Blog Topics


Dr Hannah Jones (University of Warwick)

Title: Uncomfortable Positions: Against Heroic Sociology

Abstract: For me, the core of sociology is captured by C Wright Mills’ formulation of the interaction between ‘public issues and private troubles’. The operation of power in both structural and personal forms is at its core. I will argue that, while sociologists may be ready to discuss and write about conflict and tension in the subjects they study, and to draw attention to operations of power in a range of forms, it is often too easy to ignore the way in which we ourselves are implicated in unequal power relations, both structurally and personally, in the production and communication of knowledge. I will suggest that a powerful contribution of sociology to understanding (and changing) society can be through resisting the impulse to position oneself (explicitly or implicitly) as part of a progressive and morally superior insight and voice. I think there is potential in embracing the uncomfortable positions in which we each find ourselves as researchers, writers, teachers and students, and in recognising and understanding our own failures and partialities, rather than ignoring or attempting to smooth over the messy contradictions of our implication in systems of control, power and inequality. This is not suggested as an excuse for hand-wringing, but as a call towards imaginative and collaborative negotiations of ever-unfinished sociological work, within and against these spaces of power.

twitter avatarBio: Hannah Jones is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of Warwick. She researches, writes and teaches on racism and its interactions with other forms of power, migration, identity and belonging, critical social policy and critical and participative research methods. She is the author of Negotiating Cohesion, Inequality and Change (2013, Policy Press) and co-editor of Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging: Emotion and Location. Her most recent project, with a fantastic group of collaborators, is detailed at

Dr Emma Jackson (Goldsmiths)

Title: For a feminist punk sociology: Collaboration as rebellious sociology?

colin clark

 This provocation begins with Dave Beer’s call to ‘Punk Sociology’. Drawing on my experiences as a musician and sociologist, I will consider what sociologists can learn from a DIY sensibility, in particular I will explore what a feminist punk sociology might look like (and where it might already exist). I will particularly focus on how might this manifest in writing practices, in collaborative work, peer support and in the temporalities of the production of academic work. I will also consider the barriers to practicing this kind of work in a wider context where Early Career Researchers are under pressure to market themselves as exceptional individuals in competition with each other.

E JacksonBio: Dr Emma Jackson is a lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Previously, she held an Urban Studies Foundation Fellowship at the University of Glasgow. She teaches, researches and writes on cities, belonging and the production of space. She is author of ‘Young Homeless People and Urban Space: Fixed in Mobility’ (2015), co-author of ‘The Middle Classes and the City: a Study of Paris and London’ (2015) and co-editor of ‘Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging: Emotion and Location’ (2014). 

Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham)

Title: Sociology after the Public University.

Abstract: This paper argues that sociology takes its meaning as a critique of  liberal reason and asks how the neo-liberal knowledge regime of the contemporary English university might be contested.

John Holmwood is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham. He is a former president of the British Sociological Association (2012-14) and co-founder of the Campaign for the Public University and of the free online magazine of social research, Discover Society.

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