The First Annual John Westergaard Lecture:
The Costs of Inequality: Escalating Inequality, Racism and Nationalism in the UK
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 (see map)
Tweet using the hashtag: #westergaardlecture17
All are welcome to attend. Register your place here
Mike Savage will reflect 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 will show 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 will argue against the view that the 'white working class' are part of a racist populist backlash against immigration, and will show how the economic elite's espousal of 'imperial nationalism' plays a large role in driving xenophobic politics.
The lecture will be chaired by Professor Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield.
Professor Mike Savage is Martin White Professor (the title traditionally awarded to the most senior professor in the Department) at the London School of Economics. Mike has been Head of Department between 2013 and 2016, and is also co-Director of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, where he is initial Academic Director of the Atlantic Fellows programme, the largest global programme in the world devoted to challenging inequalities.
Mike has long standing interests in analysing social stratification and inequality. He has played a major role in the revival of the sociology of social class in recent decades so that it has become once more a central plank of the discipline.
Mike has been one of the academic team working on the BBC’s Great British Class Survey, which has been the most popular piece of digital sociology ever (with 9 million hits on the BBC’s ‘class calculator’). His book Social class in the 21st Century - which argues that older models of class which focused on the divide between middle and working class have been eclipsed by an elite class pulling away at the top, and greater fragmentation in the middle levels of the social structure - has been a bestseller. Mike is now pulling these arguments forward through developing new ways of linking class analysis with the study of elites.
Mike also has a strong track record in supporting the discipline. Between 1993 and 2016, Mike was on the Editorial Board of The Sociological Review, where he was editor between 2001 and 2007,and as Chair of the Editorial Board between 2011 and 2016 oversaw its transition into a fully recognised charity. Mike has also been a member of the Sociology research evaluation exercises (RAE 2008 and REF 2013).
About The John Westergaard Annual Lecture
The Department of Sociological Studies is proud to announce the introduction of an annual lecture in honour of the late Professor John Westergaard. John was Professor of Sociology from 1975 to 1986, Deputy Dean and Dean of the Faulty of Social Sciences from 1982 to 1986, and thereafter Professor Emeritus.
John Westergaard championed the study of class inequality long before its importance became widely acknowledged with such seminal texts as Class in a Capitalist Society (1975) and Who Gets What (1995), and played key roles in the development of the discipline of sociology both in the UK and internationally. He was at the centre of the wider sociology community and served as President of the British Sociological Association from 1991 to 1993 and Vice President from 1994. He was also a leading member of the Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy.
In line with John Westergaard’s career-long application of sociological insights and methodology to major social policy issues, this lecture series will seek to address some of this century’s most pressing concerns. We aim to attract speakers at the cutting-edge of sociology and social policy who are able to stimulate a public debate in Sheffield and beyond.