Keynote Speakers

Sociology Days 2015 keynote speakers are Professor Lisa Adkins (University of Newcastle, Australia) and Professor Nicholas Gane (University of Warwick, UK).


Adkins Picture4Lisa Adkins

Professor, University of Newcastle, Australia

Lisa Adkins is the BHP Billiton Chair of Sociology at the University of Newcastle, Australia and Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor (2015-2019). She is joint Editor-in-Chief of Australian Feminist Studies. Her recent research focuses on the restructuring of labour, money and time in post-Fordist capitalism. Publications from this research have appeared in a number of journals including South Atlantic Quarterly, Feminist Theory and Australian Feminist Studies. She has also contributed to debates concerning the reconstruction of social science through the volumes What is the Empirical? (2009) and Measure and Value (2012) both co-edited with Celia Lury.

Keynote: Thursday 5th March 2015, 12:30-13:30
Porthania, Lecture Hall PI (1st floor)

Speculative Futures in the Time of Debt    

In this lecture I am concerned with the temporality of debt. Against the widespread claim that the society of debt has emptied out futures via the elevation of the promise to pay to a total social fact, I suggest that the time of securitized debt is speculative in form. Thus, in the time of securitized debt, pasts, presents and futures do not stand in a pre-set relation to one another, but are open to a constant state or revision: they may be drawn and redrawn, assembled and disassembled, set and reset. I track this time in changing schedules of household and personal debt − and crucially in the logics of accumulation via securitized debt – to argue that far from emptying out futures debt society demands subjects who must constantly adjust to recalibrations of pasts, presents and futures as well as to changes in the relations between and across these states.


nicholas_ganeNicholas Gane

Professor, University of Warwick, UK

Nicholas Gane is a social and cultural theorist with an interest in political economy and economic sociology. He joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick in October 2013 from the University of York. He worked previously at Brunel University and Goldsmiths College. Nicholas is a board member of the journal Theory, Culture and Society, and edited the Theory, Culture and Society Annual Review from 2006 to 2009. He is the Director of Graduate Studies and the Doctoral Training Centre contact for the Department of Sociology. He is the co-director of the Social Theory Centre, and the convenor of the MA Social and Political Thought.

Keynote: Thursday 5th March 2015, 13:30-14:30
Porthania, Lecture Hall PI (1st floor)

Sociology and Neoliberalism: Three Cycles that Open onto the Present

Neoliberalism is a form of market-led governance that has flourished in the wake of the recent financial crisis. While there are many existing accounts of neoliberalism that focus on its discourses and its practices, it is little known that this form of political-economic thinking developed out of an engagement with the ideas of classical sociology. This lecture will tell the story of neoliberalism by focussing on three cycles in its sociological history: first, the initial development of a new economic liberalism through a critique of the work of Max Weber and Auguste Comte by figures such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek from 1920-45; second the elaboration of a concrete neoliberal project from 1947 to 1960 – a project that initially involved key sociological thinkers such as Raymond Aron, Michael Polanyi and Alfred Schutz; and third, through the 1980s and 90s the development of a form of left-wing neoliberalism by Anthony Giddens, who became the architect of the New Labour project in the UK. This lecture will ask what can be learned from these three episodes in the history of neoliberalism, and how sociology as a discipline might make a response to the crisis of the present. It will be argued that for sociology to do so it must challenge the current hegemony of economic concepts and ideas within the public sphere, and engage critically with market-oriented initiatives that (re-)produce and accentuate social inequalities of different kinds.

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