Iain Sandison

Iain arrived in the Department of Sociology at Essex in October 23rd. He was a mature student researching Crime and Addiction for his Ph.D. During his time in the Sociology Department be became a highly involved and much loved student. His sad death in March 2008 came as a great shock.

Iains memeorial tree 2008 v3 - Copy

Kenny Monrose writes:

Iain Sanderson was the first person who approached and spoke to me on the day I enrolled in the department. I remember it because it was like the first day at school in many ways – emotions and anxieties ran amok for the newness and anticipation of the exciting things to come. He greeted me with a firm handshake but no smile. In time I realized that Iain wasn’t one for smiling, in fact I don’t think I ever recall him smiling, but that didn’t matter. What you did get from him though in abundance was sincerity and real sense of genuineness – a rare trait in academia, but I digress. Iain’s life was a real tapestry from reaching the ‘heights’ of being an international banker, to hawking the Big Issue on the cobbles, Iain had been there and done it, and didn’t gas about it. As well as being ex military, a banker, a poet, writer and advocate of home baking, to me he was a friend and someone whom I believe the students who he taught had bundles of respect for.

Like me at the time, Iain lived in Newham on the site earmarked for demolition to make way for the 2012 London Olympics, and made bare his sentiments regarding what this upheaval would cause to the community he cherished. As a result he acted tirelessly as a representative for the Clays Lane housing co-operative, in order to aid what was an already deprived and abandoned enclave of London.

I still remember our last meaningful conversation in the Guinness trust flats he was forced to move to in Sloane Square Knightsbridge, where he wasn’t at all happy living and considered it soulless and inexpressive. I was crushed visiting Iain in the Charing Cross hospital and finding him unable to speak, however his eyes knew I was there. Over time the pain eased, knowing that he was truly a beautiful soul who gave encouragement to the powerless, and cared about the welfare of others. I hope the previous talk of extracts from his uncompleted PhD thesis to be published can be revisited.

Kenny Monrose

A tree was planted in Iain’s memory in the university grounds in May 2008.  A few of the photos taken at the memorial event are included here. The names of those present are given below.

Planting Iain's memorial tree 2008   Planting Iain's memorial tree 2008  Planting Iain's memorial tree 2008
Some of those present:

Mike Roper
Dianne Blundell
Robin West
Rachel Frost
Carlos Gigoux
Colin Samson
Eamonn Carrabine
Rob Stones
Jackie Turton
Kenni Monrose
Liz Day nee Carter
Andreas Pollman
Sue Aylott
Mihoko Fukushima
Michele Lamb
Nigel South
Jane Brown (now deceased)
Bethany Morgan
Michelle Hall
Megan Ward
Daniel Nehring
Sheila Marrinan
Dave Sayers
Hannah Mason-Bish
Alexa Gordon

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David Bruce Curtis (1974-1977)

I am living in Denmark, and have been since December 2000. I work as a social pædagog – working in a large institution with mentally and physically disabled adults. Full time and paid. I qualified here in Denmark.

My interests many: history/sociology, particularly military history, sociology of power and deviance. Philosophy – particularly existentialism. I love music and play the piano … badly. I draw and paint.

My time at Essex left me with a passion for certain academic fields, as named above. I admit that my overall ‘world view’ has changed a lot since those days, but Essex gave me the tools.

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New Honorary Degrees

 

Two former Essex people were awarded Honorary Degrees at this year’s Graduation Ceremonies

 

Paul Thompson is a world pioneering oral historian and was a founder appointment in the sociology department in September 1964. He has been associated with the department for the past fifty years!

Paul Thompson gaining an Honorary Degree at Essex in July 2015

Paul Thompson gaining an Honorary Degree at Essex in July 2015

 

Andrew Mack was an early Sociology/ Government student at Essex. He helped revolutionise the field of peace research, making important contributions to the work of the United Nations and working at leading universities around the world.

He is currently Director of the Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University in Canada and a faculty member of the university’s new School for International Studies. Prior to this he directed the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia. Before this, Professor Mack was a Visiting Professor at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University.

Professor Andrew Mack is an Essex alumnus who helped revolutionise the field of peace research, making important contributions to the work of the United Nations and working at leading universities around the world.School for International Studies. Prior to this he directed the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia. Before this, Professor Mack was a Visiting Professor at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University.

Andrew Mack gaining his Honorary Degree at Essex in July 2015

Andrew Mack gaining his Honorary Degree at Essex in July 2015

 

Hear what they have to say on the University/ Department Facebook  Page

Click here:

https://www.facebook.com/UoESociology

 

 

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Sociology Department’s 50th Anniversary Conference: 24th June, 2015 PROGRAMME

Sociology Department’s 50th Anniversary Conference:
24th June, 2015 Programme

NEW DIALOGUES AND DIRECTIONS

 

Ivor Crewe Auditorium

9.15-9.50 Registration and Refreshments

9.50-10.00 Conference Introduction (Nigel South)

 

10.00-12.30 Past Excitements New Dialogues

A panel of distinguished members of the Department reflect on what was thought to be most exciting about Sociology in the past (both as a discipline and in the way[s] in which it was practiced at Essex) – and how all this has been reflected in their own ideas and research – as well as in ‘new dialogues and directions’ today (Ted Benton; Joan Busfield; Diane Elson; Ken Plummer; John Scott; and Paul Thompson)

 

10.00-11.15:

Chair: Lydia Morris

-Paul Thomson ‘Discovering life stories from first fumbles to our own Pioneers of Social Research’ (30 min)

-Joan Busfield ‘Continuities and Changes in British Sociology’. (15 min)

-Ted Benton ‘Beyond nature/society dualisms (15 min)

Questions (15 min)

11.15-11.30 Break

 

11.30-12.30:

Chair: Michael Roper

-Ken Plummer ‘Dialogues of Hope for a Better World’ (15 min)

-John Scott ‘Stratification and Social Theory: Retrospect and Prospect’ (15 min)

-Diane Elson ‘Challenges to Women’s Rights in a Time of ‘Austerity”? (15 min)

Questions (15 min)

 

12.30-14.00 Lunch break

 

14.00-16.000    Future Challenges New Directions

In three parallel, thematic sessions, colleagues who have joined the Department in more recent years will reflect on the interesting/challenging issues facing Sociology in the 21st century

Room 5S.3.8   Challenging Questions in Social Theory

Chair: Sean Nixon

-Michael Halewood, “Rethinking the Social” (20 min)

-Linsey McGoey, “Theorizing Excess” (20 min)

-Sandya Hewamanne, “Affect, Human Genome, and Dogs and Monkeys” (20 min)

PhD Discussant: Ms Stephanie Nitsche 5 mins

15 minutes question time

Following the session please re-convene at the Ivor Crewe Auditorium

Room 5S.4.9 Civic Challenges, Community Studies and Public Sociology

Chair: Jackie Turton

-Michael Bailey, “Whither Community Studies? Return to Ecclesfield” (20 min)

-Neli Demireva and Isabel Crowhurst, “The Impact of Sociological Research on Social Policy” (20 min)

-Robin West, “Environment: Moral Selves and Civic Responsibilities” (20 min)

PhD Discussant: Ms Sarah Day 5 mins

15 minutes question time

Following the session please re-convene at the Ivor Crewe Auditorium

Room 5N.4.6 New Terrains

Chair: Andrew Canessa

-James Allen-Robertson, ‘Gameplay Capitalism and the Hacker Ethic’. (20 min)

-Darren Thiel, “Countering Austerity and the Logic of Welfare Reform” (20 min)

-Pete Fussey, “Topologies of Urban Security and Surveillance in the Post-Snowden Era” (20 min)

PhD Discussant: Ms Roxana Baltaru 5 mins

15 minutes question time

Following the session please re-convene at the Ivor Crewe Auditorium

 

16.00-17.00 Ivor Crewe Auditorium

 

Closing Comments (Sean Nixon)

and Drinks.

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The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Department of Sociology

IMG_4943University Towers

The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Department of Sociology

Wednesday 24th June, 2015

Ivor Crewe Hall, 9.30 start.

 

The Essex Sociology Department has helped to shape sociological thought and practice across Britain and around the world. In our 50th year, a panel of distinguished former and current members offer their own critical reflection on this contribution.

In the morning, we discuss its legacies and the new dialogues it continues to foster (Ted Benton, Joan Busfield, Diane Elson, Ken Plummer, John Scott and Paul Thompson).

In the afternoon, there will be three thematic sessions (social theory, civic challenges and new terrains) that will explore some of the Department’s contemporary research challenges and collaborations. These include: theorizing excess, moral selfhood, hacker ethics, countering austerity and urban security (Michael Halewood, Linsey McGoey, Sandya Hewamanne, Michael Bailey, Neli Demireva, Isabel Crowhurst, Robin West, James Allen- Robertson, Darren Thiel, Pete Fussey).

ALL WELCOME

For further details and to reserve your place please contact Agnes Skamballis on askamb@essex.ac.uk

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Jennifer Bullen MA 2006, Ph D 2010

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Eamonn Carrabine writes:

I would like to say a few words as Jen’s death touched many of us…she was a familiar figure around the department, having begun to study here in 2005 taking the MA in Sociological Research and then going on to complete her PhD in 2010…She also worked as a GTA in the department, and was much liked by her fellow teachers and students. In addition to this, she also worked closely with Jackie Turton as a researcher interviewing inmates at Bullwood Hall prison about their life stories. These interviews were filmed and then edited to be used in training for prison staff. She also worked with Dick Hobbs as a researcher on one of his projects looking at the Champions League. This breadth of experience is unusual for a PhD student, but I think gives a sense of how much faith we had in her abilities. I have many memories of Jen, but I want to share two.

The first is when I first met her. This was just after she had been awarded the ESRC funding to come and study here. The project was meant to be on I think, a social history of female football fans, but it was clear she was not really interested in that topic and instead she wanted to change focus and concentrate on the then new phenomenon of WAGs. Footballers Wives and Girlfriends. So from the beginning I knew she was someone who had a very strong view about what they wanted to do in their research, and who was determined to achieve all that she set out to do. And for me that quickly became one of her defining features, a very determined mind set mixed with a quiet enthusiasm for whatever task was at hand.

The second memory is when I was at home one early evening, several years later, and Radio 5 was on in the background as I was making the dinner. I heard one of the presenters saying they were now going to go live to the British Sociological Association conference, where they were going to interview someone who was researching WAGs. The interviewer was Pete Allen, and for those of you who know the station, know he can be difficult,  and I knew he was going to be highly sceptical of academics doing research on this kind of thing. But, I have to say I was absolutely blown away by how well Jen handled the interview, giving measured, thoughtful and calm answers to what were pretty hostile questions. It was a very impressive and assured performance, giving listeners some much needed sociological insight into how the media themselves represent WAGs.

It was one of those moments when I felt that Jen was the kind of student that the Department should feel very proud to have given an intellectual home to for over five years…and I think for much of that time she was very happy here, making some very close friends along the way and I think this tree will be one way in which her memory will live on in Essex.

Eamonn Carrabine

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The Queer/ Gay/ Sexualities Research Tradition at Essex

 

The cover of the 1981 book

The cover of the 1981 book

One of the many fields of research in the Essex Sociology Department has been ‘sexualities’. In the 1990’s it established the journal Sexualities and in the 00’s it set up the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship run by Róisín Ryan Flood. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, a seminar was held in March 2015 to look at some of its earliest work that helped to create a new field of study – lesbian and gay studies, queer studies and critical sexualities studies – and to consider just how far it has advanced.

 In the 1970’s there was almost no research in these areas and Essex was one of the pioneers.   Mary McIntosh’s The Homosexual Role – which argued that homosexuality was not a universal condition but a variable social role- is often seen as a foundational text. The seminar was held in her memory, discussed her work and highlighted the earliest collective work produced in the department during the 1970’s and published in 1981 as The Making of the Modern Homosexual. This book brought together students and staff, and suggested new directions for research. Most notably it developed a historical sense of same-sex relations; linked it firmly to power, gender and identity; and developed the debate over constructionism and essentialism. While they were innovative then, many now would take these early paradigm shifts for granted as a new vibrant field of ‘sexualities studies’ has emerged over the past twenty years, moved on and developed new concerns.

The book The Making of the Modern Homosexual was organized into three parts. The first part reprinted the McIntosh article and Mary then discussed its value in an interview with Jeffrey Weeks and Ken Plummer. It suggested key features of new emerging frameworks. The second part took up three key themes: Ken Plummer suggested the fruitfulness of applying stigma theory, labeling theory and ideas of ‘oppression’ to homosexuality; Jeffrey Weeks puzzled the historiography of homosexuality and its latent essentialism; while Annabel Faraday critiqued the apparent males bias of existing ‘male’ ‘gay’ research and suggested new radical feminist baselines. The third part then provided three empirical studies being conducted by graduate students – a first (John Marshall) traced the emergence of the category from the late 19th century to the 50’s; a second (Dave King) looked at the making of ‘trans’ categories; and a third (Gregg Blachford) looked at the growing significance of ‘masculinity’ in the gay culture. Some of these contributors will be returning for the seminar and meeting again for the first time in over thirty years!

 The session was very lively. Gregg Blachford had flown in from Canada to chair the session and John Marshall – who left to become editor of Gay News and gay Times for much of the 1980’a – returned to Essex for the first time in over thirty years. Annabel Faraday sent a message saying she had left academia for the world of ceramics and wished the seminar well. Dave King has now retired to a Welsh village where he participates in the local community shop.

The world has moved on. When Essex was established ‘homosexuality’ was still a crime and firmly defined as sickness. The Gay, Lesbian and Women’s movement had not happened and AIDS had not arrived. Over the years there have been major changes and now the university has strong policies on supporting gay, gender and transgender equality rights. The seminar ended by asking just how much has things really changed? Not as much as it looks on the surface – especially if the global stage is considered.

Here are a few photos taken at a seminar in 1980 as the authors discussed their papers.

ModernHMary&Annabel ModernHKen&Jeff ModernHGregg&John ModernHMgroup1 ModernHMgroup2 ModernHM tea ModernHgroup ModernHMannab&mary2 ModernHgroup5

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