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Warwick Sociology Seminar Series

Sociology Departmental Seminars take place on Wednesdays in weeks 3, 5 and 7 during spring and autumn terms (see dates below).


Download and print a poster for your door!

3-5pm in SO.19, followed by drinks and snacks.

All welcome! Come and join in the conversation...

17th October 2018

Professor Ulf Liebe, Department of Sociology and Warwick Q-step Centre

"Multifactorial Survey Experiments in the Global South"

Abstract: Many problems in so-called developing countries can only be solved by involving citizens and changing social norms in societies. It is therefore crucial to learn more about individuals’ beliefs, attitudes, preferences, and subjective norms. Yet, survey research on such issues has to deal with different forms of bias. For example, respondents might untruthfully answer survey questions in line with social norms, political rules, and in a way to please the researchers. Multifactorial survey experiments (MFSEs) can help to avoid such biases since they do not measure the concepts directly via single survey items but indirectly, based on the variation of different factors. They further single-out the importance of different factors and combinations thereof for evaluating social, economic or political problems. Therefore, MFSEs can contribute to solving social problems. In this seminar, I would like to talk and discuss about the potentials and pitfalls of conducting MFSEs in the Global South.

31st October 2018

Dr Karen Gregory, University of Edinburgh

"Negotiating the Gig Economy: How On-Demand Food Couriers Manage Risk in Edinburgh"

Abstract: Heeding calls for granularity and depth in gig or sharing economy research, this talk takes up the challenge to provide qualitative, local research into gig economy workers lives and work experience in Edinburgh, Scotland. Looking to the gendered, raced, and classed histories of delivery labour in the city, this talk draws from sociological theories of risk to articulate how one form of gig work (on-demand, app-based food delivery) produces a topology of long-standing and new risks, which workers must and do negotiate both personally and collectively. Straying from the mainstreams critiques of the gig economy as “good” or “bad” for workers, this research, which is drawn from in-depth interviews with on-demand food couriers, illustrates how local conditions, ranging from weather, geography, cycling histories, and unionisation histories, shape how workers adapt to and successfully or unsuccessfully negotiate gig work.

***** CANCELLED ******

14th November 2018

Dr Ipek Demir, University of Leicester

"Diaspora as Translation and Provocation"

Abstract: My paper will critically evaluate the well-rehearsed ‘here/there/nowhere’ types of understandings of diasporic identities and instead examine how and why diaspora should be seen as a provocation – that diasporas settle the orders in the new home and back at home, but also globally. I will argue that diaspora should thus be understood in relation to the contemporary global order, and especially in relation to central frictions of our time, and thus bring diaspora in conversation with the literature on race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, the global south and the recent upsurge in white nationalism. My paper will then attempt to think though diaspora via the notion of translation, especially by employing concepts such as foreignization, diaspora as rewriting, and erasure.

23rd January 2019 

Dr Arshad Isakjee, University of Liverpool

"Securing the European Border: Racialised Violence and the Makeshift Camp"

Scholars interrogating European border policy over the last decade have been cataloguing harms perpetrated on migrants crossing into Europe and the European Union (Jones 2017, Collyer 2010). These include not only the overt physical violence of border enforcement inside and outside the EU, but also the structural violence which curtails rights to movement of migrants (Mountz and Loyd 2014), the violence of inaction that sees migrants left to drown in the Mediterranean sea when they could otherwise be saved (Squire 2017, De Genova 2017) and the withholding of provisions that sustain and protect life and dignity, in a calculated attempt to push these racialised ‘others’ away from Europe (Davies et al 2017). Concurrently, often counter to the prevailing political winds, everyday resistance, activism, search and rescue services (Pallister-Wilkins 2017) continue to assist migrants in the process of crossing borders, with provisions of food and resources for shelter.

Drawing upon research conducted in Northern France (Dhesi et al 2018) and the Balkans, this presentation examines the technologies of violence that sustain the European border, as well as the racial logics that underpin them. It concludes by raising questions about the possibilities of resistance, refusal and resilience in the face of structured subjectification and oppression.

***** CANCELLED *****

6th February 2019

Dr Tracey Jensen, Lancaster University

"Birthing the Way Straight to Welfare: Dependency Mythologies and Eugenic Imaginaries"

20th February 2019

Dr Linsey McGoey, University of Essex

"Epistocracy and Oracular Power: Applying an Ignorance Framework to the New Authoritarianism"

The resurgence of ‘strongman’ leaders in many nations is raising deep concern about the survival of democratic systems of governance. But the emphasis on ‘strong’ rule displaces attention to a separate line of attack on democratic governance: the rise of libertarian political theorists who explicitly champion neo-Platonian notions of elite rule by experts. In this paper, I explore the notion of ‘epistocracy,’ or ‘rule by knowers’, a phrase coined recently to defend and proselytize the purported advantages of explicitly anti-egalitarian systems of political rule. I argue that the concept of epistocracy rests on naïve epistemological assumptions which misunderstand the relationality of knowledge and ignorance, erroneously presuming that increased knowledge inevitably eradicates ignorance when the opposite is often the case. Building on this point, I further suggest that the concept of epistocracy can be better defined as ‘rule by unknowers’: systems of political governance that are strengthened by and reliant on ‘elite ignorance,’ which I define as the superior use of strategic ignorance to achieve both stated and unstated political goals.


Previous seminars


18th October 2017

'Compensating or compounding effects: Can school attended alleviate the effects of family background on academic achievement?'

Jenny Chesters (Melbourne)

1st November 2017

'Biopolitcs or a chemical society?'

Andrew Barry (UCL)

15th November 2017

'Beyond Diversity: Managing Race in the Cultural Industries'

Anamik Saha (Goldsmiths)

24th January 2018

'Discuss: What would Les Back do? If generosity could save us'

Les Back (Goldsmiths) and Ros Gill (City)

7th February 2018

'Research in the age of big and open data'

Sabina Leonelli (Exeter)


12th October 2016

Does School Prepare Men for Prison?
Dr Karen Graham, Newman Criminology

26th October 2016
The Secularisation of the Environment: Darwinism as sociology
Dr Maurizio Meloni, Sheffield Sociology

9th November 2016
Tracing Autism: Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and the Affective Labor of Neuroscience
Dr Des Fitzgerald, Cardiff Sociology

23rd November 2016
The role of testimony and interviews in critical research
Dr Ian Patel, SOAS International Relations

7th December 2016
From war grave to peace garden: militarised citizenship and cultural heritage
Prof Vron Ware, Kingston Sociology

18th January 2017
Just a big sexy joke? Seriousness in women's roller derby
Dr Maddie Breeze, Queen Mary's, Sociology

1st February 2017
The Problematics of Caribbean Whiteness
Dr Shirley Anne Tate, Leeds Sociology

15th February 2017
Algorithmic architectures: craft, technologies and designing futures
Dr Daryl Martin, York Sociology

1st March 2017
What is race doing in the UK's stem cell inventory?
Dr Ros Williams, Sheffield Sociology

15th March 2017 *CANCELLED*
Race, Crisis and the Break-Up of Britain
Prof Satnam Virdee, Glasgow Sociology


17 February 2016

'Time Binds: Researching Social Suffering with Migrants at the End of Life'

Dr Yasmin Gunaratnam, Goldsmiths, University of London, Department of Sociology

24 February 2016

'Making Space at the (Queer) Academic Table?'

Professor Yvette Taylor, London South Bank University/University of Strathclyde

2nd March 2016

'Educating Radical Democracy? Theorising Counter-Capitalist Possibility in Neoliberal Social Systems'
Dr Sarah Amsler, University of Lincoln, School of Education

16th March 2016

'Habit, Power and Social Transformation'
Dr Carolyn Pedwell, University of Kent, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

'Inequality After the Crisis: Towards a Sociology of Quantitative Easing'
Professor Nicholas Gane, Warwick Sociology
14th October 2015

'Thinking Against Humanity'
Dr Ayça Çubukçu, LSE, Department of Sociology and Centre for the Study of Human Rights
28th October 2015

'The Collective Subject as Enemy: The Public between Legal Fiction and Political Potentiality'
Dr Nina Power, University of Roehampton, Department of Humanities
11th November 2015

'"Felons are our Families": The Challenges and Opportunities for Emotional Messaging in the Undocumented Migrant Youth Movement in the USA'
Dr Ala Sirreyeh, Keele University, Department of Sociology
25th November 2015