Current Events

Glasgow Sociology hosts a range of informative and lively events. Please see the links below for further information

Global Social Science? Practical issues, ethical dilemmas

Sociology Seminar Series 2016-17



























All sessions, unless otherwise noted, will take place in the Adam Smith Building, Room 916, from 16.00-17.30.


All sessions are open to all and are free to attend.  The venue is accessible.


The Sociology subject area gratefully acknowledges the support of the MacFie bequest for this seminar series


Enquiries to the convener Matthew Waites (



18 January 2017


Joint seminar of Sociology with the Gender and Sexualities Forum


Sylvia Morgan (Sociology, University of Glasgow)


Constructing identities, reclaiming subjectivities, reconstructing selves: an interpretative study of transgender practices in Scotland


This presentation details the findings of the first qualitative study of transgender identities in Scotland, based on narrative histories gathered through 38 in-depth interviews with 28 transgender-identified participants. The interpretative data analysis was developed from ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism, performativity, and practice theory, applied to the social construction of gendered subjectivities.  Empirical insights were mapped into the intersubjective meanings of historical and emergent transgender practices in Scotland. Gender variance exposes the social construction of gender by being categorically incoherent and ontologically incomprehensible. Transgender identities and practices tend to subvert normative binaries of gender and sexuality, bringing the stability of the heterosexual matrix into question. The study contributes towards: research examining the formative experiences of transgender subjectivities; research recording the narrative histories of older gender variant individuals; research methods for recruiting small, hidden, hard to reach populations; and a sociologically informed understanding of the social construction of transgender identities and practices within the context of changing legislation and social attitudes in Scotland over the past two decades.


Sylvia Morgan has submitted a PhD thesis in Sociology at the University of Glasgow, titled ‘Constructing identities, reclaiming subjectivities, reconstructing selves: an interpretative study of transgender practices in Scotland’.  She is author of The Crisis of Capitalism in Inter-War Glasgow: Five Realist Novels (Kilkerran: humming earth).



8 February 2017


Joint seminar of Sociology with Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research


Chrissie Rogers (Sociology and Policy, Aston University)


Care-less spaces and disabling narratives: education, families and the criminal justice system


Social justice, relationality, care and ethics need to be considered when exploring intellectual disability and spaces of systemic violence. I have developed a care ethics model of disability that is a global proposition for all areas of social life, but it is within the familial, educational and criminal justice system (CJS) that ethical and care-full work via the emotional, practical and socio-political caring spheres is arguably needed the most. Therefore, it makes sense to explore family, education and criminal justice narratives, via qualitative data, and it is here I identify countless care-less spaces. Furthermore, the family, schooling and the CJS, as institutions, are micro social systems within the socio-political sphere and it is within these systems a broader picture of social justice/injustice, exclusion/inclusion, success/failure, and privilege/discrimination can be charted. All things considered education (one space where offending behaviour can escalate) and the CJS need re-humanising. Therefore, rather than following a path of blame, whether it is the ‘dysfunctional family’, the ‘deficit’ child or the economically deprived nation, we require ethically just practices and caring, care-full spaces as a fundamental part of a re-humanising the socio-political sphere. No small feat.


Chrissie Rogers is a senior lecturer in sociology at Aston University and is currently a Leverhulme Trust Fellow carrying out criminal justice research with adults who have offended and have either learning difficulties, mental health issues, and/or their family members. Chrissie has recently completed research in developing a care ethics model of disability which was published in March 2016 as Intellectual Disability and Being Human: a care ethics model with Routledge. She graduated from Essex with her PhD (ESRC) in Sociology (2004) and then secured an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship (Cambridge) from which she published Parenting and Inclusive Education with Palgrave in 2007.



15 February 2017


Dan Woodman, President of the Australian Sociological Association (University of Melbourne)


Researching generational change and inequality


Generational discourse increasingly characterises media and public representations of young people, with current youth cohorts characterised as either a ‘lost’ or ‘narcissistic’ generation. In academic youth studies the concept of social generations is controversial, returning to prominence in the context of social change but critiqued by many for obscuring profound continuities across generations within families and societies, particularly linked to class and gender. In this presentation I will discuss how I have used the Life Patterns study of Australian young people to engage in these debates. Life Patterns is a 25-year, 2-cohort longitudinal study of youth transitions in Australia, using multiple methods including surveys, semi-structured interviews, and recently interactive workshops and digital ethnography. I have used data from the study to critique the crude generationalism that characterises public representations of youth, but also to defend and develop a ‘social generations’ approach within youth studies. The concept of social generations helps avoid the conflation of inequality with continuity, sensitising researchers to the ways that young people are living differently to their parents, and the way that inequalities (including by class, gender and race) are being made afresh in contemporary conditions.


Dan Woodman is TR Ashworth Associate Professor and Head of Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is President of The Australian Sociological Association and Vice President for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania of the Research Committee for the Sociology of Youth within the International Sociological Association. His work focuses on the sociology of generations, social change, and the impact of insecure work and variable employment patterns on people’s relationships. His recent books include Youth and Generation (Sage, with Johanna Wyn), the four volume collection Youth and Young Adulthood (Routledge, with Andy Furlong), and the edited collection Youth Cultures, Transitions, and Generations: Bridging the Gap in Youth Research (Palgrave, with Andy Bennett)

22 February 2017


Joint seminar of Sociology with the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research


Sarah Armstrong and SCCJR colleagues


The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice: Overviewing of research, approach and contribution/linkage to Sociology


SCCJR celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. This session offers a chance to learn about the work of SCCJR over its first ten years and its plans for the future as well as provides an opportunity to explore critically the nature of academic-based centres carrying out policy- and community-engaged work. Key areas of SCCJR’s research are in: gender-based violence, state punishment, young people and organised crime. Much of this work connects to and is informed by core concerns of sociology including state power, equality, gender, class, the urban. The session will be led by the Centre’s Director, Sarah Armstrong, and include as well short presentations from key SCCJR researchers about the kind of projects they are involved in and how these speak to the wider Sociology group. The session will allow ample time for Q and A and discussion about how the Centre works, its role within Sociology and the School, how people might get involved, and possibilities of collaborating with colleagues in other areas.


Sarah Armstrong is Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow.  In this presentation she will be joined by colleagues from the Centre.



8 March 2017


Joint seminar of Sociology with Socialist Theory and Movements Research Network


John Narayan (Department of Sociology, University of Warwick)


Black Power: Over There and Over Here

The history of the US Black Power movement and its constituent groups such as the Black Panther Party has recently gone through a process of historical reappraisal, which challenges the characterisation of Black Power as the violent, misogynist and negative counterpart to the Civil Rights movement. Indeed, scholars have furthered interest in the global aspects of the movement, highlighting how Black Power was adopted in contexts as diverse as India, Israel and Polynesia. This paper will highlight that Britain also possessed its own distinctive form of Black Power movement, which whilst inspired and informed by its US counterpart, was also rooted in anti-colonial politics, New Commonwealth immigration and the onset of decolonisation. Existing sociological narratives usually locate the prominence and visibility of British Black Power and its activism, which lasted through the 1960’s to the early 1980’s, within the broad history of UK race relations and the movement from anti-racism to multiculturalism. However, this characterisation underplays and neglects how such Black activism and its conjoining of explanations of domestic racism with issues of imperialism, global inequality and democracy. Through recovering this history the paper seeks to bring to a fore a forgotten part of British history and also examine how the history of British Black Power offers valuable lessons about how the politics of anti-racism and anti-imperialism should be united in the 21st century.


John Narayan is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.  His current research focuses on the global politics of Black Power. His first book John Dewey: The Global Public and its Problems (2016) was published with Manchester University Press. And he is co-editor of European Cosmopolitanism: Colonial Histories and Post-Colonial Societies (2016) with Routledge.



9 March 2017


Joint seminar of Sociology with Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research


Shamus Khan (Department of Sociology, Columbia University)


How Cultural Capital Emerged in Gilded Age America: Musical Purification and Cross-Class Inclusion at the New York Philharmonic


This paper provides a new account of the emergence of cultural capital in America, and about the relationship between culture and elites. This argument is based upon a new database of subscribed to the New York Philharmonic between 1880 and 1910 – the key period of institutionalization of high culture in the United States. In analyzing these data we seek to understand how culture became a resource for elite status in that era. We find support for the classic account of purification and exclusiveness of high culture, showing how over the long Gilded Age the social elite of New York attended the Philharmonic both increasingly and in more socially patterned ways. Yet we also find that the orchestra opened up to a new group of subscribers who did not share the social practices, occupational background, or residential choices of more elite patrons. These new members hailed from the professional, managerial and intellectual middle class that was then forming in U.S. cities. The rise of that educated class paved a specific way to the emergence of cultural capital, as it made possible to share elite culture beyond the ranks of the elite alone. We further show that the inclusion of these new members was segregated, by which we mean that they did not mingle with elites inside the concert hall. Thus, greater distinctiveness and greater inclusiveness happened together at the Philharmonic, enabling elite culture to remain distinctive while it also acquired broader social currency.


Shamus Khan is a professor of sociology at Columbia University. He is the author of, Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School (Princeton), The Practice of Research (Oxford, with Dana Fisher), the forthcoming Exceptional: The Astors, the New York Elite, and the story of American Inequality  (Princeton) and Approaches to Ethnography: Modes of Representation and Analysis in Participant Observation (Oxford). He directs the working group on the political influence of economic elites at the Russell Sage Foundation, is the series editor of “The Middle Range” at Columbia University Press, and the editor of the journal Public Culture. He writes regularly for the popular press such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, and serving as a columnist for Time Magazine.





22 March 2017  


Professor Andrew Sayer (Sociology, University of Lancaster).


A Relation to the World of Concern: Normativity, Social Science and the Body


The talk will build upon the arguments of my 2011 book, Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life (Cambridge University Press). It will primarily address social science’s troubled relationship to normativity, and to morality and ethics in particular. I will argue that social science and philosophy have complementary shortcomings in dealing with these issues, that demand a dialogue between them to resolve. I will also develop the book’s arguments further in relation to sociality, embodiment and ’embrainment’, drawing upon recent developments in neuroscience.


Andrew Sayer is Professor of Social Theory and Political Economy at Lancaster University. His most recent book is Why We Can’t Afford the Rich (Policy Press, 2014).