accorded the status “respectable”, whether the site of its production is in the “West” (understood as a region, or as the origin of modernity) or elsewhere, is the knowledge created within the modern human and natural sciences; sciences associated with the European Enlightenment and its attendant site of production and dissemination – the modern university. The cultural and historical specificity, as well as the assumed truth and universality, of this knowledge are rarely questioned. Skills, crafts, popular knowledges, tacit, non-systematic, embodied, and gendered knowledges, whether indigenous or not, hold little claim in the face of the ‘expert’ knowledges produced in the university as well as other privileged sites such as think tanks, governmental agencies, media outlets, and corporations – expertises that are subsequently exported through systems of commerce, trade, development and aid to the rest of the world. More than this, even if other forms of knowledge are recognized, invariably they are domesticated as ‘content’ to be studied and ‘explained’.

The Centre for Postcolonial Studies, Goldsmiths, together with the Linnaeus Centre for Concurrences, Linnaeus University, is proposing a workshop and a special issue of the journal Postcolonial Studies which seek to enquire into the epistemological superiority accorded to modern, Western knowledge, asking whether this is warranted, and what effects it has. To this end, we welcome participants who are engaging in their own work with this theme, either by addressing this knowledge in general, or any of the particular disciplinary manifestations of it, eg, sociology, anthropology, international relations, history and so on. The workshop will be a mix of presentations and of discussion, so rather than ask for abstracts, we ask those interested in participating to send, by September 1, an outline of their research, of 1000-1500 words, and how it speaks to the theme of the workshop. These outlines will be pre-circulated but because space is limited and also because we wish to keep this workshop intimate, so that sustained conversation is possible, only a small number of those who respond to this call will be asked to present a paper, or provide specific commentary. Participation will be confirmed by September 30.

Topics include, but are not limited to:
–          connections between the global distribution of modern western knowledge and a global, economic, geographic, and medialized dominance of the “West”
–          whether and how different knowledge traditions can relate to one another and with what consequences
–          the entanglement between different and rival knowledge traditions
–          indigenous knowledge traditions

The workshop is hosted by Linnaeus University Centre: Concurrences and held at Teleborg Castle in Växjö, Sweden, on November 2-3, 2015. Participants are expected to pay their own travel costs, while the Centre covers accommodation and other workshop costs.

Call for Abstracts: Unlocking the Black Box

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Call for Abstracts: Unlocking the Black Box

Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 12:00pm
Yale Law School See map

127 Wall Street

New Haven, CT 06520

Unlocking the Black Box

The Promise and Limits of Algorithmic Accountability in the Professions

The Yale Law School Information Society Project is seeking abstracts of papers for a conference on big data and algorithmic accountability to be held on April 1-2, 2016. The best papers will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of the Yale Journal of Law and Technology (YJoLT (link sends e-mail)).

The increasing power of big data and algorithmic decision-making—in commercial, government, and even non-profit contexts—has raised concerns among academics, activists, journalists and legal experts. Three characteristics of algorithmic ordering have made the problem particularly difficult to address. The data used may be inaccurate or inappropriate. Algorithmic modeling may be biased or limited. And the uses of algorithms are still opaque in many critical sectors.

No single academic field can address all the new problems created by algorithmic decision-making. Collaboration among experts in different fields is starting to yield important responses. For example, digital ethicists have offered new frameworks for assessing algorithmic manipulation of content and persons, grounding their interventions in empirical social science—and, in turn, influencing regulation of firms and governments deploying algorithms. Empiricists may be frustrated by the “black box” nature of algorithmic decision making; they can work with legal scholars and activists to open up certain aspects of it (via FOIA and fair data practices laws). Journalists, too, have been teaming up with computer programmers and social scientists to expose new privacy-violating technologies of data collection, analysis, and use—and to push regulators to crack down on the worst offenders.

Researchers are going beyond the analysis of extant data, and joining coalitions of watchdogs, archivists, open data activists, and public interest attorneys, to assure a more balanced set of “raw materials” for analysis, synthesis, and critique. As an ongoing, intergenerational project, social science must commit to assuring the representativeness and relevance of what is documented—lest the most powerful “pull the strings” in comfortable obscurity, while scholars’ agendas are dictated by the information that, by happenstance or design, is readily available. What would similar directions for legal scholars and journalists look like? This conference will aim to answer that question, setting forth algorithmic accountability as a paradigm of what Kenneth Gergen has called “future-forming” research.

Algorithmic accountability calls for the development of a legal-academic community, developed inter-disciplinarily among theorists and empiricists, practitioners and scholars, journalists and activists. This conference will explore early achievements among those working for algorithmic accountability, and will help chart the future development of an academic community devoted to accountability as a principle of research, investigation, and action.

The conference seeks abstracts on topics including:

  • The law and ethics of artificial intelligence
  • Algorithmic accountability in medicine, finance, journalism, law, and education
  • Algorithms and transparency
  • How can law enable “innovative” journalism and research?
  • The effect of socio-technological environment on professional practices and norms
  • What are the black boxes lawyers and policymakers most want exposed?

500-700 word abstracts may be submitted by August 15 to Heather Branch at heather.branch@yale.edu (link sends e-mail). Notifications of selection will be made by September 10. Full first draft papers are expected on December 15, 2015. The best papers will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of the Yale Journal of Law and Technology (YJoLT) to be published in Spring 2016.

Conference Organizers

Frank Pasquale (Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law), Caitlin Petre (Resident Fellow, Yale Information Society Project), and Valerie Belair-Gagnon (Executive Director and Research Scholar, Yale Information Society Project)

– See more at: http://isp.yale.edu/event/call-abstracts-unlocking-black-box?#sthash.vCGNnb4g.dpuf

The Groomers and the Question of Race


The Groomers and the Question of Race

Posted By Sadia Habib

by Shamim Miah

The last decade has witnessed a number of prominent police‐led operations relating to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in England. Whilst much of the public discourse related to Operation Yewtree, Operation Fernbridge, and others has focused on the criminal nature of CSE, race has been absent from that discourse; conversely, the public debates relating to grooming cases by men of Pakistani heritage have been marked by the presence of race. By critically evaluating the above cases this article aims to put forward three related arguments. First, it aims to highlight and explain contrasting ways in which CSE is debated vis‐á‐vis the category of racialised politics. Second, it demonstrates how racialised discourse of CSE, initially considered to be a feature of far‐right rhetoric, has taken centre ground. Finally, drawing upon analysis of various reports it aims to question the links between race and CSE to show how racialised discourse of CSE helps undermine its victims.

For more on this paper: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/24223/1/115.pdf

#CharlestonSyllabus: Readings and Resources

Posted By Sadia Habib

In the aftermath of the terrible events in Charleston, there were politicians attempting to deny the racist nature of the terror that struck the Black people of Charleston, while educators were working hard to challenge the spurious notions of a post-racial USA by directing us towards resources and readings crucial to understanding the persistently pernicious nature of racist inequalities.

#CharlestonSyllabus is a necessary Twitter hashtag directing us to the much needed conversation on the subject of #BlackLivesMatter. Check out the # on Twitter for more useful links and ideas on how to teach slavery, civil rights, South Carolina history and many other related topics from a critical perspective.






A convincing social constructionist account of a broken leg has never been encountered.

Margaret Archer


2015 Social Media, Activism, and Organisations Symposium (#SMAO15) Call for Submissions

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Call For Papers

2015 Social Media, Activism, and Organisations Symposium (#SMAO15) Call for Submissions

Social media (from mainstream platforms such as Twitter to organization-specific tools) have become increasingly pervasive. This is exemplified by the diversity of uses ranging from Twitter and Facebook use during the Arab spring to the use of Snapchat by highly surveilled activist groups. Many social movements have increasingly seen social media as a means to collaboratively crowdsource, to network and communicate with diverse stakeholders. In large  organizations, social media is often supported because the technology can help foster the sense of a “digital village”, where individuals are able to “see” the lives of others within their organization and feel closer to them. However, the literature on social movements and social media has not fully grasped just how much social media has fundamentally changed the landscape of organizational communication, ranging from stakeholders being able to directly mobilize resources to making grassroots transnational social movements more organizationally feasible. Social Media, Activism, and Organisations (#SMAO15) seeks to better our understandings of how social media has shaped social movement organizations and the organization of social movements.

The Social Media, Activism, and Organisations symposium will be held in London, England on November 6, 2015 at Goldsmiths, University of London. The symposium is sponsored by The Sociological ReviewThe Centre for Creative & Social Technologies at Goldsmiths, and the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths.

We invite you to submit short papers which explore the social media-influenced intersections of social movements and organisations. Full papers are not required for this conference, only short papers (~2500 words, excluding references) related to the broad theme of “Social Media, Activism, and Organisations”.

Papers should be submitted by September 7, 2015 via Easy Chair at https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smao15 and there is no preset template for submission. If selected, the author(s) will be invited to give a 15-minute oral presentation followed by a 5 min Q&A period at the symposium.

Author(s) of accepted paper abstracts may also be invited to submit full papers to a special issue of The Sociological Review, published by Wiley.


•    Organisational communication and social media

•    Democratizing organisational structures via social media

•    Gender, social media, activism, and organisations

•    Activist knowledge aggregation techniques

•    Enterprise applications and social activism

•    Collaboration, social media, and activism

•    Virtual teams, social media and activism

•    Activist networks and organizational communication

•    Social media and organizational leadership

•    Communicating organizational messages via social media

•    Social media and advocacy organizations

•    Inter-movement organizational communication and social media

•   Visual social media and organisations

•    Implications of anonymous social media

We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers and the symposium seeks to showcase a variety of case studies to advance our understandings of how social media has shaped social movement organizations and the organization of social movements.


methods@manchester Summer School

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Interesting in gathering and analysing twitter data?

The Manchester Methods summer school is fast approaching and runs from 6th-10th July 2015 at The University of Manchester.
Booking is essential to secure a place on the summer school courses.

The school will run for one week, and participants will select a single course for the duration of the school. Each course will deliver four days of content to a five-day timetable (Monday afternoon to Friday lunch-time), building on successful methods@manchester and CMIST short-courses given throughout the year. The courses include software training, qualitative and quantitative analysis, area studies, and research design.

We now have seven individual streams available on the methods@manchester Summer School, including courses on social network analysis, mplus, mixed methods research, content analysis, the Rasch Model and our newest addition ‘Researching public and voluntary sector organisations’.

Available Courses:
•    Advanced methods for social network analysis (SNA)
•    Structural Equation Modelling using Mplus
•    Integrated Mixed-Methods Research
•    Introduction to social network analysis (SNA) using UCINET and Netdraw
•    Content Analysis for Online Data
•    Constructing and Validating Measures using the Rasch Model
•    Researching public and voluntary sector organisations

Full details of the Summer School, courses and booking requirements may be found at http://www.methods.manchester.ac.uk/events/summerschool

Where is the university? #CSOPhD

Posted By Sociological Imagination

A very interesting extract from Gilbert Ryle shared by Adam Wood (MMU) at the Centre for Social Ontology PhD Conference:

A foreigner visiting Oxford or Cambridge for the first time is shown a number of colleges, libraries, playing fields, museums, scientific departments, and administrative offices. He then adds “but where is the university? I have seen where the mumbers of the colleges live, where the Registar works, where the scientists experiment and the rest. But I have not yet seen the University in which reside and work the members of your university.” It has then to be explained to him that the University is not another collateral institution, some ulterior counterpart to the colleges, laboratories, and offices which he has seen. The University is just the way in which all that he has already seen is organized. When they are seen and when their coordination is understood, the University has been seen. His mistake lay in his innocent assumption that it was correct to speak of the Christ Church, the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum, and the University, to speak, that is, as if “the University” stood for an extra member of the class of which these other units are members. He was mistakenly allocating the University to the same category as that to which the other institutions belong.

Source: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=291989

25 Years of the Cambridge Realist Workshop

Posted By Sociological Imagination

A reunion conference, generously sponsored by the Cambridge Journal of Economics, is to be held in Newnham College, Cambridge, 7-9 September 2015, marking 25 Years of the Cambridge Realist Workshop.

Conference Themes

The Conference Theme is ‘Social Ontology and Modern Economics’.

There will be no parallel streams, just a series of single sessions.  To allow maximum participation of everyone present the sessions will be mostly round tables on specific sub themes, with two or three individuals giving short introductions.

Those already agreeing to introduce various themes or otherwise participate include: Richard Arena, Bruce Caldwell, Steve Fleetwood, Tony Lawson, John Latsis, Paul Lewis, Nuno Martins, Dimitris Milonakis, Leon Montes, Jamie Morgan and Stephen Pratten.

Likely sub themes include (but are not exhausted by):

  • Philosophical Ontology (emergence; causal reduction and downward causation; process and evolution; entities and stability; order and co-ordination; practice including language; comparing competing conceptions);
  • Ontology and Heterodox Economics;
  • Ontology in the History of Economic Thinking;
  • Topics in Scientific Ontology (money, technology, gender, the corporation, social relations, institutions, communities, power, trust, rules, collective practices; method for scientific ontology);
  • Ontology and Methodology (dialectics/contrast explanation; abstraction; methods of isolation; internal critique; transcendental reasoning);
  • Ontology, Ethics, and Moral Conduct.

Conference structure

The conference will start late afternoon on Monday September 7 and most likely end around lunchtime on Wednesday September 9th.  There will be conference dinners on both the Monday and the Tuesday evening, with a reception on the Monday.

Registration and other administrative stuff. 

A conference fee of £24 (£20 +VAT) will be charged.  However this is merely nominal. Participants will thereafter be invited to participate in both the conference dinners plus lunches, etc., without additional charge. Numbers though are limited to about 70 participants, and we do need you to register. In order to register please go to:  http://www.cpes.org.uk/events/25-crw/


Basic (non en-suite) accommodation is available at Newnham College at very reasonable rates (about £48 per night inclusive of VAT). To book a Newnham College room please contact Marilyn Dowling, the Conference and Events Co-ordinator at Newnham College (Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DF) by email:  marilyn@newn.cam.ac.uk  (telephone : +44 (0) 1223 335803).

Other Cambridge accommodation can be located here (though please check you are not further than you would like to be from Newnham College [CB3 9DF]):  http://www.visitcambridge.org/accommodation

Whether you stay in College or elsewhere in Cambridge, do please register above first, and make sure you have a confirmation of registration. We are restricted to accepting only the first 70 so to register.

Hardship Fund

We do have a small amount of funding to help those whose situations make it difficult to raise the total costs themselves. Applicants for this should get in touch as soon as possible. Apply, sending details, to CSOG@econ.cam.ac.uk with subject heading ‘CSOG funding’.

Other Europes: Migrations, Translations, Transformations

Posted By Sociological Imagination

ther Europes: Migrations, Translations, Transformations
MLA International Symposia: Translating the Humanities
Düsseldorf, Germany, 23?25 June 2016

The Modern Language Association of America, the world?s largest
professional organization for scholars of literature and language,
announces its first conference outside the United States and Canada,
organized in collaboration with the Heinrich Heine University in

Europe remains a conspicuous part of the global public imagination and
a haunting presence in literary and cultural studies across the globe,
even as claims for its centrality continue to be challenged from a
variety of political and theoretical perspectives. This conference
brings together an international group of scholars and engages the
paradigms in and through which they work. It seeks to develop ways of
thinking that emerge from and address Europe?s evolving political,
economic, historical, and philosophical role in a world of
ever-shifting migrations, translations, and transformations.

We invite proposals across a broad range of historical periods and
disciplines that engage with literary and cultural texts and practices
as they interact with or resist political, economic, scientific, or
philosophical models of thought.

Papers might be grouped under the following rubrics:

Marking time: dynasties, empires, revolutions, republics,
regimes; pasts, presents, futures, aftermaths; trauma and memory,
ghosts and hauntings; generations; ?senses? of history; literary times
and periods
European maps: East, West, North, South; city, country, banlieue;
center, margin, periphery; borders, boundaries, contact zones; the
?other? within and the ?other? without
European economies and the economies of European cultures
European subjects and identities: religions, genders,
sexualities, ages, affects, bodies
Community, nation, migration, mobility, roots
Precarious lives: citizens, migrants, refugees
Postcoloniality, decoloniality, subalternity, hegemony, sovereignty
Languages of Europe; multilingualism; Latin, French, English as
lingua francas
European cultural politics and institutions: the economies of
European cultures, book fairs, film festivals, prizes, universities,
publication, national cultural organizations such as the
Goethe-Institut, the Alliance Française, and the Instituto Cervantes
Translation, resistance, transmission
Theory transfers
Media and genres, old and new
Transatlantic Europe

The conference will feature several keynote talks and roundtables, as
well as traditional sessions with three or four fifteen-minute papers,
workshops with precirculated papers, and roundtable conversations
based on five-minute presentations. We invite proposals for any of the
above formats.

The conference languages will be English, German, French, and Spanish,
but papers can be delivered in any language if speakers arrange for
written or oral translation within the time frame of the session.

Paper proposals should include the paper title, a 300-word abstract,
the speaker?s institutional affiliation (if any), and a 1-page
biography or CV.

Proposals for panels, workshops, and roundtables should contain the
above items for each speaker, a brief description of the format
(including an estimate of how many speakers will participate), and a
rationale for the session?s topic(s) and format.

Please send submissions to othereuropes2016@hhu.de. All submissions
must be received by 15 August 2015, and participants will be notified
of the outcome of the selection process by 15 October 2015.

Radical Transfeminism at the London Conference in Critical Thought

Posted By Sociological Imagination

Conference stream on Radical Transfeminism, London Conference in Critical Thought
Friday 26th/Saturday 27th June
University College London anthropology department, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW.

Against a backdrop of social gains made by mainstream LGBT movements, the reality of trans* lives (particular for transpersons of colour) continues to be one of material and social struggle, against poverty, deprivation and violence.

While inclusion in existing structures, whether they be social initiatives or current feminisms, is often the focus of the discussion, this stream looks to radicalise the transperspective. This redistribution of emphasis from inclusion in existing centres to the possibility of elaboration from the limits outward, will give the will create the terrain for alliances, strategies, and politics. We propose to look at points of divergence instead of inclusion, both as means to build practices of solidarity, as well as highlight differences of perspective. By emphasising trans* as an open-ended category without a core, a potential radicalisation of perspective and action, as opposed to erasure, is actualised.

The stream aims to address the social, material and political necessity of transfeminism as a radical and potentially revolutionary sphere of thought and praxis. It will address the importance of a transfeminist critique of the limitations of liberal transgender politics that are being rapidly and unquestioningly taken up across the world. It specifically looks to extend transfeminisms beyond rights discourses, and formulate critiques as evolving practices and theories.

Friday 26 June 9:30-11:00 (room 2/TBC)
1. The End Times of a Failed Political Myth – openingspanel by Mijke van der Drift, Chryssy Hunter, Nat Raha.

Friday 26 June 13:45-15:15 (room 2/TBC)
2. Panel: Radical Transfeminist Activism
Mylo Lewis-Norman – Trans* generational sharing as a form of resistance to normalisation
Andy Misandry – I Have No Photo For You – liberal feminism, Germany’s Next Topmodel and why it doesn’t get better
Raju Rage – Reclaiming Radical Transfeminism: Time-Travelling Trans* Politics In Neoliberal Times
Respondent: Sasha Padziarei
Chair: Mijke van der Drift

Saturday 27 June 13:30 – 16:30 (Panels will happen with a small break in between) room 6/TBC
3. Roundtable: Radical Transfeminism in Communities
Ellis Suzanna Slack – Sexworker transfeminisms
Pum Kommattam – At the margins of margins – the necessity of actual intersectionality and solidarity in transfeminist queer communities
Audrey de Virion & Frankie Hall – The growth and formalisation of radical trans and queer support networks in Brighton, UK
Chair: Chryssy Hunter

4. Panel: Theories of Radical Transfeminism
Charlotte Gage – Reproducing ‘states of injury’ on trans* bodies: How does Wendy Brown’s concept help to think through the idea of a ‘wounded attachment’ to the female body in feminism?
Barbara Neukirchinger – Critical Theory, Poststructuralism and the Intersection of Gender and Disability
Andi Sitwell – The politics of gender variance: a queer materialist critique of identity
Chair: Nat Raha

Paper abstracts and further details at http://londoncritical.org/conference

Datafication, dataism and dataveillance

Posted By Sociological Imagination

An interesting talk by José van Dijck whose Culture of Connectivity is superb.