Thursday, 10 May 2018

Highlights from today's Sociology Hour - Pre-exam Dog Petting

Studies suggest that petting dogs releases the "feel-good" hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, as well as lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Ahead of your examinations (and dissertation hand-ins, for third year students) we felt this would a good reason to bring in some dogs for you all to pet!

We are delighted that York charity Keep Your Pet are working with us to bring in some dogs for this event. You can find out more about Keep Your Pet on their website. They are a great cause making a huge difference to local people (and their pets) and we will be collecting donations for them on the day - please do be generous with any spare change you have. We're also grateful to Bethany Robertson for making all the arrangements with Keep Your Pet.

Here are some pictures from today's Pre-exam Dog Petting - a very popular and successful Sociology Hour !
Sociology students having fun with the dogs

Visiting dogs

Sam Bayley & Bethany Robinson (with Jack)

Enjoying the visitors

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Empowered Bodies - PhD Conference 2018

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Speaker: Professor Karen Throsby - Unviersity of Leeds, Professor Nick Crossley - University of Manchester

Art Exhibition: Sally Hewett -

We are pleased to announce our Postgraduate Conference for students and researchers interested in the role of the body in social sciences and the concept of embodiment as a source of critical reflection in diverse disciplines.

With a diverse of background and studies levels we are pleased to announce that our conference will be composed by four panels that cross along the following topics:
  • Identities
  • Fat Studies
  • Health
  • Race
  • Representation
  • Standards
  • Beauty
  • Migration
  • Senses
  • Spaces
  • Media
  • Discourses
To review the detailed programme please follow the link to view the: PROGRAMME

We are welcoming delegates from all research levels that would like to participate in supportive discussion that would enhance the topics and the conference itself, as well as make it a great opportunity to meet other students and share experiences.

Our registration fee is £5.00 that will help us to provide lunch and refreshments during the day:

Besides of the payment we are asking the delegates to fill a registration for that is available in this link:

The Research Centre for Social Sciences is located in Heslington West campus, just in front of the Science Park, you can visit their website:

From the train station we recommend to take the 66 Bus that will take you to JB Morrell library and then take a 5 minutes’ walk towards Science Park.

If you have any further queries or questions please contact us at

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

What’s sociological about marching bands?

Dr Frances Thirlway

April in the Department sees the inaugural event of the Carnivals, Pageants & Street Parades Research Network, followed in July by an international symposium on representing street carnival, marching bands and dance troupes in the museum. So what’s sociological about marching bands?

The ‘jazz’ bands of the coalfields areas trace their origins to the processional culture of carnival, street parade and pageantry of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, which often included comic bands in fancy-dress playing home-made instruments:  usually percussion with a ‘humming’ instrument (variously known as kazoo, gazooka, Tommy Talker or bigophone) supplying the tune. Although the comic bands’ repertoire remained eclectic, the jazz craze of the 1920s saw them rebranded as ‘jazz’ bands, including both adult and juvenile versions. Like brass bands, the jazz bands competed in regular contests, reaching their height during the 1926 Miners’ Lockout, sometimes referred to in Wales as ‘the jazz band strike’. After the Second World War, former members of the juvenile jazz bands revived the movement, which reached its peak in the 1970s before declining to around 50 active bands today.

My research focuses on contemporary juvenile jazz marching bands and similar forms of working class cultural production elsewhere in Europe, particularly majorettes in France and Belgium. The bands and majorettes are intriguing as hidden forms of working-class white women and girls’ cultural production, their invisibility in the cultural mainstream suggesting that apparently low rates of working-class cultural participation may be a function of the methodology of national surveys i.e. of what we measure and define as culture. More significantly, they provide a case study of Skeggs’s selective appropriation, or how certain (generally masculine) aspects of both black and white working-class culture are seen by the middle-class as worth plundering, whereas white working class women’s culture is condemned as artificial rather than authentic (Skeggs 2004 p.97). UK and France marching bands and majorettes – which are associated with local communities rather than schools or sporting events , as in North America – have been ‘held in place’ in middle-class representations as signifying stagnation and immobility (Skeggs 2004 p. 153).


Skeggs, B. (2004). Class, self, culture. London & New York: Routledge.

Just Genomes?

25 June 2018
Wentworth College, W/222
Professor Jenny Reardon, University of California

At the end of the last millennium, the proposal of the Human Genome Diversity Project and the publication of The Bell Curve sparked new worries that studies of human genetic variation would reignite scientific racism. Since WWII, human geneticists had labored to distance the study of human genes from eugenics and Nazi science. Would that work, and the possibility of a genomic account of human differences, be undone before the research had even really begun?  To avert this possibility, in the wake of the sequencing of the human genome—or the postgenomic era—genome scientists and their supporters proposed a new ‘democratic’ approach to genomics.  In several high profile cases, they attempted to give power back to “the people” to define themselves, and to control use of their DNA.  Yet the problem of race and racism persisted.  From the International HapMap Project, to David Reich’s recent editorial in the New York Times, this talk explores how and by what means debates about ‘race’ and racism remain central and formative of the postgenomic condition.

Jenny Reardon is a Professor of Sociology and the Founding Director of the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research draws into focus questions about identity, justice and democracy that are often silently embedded in scientific ideas and practices, particularly in modern genomic research. Her training spans molecular biology, the history of biology, science studies, feminist and critical race studies, and the sociology of science, technology and medicine. She is the author of Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics (Princeton University Press, 2005) and The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome (Chicago University Press, Fall 2017).  She has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from, among others, the National Science Foundation, the Max Planck Institute, the Humboldt Foundation, the London School of Economics, the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, and the United States Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Free entry: Tickets available

Sociology’s Legacy as Social Physics

16 May 2018

Wentworth College (W/222)


Florence Chiew

It is not unusual to locate the beginnings of sociology in Auguste Comte’s writings on positivism. It is less well known that the first name Comte conceived for the discipline was ‘social physics’. As part of a larger book project, this paper returns to an earlier and arguably unpopular figure like Comte to try to open up, rather than reject, what most deeply defines his positivist outlook in relation to contemporary scholarship. Although no one wants to be a positivist today, I argue that the questions Comte persisted in asking are as relevant now as they were then. For instance, how do ideas evolve over time? What are the consequences of increasing disciplinary specialization? How to think the relation between science and religion? One of the main aims of this paper is to open up different paths into Comte’s writings, paths that may help us reanimate his forgotten place in a long and diverse genealogy of theories of knowledge and human self-understanding. In a theoretical scene that increasingly encourages and even privileges the novelty of the “turn” (e.g. in the various recent turns to affect, object, the nonhuman, new materialism, and so on), is there still room to read the “old” with the “new” and to mine for insights in texts and arguments we thought we left behind? How can we learn to read with an author, to view ambiguities and contradictions in their work not as mistakes to be corrected but occasions to develop conceptual creativity?

Florence Chiew is a sociologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her research is based in social and sociological theory, feminist science studies and medical humanities. She is interested in questions of disciplinarity and methodology, and how different understandings of truth, value and evidence can be reconciled across the humanities and the sciences.

Free entry: Tickets available 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Medical Sociology Through Another Lens - Visitors from Drexel University

17 April 2018
Department of Sociology

On 17 April we are delighted to be welcoming our Sociology colleagues Susan Bell, Kelly Joyce and Kelly Underman from Drexel University, USA. They will be giving an exciting series of talks at the interface of STS and Medical Sociology (chaired by Daryl Martin). All Welcome! (W/222 11:45-13:00)

Contact to register your place

Highlights from today's Sociology Hour - Pre-exam Dog Petting

Studies suggest that petting dogs releases the "feel-good" hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, as well as lowering the st...