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Inaugural Lecture: Professor Kevin McDonald

Event information

START DATE 18 February 2015
START TIME 05:00pm

Room C211, 2nd Floor, College Building, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT

END DATE 18 February 2015
END TIME 08:00pm

Sociology and the return of the actor: culture and politics, ethics and justice

As a discipline, sociology is at ease exploring social structures, from class hierarchies to networks, but less confident in its ability to engage with social actors, movements, conflicts and creativity. In its crudest form, such sociology takes the form of a determinism where 'social structures' are offered as the explanation for action, from terrorism to fashion, or as analyses that present 'neoliberalism' as a disembodied force reshaping the world. Such sociology is deeply inadequate when confronted with contemporary social transformations that, while involving new forms of inequality, crisis and anti-politics, also involve new practices of freedom, autonomy and creativity. 

In the light of a sociology of actors, this lecture considers some of the most urgent problems we confront today, but also addresses possibilities opening out to us. Professor McDonald will do so through presenting some of the research he has been undertaking around radicalisation leading to violent jihadism, as well as research around practices of collaboration suggesting a new culture and ethics. The lecture considers the implications of both for politics today and asks what sort of sociology do we need to make sense of, and engage with, the contemporary social world?

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17:00 – 17:30 Reception drinks, Second Floor Mezzanine, College Building

17:30 – 18:30 Lecture, Room C211, College Building

18:30 – 20:00 Buffet and Drinks, Second Floor Mezzanine, College Building

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