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Advanced Conceptual Issues in the Social Sciences

Convened by Dr Gurminder K Bhambra

Open to all registered PhD students; background reading will be required for participation at each session. Ideally, students should have completed core research methods training or equivalent. Held jointly between Warwick, Nottingham, and Birmingham.


1: The Concept of Power and Social Research
Thursday May 31st, 2-5pm, room S0.17 (Social Sciences Building)

This workshop is led by Professor John Holmwood, University of Nottingham, Dr Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, and Dr Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick. Participants in the seminar are required to read Steven Lukes's short book, Power: A Radical View, in advance.

The concept of power is ubiquitous in many social sciences (for example, sociology, politics, geography). At the same time, it is also deemed to be an essentially contested concept. According to Steven Lukes, in an influential book on the topic, power should be understood in three dimensions and it is only a three-dimensional view of power that enables a full account of empirical and normative aspects of the phenomenon. This workshop will address Lukes's claims and consider whether such a concept of power is not in fact an obstacle to empirical research and normative evaluation.


2: Official Archives as Research Evidence: Policy Processes and Policy Products
Date and room TBA

This workshop is led by Professor Noel Whiteside, Sociology

This half day workshop focuses on the location and interpretation of published and unpublished official documentary sources, including the interpretation of official statistics (and the conceptual frameworks of social analysis on which these are based).