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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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Leonore Davidoff (1932-2014)

 

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Leonore Davidoff

1932 -2014

It is with very great sadness  we have learnt of the death of Lee Davidoff.

Leonore Davidoff died on 19th October at the age of 82. She came to Essex with David Lockwood in 1968, was appointed a research officer in 1969, became a lecturer in social history in 1975 and retired in the mid 1990’s. She maintained a long, continuous association with the sociology department through her retirement as a research professor. A few weeks before she died, she was made a Professor Emerita. Her contribution to the study and teaching of gender history was pathbreaking and pioneering; and her work has been recognised across the world. She was also a most loved and appreciated teacher and tutor, and her work has inspired  generations of students from around the world.

A funeral took place on November 3rd  and opened with this poem (which Lee had requested).

The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

 

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The university held a celebration of Leonore’s  life at Wivenhoe House on November 3rd.

MIriam Glucksmann has written an obituary…..

Leonore was born in New York to Jewish immigrant parents from Eastern Europe, and originally studied music at Oberlin College (breaking with the family tradition of studying medicine) before switching to sociology. At 21 she left the United States to pursue graduate studies at the London School of Economics, writing her MA on `The Employment of Married Women’, a substantial 300 page dissertation by research. Her topic had not previously been studied, nor indeed been considered a serious field for research, but this prescient work broke new ground, signalling a first step in founding the new research field of women’s history.

At LSE also she met her husband, the sociologist David Lockwood (who died earlier this year), and moved with him first to Cambridge and then to Essex, while bringing up their three sons. Leonore was acutely aware of the marginalisation of ‘faculty wives’ at this time and the lack of seriousness accorded to the work of women academics, especially if they were wives or mothers. She greatly valued her membership, as Senior Fellow, of Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge which had been expressly established by marginal women for mature women scholars who were otherwise ignored and isolated….

You can go to the SoES obituary page for more of this obituary and for links to this and the comments from friends.

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See also: http://blogs.essex.ac.uk/essexdaily/2014/10/23/tributes-to-leonore-davidoff/ 

 

 

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Good reviews for IMAGINATIONS: FIFTY YEARS OF ESSEX SOCIOLOGY

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Here are some of the unsolicited REVIEWS since the publication of IMAGINATIONS:

Thank you for giving us this precious gift. Leonore Davidoff … Absolutely blown away by the book! A really wonderful achievement. The photographs are especially wonderful! Sean Nixon… It is a fitting celebration of a departmental jewel in the Essex crown. Anthony Forster…What a splendid achievement! I have only so far had the opportunity to read here and there, but enough to know how rewarding it is going to be to work through it. Alasdair MacIntyre… It looks great and will be a lasting memory of the department. Sue Aylott …Will be a landmark book in the history of the University. David Lane … It is truly a major compilation. Peter Abell… It is BRILLIANT. It is so well produced and the pics are wonderful. Miriam Glucksmann… I think the book is splendid! It’s Wonderfully designed and full of fascinating reflections on a department I am proud to have been a member of. David Rose… Congratulations once again for the book. It is a reflection of your passion for sociology and sociology at Essex but also a contribution to wider sociological discussions! Carlos Gigoux… Congratulations on producing an excellent volume that brings back very many and all sorts of memories as well as posing many questions – especially where are they now? Adrian Sinfield…The book is splendid. Anthony Woodiwiss … Even though I had high expectations of the book, it really is a triumph, a fantastic thing… and I have barely dipped into it. It really is a thing of beauty. Rowena Macaulay…The book looks great. It is a pretty comprehensive view of ‘the department’, and is really impressive because it’s so unique. Colin Samson … I’ve been thinking about the Essex Sociology 50 Years book, and marveling that you’ve managed to put it together. I’m so pleased it exists, and I’m sure there are so many other people who feel exactly the same. Rob Stones

Copies are best ordered through

The Wivenhoe Bookshop by phone 01026 824050; by e mail wiven.books@zelnet.co.uk; or web site: www.wivenhoebooks.com

Directly from Ken Plummer through plumk@essex.ac.uk

Or Waterstones, the Essex University Bookshop by phone: 01206 864773  or email: essexuni@waterstones. com

Publication price: £25.00

With post and packing in UK £30.00  Overseas will have to add extra.

ISBN: 9780957085046; 208pp, 50 contributors.

It can also be ordered though Amazon but they will, as we know, effectively take all the money!

And here is A CONTENTS GUIDE to the book

CONTENTS: Introduction: Ken Plummer 1. Contexts – Creating Essex Sociology-A Timeline of Memorable Moments Peter Townsend’s Founding Vision – Transforming Visions for a Twenty First Century. 2. Formations The Early History: Joan Busfield: Remembering Early Days – Adrian Sinfield: The Challenge of Social Policy – Geoffrey Hawthorn; A New Lecturer’s View – Christel Lane: A Student’s View: Undergraduate Study During The University’s Early Years: 1968–1972 – David Bouchier: From Student to Staff: David Bouchier (1968–1986)- Making Troubles – David Lane:1968 – Michael Mann: Troubles of 1974- Judith Okely: The 1989 Czech ‘Velvet Revolution’ As Experienced At Essex 3. Wisdoms Imagining Social Justice: Creating Better Social Worlds For All Introduction.- Michael Harloe: On Peter Townsend’s Poverty – Stan Cohen: Remembering Harold Wolpe – Lydia Morris: Human Rights – Michael Bailey: Public Activism Research Imaginations: Creating Multiple Methods For Sociology Introduction: Unlimited Research – Peter Abell: Whatever Happened to Mathematical Sociology? – David Rose: The Origins of The Institute for Economic and Social Research ISER – Heather Laurie: ISER: So What Happened Next?- Louise Corti: The Creation of Qualidata Mark Harvey: Centre for Economic and Social Innovation Comparative Imaginations: Building An International Sociology Introduction. Alison Scott: On the School of Comparative Studies -Ayse Güveli: The Gains and Changes of Migration- Interdisciplinary Imaginations: Broadening The Scope of Sociology Alasdair MacIntyre: Philosophy in the Sociological Conversation 1960−1970 – Michael Roper: Social and Gender History Ken Plummer: Making the Person Matter – Karl Figlio: The Creation of the Centre for Pychoanalytic Studies – Eamonn Carrabine: Imagining Crime – Sean Nixon: The Moment of Cultural Studies – Michael Halewood: Theory in the Department – Colin Samson: Sociology, Neoliberalism and the Struggle to Keep the Interdisciplinary Spirit Alive 4. Communities Remembering Communities John Scott: Coming Home – Rob Stones: The 1990s in the Essex Sociology Department: A Personal Point of View- Mary McIntosh says goodbye Miriam Glucksmann: Remembering the 1990s – Building The Educational Community: The Great Sociological Conversation Rowena Macaulay: Twenty Years of Departmental Support: The Student Resource Centre – The Office Community Mary Girling & Paul Thompson: Reflections of a Departmental Secretary – The Global Community From South Africa: From Hong Kong: From India – The Web Site Community The Long Community Nigel South 5. Futures Looking Ahead Voices: Professors Voices: Former students- Refelctions: Telling stories of Essex Sociology- Epilogue And Reprise: The Last Refuge – Suggestions for Further Reading – Index Focus Boxes: The heads of department -The Vice-Chancellors -The expansion and transformations of Essex- Profile of an early student – The professors – Social class and David Lockwood – Seeking gender justice – feminism in sociology – A red-green revolution? – Moments of oral history at Essex: From Gay Liberation to “Sexualities” and Intimate Citizenship- Focus on Essex’s Legacy: Some Fifty or so research areas and their books – Evaluating the quality of research – Some of the most cited books in the department – Focus On Public Lecture Series: The Fuller Lectures – Focus on Dennis Marsden – Honorary degrees – Consolidating the canon: The textbook tradition at Essex – Student numbers at Essex – Focus on the Rise of Teaching Assistants – Focus on the Essex newsletters and journals: The reading and writing community – Managing the department: The Secretaries – Paul Thompson remembers Brenda Corti- More stories of Essex Sociology- Focus on Essex’s Legacy: Some Fifty or so books published by graduates and researchers – Focus on Essex’s Legacy: Some Fifty or so graduates and researchers who became ‘Essex’ Professors – Sociology in the Media: Pam Cox- Handing our stories on.

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50th anniversary book

IMG_4943University Towers

Imaginations: fifty years of Essex Sociology

edited by Ken Plummer

An exciting new publication to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sociology Department at the University of Essex

The Sociology Department at the University of Essex is a leading international sociology department. Through fifty contributions from past and present, the students and lecturers in the department tell the story of its history, its ideas and its community. It provides an unusual insight into the workings of a British university department as well as the shape of modern British sociology.

You will treasure this book, not only if you worked or studied at Essex, but also if you care deeply about sociology and its future. For those who experienced Essex, it will touch on special memories. But it will also show how much more was going on there than you ever realised at the time. This multidimensional book portrays the amazingly sustained creativity of sociology over a whole range of different directions. That’s why it is much more than history: it also demonstrates the potential of sociology for the future. Paul Thompson An invaluable record of an extraordinary intellectual and educational institution, chronicling the heady years of its genesis and fruition. The volume teems with memories, anecdotes and reflections on this history from a proud assembly of those at the heart of its achievements.  Rob Stones


Imaginations: fifty years of Essex Sociology
will be published by Wivenbooks in September 2014.

Copies can be ordered from The Wivenhoe Bookshop, The University Bookshop or direct from Ken Plummer at plumkessex@gmail.com. It will also (eventually) be available on Amazon.

Publication price: £25 ISBN: 9780957085046; 208pp, 50 contributors.

The book will be officially published and launched at the Essex 50th anniversary weekend scheduled for 12-14th September at the University.

The launch will take place at the Sociology Gathering and lunch between 12.30 and 2.30 in The Tony Rich Centre

You can find more details of this on: https://www.essex.ac.uk/fifty/

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David Lockwood (1929-2014): In Memoriam

 

 

David lockwood

 

We are sad to learn that David Lockwood, who was Professor of Sociology at Essex University from 1968 to 1995, died on Friday June 6th, 2014.

David was  one of the big names of his generation of scholars – and a major world influence within Sociology. His first major work was The Black Coated Worker; and he was probably most known for ‘The Affluent Worker’ which was published in 1968, the year he moved to the University of Essex from the University of Cambridge. He retired in 2001 and became Emeritus Professor.

He will be sadly missed.  Our condolences go to his beloved wife, Leonore Davidoff, the eminent feminist gender historian; and his sons Matthew, Harold and Ben.

There have been many obituaries and remembrances of David and this web site will try to keep abreast of them. You may like to look at  what is already on the site about David’s life by clicking here:    David Lockwood: honorary degree.    David Lockwood by David Rose  : Retirement Conference.

You can also read the transcript of an interview with him at Interview

See also our obituaries page

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The Critical Realism ‘moment’ in Essex Sociology

0485006170 The Critical Realism Research Group and Seminar Series emerged gradually in the Winter Term of 1997. It came into existence for the usual reason such theory oriented academic groups do: a number of Ph.D students took note of their academic discipline’s increasing interest in a relatively new academic discourse/theorist /intellectual fashion and they decided they needed to know more about it.  This group of Essex Ph.D students already knew all about the varieties of poststructuralist and postmodernist theory but had thus far only caught the scent of Critical Realism (CR). They knew the main figure in the movement was Roy Bhaskar but had found the difficulty of his writing rather daunting and wanted help. Critical Realism was primarily a development in the philosophy of social science and they were aware that a few of the Essex Sociology department professors were experts in this field. One in particular, Ted Benton, was quite connected to the Critical Realism movement and very knowledgeable about it. Garry Potter, one of the co-authors of this piece and a contract tutor in the department at the time, was also known to be very interested in Critical Realism, so they were approached and asked if they could give a tutorial/lecture/seminar on the subject.  Both of them did, pretty much just outlining the basic tenets of the subject and the debates around which Critical Realism was still in the process of emerging from. This could have simply been the end but for four equally important and mutually reinforcing factors.

These initial seminars had whetted people’s appetite rather than satiating their interest; the students became aware that other lecturers in the department had their own levels of knowledge about and points of agreement/disagreement about CR; it seemed to the Ph.D students quite possible that CR could be used in someway to help frame their own Ph.D research; and last but not least, the group of people who came to these first events found that they got on with one another socially quite well. The research and discussion group was to some extent a drinking and socializing group as well.

The Critical Realism Group was not in any way a line up of disciples of Roy Bhaskar or people who self-identified with the CR label. Indeed, most did not. Critical Realism is primarily a meta-theoretical perspective and the discussions tended to focus upon ontology and epistemology; but many brought to the table their own particular theoretical perspectives. Rob Stones, for example, explained to us his own theory of “past modernism”.

Tony Woodiwiss produced one of the most interesting theoretical moments of our CR Group. He argued his quite unflinching structuralist position: covering Saussure, Durkheim, Althusser and Foucault. Roy Bhaskar’s Critical Realism evolved out of the natural science realism of Rom Harré, with Harré arguing for the existence of natural structures but not social ones. Harré argued that the latter were a purely discursive phenomenon existentially dependent upon people and having no real existence of their own, holding a position (somewhat) similar to that of Weber. Bhaskar propounded an argument for the reality of social structures as well. Tony Woodiwiss took this on board and then some under the rubric of his ordinary as opposed to critical realism. His steadfast refusal to accept any distinction between the ontological status of natural structures and social structures, in the context of a lengthy debate with Ted Benton concerning Lacan’s proposition that “theory thinks us”, managed to shock many.

A different kind of shock was produced by Ph.D student Fethi Açikel when in a discussion he casually referred to Marx’s eleventh thesis; we were shocked at our own ignorance because none of us knew what it was. . . until he told us that it was actually inscribed upon his tomb in Highgate Cemetery: “hitherto philosophers have only tried to interpret the world; the point is to change it”.

A different kind of “moment’’ occurred when Roy Bhaskar came to Essex to debate Ernesto Laclau. The latter’s Center for Theoretical Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences had both a longer and more institutionalized moment at Essex. The debate seemed to pit not only Bhaskar against Laclau but also two armies of Ph.D students against one another. We (almost) all agreed that ‘we’ won.

Finally, the three most academically significant things that came out of the Critical Realism Group were the following. First, the 2nd annual Critical Realism Conference – After Postmodernism: Critical Realism? – took place at Essex in the fall of 1998 (organized by Garry Potter and José López the co-authors of this piece) during which both the International Association of Critical Realists and the journal The Journal of Critical Realism were born. Both still thrive today.

Secondly, the book After Postmodernism: an Introduction to Critical Realism  (López and Potter eds.) came out of this conference. Many Essex people both lecturers and students gave papers at the conference and/or wrote chapters for this volume including John Scott, Ian Craib, Ted Benton, Tony Woodiwiss, Rob Stones, Pam Highham and David Ford.

Thirdly and probably most importantly, while as said earlier, certainly not all the students in this group felt they were card carrying Critical Realists or produced Ph.Ds explicitly framed by this school of thought, the philosophical discussions and related readings very likely directly or indirectly found their way into the work of all of them: Andrea Zhouri, Pam Highham, David Ford, Damian White, Fethi Açikel, Leslie Cooper, Oonagh Corrigan, Tabitha Freeman and José López, to name just a few.

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Interview with Peter Townsend

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We have put a short extract from a long interview with Peter Townsend on the stories page. Click here…Peter Townsend interview

Here is an even shorter extracts which speaks a little about the troubles of 1968…

The crisis can be seen in large and small terms.   I think, in large terms, there was a sort of revolutionary potential about some of the attitudes and values which we’ve been speaking about, which are a threat to established elites and classes.   It’s almost like saying we were moving too fast into what collective gains and action would mean, and what democratic values, when properly spelt out, would lead to in terms of the organisation of society, including universities.   There was that revolutionary potential, there’s no good getting away from it.   And yet there were smaller issues to do with individual human rights and justice, not smaller in some important particulars of course, but where you can actually obtain restitution and acknowledgement of a dignified position more easily than you can obtain structural change, which is what I was implying a moment ago.   So 1968 was extraordinary, because although, looking back, I’m sure we were, British students were influenced by what was going on on the Continent, it seemed to be something just being taken up in different universities, and certainly students in different universities became very quickly aware of what was going on among them. It started with a protest about Porton Down, and students who attempted to prevent a particular lecture taking place, and the Vice-Chancellor feeling that an example ought to be set, and the student body believing that this was an issue of freedom to protest, and this was such a serious issue that it didn’t fit easily into the customary treatment of protests about other events.   And one thing led to another.   The students were sent down, sent away from the University.   There were appeals, there were protests within the University which escalated to such a degree that a thousand and more people attended some of the assemblies.   I mean, the entire University, including all its staff, attended a few of the meetings.   And this was extraordinary by anyone’s standards, before or since in my career, because although it of course swallowed up time that might otherwise have been given to teaching and learning, and research, it was quite unprecedented to have one’s nose rubbed in the whole business of what kind of society were we living in and working in, and how should it be organised, and who should have a right to have a say, and be involved in a decision that was taken?   And we went through one of these principles after another, and it was very exhilarating, one has to say, I have to say, because it was like going over all the taken-for-granted aspects of professional life, shaking them up, and inviting each of us to re-cast the result.

For more, click on  Peter Townsend Interview

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