Citizenship in an era of fragility: 15th of March 2017Citizenship in an era of fragility: 15th of March 2017
Citizenship in an era of fragility: identities, inequalities and imaginations
Sociology Symposium, 15th of March 2017
Sociology hosted a stimulating and much needed debate on contemporary citizenship contestations on the 15th of March 2017. Coming out of both current events across the globe and our own research and reflections on them, the day produced a lively space in which to consider how sociology, in alliance with other disciplinary frameworks and with non-academic experts and partners, can shape critical engagement on key social problematics.
We were grateful for the particular input of our key speakers: Michelle Lamont from Harvard University, Les Back from Goldsmiths and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson from Emory University.
Sociology colleagues debate Les Back’s talk on ‘Marchers and steppers: Memory, city life and walking’
Across the day key questions included:
- How do we need to think of what enables citizenship so that broader groups and individuals can acquire membership?
- What place does everyday cultural expression have within the production of oppositional voices and possibility?
- How can looking at different locations where tensions over discrimination, inequality, and injustice are playing out across different social divisions help us gain a broader perspective?
- How can concepts of citizenship be expanded by thinking of aspects to its presence that cross public and private boundaries, for example notions of embodiment, care, interdependence, vulnerability?
Our postgraduate students: James Cummings, Matthew Hanchard, Diana Kopbayeva discuss how their research engages with the fragility of contemporary citizenship
A key component of the symposium was the involvement of our postgraduate students in the discussions, in particular the sharing of their own research. Work from across Tibet, Peru, China, Kazakhstan, the Northeast and other locations was used as a springboard to reflect on the variety of ways research can shed new light on how people are claiming citizenship rights and challenging political and economic trends that produce marginalisation.
The postgraduates also hosted a pre-symposium event on the 14th which brought our keynote speakers into conversation with them as they reflect on their identities as both researchers and citizens involved in the issues they are examining. This more informal gathering of ideas and experiences spoke to the ongoing issues sociologists face about both researching and being in the world – particularly a world where much seems to be at stake.
Sociology postgraduate students welcome our external speakers: Michelle Lamont (Harvard University), Les Back (Goldsmiths), and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory University) to their pre-symposium event on positioning research.