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Welcome to the Methods Lab, Department of Sociology

Goldsmiths Sociology is committed to developing inventive ways of doing sociology. This new initiative aims at constructing a laboratory for the practice of sociological imagination. The aim is to make social research responsive to social life, to bring it alive. As C. Wright Mills alludes above ideas are often elusive and they don't announce their arrival in advance. This initiative hopes to build a laboratory to stimulate creative debate about the ways in which the practice of sociology is changing, what social research should look like today, and how sociology can best respond to the demands of users of social research.

About the Methods Lab
The danger that every researcher faces is that the process of analysis and investigation can inadvertently execute that which is vibrant in his or her object. Here the sociologist becomes like a coroner who presides over social life as if it is a lifeless corpse fit only for autopsy. We are arguing for a vital sociology that both connects to the social world, yet at the same time aspires to forms of sociological representation that are in themselves alive. This is the challenge of putting images and facts together, a compound of imagination and craft that will contribute to the development of social theory while opening out to an engagement with society at large.

The Lab is intended to provide a space for us to question and develop our own methods of sociological reasoning, to be open to the possibilities of practicing a sociological imagination in a world in which the fundamental co-ordinates of social life are held to be undergoing change. [Find out more...]

Methods Lab Annual Lecture

Friday 6 March, 5pm-7pm, Small Cinema, RHB

Accompanying image

The chance meeting of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a statistical table: some thoughts on surrealism and sociology

Professor Derek Sayer, Department of History, Lancaster University 

In the spirit of Paul Feyerabend's Against Method, and against the background of the apparatus of disciplinary regulation that was REF 2014 (Rank Hypocrisies: The Insult of the REF, 2014), I ask: What might an undisciplined sociology look like?

A lifetime's engagement with social theory (Marx's Method, 1978; The Violence of Abstraction, 1986; Capitalism and Modernity, 1990) and historical exploration (The Great Arch, 1985; The Coasts of Bohemia, 1998; Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century, 2013) suggests to an aging sociologist who is increasingly disrespectful of the orders of the academy that an important part of the answer lies in surrealism.

There will be a drinks reception after Prof Sayer's talk


News & Events

Latest News

  • In her talk 'Reading the Colonial Archive' written for the MA Gender, Media + Culture students, at Goldsmiths, Lata Mani reflected on her research journeys, including the making of her classic article 'Cultural Theory, Colonial Texts: Reading Eye Witness Accounts of Widow Burning' and the subsequent book 'Contentious Traditions'. Download the transcript here

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Content last modified: 10 Feb 2015

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