Friday, 31 January 2014

Criminology Degree Short Film

The BA Criminology degree is getting an animated film made about it to aid in marketing this exciting new undergraduate degree. Ruth Penfold-Mounce is working with Digifish to create a 2 minute short film. The script has been confirmed, the voice over artist has been selected and the animators are busy animating.

This is not the first time the sociology department has worked with Digifish as they created the department short film several years ago. Click here to see the existing film and keep an eye on the blog and the Sociology Homepage for the release of the new Criminology degree film.

Homosexuality and the Law

At the moment I am finishing my new book, Law, Religion and Homosexuality, written with Robert Vanderbeck, a human geographer and expert in religion at the University of Leeds. The book examines how religion has shaped, and continues to shape, legislation that regulates the lives of gay men and lesbians in the UK. In the book we show how religious discourse, contrary to what many people claim, continues to be central to both enabling and restricting the development of sexual orientation equality in law. At the same time, I am revising and updating my previous book, Homosexuality and the European Court of Human Rights, in advance of its paperback publication in March. In doing so, I have added a new preface that provides an overview of the Court’s sexual orientation jurisprudence in the two years since the book was first published, and revised the chronological list of cases at the end of the book to make it more comprehensive.

For those interested in law and sexuality, at the very top of my recommended reading list would be two books. The first is The Homosexual(ity) of Law by Leslie J. Moran, which I first read as an undergraduate at the time of its publication in 1996. Moran’s book is an empirically rich and theoretically dazzling study of English law relating to homosexuality. It’s not only academically rigorous but beautifully written and I can’t think of another academic book that, over nearly twenty years, has inspired me as much. The second book is Sexual Orientation and Human Rights by Robert Wintemute which was first published in 1997. Wintemute’s book is an exemplar of critical legal scholarship which, when it first appeared, provided a way of understanding how human rights law could be mobilized to pursue legal equality for sexual minorities – it’s easy to forget that, even in the late 1990s, the idea that ‘gay rights’ were ‘human rights’ was still novel. Wintemute’s book manages to combine the highest standards of legal analysis with a passion for justice and that’s why it is a great read.

Nathan Manning, Political Disengagement and the White Working Class

Last week the first SPS seminar for 2014 was held with a joint presentation from Mary Holmes (University of Edinburgh) and Nathan Manning (University of York). They discussed their research on the political dissatisfaction and disengagement amongst members of the white working classes in a talk called: 'I'm not bothered: researching political disengagement'.

They argued that while political science has mapped the contours of electoral disengagement using quantitative methods a more sociological approach using qualitative methods can reveal new and important insights about how people make sense of their socio-political worlds. They called for sociologists to contribute to debates about contemporary democracy.

Post-Graduate Conference with John Urry

2014 International Social Sciences Post-Graduate Conference

On 28th April, the 2014 International Social Sciences Post-Graduate Conference is being held here in York in the Sociology Department. Confirmed key note speaker is John Urry (University of Lancaster) (see left). He is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Lancaster, has published over 40 books/journal special issues, more than 80 journal articles and over 110 book chapters and has had his work translated into 19 languages. His influence within his lifetime has been vast on sociology and hearing him speak is not something to be missed.

There are some competitive bursaries available for national and international students based on abstract submissions.

For more information view the conference webpage

Merran Toerien and Qualitative Research

Merran Toerien, one the sociology department conversation analysts, has just had a chapter published with Sage in a new book 'Qualitative Data Analysis'. Merran's chapter is in the section focusing on types of data and their analysis and looks at 'Conversations and Conversation Analysis'.

The book looks at the huge range of approaches to data analysis and provides an overview of the whole field; from general analytic strategies used in qualitative research, to approaches specific to particular types of qualitative data, including talk, text, sounds, images and virtual data.

The handbook includes chapters on traditional analytic strategies such as grounded theory, content analysis, hermeneutics, phenomenology and narrative analysis, as well as coverage of newer trends like mixed methods, reanalysis and meta-analysis. Practical aspects such as sampling, transcription, working collaboratively, writing and implementation are given close attention, as are theory and theorization, reflexivity, and ethics.

Professor Clive Seale (Brunel University) reviewed the book and said:

This is a comprehensive account of a large variety of approaches to qualitative data analysis, written by leading international experts in the relevant methodological fields. For those who are confused about different analytic methods in qualitative research this book will clarify overlaps and differences, inform readers about the key features of each approach and will in general be an important resource for students and practitioners of social research.

Punk Sociology and David Beer


Last week Dave Beer's new book Punk Sociology was published by Palgrave Macmillan. This is the description of the book:

This book explores the possibility of drawing upon a punk ethos to inspire sociology and to cultivate a vibrant future for the discipline. Aiming to fire the sociological imaginations of sociologists at any stage of their careers, from new students to established professors, it uses punk to think creatively about what sociology is and how it might be conducted. Following a succinct outline of the disciplinary and social challenges that sociology faces today, the book then applies the punk ethos to sociological knowledge, communication and terrain. The concept of punk sociology is developed through a series of riffs, each of which directly applies key features of the punk ethos to sociology.

Punk Sociology encourages sociologists to avoid the temptation to play it safe. Instead it calls for us to be bold, open, inventive, and to produce raw, stripped back and fearless work that adheres to a do-it-yourself ethic.

And here is the endorsement from the back-cover:

“Punk Sociology counts off a passionate and thoughtful call to re-animate the sociological imagination. Dave Beer’s book inspires, provokes and entertains – nevermind the bollocks here is sociology’s future.” Les Back, Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

The book is now available as an ebook, Kindle and Hardback. You can also read the first chapter for free here http://thinkingculture.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/punk-sociology-chapter-1-is-now-open-access/

York Conference showcasing Careers in Sociology, Criminology and Social Policy


The Departments of Sociology and Social Policy and Social Work have organised a Careers Conference for all sociology, criminology and social policy undergraduates and postgraduates at York.

The conference, which will showcase careers after social science degrees, is scheduled for Monday 17th February 5pm-7pm in Alcuin Teaching Block (ATB/056/057).

For the first hour, there will be a series of short talks. We've invited six great speakers from industries including probation, policing, social work, civil service, and local politics, to talk about their career journeys. The second part of the event will be a networking opportunity. Speakers and recent alumni will mingle with students and offer advice to those aspiring to similar careers. Drinks and snacks provided.

£1.3m ESRC Research Grant awarded to SATSU

Andrew Webster, Director of  SATSU (the Science and Technology Studies Unit based in the Department), has recently been awarded a large research grant by the Economic and Social Research Council to undertake work in the sociology of science field which focuses on current developments in regenerative medicine and stem cells. This is pertinent research considering regular media coverage about patients seeking cell theapy treatment abroad as a last resort to cure terminal illness.

The grant is for £1.3m and will begin in late spring, so a number of postdoc job opportunities will appear soon. The research explores in particular developments in cell therapies, to track the interplay between corporations  clinics and regulators, especially in regard to perceptions of its clinical utility, and the patterns of regulatory oversight that are seen to be needed. We hope thereby to determine the current and potential impact of the field on health and healthcare systems and how these in turn shape its development. 

The work builds on previous work in SATSU - the REMEDIE project - funded by the European Commission and a national ESRC programme on stem cells that Andrew coordinatedAndrew recently gave a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Science and Policy on the issues raised for the NHS. Meanwhile SATSU's doctoral researcher, Ruchhi Higham, is also working in the area examining the ways the field disrupts conventional approaches to clinical trials. 

More generally, this research ties in with the European Commission-funded COST Action called 'Bio-objects', that Andrew also Chairs.

BSA Yorkshire Medical Sociology Group

York Sociologists are taking part in the Inaugural meeting of the BSA Yorkshire Medical Sociology Group on the afternoon of February 24th at Sheffield University. There will be a keynote from Mary Dixon-Woods from Leicester University on 'Knowing about patient safety: how hard can it be?' Amongst the other papers, Sian Beynon-Jones from York will be speaking on'Without delay: using women's accounts to trouble the temporalities of abortion policy and practice in England'

It is still possible to register for the event:

Registration: http://portal.britsoc.co.uk/public/event/eventBooking.aspx?id=EVT10322