School of Social and Political Science

Sociology Seminar Series Autumn 2022


Full programme of weekly seminars for Semester 1 2022/23.

28 September (Online) 4pm - "The Crisis of Social Reproduction and “Made-in-China” Feminism" Yige Dong (State University of New York—Buffalo)

Online event - 4pm - 5.30pm

Crises of care and social reproduction have led to new debates and social movements around the world, but there has been little scholarly scrutiny on these issues in contemporary China. Facing rapid population ageing and historically low birth rates, the Chinese government believes the country is suffering from a demographic crisis. Yet, the so-called population question is fundamentally a political one: who is bearing the brunt of biologically and socially reproducing the Chinese labour force who have fuelled the Chinese economy in the last four decades? This talk contextualizes China’s current care crisis in the country's long-existing urban-rural divide and the unchecked patriarchal-capitalist mode of accumulation that have produced uneven consequences among different social groups. Further, I argue that across social classes, Chinese women are making their voices heard and taking actions to protest against systemic appropriation and exploitation of their care and reproductive labour. Analyzing this 'made-in-China' feminism can shed new light on theorization of social reproduction and contentious politics in China.   

Yige Dong is Assistant Professor in Sociology and Global Gender & Sexuality Studies at the State University of New York--Buffalo. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests include political economy, labor, gender, contentious politics, and comparative-historical methods. Dong’s research on Chinese labor politics and feminist movements has appeared in International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Critical Asian Studies, Soundings, among others. She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the politics of care work during the rise and fall of industrial socialism in China.

Note: This is an online event taking place via Zoom. More information and booking.

5 October 4pm - "An Intersectional Approach to the Community-Building Aspect of Hashtag Feminism in Brazil" Gabriela Loureiro (University of Edinburgh)

CMB seminar room 1 4pm - 5:30pm

This talk focuses on the  community-building aspect of digital feminist mobilisations  in Brazil and its inequalities, unravelling feelings of belonging and alienation that result from social organizing around a common cause and the ways in which these feelings relate to the histories of feminist activism more broadly. While the creation of feminist collectives online often lead to a public demand for accountability and personal reflection on different levels, they also reproduce limitations in terms of building sustained change that belong to a long legacy of conflict amongst groups involved in collective struggle. Hence, I delve into theorizations of intersectionality, demonstrating how building campaigns with intersectional lenses demands more than adding different identities to the mix “and stir”. I situate intersectionality within debates about the work of coalitional politics in order to think projects of difference, bringing theory and praxis into the discussion in order to illuminate the current limitations of Brazilian digital feminist activism and community coalitions more broadly. In this talk, I will argue that hashtag campaigns repeat feminist activism’s history of radicality and co-option, but with new sets of limitations and potentials that further limits the pursuit of social justice. 

Bio: I am a researcher and lecturer currently teaching Sociology of Emotions and Sociology of Intimate Relationships at the University of Edinburgh. I am also part of the research project Connecting during Covid-19: Practices of care, remittance sending and digitisation among UK’s migrant communities, based at Queen Mary University and in partnership with SOAS and UCL's Institute of Education. This project has been receiving widespread media attention, with articles about our work being published at the BBC, the Khaleej Times and the World Bank. 

I received my PhD in Media and Gender Studies at the University of West London with a thesis about emotions and online feminist activism in Brazil, looking at hashtags as digital consciousness-raising and exploring the sociology of emotions in cyberfeminisms. I also hold a Masters in Gender, Sexuality and the Body from the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. 

19 Oct 11am - "The Call to Deviance: Queer Theory’s Inheritance from the Social Sciences" Heather Love (University of Pennsylvania)

Violet Laidlaw Room (Floor 6 6.02) 11am - 1pm

Abstract: This paper draws on Love’s recent book Underdogs: Social Deviance and Queer Theory to consider uptake of midcentury deviance studies in classic queer theory. I trace connections between the work of canonical queer critics such as Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, and Michael Warner to the writings of midcentury critics such as Erving Goffman, Howard Becker, and Harvey Sacks via both biographical and conceptual lines. Along with the profound political changes that defined this era, I also trace a transition from deviance as a descriptive category to a normative injunction. 


Heather Love teaches English and Gender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Underdogs: Social Deviance and Queer Theory and Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History. Additionally, she is the editor of a special issue of GLQ on Gayle Rubin (“Rethinking Sex”), and the co-editor of a special issue of Representations (“Description Across Disciplines”). Love has written on topics including comparative social stigma, compulsory happiness, transgender fiction, the ethics of observation, spinster aesthetics, and reading methods in literary studies. 

26 Oct 11am - "W. E. B. Du Bois and his Strange Synthesis of Spirituality and Sociology" Matthew W. Hughey (University of Connecticut)

Violet Laidlaw Room (Floor 6 6.02) 11am - 1pm


Scholarship on W. E. B. Du Bois now flourishes.  Despite the newfound attention, few critically engage the complicated and contradictory uses of divinity, prayers, transcendental virtues, and otherworldly dimensions that circulate within Du Boisian social theory.  This absence looms large within sociology, wherein only a fraction of Du Bois’s vast oeuvre endures.  As a remedy, I plumb lesser-engaged works like “A Vacation Unique” (1995 [1889]), “The Princess Steel” (1995 [1909c]), Prayers for Dark People (1980 [1910c]) and “The Comet” in Darkwater (1920) to illumine a “Du Boisian Sociological Spirituality”: (1) a ritualized blend of materialist instrumentalism and pedagogical idealism; (2) a pragmatist-underpinned social interactionism that sanctifies the Black self, and; (3) a sociology of knowledge predicated on otherworldly dimensions and metaphysical standpoints.  I argue that Du Bois’s poiesis animates his analysis of the color-line and his understandings of both Whiteness and White Supremacy. 


Matthew W. Hughey, PhD is Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut (USA) and is affiliate faculty at the University of Barcelona (Spain), Nelson Mandela University (South Africa), University of Cambridge (UK), as well as a 2022 Fulbright Scholar at the University of Surrey (UK).  A scholar of race and racism, he has authored over eighty scholarly articles and nine scholarly books, such as his award-winning ethnography, White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race (Stanford University Press).  He also opines as an expert witness for legal cases involving racial discrimination and serves as editor of Sociology Compass—Race and Ethnicity.

Co-organised with Identities. Register your spot (required) here.  

2 Nov 4pm - "Mothering in Crisis: Childrearing and Climate Change" Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy (University of Tasmania)

Medical School, Teviot_G.03 Doorway 6 (4pm - 5.30pm)

Since the devastating Black Summer fires of 2019-20, Australia has experienced multiple, overlapping environmental crises including floods, drought and COVID19. While the impacts of these crises upon infrastructure, economies and health are well-known, we are still learning to measure their impacts upon our personal and cultural worlds.  

This paper reports on research exploring the influence of environmental change upon ideas about and experiences of family. Through oral history interviews with Australian mothers, the research examines the impacts of climate change and climate-fuelled disasters upon childrearing in the present and the recent past.  

Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy is a Lecturer in Family History at the University of Tasmania, Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Joint Editor of Studies in Oral History and an Honorary Associate at Museum Victoria. Her research focuses on motherhood and family; children and youth; place, environment and sustainability; and oral history and qualitative research. Her publications include Spaces Imagined, Places Remembered: Childhood in 1950s Australia (2011) and Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage (2013), Children's Voices from the Past: New Historical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2019) and Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (2019).  

9 Nov 11am - "Sharing the Emperor’s New Clothes: Charisma and Imitation in the Case of Volodymyr Zelensky" Paul Joosse (University of Hong Kong) and Dominik Zelinsky (University of Copenhagen)

Medical School, Teviot_Sydney Smith Lecture Room Doorway 1 - 11am - 1pm

Moving beyond prevalent frameworks of charisma scholarship which highlight antagonism between charismatic leaders and non-charismatic elites, this paper proposes a theory of charismatic ‘soft power’ as a form of cultural influence. We combine contemporary cultural sociology of charisma with Girard’s notion of mimesis to argue that, rather than being in a permanent state of conflict with the charismatic leader, non-charismatic elites often seek to align themselves with the new sources of legitimacy being developed by the charismatic leader, co-opting these new leadership protocols into their own vocabularies of leadership. We demonstrate the usefulness of our model for interpreting the case of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his encounters with European leaders. 

Paul Joosse an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong.  His work on Weber, political sociology, and culture has been published in Social Forces, Sociological Theory, and Theory and Society, among others.  He is the recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Junior Theorist Award and the ASA’s Clifford Geertz Prize for best article in cultural sociology.  

Dominik Zelinsky is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen and junior researcher at the Institute for Sociology, Slovak Academy of Sciences. He is also associated with the Yale’s Center for Cultural Sociology as a postdoctoral fellow. His main research interest lies in the field of sociological theory, in particular the theory of charismatic leadership, and the sociology of intellectuals and art. His articles have appeared in publications such as Sociology, European Journal of Social Theory, Journal of Cultural Economy, American Journal of Cultural Sociology and the Journal of Classical Sociology. 

16 Nov 11am - "Social Interaction Distance and Dimensions of Occupational Inequality" Paul Lambert (University of Stirling)

Violet Laidlaw Room (Floor 6 6.02) 11am - 1pm

When as social scientists we access data on the occupations held by individuals, we potentially capture quite a few more elements of information about a person’s situation than we routinely make use of. It’s common, for instance, to use occupational measures as an indicator of position within a structure of social class or social stratification, but recent studies from a range of perspectives suggest that many other interesting dimensions of occupational inequality might also be both measurable, and important. Examples include, but are not limited to, sectoral cleavages, structures of demographic segregation, and dimensions that might relate to social ‘worthiness’ or esteem. In this presentation I try to unpack a number of different relevant ideas about occupational structures, and discuss the extent to which they might be empirically identified and analysed (typically in the context of larger-scale survey datasets). One useful strategy is to look at ‘primary’ and ‘subsidiary’ dimensions in the statistical analysis of the social interactions exhibited by the incumbents of occupations – results are presented that summarise those structures, and compare and contrast them to other ways of measuring dimensions of occupational inequality. 
Paul Lambert is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Stirling, UK. He has expertise in social research methods associated with the analysis of quantitative datasets, and engages in research and teaching on themes of social stratification and on methodology in social statistics. At the Faculty of Social Sciences at Univ. Stirling he is currently the programme director for Masters courses in Applied Social Research, Social Statistics and Social Research, and Criminological Research, and he is research group leader for a cluster of staff and doctoral students brought together in the ‘Social Surveys and Social Statistics research group’. He has a long-standing interest in analysing social interaction data related to occupations (dating back to his PhD studies at Lancaster University 1996-2001 and a postdoctoral position at Cardiff University 2001-3). Many elements of his work in this area were summarised in a 2018 monograph, with Dave Griffiths, on ‘Social Inequalities and Occupational Stratification’.