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Department of Sociology

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  • Children and Globalization: Issues, Policies and Initiatives

    Thursday 10 April 2014
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Professor David Oswell will be giving the keynote address as part of the 10th Joint Area Centers Symposium on Children and Globalization

    The keynote is entitled "After Our Children’s Image: Human Rights, Civic Imagination and Refusal".

    David will begin his paper by briefly considering three moments in which the child’s body is made available for the image: early Modern and Renaissance Christianity, late Victorian England and early Hollywood cinema. He will then focus more concertedly on the political mobilisation of the sexual child-image in the 1970s and 1980s in the context of a deeply nasty politics of children’s sexual rights and decriminalisation, on the hand, and a politics of experience and voice, on the other. The latter provides the basis of, he thinks, a historically and sociologically novel refusal of the child-image that increasingly gets infrastructured through legislation and policing. David will follow this through to the 1990s onward in terms of how, on the one hand, the United Nations conceptualises the image of child sexual abuse as matter of human rights and the dignity of the person and provides an international framework for law enforcement cooperation and criminalisation and, on the other, how that human rights governmentalisation framework is largely and wilfully ignorant of young people’s access to and use of networked social media in the production and circulation of images of themselves.




    What does it mean to gather to celebrate 50 years of Sociology at Goldsmiths as we know that sociology is not a fixed object that has a discrete disciplinary history but that it has been transformed and refigured in ways that might raise for many whether it can be identified as sociology at all. There have been such different and contested ways of doing sociology that we might wonder how the fractured conversation that is sociology can be brought together at all.  Vic Seidler reflects.
  • Understanding Britshness through Popular Music

    Les Back will be speaking at Université de Nantes, UFR de sociology in their 'international week' on Friday 4th April.
    The talk is about music and the politics of cultural politics - Understanding Britishnness through Popular Music

  • Arts and Mental Health

    Alison Rooke was successful in being awarded AHRC funding for two expert workshops funded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council's (AHRC)  Cultural Value funding strand.

    This funding strand seeks to establish a framework that will advance the way in which we talk about the value of cultural engagement and the methods by which we evaluate that value. These awards build on the body of evaluative research regarding participatory processes, socially engaged art practice, citizenship and urban change that Alison has been carrying out along with the research team at CUCR.

  • Women in Tech: An Intel Center for Social Computing and FemTechNet Collaboration

    Tuesday 22 April, 2014
    11.30 - 3.30
    Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorum, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue, New York

    This one day event brings together FemTechNet collaborators and affiliates of the Intel Center for Social Computing to discuss women’s experiences working in high tech. Two panels will be filmed in front of a live audience of students, researchers, activists and makers - anyone interested in the reality of work life in the technology field.

    Panel 1– Women in the Tech Industry
    Improving women’s representation in the tech sector is an ongoing challenge, but what is it actually like to work in the industry? How do female engineers deal with the daily reality of male-dominated workplaces? What is the history of feminist engagement in the tech industry? Is feminism relevant and how can it be enacted?

    Anne Balsamo, Genevieve Bell, Nina Wakeford, Elizabeth Churchill. Chair: Melissa Gregg

    Panel 2–
    Women in Maker/Hacker Culture
    DIY making, hacking and software communities often claim to be open to anyone, in spite of a raft of empirical and anecdotal evidence regarding their gendered dynamics. This panel asks how women's participation in new sites for tech labor continue or diverge from those of established workplaces, drawing on the experience and expertise of women who participate in DIY communities as writers, makers, designers, and researchers.  

    Lilly Nguyen, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Kat Jungickel. Chair: Seda Gurses.

  • Creative Collisions

    Monday 14 April, 2014
    5 pm
    Ortus Learning and Events Centre, 82096 Grove Lane, London, SE5 8SN
    Booking Essential.

    This panel - comprising of Lawrence Bradbury, Alison Rooke, Chris McKee and Davina Drumond - discussion brings together mental health practitioners with artists, funders and researchers to discuss some of the ‘creative collisions’ that can arise out of shared participatory arts and mental health interdisciplinary encounters.

    Creative Collisions takes the SLG’s Creative Families project with the local health trust’s Parental Mental Health Team as its starting point.

  • Human (in) dignity and the challenges of universalising design

    Thursday 27 March
    9.15 am
    Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge

    Rob Imrie is giving the key note address at the 7th Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology, University of Cambridge, with the lecture entitled, Human (in) dignity and the challenges of universalising design.

  • Book Launch for Digital Dilemmas

    Wednesday 26 March
    6-8 pm
    LG01, NAB, Goldsmiths

    Arjun Appadurai (Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University, USA) will be guest speaker at this event to celebrate the UK release of Digital Dilemmas: Power, Resistance and the Internet, by M. I. Franklin (Oxford University Press, 2013). Appadurai will join Marianne Franklin (Media & Communications), Noortje Marres (Sociology) and David Morley (Media & Communications)  

  • Annual Methods Lab Lecture with Jean Mohr 

    Thursday 27th March
    5.00-7.00pm + drinks to follow
    Small Cinema, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths

    Jean Mohr reflects on his collaborations with Edward Said 
    Mariam Said will be attending as guest of honour.

    In 1983 Jean Mohr was commissioned by the UN to take photos of some of the key sites in which Palestinians lived their lives. Because the UN allowed only minimal text (the names of places) to accompany the photographs, Said and Mohr decided to work together on an 'interplay', as Said put it, of Said's personal account of Palestinian suffering and exile and Mohr's photographs – 'an unconventional, hybrid, and fragmentary [form] of expression' - which they called After the Last Sky (1986).

    See photographs and text from After the Last Sky in the Kingsway Corridor

    Open every day. Free. Closes July 2014.


  • Disaster and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness

    4 April 2014
    Centre for Collective Collaboration 16 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG
    Book Launch

    The goal of this collection edited by Manuel Tironi, Israel Rodriguez-Giralt and Michael Guggenheim is to expand and rethink the connections between disasters and the political. Taking an innovative approach that ecompasses empirical and theoretical studies, leading experts in the field explore how disasters configure the political in new ways, providing a lens for understanding what the political is and the pragmatics of politics.

    Attendance is free, but space is limited. Please register with Michael Guggenheim

  • Radicalism and Reform in Latin America

    Monday 12 May 2014
    RHB Cinema
    11:00 - 18:00

    In recent years movements like Occupy have caught the radical imagination in Europe and the US – movements that resist neo-liberalism from outside the state, both politically and socio-economically.  A much more minor theme in the study of politics (developed especially in relation to global governance), is ‘mainstreaming’ (gender, human rights, humanitarianism), its advantages and pitfalls.  What is missing is debate on the relationship between radical, grassroots mobilisations and the possibilities of transforming access to and control over state resources of force and legitimacy. 

    In this conference we focus on Latin America where the ‘pink tide’ offers many opportunities to learn about the relationship between radicalism and reform.  It is surely a mixed picture.  The way in which radical movements can be co-opted once they begin to work with state officials and politicians is a possibility that has been realised in at least some cases (the Workers’ Party in Brazil for example).  But in principle radical movements may also alter how ‘the centre’ is conceived and positioned (the Chilean students’ movement may be unfolding in this way). Social movements and their relationships to parties, NGOs and the state; the role of different forms of media in facilitating mobilisations, in acting as a ‘fourth estate’ and in changing ‘commonsense’; reform of government policy; and reform of state-society relations through constitution-making and the judiciary - all these aspects of radicalism and reform will be on the agenda for this conference.  

    This event is being ran by The Centre for Global Media and Democracy

  • BA Small Grant Awards

    Marsha Rosengarten and Martin Savransky have been awarded a British Academy small grant. The project is titled: Towards a Concept of Situated Efficacy: An Alternative Mode for Collaboration between Social Science and Biomedicine.

    Anja Kanngieser has also been awarded a British Academy small grant for her project: Sounding geography: piloting a method for understanding how we experience our sound environments.


  • Navigating the Flip-Flop Trail: A Journey Through Globalisation's Backroads

    28 May, 2014,
    Looking Glass, 49 Hackney Road, E2 7NX
    Book Launch

    This book follows the global trail of one of the world’s most unremarkable and ubiquitous objects – flip-flops. Through this unique lens, Caroline Knowles takes a ground level view of globalisation’s back roads, providing new insights that challenge contemporary accounts of globalisation.

    Rather than orderly product chains, the book shows that globalisation along the flip-flop trail is a tangle of unstable, shifting and contingent connections. The book reveals both the instabilities of the ‘chains’ and the complexities, personal topographies and skills with which people navigate these global uncertainties.

    Navigating the Flip-Flop Trail provides new ways of thinking about globalisation from the vantage point of a seemingly ordinary and everyday object.

  • The Life of a Link: Towards Quanti-Qualitative Research on Twitter

    20 March, 2014
    RHB 140, Goldsmiths

    David Moats - PhD candidate, Department of Sociology will be giving a presentation as part of the 'Something about Data' seminar series.

    Twitter is currently one of the most popular datasets for digital social research, but it’s rapidly evolving customs and sheer size present serious challenges for both qualitative and quantitative researchers. In this presentation I will describe some of the difficulties of dealing with Twitter data and argue that the process of scraping Twitter is performative: methods of circumscribing data assume the centrality of certain practices, when this centrality is precisely what must be demonstrated. I will then propose an approach to the study of information diffusion based on a visual technique originally developed for the study of innovation in science and technology studies, which allows the researcher to evaluate the role of different sharing practices in the trajectory of hyperlinks.


  • Out of sight: experiencing, changing peripheries

    20 March, 2014
    Orangery, Surrey House, Goldsmiths

    The peripheral is not only what is imagined as geographically distant, but encompasses those seen as the distant amongst us – the stranger, the outcast, the pariah.

    What does it mean, in the age of digital technologies, to be “peripheral” - on the fringes and out of sight? How are communities imagined as peripheral empowered or disempowered through networks and practices? How is the peripheral constructed and mediated by new media, as place, as geography, as relationship and as a category of being?

    This event will discuss the idea of the peripheral, examining communities and subjectivities imagined as distant, aiming to explore the nature of peripherality, to examine experiences of being strange or far away, and to debate whether new media changes or impacts how categories of distance/difference are constructed.  Speakers include Nirmal Puwar, Aimee Joyce, Ashwani Sharma and Marianne Franklin.


  • BBC Data Day 2014

    12 March, 2014
    BBC Academy Fusion, Portland Place, London W1A

    Joe Deville will be speaking as part of the BBC's 'Data Day'.  Joe will be talking to journalists about the risks and opportunities of 'data spillage'.


  • Committed Sociology

    6 March, 2014
    Christ The King Sixth Form College

    Les Back and Bev Skeggs will be talking as part of an exciting one day conference being held for the students of Christ The King Sixth Form College in South London.

  • Power in a World of Becoming, Entanglement & Attachment

    2-3 June, 2014
    University of Warwick

    Recently, there have been various calls for a move beyond ‘post-structuralism’ (i.e. Foucault, Deleuze, cultural/critical theory), which had long been seen as the radical edge of the critical social sciences. Such calls are motivated in part by the sense that post-structuralist philosophies - which were forged against a backdrop of totalitarian rule and burgeoning welfare states in Europe - fail to offer moral or political purchase in the contemporary governmental landscape. Moreover, there is a sense that various concepts and theories have become reified and constraining – closing down the possibilities of critical thought.

    The exciting line up of confirmed speakers for the conference now include: Louise Amoore (Durham); William Connolly (Johns Hopkins); Christian Borch (CBS, Copenhagen); Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck); Amade M'charek (Amsterdam); Luciana Parisi (Goldsmiths); & AbdouMaliq Simone (Goldsmiths)

  • The Political-Economic Foundations of Femonationalism

    Tuesday 4 March
    Rm 203, No 10 University Gardens (Medieval History), University of Glasgow

    This paper discusses the mobilization of notions of “gender equality” by contemporary European nationalist and xenophobic parties and neo-liberal governments in discussions of migrants' and particularly Muslims' integration. First, by introducing the concept of “Femonationalism” the paper analyzes the ideological formation that brings together the heterogeneous anti-Islam and anti-(male) immigrant concerns of nationalist parties, of some feminists and of neo-liberal governments. Second, it pays particular attention to the prominent role of migrant women (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) in the European care-domestic labor markets and to its theoretical as well as political implications. In conclusion, this paper argues for the need both to decipher the Femonationalist ideology in political-economic terms, and to explain the intersection of neoliberal economic and political transformation and the sexual and racial politics of care.

    Sara R. Farris is Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She was Member Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2012-2013. She has published on sociological theory, political sociology, orientalism, international migration, feminist and Marxist theory. Most recently she is the author of Max Weber's Theory of Personality. Individuation, Politics and Orientalism in the Sociology of Religion (Brill, 2013). She is currently completing her second monograph, provisionally entitled The Political Economy of Femonationalism.

  • Orientating feminism(s): Feminist ‘turns’ and the political economy of knowledge production

    Friday 28 February
    Rm A0.23, Social Sciences Bldg, University of Warwick

    Free, but please register in advance

    This workshop seeks to interrogate the nature and impacts of claims that feminist scholarship is, or ought to be, undergoing a ‘turn’, i.e. a change in direction, aim or focus. The notion of ‘turn’ has long played an important role in oral and written narrations of the development of social and political theory. In those narrations, the declaration of a ‘turn’ functions not just as a categorising device making it possible to identify patterns and pinpoint transformations in knowledge production, but also as a touchstone of sometimes fierce debates about the relative epistemic value and political utility of different forms of scholarship.

    The event will take the format of an open roundtable discussion where speakers (including Goldsmiths Rebecca Coleman) and participants will debate the current political-theoretical feminist landscape, asking how feminist ‘turns’ operate within and against a changing academic environment, at a time of political and economic ‘crisis’ and strengthening of social inequalities. We will consider questions of institutionalisation, temporality, the stories we tell about feminist scholarship, geo-politics, feminist pedagogies, citational practices and the relation between feminism and the political economy of contemporary academia.

  • The Methods Lab present the classic feminist film by Heiny Srour ‘Leila and the Wolves’.

    Wednesday 26 February

    Produced in 1984, at the time that Edward Said and Jean Mohr were working on After the Last Sky, the film brings Arab women’s gaze to the different times and places of women’s roles in the Palestinian struggle. It explores the personal and the political, locating women in the spaces of absence as it inserts their centrality and presence in the history of Lebanon and of Palestine. It is concerned with photography, with acts of remembering, draws on collective memory and on an Arab heritage of oral history and mosaic patterns to compose a compelling narrative structure, re-centering women in Arab history. ‘Leila and the Wolves’ has been called a feminist masterpiece.

    Screening followed by discussion. You are invited to view the exhibition in the Kingsway Corridor before the screening.

  • Something about Data Series presents:
    Re-visiting Florida: A methodological critique of The Rise of the Creative Class

    Wednesday 26 February, 5pm
    RHB140 (Richard Hoggart building)

    Ville Takala - PhD student, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

    Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class is without a doubt one of the most widely read sociological books of the past ten years. Florida argues that recent economic developments have led to the rise of a new social class, the Creative Class, upon which the economic development of post-industrial cities depends. In order to be prosperous, cities are today forced to compete against each other by creating conditions that attract this highly mobile and international group of people. Although Florida’s theory has been heavily criticised by many, it has nevertheless been hugely popular amongst civic leaders all around the world. In this presentation I will examine Florida’s theory from a methodological perspective and question Florida's use official statistics and statistical techniques to support his arguments about the nature and direction of economic development in post-industrial times.

  • The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

    Wednesday 12 March, 5pm
    NAB 302 (new academic building)

    Join Arun Kundnani as he presents his groundbreaking new critique of the War on Terror and resulting discriminatory surveillance.

    In this talk, New York-based scholar Arun Kundnani introduces his new book The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror, publishing in March. Based on several years of research and reportage from Texas and New York to Yorkshire, it is the first comprehensive critique of counter-radicalization strategies.

    Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy

    Everyone welcome

  • ‘Emergency’ for militarised violence: visual modes of inquiry

    Annie Pfingst in conversation with Samah Saleh and Marsha Rosengarten

    Thursday 6 March 2014
    Warmington Tower 1204.

    In this workshop Annie Pfingst introduces a discussion that will trace and present the visual as both a methodology, part of a dynamic interdisciplinary spatial, visual, archival and theoretical practice of inquiry, as well as a photographic recording of a series of encounters.

    For more information, please visit the Unit of Play web page.

  • Re-Imagining Social Craft: a live methods manifesto

    6 February, Humboldt University, Berlin

    Following on from the publication of Live Methods, edited by Les Back & Nirmal Puwar, both of them will be presenting a joint public lecture at Humboldt University, in Berlin, on 'Re-Imagining Social Craft: a live methods manifesto'.

    They will be foregrounding  the work of colleagues in the department and the collection. The lecture will be followed by a workshop on 7th March 2014.

  • UCL Material, Visual and Digital Culture Seminars

    Monday 10 February 2014
    UCL, Daryll Forde Seminar Room, 2nd floor, 14 Taviton St.

    As part of this seminar series, Noortje Marres  will be presenting a talk on Digital Sociology.
    All Welcome

  • Cultures of Containment and Collaboration: On Interdisciplinary Evaluation

    30 January 2014
    COL 8.3,  London School of Economics

    The ‘Evaluation’ is a term which has been abused in the recent scramble to systematically measure the economic and social value of the arts. In considering the relationship between arts policy, cultural theory and arts and evaluation practice this paper offers a critical perspective on institutional ‘norms’ and ‘forms’ of evaluation. The histories of, and motivations for evaluation include a governmental impulse to employ culture as a resource that can be put to work as part of a wider global project of managing social change (Yudice 2003, Bennett 1995) and a genuine desire to learn from and improve the effectiveness and possibilities of arts-based social interventions. In the current policy context evaluation has become a technocratic ‘hoop’ for arts organisations to jump through in an endless mutual narrative driven by cultural policy, instrumentality and accountability. The value of evaluation, however, lies in the opportunity it offers for critical and reflexive learning and intersectoral dialogue on cultural value. This paper given by Alison Rooke, offers examples of critical approaches to evaluation, based on a method of participation action research, with a focus on arts-based mental health interventions.

  • BSA Bourdieu Study Group

    25 February 2014
    BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London

    As part of this day event, Nirmal Puwar will be giving one of the two keynotes, and Michaela Benson will be presenting a paper entitled Practising white privilege in lifestyle migration: habitus, field and the mutability of capitals.

    This paper presents a theoretical framework inspired by Bourdieu to explore how privilege is articulated, explained and experienced by lifestyle migrants. In particular, it draws on empirical research conducted with North American residents of Panama. Such a context is marked by significant geographies of power, namely the inequalities between the US and Central America, as well as the racialised hierarchy that frames the Panamanian social structure. The paper examines how, following migration, these relatively affluent migrants enter Panamanian social fields (e.g. housing, power) and find themselves at a level significantly elevated from their position back in the US. Furthermore, it reveals how their whiteness becomes central to their accumulation of symbolic capital within their new surroundings. In many ways, it becomes clear this is a form of migration that can be understood in terms of postcolonialism. However, beyond this, I want to explore the processes by which the white privilege of these migrants is eventually embodied by them as they shift from awareness of their own difference through to practice. In this respect, the paper focuses on the processes by which capitals (economic, social and cultural) are converted through migration and how such processes are experienced and felt by the migrants’ themselves, becoming internalized to their habitus over time.

  • Thinking Emancipation

    19-22 February 2014
    Paris Nanterre

    Alberto Toscano and Sara Farris will be among the keynote speakers (alongside Selma James, Eric Hazan, Joan Scott, Gilbert Achcar and Richard Seymour) at the Penser l'émancipation (Thinking Emancipation) conference at Paris Nanterre.

  • Philosophy of Marx

    29 January 2014
    Foyles, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EB
    Cost £3

    Marx is without doubt one of the most important thinkers in history, yet also one of the most misunderstood. Shedding light on the key areas of Marx's thought in this event is French Marxist philosopher Étienne Balibar. Author of the latest volume in Verso's beautiful Radical Thinkers series, The Philosophy of Marx. Balibar, and a celebrated student of Louis Althusser who has also written books on Spinoza and Locke, Balibar will be in conversation with Alberto Toscano, author and lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.


  • Representing Dispossession

    Brenna Bhandar & Alberto Toscano
    28 January 2014
    NAB 314

    After the Last Sky was conceived as an effort to redress the fact that, as Said put it, 'to most people Palestinians have been visible as fighters, terrorists and lawless pariahs'. Negatively 'over-represented', yet in crucial respects invisible, the Palestinian experience of dispossession is here restored to its lived complexity, not allowing the violence of occupation to saturate the field of vision and blot out everyday life. In this presentation, we want to reflect on how, more than a quarter century after its publication, Said and Mohr's collaboration can serve as a potent resource in addressing the politics and aesthetics of representing dispossession. In particular, we will consider how Said's recognition of the centrality of land to the dynamics of dispossession informs the composition of After the Last Sky, and how the book can provide a critical vantage point on a rich critical legal literature on settler-colonial dispossession which often risks abstracting away from lifeworlds of ownership and resistance which remain unregistered in legal frameworks. Drawing on some of Said's writings on the visible, as well as on Allan Sekula's critical writings on the history of photography, will also try to contrast Said and Mohr's ways of seeing with different strategies for representing Palestinian dispossession and resistance, focusing in particular on three registers: reflexive or formalistic attempts to depict (armed) Palestinian struggle, from Wakamatsu and Adachi's PFLP-Japanese Red Army – Declaration of World War and Godard and Melville's Ici et Ailleurs to Ahlam Shibli's Phantom Home; documentary records of dispossession (Ariella Azoulay's From Palestine to Israel); contemporary filmic and photographic work which foregrounds the landscape or the technologies of dispossession whole leaving Palestinian experience outside the frame (Sophie Ristelheuber's West Bank).


  • Struggles for Value: Reacting to Judgment - Professor Bev Skeggs

    30 January 2014
    RHB Cinema

    Giving the opening lecture for the Centre for Feminist Research, Bev Skeggs will draw upon her various research projects, from Formations of Class and Gender to Reacting to Reality TV,  to explore responses to power and judgment from those constantly made subject to both. Reactions reveal how struggles for value are shaped through very different time and space vectors that are rarely understood in traditional analyses of subject formation and relationality.


  • The Cultural Politics of Austerity: Past and Present in Austere Times

    17 January 2014
    RHB 139

    In the wake of the global financial crisis, the present 'age of austerity' has repeatedly been compared to the wartime and postwar austerity years. For many, the rise of austerity nostalgia suggests a compliant public in thrall to the command to 'keep calm and carry on' while the welfare state is dismantled around them. Yet, at the same time, the idea that the Second World War can serve as a compelling historical precedent for sustainable living has found favour in environmental and anti-consumerist debate.
    Challenging dominant approaches to 'austerity', Rebecca Bramall (University of Brighton) explores the presence and persuasiveness of the past in contemporary popular culture, focusing intensively on the contradictions, antagonisms, alternatives and possibilities that the current conjuncture presents. In doing so, she exemplifies a new approach to emergent uses of the past, questioning longstanding assumptions about the relationship between history, culture and politics.

    Part of the ESRC Seminar Series on Austerity Futures: Imagining and materialising the future in an ‘age of austerity’ - Dr Rebecca Coleman


Content last modified: 11 Apr 2014

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