CANCELLED: 'The Sociogenesis of a Sociologist: Intersections of History and Biography'

Series Name Professorial Inaugural Lecture
Speaker Professor John Goodwin from the Department of Sociology
Type Lectures & Talks
Starts at Mar 24, 2015 05:30 PM
Ends at Mar 24, 2015 06:30 PM
Venue Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1
Open To Public
Ticket Price Free
For Bookings Contact Anyone wishing to attend a lecture, whether student, staff or public, should contact

This lecture has been cancelled and a new date is to be arranged.

Professor John Goodwin from the Department of Sociology will give his professorial inaugural lecture entitled ''Plastic antibodies' – can we surpass Nature?' on 10 March 2015 in Ken Edwards Building Lecture Theatre 1.

The first lesson of modern sociology is that the individual cannot understand his own experience or gauge his own fate without locating himself within the trends of his epoch and the life-chances of all the individuals of his social layer. (C. Wright Mills 1951)

Sing your life. Walk right up to the microphone and name all the things you love. All the things that you loathe. (Morrissey 1991)

Summarising his lecture, Professor Goodwin said: "How did it come to be that a working class ‘school failure’ from North Derbyshire ended up becoming a Professor of Sociology? How does anyone ‘become’ what they ‘are’ or end up where they do? In this inaugural lecture I will develop a reflective sociological analysis of my own professional journey from ‘school failure’ to Sociology Professor using the works of two of my academic heroes  – C. Wright Mills and Norbert Elias – as my starting point.

"For C. Wright Mills ‘personal troubles’ cannot be understood solely as personal troubles but must be understood as a part of the process of history making – what he termed the intersections of biography and history. As such, the exploration of the ‘individual story’ (an individual’s troubles) can be used to illuminate broader processes of historical change and transformation. In turn, Norbert Elias offers a clear sociological practice for exploring such transformations via the three core questions that undergirded much of his work: 1) how did ‘this’ come to be?; 2) in what ways are ‘these’ inter-related?; and 3) what broader chains of interdependence are involved in ‘this’?  Like Mills, Elias empowers the sociologist to view the ‘individual’ story not simply as something ‘personal’ or unique but instead as a ‘process’, as part of a web of continually changing relationships an, as he suggested, there is no  ‘‘I’ without ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘we’, ‘you’ or ‘they’’ (Elias: 1978: 124).

"Using ephemera and realia from my own archives I will consider the origins and development of my varied interests and how, in turn, those interests have shaped my own research agenda. Likewise, I consider in detail how failing at school and my subsequent diversions through further education, a short foray into nursing, and my early teaching experiences at Leicester shaped my teaching identity."

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