Category: Social Movements / Social Change

BJS Annual Lecture: From “Having” to “Being”: self-worth and the current crisis of American society, by Michèle Lamont

On Thursday 25th October 2018, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Department of Sociology hosted its annual British Journal of Sociology  (BJS) public lecture. The lecture, by Professor Michèle Lamont from Harvard University was entitled, From “Having” to “Being”: self-worth and the current crisis of American society. The lecture focused on diagnosing the challenges of neoliberal American society: the pitfalls of the American dream across classes, hardened group boundaries, and the need to invent new narratives of hope.  The lecture...

“Disgruntlement” and Protest Movements in the Trump Era

In their recently published article, “Protest Movements and Citizen Discontent: Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party”[1], Martin et al. seek to explain how and why citizens support broad-based protest movements like the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street.  Unlike social movements with clear constituents and defined goals, movements like these lead us to wonder why some individuals participate and not others.  Deviating from conventional frameworks that point to the extension or dislocation of political ideologies as social movement catalysts,...

Sociology Research Led a US State to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Chronicle of Higher Education this week reported that when the Washington State Supreme Court abolished the death penalty this month, it was primarily because of the work of sociologist, Professor Katherine Beckett. On Thursday, 11th October 2018 the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the death penalty violates the Washington State constitution‘s prohibition on ‘cruel punishment.’ In its ruling, the Court cited research by University of Washington Center for Human Rights Faculty Associate Prof. Katherine Beckett, and Lecturer Heather Evans, who conducted the...

Sociology Lens Editor’s unexpected reflections on the year so far

This time of year always brings me mixed emotions. Autumn is my favourite season and as a once upon a time student of the English Romantic Poets, I’ve always enjoyed the nostalgia of mists and mellow fruitfulness (1). The lowing sun still has its warm but heavy glow, the creeping light winds up the walls a little earlier every day, whilst the coming darkness slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window-panes (2)  as we start to curl about the...

What not to watch: #MeToo and contemporary popular culture

In light of #MeToo, one of issues I have found myself thinking about on a daily basis is how to come to a decision as to whether or not a piece of culture is irredeemably tainted by the involvement of men accused of abuses and if I, as an ethical subject, should continue to consume them. The most significant factor in assessing whether or not to consume a piece work in which so-called ‘bad men’ feature prominently is individual experience....

‘Hokianga Says No to Deep Sea Oil’: Revisiting Environmental Protest in New Zealand

In August 2015, around 120 people gathered outside New Zealand’s Northland Regional Council. They protested against closed-door briefings by Statoil on proposals to drill for oil, displaying placards and banners (such as ‘Hokianga Says No to Deep Sea Oil’), singing songs and chanting their call for exploration licenses to be revoked. This action was one of a number that took place around New Zealand after 2011, when the National Party led government (2008-2017) pursued offshore oil exploration within its drive...

Highlights from the American Sociological Association Conference, ‘Feeling Race’, Philadelphia, 11-14 August 2018

This year’s American Sociological Association (ASA) conference was held in Philadelphia, on the theme ‘Feeling Race’. I attended in my role as Research Editor for the journal Sociology of Health & Illness (SHI), to network with Medical Sociologists and encourage awareness of SHI as a place to publish their work. I was excited to visit this city and had been told to do two things (work activities aside!) whilst I was there: run up the ‘Rocky Steps’ and eat a Philly...

Highlights from the ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, 15-21 July 2018

The XIX International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology is taking place this week, 15-21 July 2018. The Conference theme is Power, Violence and Justice, a topic that could not be more relevant for the global landscape in 2018. With over 5,000 delegates attending from across the globe, the congress opened with a vibrant and rousing performance by the Red Urban Project, Wasauking First Nation dancers and musicians. Professor Myrna Dawson, President-Elect of the Canadian Sociological Association began the addresses...

Celebrating the XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, 15-21 July 2018

The XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology is taking place 15-21 July 2018, in Toronto Canada. The theme of the congress is Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities and aims to focus on how scholars, researchers, policy makers, professionals and activists across the disciplines can contribute to our understanding of power, violence and justice. To celebrate this diverse, multidisciplinary Congress, we are pleased to bring together a collection of content from journals across the social sciences, including sociology,...

Interview: Lisa Garforth on Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature

Lisa Garforth is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Newcastle University. Her work explores green future visions, especially in fiction. Her recent book Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature (Polity 2018) examines the changing content and socio-cultural contexts of green utopias from post-war environmentalism to the challenge of the Anthropocene. What lead you to write your book, Green Utopias, and what are the major themes? I wanted to rethink environmental utopianism, not so much from the perspective of practical...

Free Content Collection: Celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity

Join us in celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (#WorldDiversityDay), observed annually on May 21st. A special collection of the latest research from a variety of disciplines to share knowledge on this important subject is free to access  until June 30th 2018 Former Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova commented on the importance of this world focus day: “Even as we celebrate cultural diversity today, we must remember that cultural diversity is increasingly under threat. Across the world, violent extremists have targeted cultural...

Forward March: The Next Destination for Feminism

An estimated five million people around the world marched on 21 of January 2017 to protest the sexist behaviour of the incoming US President, Donald Trump. Even as these marches took place, the scope seemed to expand and something shifted in the way that everyone, and especially women, were thinking and talking about feminism. This is an abridged version of the editorial from the most recent issue of the IPPR Progressive Review, which is free to read until the end...

Why W.E.B. Du Bois is the founder of American scientific sociology: Interview between Nigel Dodd and Aldon Morris

Professor Nigel Dodd, Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Sociology (BJS), interviews Professor Aldon Morris of Northwestern University on the 2016 BJS Annual Public Lecture. In his lecture Aldon Morris discussed evidence from his book, The Scholar Denied, showing W.E.B Du Bois, an influential 20th century black scholar, was the founding father of modern scientific sociology. Watch the interview Watch the full Lecture You can also read and download Aldon Morris’ paper, W. E. B. Du Bois at the center: from science, civil rights movement, to...

Health and new normals

A recent article in The Conservation – To be ill is to be human: why normalising illness would make it easier to cope with – authors Gill Hubbard and Claire Wakefield argue that sickness remains the great unsaid, an object and state of denial, a source of fear and cause of stigma. Because of this, we tend to stay quiet when we fall ill, often keeping it hidden and coping alone.  This may make it far harder to cope when...

Silence Does Not Equal Siding with the Oppressor: Why I Decided Not to Attend the March

Aside from disliking huge crowds, there are many reasons why I decided not to attend the Women’s March this upcoming Saturday (January 21st, 2017). This inauguration is scary and telling of times to come. It has been a while since I have been this scared, especially after moving to a red state. Up until now, I have been steadfast in my sociological training. Many professors tell budding sociologists they need to be (p)olitical as opposed to (P)olitical because objectivity is...

"Not In My Name" Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

“Not In my Name” they shouted. That was ten years ago, but it feels as though the same could be said today of the increasingly hate-filled, aggressive tone of public life in the UK, United States and much of Europe. “Not In My Name” was one of the slogans of the campaign against the UK’s invasion of Iraq. Although I was sympathetic to the message at the time, I thought this was a slightly pathetic, anodyne slogan, one which felt...