The University of Leicester's Department of Sociology - Seminar Series (2015/2016)

Posted by ld190 at Nov 26, 2015 11:05 AM |
The Department of Sociology has announced that it will be hosting a series of academic speakers to talk about their cutting-edge research. Topics include: Social integration in Europe and the clustering of status groups of UK Universities.

Seminar 1.

SpeakerTitleDateLocation

Dr. Ryan Powell, Sheffield Hallam University.

Gypsy-Travellers, Roma and social integration in Europe: on the centrality of childhood and the "we-I balance"

December 9th 2015 at 2pm

Att 002, Attenborough

Seminar Abstract:

Norbert Elias provides a very useful theoretical framework for understanding long-term changes in childhood-adulthood relations at the societal level. Key processes central to this theorization include: the increasing distance between childhood-adulthood; the increasing separation of the social worlds of children and adults; the civilizing of parents; changes in the "we-I balance" towards the "I"; and the gradual conversion of social constraints (family/group) into self-restraints (individualization). Yet variable trajectories are under-developed in Elias' work: the differing nature of interrelated social processes for different "outsider" (or weakly integrated) groups in society were not systematically addressed by Elias. This paper applies his theories on childhood and individualization to Gypsy-Traveller/Roma groups. Drawing on empirical data, it argues that the above processes differ markedly for many Gypsy-Traveller/Roma groups and, coupled with the existence of a very strong group orientation and related (dis)identifications, are central to accounting for their relative lack of social integration. That is, seen through an Eliasian lens, differing processes of childhood and family socialisation are crucial in explaining how Gypsy-Traveller/Roma groups have maintained their own group identity and cultural continuity under intense pressures to assimilation and conformity. The paper concludes that a focus on the we-I balance in relation to extreme "outsider" groups such as Gypsy-Travellers/Roma can also aid an understanding of the relative integration of other weakly integrated groups, such as working-class youth where a Bourdieusian framework tends to predominate. Conversely, empirical examples could also contribute to the refinement of Elias' theories, particularly in terms of understanding different patterns of individualization, childhood, socialisation and integration; and in explaining variable outcomes and the stratified nature of "youth transitions".

 

Seminar 2.

Speaker
Title
Date
Location

Dr. Vikki Boliver,

Durham University

Are there distinctive clusters of higher and lower status universities in the UK?


February 17th 2016 at 4.30pm

 

CW 409

Charles Wilson Fourth Floor SR 409 Garendon

Session Abstract:

In 1992 the binary divide between universities and polytechnics was dismantled to create anominally unitary system of higher education for the UK. Just a year later, the first UK university league table was published, and the year after that saw the formation of the Russell Group of self-proclaimed ‘leading’ universities. This paper asks whether there are distinctive clusters of higher and lower status universities in the UK, and, in particular, whether the Russell Group institutions can be said to constitute a distinctive elite tier. Cluster analysis of publicly available data on the research activity, teaching quality, economic resources, academic selectivity, and socioeconomic student mix of UK universities demonstrates that the former binary divide persists with Old (pre-1992) universities characterised by higher levels of research activity, greater wealth, more academically successful and socioeconomically advantaged student intakes, but similar levels of teaching quality, compared to New (post-1992) institutions. Among the Old universities,Oxford and Cambridge emerge as an elite tier, whereas the remaining 22 Russell Group universities appear to be undifferentiated from the majority of other Old universities. A division among the New universities is also evident, with around a quarter of New universities forming a distinctive lower tier.

Seminar 3.

Speaker
Title
Date
Location

Dr.Lisa Mckenzie,

LSE

Precarious Lives: living in austere times


March 2nd 2016 at 12pm Noon

 

Ken Edwards Third Floor Room SR 324

Session Abstract:

Lisa is the author of the highly regarded Getting By: Estates, Class, and Culture in Austerity Britain published by Policy Press, 2015

Seminar 4.

Speaker
Title
Date
Location

Professor Claire Callender,

Birkbeck

Student mothers in HE: two (and more) for the price of one – widening participation and tackling child poverty.

March 9th 2016 at 4.30pm

(part of IWD 2016 events)

Attenborough Seminar Block LR 002

Session Abstract:

This paper will explore two, usually separate but inter-connected, set of policies: one on widening participation and social mobility, and the other on tackling child poverty and inequality. It does this by calling on the findings from a study which assessed part-time undergraduate courses targeted at low-income mothers, delivered in Sure Start Children's Centres, and run by Birkbeck, University of London and the Open University. By focusing on the perceived benefits of study and their effects on the lives of the mothers, and especially their children's educational trajectories, the paper examines how these two policies, and the thinking underpinning them, can be brought together. It argues that these courses helped widen mothers' access to HE. Their transformational and liberating nature, through the academic study of social sciences, enabled and encouraged these mother’s involvement and engagement with their children’s learning and education. Such courses, therefore, also have the potential to improve their children’s educational attainment. This raises issues about the purpose of HE. It brings into question the widely asserted assumption that universities have a limited role to play in tackling the socio-economic gap in children’s underachievement.

Seminar 5.

Speaker
Title
Date
Location

Professor Russell King

Geography-Migration-Albania

April 27th at 4.30pm

Att 111, First Floor Seminar Block, Attenborough Building

Seminar Abstract:

This seminar starts by briefly exploring the premise that, like other field-based social sciences, a geographer’s scholarly work is defined by three axes: a specific discipline, a specialist field of study (which may well be interdisciplinary in nature) and a place or country where that specialist field is empirically investigated. As a geographer-migrationist, my preferred field location for the past decade or so has been Albania. No other country in Europe has had such an intensive experience of migration over the past 25 years. Its current stock of emigrants (1.4 million) equates half the population living in Albania (2.8 million at the 2011 census). The second part of the seminar will draw on my various research projects on Albanian migration and its relationship to the ongoing (under)development of Albania).

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