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Structures of Inequality: sociology and the politics of


This three-day workshop (17 - 19 January 2018) combines two

distinct activities with a shared methodological connection. The

purpose of the workshop is to bring together multi-disciplinary

scholars able to peer-review one another’s work as part of

multiple grant applications.

There is longstanding recognition across the social sciences and

humanities that inequity resides between hidden and formal

structures. Yet the tendency to focus on structure as a causal

mechanism deflects attention away from the analysis of the

experiential basis of how people live in the social world and both

shape and are shaped structures. 

This project investigates structure and the injustice of inequity in

two domains or groups: 

1. Legal institutions as structures of justice and injustice

(Sam Hillyard (Durham); Sara Cousins (Stockholm); Hans

Petter Graver (Oslo); Emma Engdahl (Goteborg); Thaddeus

Muller (Lancaster) and; Lisa Flower (PGR, Lund)).

2. Exploring the politics of responsibility (Ilan Baron

(Durham); Piki Ish-Shalom (Hebrew University); Kirsten

Ainely (LSE); Richard Beardsworth (Aberystwyth) and;

Jonathan Havercroft (Southampton)).

The workshop provides a vital discursive forum

bridging empirically focused sociological work

and philosophical reflections on the politics of responsibility.

These two ambitions dovetail one another. They are united by

a commitment to use a theoretical-critique of political systems

and agency-orientated perspectives.

Workshop (1) explores: what is the extent of change in legal

frameworks undergoing reform, using case studies in the UK,

Norway and Sweden. What is the direction and motivation

for reform – human rights, globalisation or a consolidation of

existing fragmented policy? Who are the key actors and agents

in those reforms and their enactments? To what extent is justice

facilitated by such structural readjustments? It is anticipated

these may engage: the role and status of professionals

within the judiciary and; questions of the stewardship and

sustainability for land management and the environment.

The outcome of both workshops will be an empirical and

philosophical research agenda to expose the way the modern

agent is both driving and being driven by global capital, with one

group’s focus being theoretically and empirically-driven and the

other normative and philosophical.

The workshop groups will work both independently and

collectively, with opportunities for peer review of papers, and the

finalizing of two grant proposals. The format will require formal

papers to be submitted two months prior to the workshop.

Each grant proposal will have an identified PI to coordinate the

submission. Initial “Case for Support” style documents will be

drafted and circulated prior to the workshop.

Days 1-2 will involve paper presentations and more general

discussions, with afternoon sessions on the second and final

day moving to refine the working grant proposals. Day 3 will

focus on grant writing and collective paper-writing activities, with

each grant proposal having a core group of three to work on the

drafting. This process of intensive peer-review is modeled upon

the international panel reviewing process at European councils. 

For further questions please contact Dr Ilan Baron


or Dr Sam Hillyard


Structural Relations