The Department of Sociological Studies hosts conferences and events for researchers, students and the wider academic and professional community, both across the UK and internationally.
Previous 2020 events
Gender-Based Violence and Community Impacts
Wednesday 25 November 2020
The Department of Sociological Studies held a gender-based violence and community impacts online event, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
Data Visualization In Society
Wednesday 6th May 2020
Today we are witnessing an increased use of data visualization in society. Across domains, graphs, charts and maps are used to explain, convince and tell stories. This is especially true during the Coronavirus pandemic, when information is being communicated in simple data visualizations - one of them, the 'flatten the curve' line chart, has even become famous.
In this era in which more and more data are produced and circulated digitally, and digital tools make visualization production increasingly accessible, it is important to study the conditions under which such visual texts are generated, disseminated and thought to be of societal benefit. This book is a contribution to the multi-disciplined and multi-faceted conversation concerning the forms, uses and roles of data visualization in society. Do data visualizations do 'good' or 'bad'? Do they promote understanding and engagement, or do they do ideological work, privileging certain views of the world over others? The contributions in Data Visualization In Society engage with these core questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives.
More information about the book can be found here.
Sociologies of Reality TV (This event has been postponed until further notice)
Wednesday 8 April 2020
9.30am - 4.30pm
38 Mappin Street, The University of Sheffield
Reality TV has, in the past three decades, moved from the margins of popular culture to its core. The success of television shows, such as Love Island and others, has prompted discussions concerning mental health and suicide, forms of coercive control and representations of marginalised groups in popular culture. Whilst existing sociological analyses of reality TV offer important contributions to discussions of identity construction, governmentality and performance and agency, such work remains largely piecemeal and disconnected. The potential therefore remains for interdisciplinary debates to push explorations of reality TV further and to reveal insights into the role of this cultural artefact as a site for exploration of identity, voice, performance, mediated social relations and consumption. Doing so offers the potential to contribute to long-standing sociological themes as well as exploring new directions in sociology and beyond.
We are keen to explore the wide breadth of sociological and other themes potentially arising from analyses of reality TV. By way of example, we encourage contributions for papers which address the questions below, but other areas of interest are also welcome.
How do the dynamics of social structures intersect with and shape the appeal of othering processes evident in reality TV?
What are the impacts of the over-representation of some individuals on identity making and performance (particularly the focus on certain body-types, races, age groups and sexual orientations)?
To what extent is the persistent under-representations of some individuals a reflection of societal inequalities and social divisions (and what are the implications arising from this)?
How can reality TV play an empowering role in its representations of marginalised members of society, or does derision persist?
How might new sociologies and methodologies including feminist, queer or post-colonial perspectives facilitate new understandings of reality TV’s impact as a cultural object?
What are the methodological implications of researching reality TV, particularly navigating ethical challenges?
Presentations are likely to be as part of themed panels, with approximately 20 minutes per paper. The symposium is deliberately designed around interactive/debate-centred sessions with opportunity for audience interaction. The following speakers have confirmed their participation in the event:
- Professor Ruth Holliday (University of Leeds)
- Professor Helen Wood (Lancaster University)
- Dr Kim Allen (University of Leeds)
- Dr Jilly Kay (University of Leicester)
Countering health determinants of adolescent criminalisation: The case of childhood neurodevelopmental disability
Professor Nathan Hughes' Inaugural Lecture
Wednesday 12 February 2020, 17:30 - 19:30
Lecture Theatre 6, The Diamond (followed by a drinks reception in ICOSS)
Health and developmental difficulties in childhood increase the risk that a young person will be exposed to the criminal justice system, particularly in a context of social marginalisation and inequality. This includes neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as learning disability, brain injury and language disorders, which are characterised by a combination of cognitive, emotional and communication difficulties. While such difficulties increase propensity towards criminal behaviour in some forms or contexts, it is also clear that criminal justice processes disable, and ultimately criminalize, these young people. This provides a persuasive case for policy and practice reform. Engaging with developmental neurosciences offers opportunities to address the failure of current practices and interventions to prevent the offending of these young people – though this is not without challenges. In parallel, the recent UN General Comment No. 24 on child justice reiterates the need to uphold international conventions on the rights of young people and those with disabilities.
Power asymmetries and colonial legacies in the humanitarian response to refugee crises: towards a theory of technocolonialism.
Lecture with Dr Mirca Madianou
Wednesday 5th February 2020, 16:15 - 17:30
Lecture Theatre 1, Elmfield Building
Digital innovation, artificial intelligence and data practices are increasingly central to the humanitarian response to recent humanitarian emergencies including refugee crises. This lecture introduced the concept of technocolonialism to capture how the convergence of digital developments with humanitarian structures and capitalist forces reinvigorate and reshape colonial relationships of dependency.
Previous 2019 events
Understanding ‘real-life extremisms’ (and why failing to do so matters)
The Westergaard Annual Lecture with Professor Hilary Pilkington
Thursday 14 November 2019, 17:30 – 19:00
Lecture Theatre 4, The Diamond, The University of Sheffield
Violent extremism is the defining challenge of our age; our failure to understand it has huge real-world consequences. However, persistent conceptual slippage and political re-framing mean signifiers of terrorism and extremism have converged in recent political discourse such that non-violent extremism is increasingly framed as a pathway into terrorism. This has led to a significant gap between extremism in theory (the ‘staircase to terrorism’) and extremisms in real life, where ‘extremists’ rarely understand themselves as such and their extremisms are lived out amidst the everyday realities of largely ‘normal’ lives. The paper starts by assessing the empirical evidence to date about the relationship between inequality and radicalisation. It demonstrates that while there is an inconsistent and complex relationship between the two, we find most consistency between perceived (rather than objective measures of) inequality and radicalisation and between socio-political (rather than socio-economic) inequality and radicalisation. An illustration of how this presents itself in the form of feeling a ‘second class citizen’ whose grievances are ‘silenced’ in the political arena is provided drawing on ethnographic work conducted with activists from the English Defence League. The paper suggests, moreover, that the perceived and socio-political nature of the inequalities identified opens the possibility for positive intervention. It provides an example of this by drawing on the recent experience of conducting a ‘mediated dialogue’ intervention with young people from ‘extreme right’ and ‘Islamist’ milieus. It shows that while the opinions and beliefs of these young people may meet standard criteria of ‘extremism’ - in as much as they differ from established norms and have potentially dangerous consequences - they are far from the closed-minded, dogmatic individuals lost to the political mainstream that the ascription of ‘extremist’ suggests. It concludes that close-up empirical research with ‘real-life extremists’ not only provides a richer picture of the spectrum of contemporary extremisms but can help us move beyond (often counter-productive) condemnation strategies in challenging extremism by revealing and mobilising the capacity of ‘real-life’ actors in the extremism field to reflect, interact and work to counter extremism.
Dr Jo Warner: The Emotional Politics of Child Protection
The University of Sheffield Twilight Social Work Seminar
Wednesday 25 September 2019, 16:00 – 18:00
Jo is particularly concerned to improve our understanding of the way ‘risk work’ has shaped professional practice and the impact of cultures of inquiry, fear and blame on social workers and others. She has undertaken several projects involving the qualitative analysis of documents such as inquiry reports, serious case reviews and media accounts such as newspaper reports. Her book 'The Emotional Politics of Social Work and Child Protection' gained national and international acclaim for its contribution to helping practitioners and academics explore how collective emotions, such as anger, shame, fear and disgust, are central to constructions of risk and blame. In her current research, Jo is analysing the politics of social work through interviews with Members of Parliament.
Symposium: Health Technologies in Practice: Between the home and the clinic
Wednesday 19 June 2019, 12:30 - 17:00 and Thursday 20 June, 09:00 - 13:30.
St Mary's Church, Bramall Lane, Sheffield
The symposium was part of a Leverhulme Trust Funded Research Project on 'Knowledge, Care and the Practices of Self-Monitoring'. Focusing on health technologies in practice, the project aimed to understand how and why people self-monitor and to consider how this relates to knowledge, expertise and care. Presentations at the symposium related to self-monitoring and other everyday health technologies to consider 'health technologies in practice' from different perspectives and very different methodologies. The symposium brought together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, with interests in STS, medical sociology, anthropology, disability studies, media studies and cultural studies.
Brexit and Social Policy: The Social Policy and Society Annual Lecture
Wednesday 15 May 2019, 5:15pm
The Diamond, The University of Sheffield
The Managing Editors of Social Policy and Society (Dr Liam Foster and
Dr Majella Kilkey) are delighted to invite you to the journal’s third
Annual Lecture, sponsored by Cambridge University Press.
The lecture focuses on ‘Brexit and Social Policy’, the subject of a
themed section in the January 2019 issue of Social Policy and Society,
which was guest edited by Dr Steve Corbett and Professor Alan Walker,
and included an article by Professor Mary Daly.
- Steve Corbett – Lecturer in Social Policy at Liverpool Hope University.
- Mary Daly – Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Oxford.
- Alan Walker – Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology at the University of Sheffield.
‘Imagined Futures’ in the Navigation and Management of Uncertainty for Young Women in Aotearoa New Zealand - a seminar with ViF Professor Alan France
Thursday 9 May 2019, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Elmfield, room 216, University of Sheffield
Uncertainty and insecurity in employment for young women is not a new phenomenon, yet since the late 1990s it has increased dramatically. As a result, the notions of secure permanent work and ‘career building’ are seen as a thing of the past. Simultaneously, and not unconnected, we have also seen the ‘massification’ of higher education with more young women than ever entering university, seeing it as an opportunity to improve their situation in the future labour market. But how, in these uncertain times, are they imagining their futures? What is influencing their planning and what are their motivations? This paper explores these questions, by drawing upon research with a diverse group of young women in Aotearoa New Zealand who are completing their degrees. It will show, through an intersectional lens, how class and ethnicity have a significant impact on their choices, opportunities and their sense of future possibilities.
Borders and Divisions: Brexit and Beyond
Thursday 28 March 2019
Brexit cannot be understood in isolation, and this event brought together a distinguished panel of migration experts to discuss the implications of on-going events in Europe and worldwide for borders and divisions, especially in the European context. The discussion focused on three themes:
Theme 1 – The Politicisation of Migration: Experiences Elsewhere
Theme 2 – Understanding the Causes
Theme 3 – Addressing the Challenges?
What can be done to address the challenges facing many societies? Each of our speakers offered one example to inspire optimism.
Organised by the Migration Research Group at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw and IMISCOE. It is supported by the Noble Foundation’s Programme on Modern Poland.
‘These are a few of my favourite things’: Exploring the Value of Material Culture in the Everyday
A BSA Postgraduate Forum Regional Event
Friday 1 March 2019
The value of objects and their relationships to social beings is being forever made apparent through a diversity of areas of sociological inquiry. This event seeks to contribute to this sociologically significant area, reflecting on materiality, its importance and its place within our everyday social worlds.
Dr Sophie Woodward from the University of Manchester will be speaking about her project, ‘Dormant Things’ in domestic spaces, which explores the vitalities and relationalities of things that are not currently being used.
The aim of this day is to support postgraduate research students working within the field of everyday life and material culture. It offers the chance to share ideas in a supportive and friendly environment, whilst also providing an important opportunity to network.
Previous 2018 events
John Westergaard Lecture with Professor Diane Reay: The Persistence of Class Inequalities in Education and what can be done about them
Thursday 22 November 2018
John Westergaard wrote the first comprehensive overview of social class inequality in the UK in 1975. Class in a Capitalist Society demonstrated unequivocally that class had not withered away, rather its damaging consequence were evident in all spheres of social life. Fifty years later class inequalities are as persistent as ever, and the patterns of educational opportunities, Westergaard and his co-author Henrietta Resler wrote about, are as unjust and unfair as they were in the 1970s. This talk focuses on class inequalities in education in 21st century England, the country with the most unequal educational system of the 4 countries making up the UK . It examines both continuities with the past but also new troubling mutations of class inequalities. It argues that although the forms that class inequalities take shift and change over time, the underlying injustices in terms of both recognition and resources remain largely the same.
The lecture will be chaired by Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology and Sarah Neal, Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.
This event will be held in the Diamond building on Thursday 22 November 2018, 17:30 - 19:00.
Welcome refreshments will be available from 5:30pm, with the lecture to begin at 6:00pm.
The First University of Sheffield Annual Social Work Lecture: The British Betrayal of Childhood - what should we do about it? An action-centred conversation with Professor Sir Al Aynsley Green
Wednesday 17 October 2018
You are warmly invited to attend the first of our University of Sheffield Annual Social Work Lectures, a series of lectures focused on current issues of direct relevance to social work policy and practice. “The British Betrayal of Childhood - what should we do about it?” will be delivered by Professor Sir Al Aynsley Green, the first Children's Commissioner for England and now a leading commentator on children's rights and experiences.
The event will be held at the ICOSS building at the University on Wednesday 17 October 2018 at 4pm and will be followed by a wine reception.
Making the unseen visible: How can 'practice theory' help us talk about the work we do in the voluntary and community sector?
Thursday 1 February 2018
You are warmly invited to the launch of a book, New Practices for New Publics: theories of social practice and the community and voluntary sector.
Over the last two years, university academics and voluntary and community sector workers have met through a series of events funded by the Economic and Social Research Council that explored whether and how new academic theories might help understand the everyday work that the sector does. The team found that some of these theories were valuable in drawing attention to activities and approaches that are common place in the sector, but often 'unseen' or not recognised by policy makers and funders - in particular the things people do related to ideas of care.
During an intense five-day ‘book sprint’ in July 2017, the project team worked together to put their thoughts into a co-written book: New Practices for New Publics: theories of social practice and the community and voluntary sector.
At this book launch, the project team wanted to share what they learned during our events and why they think it's important. They also reflected on the experience of co-authorship in a ‘book sprint’.
The event included presentations from community partners including Community Works and the Community University Partnership Programme on the themes of the series/ the book; reflections by Vicky Singleton from Lancaster University, who contributed to the launch event in May 2016; thoughts about co-authorship models and challenges; a chance to engage in more depth with the arguments in the book and how they might apply to community and voluntary work practices.
Redesigning the Welfare State for Children
With Kathy Evans, CEO, Children England
Wednesday 7 February 2018
Kathy took a historical look over the last 75 years of children’s social care, since both the creation of Children England and the publication of the Beveridge Report in 1942, as a basis to reflect on the major challenges for children’s rights and care in 2017, including: the social contract between society and its children; the ‘marketplace’ and ‘business modelling’ of caring professions; and, the case for redesigning the welfare state for children.
Migration-induced social change in Poland
The Second Annual Social Policy and Society Journal Lecture with Professor Izabela Grabowska, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw
Wednesday 18 April 2018
The second Annual Lecture of the Social Policy and Society Journal, sponsored by Cambridge University Press in association with the Noble Foundation. The lecture focused on ‘Migration-Induced Social Change in Poland’ and was delivered by Professor Izabela Grabowska from SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw.
To capture the impact of migration on a single, sending country (Poland in this case) is not an easy task. It requires that we disentangle the migratory outcomes from those of more general societal changes, happening retrospectively, in the present time and prospectively. This lecture will offer the methodological device of ‘an inside-out’ approach (White 2016), which suggests that migration needs to be analysed not as a forefront, isolated and individual process but complementary to the wide general societal trends and conditions. Special focus will be given to the grass-root social change, ‘hand-made’ by return migrants with the help of migratory social remittances as local forms of social and cultural diffusion (Grabowska et al. 2017). The lecture was based on the wide array of quantitative and qualitative data documented in the forthcoming book The Impact of Migration on Poland: Mobility and Social Change (with Anne White, Pawel Kaczmarczyk and Krystyna Slany, UCL Press) in which the Polish society is discussed in light of other ‘new EU countries’ of Central and Eastern Europe. The lecture took up some of the themes addressed in an article to be submitted to the Journal Social Policy & Society.
Unity in times of division: Irish women and the struggle for the vote
Inaugural lecture by Professor Louise Ryan
Wednesday 25 April 2018
A hung parliament, an Irish party holding the balance of power, a controversial issue threatening to cause political turmoil. Sound familiar? But no, this is not Brexit. Over 100 years ago, in the early 1910s, a similar situation prevailed. A minority Liberal government was supported by the Irish Parliamentary Party and the controversial issue that could potentially have brought down the government was female enfranchisement. The Irish party had other priorities – keeping the Asquith in power in order to ensure that Home Rule was successfully introduced by the Liberal government.
While the British suffrage movement castigated the Irish Parliamentary Party for blocking suffrage measures, meanwhile women in Ireland had to navigate a tricky path between the campaign for votes and the campaign to gain Irish independent from Britain. Irish suffragists found themselves campaigning alongside their British colleagues and sharing many of their concerns and priorities. However, Irish suffrage activists were ever mindful of the potentially divisive situation around them.
Although perhaps best known for the work on migration, Louise focused her professorial lecture on Vote 100 and link with her two recent books and her extensive body of work on the Irish suffrage movement. Louise explored the range and depth of the suffrage campaign and assess the efforts to maintain a united social movement, and avoid fragmentation, against a backdrop of deep political, social, religious and economic divisions.
Louise's two most recent books were launched at the event and introduced by Dr Breda Gray from the University of Limerick. The books are entitled: Winning the Vote for Women: the Irish Citizen newspaper and the suffrage movement in Ireland and Irish Women and the Vote: becoming citizens (edited by Louise Ryan and Margaret Ward).
Modern slavery, expertise and evidence roundtable
Tuesday 15 May 2018
- Professor Joel Quirk, University of Witwatersrand (South Africa)
- Dr Sanja Milivojevic, La Trobe University (Australia)
- Klara Skrivankova, UK and Europe Programme Manager, Anti-Slavery International
Chairs: Dr Hannah Lewis and Professor Genevieve LeBaron
This Roundtable brought together two leading scholars of modern slavery from Australia and South Africa, and experts from Anti-Slavery International, to reflect on current efforts to address modern slavery. Speakers shared cutting edge research and practitioner perspectives on the state of global and national government efforts to combat modern slavery, including: Are current government and civil society initiatives to measure, study, and combat modern slavery working? Are the right actors and experts involved? Is it dangerous to enact solutions when the evidence base on modern slavery is still so thin? This interdisciplinary conversation will benchmark the state of anti-slavery movements and governance, and chart out pathways forward.
This event was jointly organised by the Department of Sociological Studies, the Migration Research Group, and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI).
Where is public sociology now? Sociological urgencies and responses
Sociology at Sheffield Event
Wednesday 6 June 2018
In his well-cited beginning to his popularisation of public sociology in 2004 Michael Burowoy emphasised the need for sociologists to respond ‘to the growing gap between the sociological ethos and the world we study’, reminding his audience that, ‘the challenge of public sociology is to engage multiple publics in multiple ways’. We organised this event as an opportunity to review and reflect on what public sociologies might mean fourteen years after Burowoy’s intervention and in the context of such national and global urgencies as Brexit, new nationalisms, the refugee crisis, the Grenfell disaster, Trump and the new populism, Me Too, Time’s Up and so forth. This appears to be a particular moment when sociological thinking is needed and these presentations showcased some of the disciplinary labour that is currently being done.
Department of Sociological Studies postgraduate research (PGR) conference 2018: Researching Society, New Horizons
Wednesday 13 June 2018
Contemporary society offers new opportunities and challenges for social scientists. From accelerated processes of globalisation, to the proliferation of the digital, to the vote for Brexit and Trump, society is in continuous flux. Nevertheless, many aspects of our lives remain constant with social scientists utilising innovative methods to gain new insights in these areas. It is by undertaking research in the contemporary world that we can help create new research horizons.
This one-day conference invited all researchers with an interest in the workings of twenty-first century society. The organising committee welcomed submissions of abstracts from postgraduate students within this theme.
Abstracts on the following sub-themes were especially encouraged:
Globalisation and migration;
Rising social inequalities;
Health and illness;
Changing family relationships and structures;
Shifting understandings of gender;
Using innovative research methods;
Creating social policy for the twenty-first century.
Previous 2017 events
New Practices for New Publics - ESRC Seminar Series
Seminar 5: New Publics and Practice Approaches
31 January 2017
New Practices for New Publics is an innovative series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.
This fifth seminar, New Publics and Practice Approaches, considered the contribution of practice theory to thinking about civil society organisations’ work of campaigning, fundraising and advocacy. In these processes, civil society organisations often try to create particular notions of ‘publics’ as a focus for their activities, for different purposes and in different ways. Meanwhile, these groups increasingly operate in a ‘neoliberal’ context where the boundaries between private and public services are being redrawn, and the distinctive space of ‘civil society’ or even ‘community’ action is narrowed. The seminar explored what practice-based approaches can teach us about these activities and this context, considering where, if and when practice theories might bring new understanding for the sector.
How do data make us feel? Everyday life in times of datafication
Inaugural lecture by Professor Helen Kennedy
15 February 2017
Datafication (or the quantification of aspects of life previously experienced in qualitative, non-numeric form which are then tabulated, visualised and analysed) is increasingly ubiquitous. But how do ever-more-commonplace data make us feel? Helen focused on this question in this talk.
To put it another way, what happens when data of all kinds become ordinary? Helen argues that as social media and other data, and their mining, become more and more commonplace, new data relations emerge, and that these are characterised as much by emotions and desires as they are by the types of cognitive rationalities that the predominance of metrics, data and numbers are said to evoke.
In the first part of the talk, Helen drew on some of her recent research to provide some answers to the question of how data make us feel. One emotional response to datafication, she proposed, is desire, a desire for numbers. To talk about a desire for numbers, rather than a ‘trust in numbers’, a concept that Ted Porter (1996) wrote about in the mid-1990s, makes it possible to account for some of the contradictions that accompany the becoming-ordinary of data. Another form of emotional engaging with data can be seen in the fact that the main way that most people get access to data is through their visualisation, or visual representation in charts, graphs and other visual forms. Here again emotions play an important role in engagements with ever-more-commonplace data.
In social scientific studies of data in society, as in data policies and data practices, little attention has been paid to how people live with data, to whether, how and why data matter to people. The second part of the talk was therefore a manifesto for studying living with data ‘from the bottom up’ and for more understanding of the emotional character of engaging with data. This, Helen proposed, will enhance understanding of the new roles of data in society and of whether and how data condition our existence.
The State of Regulation: Professional, ethical and personal dilemmas - Half-day symposium
8 March 2017, 12pm - 4pm
This symposium shared the findings from a recent study of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulation and heard the experiences of two registrants who have been through the Fitness to Practise (FtP) Process. The session considered the professional, ethical and personal dilemmas that emerge when registrants are subject to the current FtP model and also explored a new way of approaching conduct issues in social work practice.
Social Policy & Society Annual Lecture
22 March 2017, 5pm - 6pm
The first Annual Lecture lecture of the Journal Social Policy & Society, sponsored by Cambridge University Press in association with the University of Sheffield Social Policy Research Cluster, focused on 'troubled families', the subject of a themed section in the January 2017 issue of Social Policy & Society, and was delivered by Dr Stephen Crossley and Dr Michael Lambert, the themed section editors. The lecture was followed by a wine reception in the exhibition space at the same venue from 6pm to 7 pm to celebrate the first year of Social Policy & Society under the editorship of Liam Foster and Majella Kilkey at the University of Sheffield.
Belonging in a post-Brexit-vote Britain: researching race, ethnicity and migration in a changing landscape
9 May 2017, Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield
A one-day conference hosted by the Department of Sociological Studies (in collaboration with the British Sociological Association and Migration Research at Sheffield Group) will be held at The University of Sheffield.
This event seeks to bring together early career and established academics, to share knowledge and experiences in the unique research environment resulting from the UK electorate’s decision to leave the EU. According to the UN, campaigns advocating a leave vote presented a ‘divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric’ (Stone, 2016) and in the three weeks following the vote there was a 20% increase in reported race related hate crime in the UK (BBC, 2016). As Brexit campaigners stated that leaving the EU would make ‘Britain Great Again’, anti-migrant and xenophobic narratives conflated, implying that migration threatens Britishness. Sociologically, in this context, the boundary between historically distinct fields (migration research and race and ethnicity research) becomes blurred. This event provides a timely opportunity to examine the interface between these fields and consider directions for future research.
Disrupting Transitions: Young people, education and employment
23 May 2017, Department of Sociological Studies, Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield
This academic symposium brings together leading scholars in the field to explore new research and share ideas and concepts. The symposium arises from a large FP7 project on young people at risk of early school leaving (RESL.eu).
Speakers include Prof Kate Morris (University of Sheffield), Ingrid Schoon (University College London), Louise Ryan (University of Sheffield) and William Maloney (University of Newcastle).
The Orphan Industrial Complex: Charitable Commodification and its Consequences for Child Protection
Guest lecture with Kristen Cheney, Associate Professor, International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands
7 June 2017, Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences(ICOSS), The University of Sheffield, 219 Portobello, Sheffield S1 4DP
The misidentification of “orphans” as a category for development and humanitarian intervention has subsequently been misappropriated by many Western individuals and charitable organizations, resulting in an ‘orphan industrial complex’ that problematically commoditizes children as targets for charitable intervention—particularly in the global south. The discourse and practice of “orphan rescue” drives the “production” of orphans as objects for particular kinds of intervention that are counter to established international standards of child protection. In this presentation, Cheney will explain the concept of the orphan industrial complex, how it works and what its consequences are for children, families, and child protection systems.
Kristen Cheney is Associate Professor in Children & Youth Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. Her current research interests centre on issues of AIDS orphanhood, the political economy of intercountry adoption and surrogacy, child protection and deinstitutionalization, and the impact of young people’s sexually explicit media exposure/usage on sexuality education and SRHR in developing-country contexts. She specialises in child- and youth-centred and participatory qualitative research methods primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. She is the author of Crying for Our Elders: African Orphanhood in the Age of HIV and AIDS (2017) and of Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development (2007).
This event was supported and hosted by The Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID).
Department of Sociological Studies postgraduate research (PGR) conference 2017: Branching out in research
13 June 2017, Department of Sociological Studies, Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield
The focus of the conference for this year was ‘Branching out in Research’ which aimed to explore how we can look beyond the usual realms of social research, in terms of topic areas, social groups and methodology. This included the following areas:
- Under researched topics;
- Working with ‘hard to reach’ groups;
- Innovative research methods;
- Interdisciplinary research;
- Collaboration and engagement.
This one-day conference brought together postgraduate research students and early career researchers from social science and related disciplines to present their research and ideas, build networks and develop presentation skills.
Caring & Ageing: international perspectives on family and workplace challenges
2nd Annual CIRCLE International Seminar
23 June 2017, Elmfield Building, The University of Sheffield, S10 2TU
At this year’s annual seminar we hosted leading international speakers Professor Norah Keating (Alberta, Swansea and North West [S Africa] Universities) and Professor Kate O’Loughlin (University of Sydney). This year our seminar also celebrated our collaboration, with international partners, on Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems, funded by the Worldwide Universities Network, and publication of the inaugural volume of the International Journal of Care and Caring, new from the Policy Press in 2017, and based at the University of Sheffield. Our programme for the afternoon featured two guest lectures, opportunities for Q&A / discussion, and a brief introduction to the journal and its distinctive features.
Africa in the Era of Sustainable Development Goals
22 June 2017, Workrooms 3 and 4, 38 Mappin Street, University of Sheffield, S1 3JD.
The University of Sheffield All African Postgraduate Research Group (AAPoRG) and Africa@Sheffield hosted its first postgraduate conference.
- Professor Graham Harrison, University of Sheffield
- Dr Admos Chimhowu, University of Manchester
The expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) ushered in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the current global development policy. Given the problems of the attainment of the MDGs in Africa, this one-day conference aims to provide a forum for postgraduate and early career researchers with special interest in African affairs, to showcase, discuss and share their current research on sustainable development in Africa. Submission of abstracts is invited from all disciplines that engage with the theoretical, policy and practical issues of attaining sustainable development in Africa.
Science, Technology and Humanity: The 11th Annual Science in Public Conference
10 - 12 July 2017, The Edge, The University of Sheffield, S10 3ED
Science and technology are essential ingredients of our humanity. The emergence of fruitful and diverse scholarly perspectives on the history, practice, communication, governance and impacts of scientific knowledge reflects this fact. Yet rapid scientific and technological change has also unsettled the idea of what it means to be human; for example, through new frontiers in physical and cognitive enhancement, shift to knowledge economies, and potential threats to employment from mass automation. These changes take place in a context of broader challenges to expertise and evidence, dramatically illustrated by the EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump.
Taking these matters seriously calls for a renewed focus on compassion, benevolence and civilization. This year at Science in Public, we asked: How do science and technology affect what it means to be human?
- Sarah Whatmore (University of Oxford)
- Steven Shapin (Harvard University)
- Dan Sarewitz (Arizona State University)
Digital Society Network Annual Lecture: New media, old inequalities: Approaching youth, creative politics and digital media across social class, gender and geography
With Dr Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics
Monday 9th October 2017
4.15pm – 5.30pm (followed by book launch and drinks reception)
Venue: Lecture Theatre 4, The Diamond
Over the past seventeen years, Dr Shakuntala Banaji's research around young people, politics and creativity has interrogated the role and affordances of new and emerging digital media in processes of social change. From refugee children connecting with their peers across Europe through ICQ chat in 2002, through youth activists in Europe and India deploying social media in politically progressive or retrograde ways, to young female gamers in the MENA region selectively hiding and revealing their gender via avatars and play talk during MMOGs, one common thread has been the ways in which digital media creates spaces for new politics and new agencies whilst also hiding or entrenching structural inequalities. But to what extent are we simply doing the digital wrong? Could its technical affordances be used to overcome systematic hierarchies, at least online? Do its social affordances simply enhance the agency of particular social classes in the global south? And are there ways in which the narrative of the digital in liberation politics has become yet another enemy of those seeking deeper social structural transformation? Shakuntala's lecture attempted to answer these questions in the context of findings from several major comparative research projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.
The First Annual John Westergaard Lecture: The Costs of Inequality: Escalating Inequality, Racism and Nationalism in the UK
With Professor Mike Savage, London School of Economics
Thursday 9 November 2017
Welcome refreshments from 5.30pm
Lecture: 6pm – 7pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, The Diamond
Mike Savage reflected on how trends towards intensified inequality in the UK have led into increasing political volatility and the rise of populism. Drawing on research he has undertaken from the National Child Development Study on the dynamics of racist views, he showed how class, race and gender divisions intersect in new and powerful ways in the current context.
The declining centrality of the divide between middle and working class, and the growing polarisation of economic inequality between elite and precariat creates new insecurities which drive political alignments. Mike argued against the view that the 'white working class' are part of a racist populist backlash against immigration, and showed how the economic elite's espousal of 'imperial nationalism' plays a large role in driving xenophobic politics.
The lecture was chaired by Professor Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.
Previous 2016 events
Research symposium: In the wake of Japan’s nuclear tsunami: reflections on the nature of disaster in the 21st Century
21 April 2016
Widening the circle: Re-thinking family support in safeguarding
28 April 2016
1st annual CIRCLE international seminar: Care, caring and carers: international perspectives
17 May 2016
Department of Sociological Studies postgraduate research (PGR) conference 2016: Breaking boundaries
19 May 2016
New practices for new publics seminar series - Seminar 2
22 June 2016
Speaking out for social work - Crossing divides and building relationships
6 July 2016
The social reproductive worlds of migrants - 3rd ISA forum of sociology
10 to 14 July 2016
‘The social reproductive worlds of migrants’, session was organised by Dr Majella Kilkey and colleagues, that will take place during the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology.
While research highlights the role inward migration plays in meeting the social reproductive needs of migrant-receiving societies, less attention is paid to the social reproductive aspects of migrants’ lives. In the context of the increasing volume in international migration and its feminisation, and the increasingly instrumentalist and economistic approach to migration-entry regimes, it is critical that migration and family policies begin to acknowledge that a production system cannot operate without a reproduction system (Truong, 1996).
Sheffield Death Group event: 'Improvising ritual: How to commemorate the death of the modern soldier?'
5 September 2016
Digital Society Network Annual Lecture: Doing digital media research over time and across platforms: Lessons from studies of YouTube, Twitter and games culture
Thursday 29 September 2016
With Professor Jean Burgess, Director of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Culture and politics of data visualisation: A one-day conference
10 October 2016
This one-day conference addressed the culture and politics of data visualisation, bringing critical thought into dialogue with the practice and potential of visualising data and considering how they might inform each other.
Museum Piece: Isabella
19 October 2016
This session included a short performance by artist-researcher Kirsty Surgey, a WRoCAH supported PhD student at the University of Sheffield.
Taking as its starting point objects found when emptying a house that had been bought by her great-great grandfather in 1903, this performance sought to uncover the story of Kirsty's great-great grandmother, ‘Isabella’. As a farmer’s wife in Cumberland at the start of the twentieth century, Isabella left few records. The fragments that are left behind can be connected into narratives, but the voice that emerges questions what can be known and what is unknowable about one’s ancestors.
The performance was followed by a short workshop in which participants were invited to explore their own stories through creative practice and an opportunity to discuss any questions that arose from the performance.
BSA Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group Annual Symposium
2 December 2016
For decades now, technological advances in specialist fields such as medicine have changed attitudes and expectations about death and the experience of dying. However, as technologies have become more ubiquitous in our everyday social and domestic lives, the ways in which death, dying and bereavement can be technologically mediated are increasing and becoming more diverse. From online memorials to apps that self- monitor physiological health and/or decline, the ways in which bodies, persons, and technology intersect are raising questions about mortality - what death is, what it means, and how it is experienced in the 21st Century. This is a diverse field and we welcome abstracts which interpret the theme and the notion of ‘technology’ broadly – including more ‘mundane’ technologies that shape the experience of ‘end of life’. The purpose of this day is to highlight research and practice that contributes to and extends our thinking on this topic.
New Practices for New Publics - ESRC Seminar Series
Seminar 4: Using practice theory for social change
14 December 2016
Alfred Denny Conference Room, Alfred Denny Building, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN
New Practices for New Publics is an innovative series of events designed to bring together cutting edge thinking in social science with the experiences of civil society organisations, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.
The event will consider how to use practice theory for social change. Practice-based approaches aim to help effect positive social change and to provide a more encompassing and grounded conceptualisation of change processes than a focus on attitudes, values and behaviours. To what extent does practice theory help understand how and why practices recruit people, how new practices emerge, thrive and travel and why others fail to ‘catch on’?
We are very pleased to welcome three speakers – Matt Watson, David Evans and Margit Keller - who will discuss their experiences of practice theory in relation to efforts and programmes to bring about social change. These talks will be followed by a workshop, led by Margit Keller and Peter Jackson, which will allow us to work through how to draw on practice theory when trying to develop and implement changes, drawing on local examples.
We have (limited) funds to contribute towards costs of travel and accommodation for participants – please get in touch if you will need support in this way.
To book your place please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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