A new year is associated with celebration and thoughts of future possibilities. Hesitation and anxiety may be understandably the sense of how this year is starting. My last news piece came just after Brexit; this one just as the world begins to live with Donald Trump as President of the United States. However, alongside the anxieties of what this could bring, we are also seeing in the US, the UK and elsewhere, the movements of resistance and critique. Sociology has much to offer the exploration of challenge and the capturing of alternative narratives of the complex social worlds we live in. We now need to ensure that we remain part of the sociological community and continue to support our Association by renewing our memberships for 2017.
An additional reason why we may be feeling sombre as the New Year begins is the news of Zygmunt Bauman’s death on 9 January. His contributions to sociological thinking are hard to define and beyond the contemporary measures of ‘research impact’. Colleagues at the University of Leeds feel a particular sense of loss, but it is also shared more broadly within our community. The reflections on his work and his values will continue across this year. They offer a much needed counterpoint to the state and media narratives of fear and hostility around us currently and vividly capture the importance of critical thought. This is what we do and what we develop in collaboration with our students and research partners.
We continue to work hard within the Association to sustain and build our discipline. Last year we successfully launched the new BSA website, along with the Discover Sociology website, which is aimed primarily at pre-tertiary teachers, and finally our leaflet for undergraduate students aptly named Speak Up for Sociology was published. This is a tool which enables students to defend and celebrate their choice of studying sociology.
Finally, thank you to those who have renewed their memberships. If you haven’t renewed yet please do so either online or by calling the Membership team on 0191 3830839.
Here’s to a socially prosperous 2017!
Board of Trustees