Friday, 27 May 2016

BA Criminology ranked 2nd in League Tables

Georgia Ladly, a third year BA Criminology student
The BA Criminology degree has successfully ranked 2nd in the Guardian University League Tables
This is a real achievement for single honours degree run by two departments - Sociology and Social Policy and Social Work. We are just about to see our second cohort of Criminology students graduate in July and its fabulous to see the degree flourishing.

New Lecturer in Criminology

Many congratulations to Jack Denham, a final year doctoral researcher here in the dept. Jack has accepted a permanent lectureship in Criminology at York St John University from September.
Jack has contributed hugely to the Sociology Department in recent years as the administrator of Centre for URBan Research (CURB) and as a seminar tutor and occasional lecturer. He has also been a lynch pin in organizing a variety of events including the Death and Culture Conference 2016. We wish him all the best in his future career.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

York Festival of Ideas: Regenerative Medicine and Time to the Clinic

Sociology has always had a strong interest in medicine, and more recently, in the impact of the new biomedical sciences on medicine. The social science grant agency, the ESRC is itself keen to support new work on ‘the biosocial’, how the social and the biological are co-produced. One area where the biosocial is especially important for sociological inquiry is Regenerative Medicine (RM). Its distinctive feature is the use of live cells and tissues to treat disease, replacing diseased tissue and organs with new, healthy and specially-grown tissue. Within the UK, the field of RM is surrounded by considerable promise and high expectation. It is championed as a potential source of cures for a range of disorders, and the Government has identified the field as one of the wealth-generating  ‘Eight Great Technologies’ which help drive the economic growth.  In light of this, various Government-supported initiatives have been launched to accelerate innovation within the field and bring new therapies to patients sooner.

The field of RM, however, is still very much in its infancy, and there are very few therapies available in the present day. Sociological research being undertaken by members of SATSU in the Department shows how clinicians and investigators working on new RM therapies are encountering many significant challenges that reflect the ‘biosocial’ at work: how to stabilise and standardise the tissue they work with, what sort of legal and regulatory classification it should have compared to other areas of medicine, whether they need new types of organisational and clinical systems to deliver RM to patients, and how should the long term benefits and costs of RM be assessed?

As part of the York Festival of Ideas, Andrew Webster, Ruchi Higham and John Gardner from the Sociology Department will join Paul Genever and Amanda Barnes from the Department of Biology will lead a public discussion on RM. By bringing the biological and social sciences together, they will provide an overview of the hopes (and hype) but, more importantly, the likely and diverse clinical paths that regenerative medicine will take and within what timeframes. The session will involve a lively and informed debate about RM and help participants to understand better its likely long-term impact in the NHS and elsewhere.

June 9th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
The Diana Bowles Lecture Theatre, Department of Biology. Room K018 (Ground floor Biology Building)

Admittance/ticket price: Free entry
Booking details Via the Central Festival Team

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Dissertation Conference

On Thursday, 19th May, from 10am in W/222, the Department will be holding it's annual Dissertation Conference. Some of our 3rd year students will be presenting work based on their recently completed dissertations. It's a good opportunity to hear about the research of classmates and if you're a 1st or 2nd year then come and be inspired ready for your final year.

The programme contains some really exciting and interesting projects.
10:15 – 11:15: Media, Representation and discourse
A Contemporary Civilising mission? Media Representations of Asylum Seekers in Europe
Tess Corina
7 British Muslim Women, One Destination: A Discursive analysis of Muslim Women’s Identity in British Media
Samantha Woodcock
Menstruation in the Media: A discourse on disgust
Hazel McMillan
11:30 – 12:30: Gender & Social Life
Gendered Play: An observational study
Sophie Potter
Love Aptually: An investigation into young adults’ experiences and perceptions of mobile dating
Melissa Whitaker
Women in the Criminal Justice System
Grace Phillips
1:15 – 2pm Identity & Society
The Normalization of University: A Bourdieusian Analysis of First-Generation Undergraduate Entry to the University of York
Abby Bowling
The Impact of Globalisation on Cultural Identity: A study of Yorkshireness.
Charlotte McNeils
2pm – 2:40pm: Politics, State and Society
Devolution in the UK: An exploratory study into Political Participation and Engagement amongst University Students from London & Yorkshire & Humber
Richard Crawshaw
A Theoretical Paper on the Civilian-Military gap in Singapore & USA.
Gwyn Ng

Refreshments will be provided, all welcome, hope to see you there!

For further information contact Michael Watkins ( or

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Racism, Rights and Resistance: Poetry and Spoken Word Event

Last Friday, 13th May, Nisha Kapoor and Kasia Narkowicz held a poetry and spoken word event in a community centre in York as part of the Deport Deprive Extradite research project investigating themes around Race, State and Citizenship. Four poets were invited to respond to issues around racism, rights and resistance. 

The event was introduced by the principal investigator Nisha Kapoor, followed by performances by Talha Ahsan, Hafsah Aneela Bashir, Hodan Yusuf and Elmi Ali. During the event the audience engaged on Twitter under the #ResistanceYork hashtag:

 Images from the event:

Nisha Kapoor introducing Deport Deprive Extradite to members of the public, Priory Street Centre

Poets (from left): Hodan Yusuf, Talha Ahsan, Elmi Ali, Hafsah Aneela Bashir

Racism, Race & Resistance at Priory Street Centre #ResistanceYork

Elmi Ali (@madmulla) reading poetry

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Conversation Analysis, Merran Toerien and Visiting Fellow At Rhodes University

It's with great pleasure that Merran Toerien has accepted an honorary appointment as Visiting Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Rhodes University, South Africa (from 5 May 2016 to 31 December 2018).  

This follows on from extensive collaboration between colleagues in Sociology at York and Psychology at Rhodes and formally recognises the dynamic and productive exchange that has occurred over several years - relating both to research and teaching.   

Catriona Macleod says that Merran 'has contributed significantly to developing capacity in conversation analysis at Rhodes, and has been a wonderful collaborator on our abortion counselling project'

We look forward to many more years of collaborative adventures in the study of Reproductive Justice!

Merran Toerien with Catriona Macleod outside the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction offices at Rhodes University, South Africa

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Registration open for The Sociology of Contemporary Urban Life

The Sociology of Contemporary Urban Life
Economies |Cultures| Politics| Aesthetics
Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June 2016
University of York, UK

This two-day conference, co-organised by the Department of Sociology and CURB (Centre for Urban Research) at University of York, is an attempt to provide a lively, open-minded forum for urban sociologists to gather and discuss the challenges of conducting the craft of urban sociology in a fragmented, hierarchical urban world; an urbanizing planet where the very concept of ‘the city’--traditionally  the unit of analysis for urban sociologists—faces unprecedented levels of scepticism.  The title of the conference is a riff on T.J. Clark's (1984) book on Manet and Paris, The Painting of Modern Life. As such, the conference aims to engage with contemporary urban life in a  critical manner, using a  multiplex of economies, cultures, politics and aesthetics to explore  our contemporary urban experience/s (with or without the city).  The conference will also address the distinctive role that urban sociology has played, does play and may in the future play within the broader academic endeavour of Urban Studies.

Confirmed speakers include:
·         Fran Tonkiss (LSE)
·         Michael Keith (Oxford)
·         Emma Jackson (Goldsmiths, London)
·         Phil Hubbard (Kent)
·         Ayona Datta (Leeds)
·         David Pinder (Roskilde) 
·         Richard Sennett (LSE) (a public lecture given as part of the York Festival of Ideas).

There are also four panel sessions. Full details of the full programme is available here:

Registration is £40.00 (full) or £20.00 (student/ postdoctoral) for the full conference. One day rates are also available. The direct link to payment pages is here:

Dave Beer on the history of Big Data

Image result for big data
Dave Beer has just had an article published in the open access journal Big Data & Society. The article, which is titled 'How Should We Do the History of Big Data?', argues that we need to think in detail about the work that is being done by the concept of 'big data'. The piece is available here

This is the abstract for the piece:

Taking its lead from Ian Hacking’s article ‘How should we do the history of statistics?’, this article reflects on how we might develop a sociologically informed history of Big Data. It argues that within the history of social statistics we have a relatively well developed history of the material phenomenon of Big Data. Yet this article argues that we now need to take the concept of ‘Big Data’ seriously, there is a pressing need to explore the type of work that is being done by that concept. The article suggests a programme for work that explores the emergence of the concept of Big Data so as to track the institutional, organisational, political and everyday adoption of this term. It argues that the term Big Data has the effect of making-up data and, as such, is powerful in framing our understanding of those data and the possibilities that they afford.

Dave's new book Metric Power will be published in June. And his earlier book Popular Culture and New Media: The Politics of Circulation has just come out in paperback.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Media Impact and the Hairy Bikers

Ruth Penfold-Mounce
Academics are increasingly called to have 'impact' and to be public intellectuals outside of the ivory towers of universities. This often calls for working outside of the comfort zone of many academic researchers - talking to and appearing in the media. Ruth Penfold-Mounce, Lecturer in Criminology reflects on her experience of filming with the BBC:

'Last year in March I received an email from the BBC who wanted to ask some questions about the book I'd written Celebrity Culture and Crime in which I had done a case study of the East End of London 1960s gangster twins, the Krays. Phone conversations followed emails and before I knew it I had been asked to be an 'expert' on the Krays and to walk the Hairy Bikers through a murder scene in The Blind Beggar pub in London. It was an offer I couldn't refuse despite being horribly nervous at the thought of appearing on national television.
The Hairy Bikers' Pubs That Built Britain
The Hairy Bikers
On Friday 29th April 2016 the episode for which I had filmed was shown. Admittedly I was nervous as to how I would come across but after watching it I feel really proud to have done it. Getting out of my comfort zone and appearing on television was a fabulous opportunity to share my passion for celebrity and criminality. I am also glad that I thought in advance about how to make this opportunity into something more than just dissemination of knowledge. I made sure that I got to have a say on the voice over content and I have kept the emails as evidence of my 'impact'.

For fellow academics thinking about how to make the most of media opportunities and to turn it in to impact I would encourage you to consider keeping evidence of how you contributed. Are their suggestions you made that led to a change in emphasis or direction of the debate? If there were phone conversations make sure you send a follow up email confirming what you have suggested - keep the paper trail. We are now (somewhat sadly) in a time where it is vital to think tactically in order to maximize your impact.'

BSA Postgraduate Forum Event: The Promise and Perils of Researching Sensitive Issues

20 November 2018 (09:00-17:00) Call for papers Research concerning sensitive and emotionally demanding issues is vital but challenging...