BSA Activism in Sociology Forum Inaugural Meeting

Saturday 9 November 2013, 10:30am-4pm
BSA Meeting Room, London
Invitation and Call for Papers

The BSA Activism in Sociology (ASF) has been established to increase the contribution of  sociology and sociologists to challenging injustice and inequality by connecting those already working in this area, building solidarity, and helping people who want to start combining  sociology with activism to find the support they need. We feel this is urgently needed in a context of the neoliberal offensive that is increasing inequalities, deepening the poverty and oppression of some of the poorest sections of the working classes, and at the same time marketising higher education and restricting the space for radical critique within universities.

We recognise and seek to learn from existing initiatives across disciplines that in different ways share some of  our values or aims (those we are aware of are listed below, please let us know if we have missed any). We
also recognise and seek to build on what has already been achieved by sociologists, and hope to document,  promote and support the work that sociologists are already doing to challenge injustice. Join us at the  inaugural meeting and help to shape the activities of the ASF in its first year.

The inaugural meeting will include:

• A roundtable bringing together sociologists, activists and activist-academics from other disciplines, to  debate the current state of society and the contribution of sociology to challenging inequality and injustice.
• Three concurrent workshops dedicated to: working with and through the media; engaging communities; working across disciplines to challenge injustice (see call for presentations below).
• A plenary to draw discussions together and decide on next steps. By the end of the meeting we aim to have produced:
• A founding charter setting out the agreed aims of the forum
• An initial plan of action to advance the aims of the forum (see call for proposals)
• A UK-wide database of individuals who are practising sociology within their community, especially but not exclusively those working with oppressed and vulnerable people, connected by a dedicated JISCMAIL list  and social media
• A public report on the meeting showing examples of activism in sociology that were represented on the day
• A bank of activists who will be available to speak to the media, supported through blogging on the BSA website


Register your attendance online at:

Attendance is free but due to limited places it is essential you register if you plan to attend.

Call for workshop presentations and posters
We are seeking short (up to 10 minutes) presentations for one of three workshops at the inaugural event,
posing questions on the following themes:
• Working with and through the media: How can sociology contribute to public debates? How can  sociologists help to include oppressed and marginalised voices within the media? How can we build  effective relationships between sociologists, activists and journalists, or should we become sociologistactivist-journalists?
• Engaging publics: How can sociologists play a role in the community, and communities in the university?  What alliances should sociologists build to challenge injustice? How do we put sociological tools in the  hands of oppressed people struggling for liberation?• Working across disciplines to challenge injustice: What can sociology learn from other disciplines’ efforts  to fight for social and economic justice? What is sociology’s distinct contribution? How can we collaborate?

Presentations and posters should include one or more examples of work that has already been done in this  area. We recognise the importance of a diversity of forms of expression, and welcome non-traditional  presentations such as poetry or stories as well as academic papers. We had hoped to have a space for  posters and other visual presentations, but due to extremely limited space that will not be possible at this  event.

Submissions and any questions on the workshops should be sent to the relevant workshop convenor by 12 noon on Monday 7 October:

Media: Tom Vickers,; Engaging Publics: Lisa McKenzie,; Working Across Disciplines: Sarah Burton,

Call for proposals for action – If you have ideas for what the ASF could do in its first year, send us your  proposals and we will circulate it to those attending the inaugural meeting. Proposals on the day will of course  also be welcome, but circulating them in advance will allow other participants to reflect on your ideas in  advance and will leave more time for discussion during the meeting. Proposals for circulation should be  emailed to

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