BSA Annual Conference 2018

The theme for the 2018 Annual Conference is - Identity, Community and Social Solidarity.  The conference will take place at Northumbria University from 10-12 April 2018. 

We are delighted to announce our plenary speakers:

  • Kimberlé Crenshaw, UCLA
  • Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust
  • Gregor McLennan, University of Bristol

Concepts of identity, community and social solidarity are central sociological themes, while also highly contested. One important move has been to introduce multiplicities to their formulation – identities etc – but some argue this rhetorical response has not gone far enough to respond to the problems created by singular narratives of who people are, or what forms a community, or a sense of belonging. Intersectionality is now well established, but concerns remain over it being trivialised into an ever growing list of social categories, which are simply stated rather than engaged with. However, more recently, the call – both outside and inside academia – in the contexts of the conflicts and uncertainties across the globe, is for collectivist approaches that unite. ‘We are the 99%’ being just one evocation of this. The collectivist shift has emerged as a challenge to right wing voices who make use of the language of difference in order to manipulate and encourage division. How, therefore, do we explore what can be shared across different groups, locations, social needs; while providing equal recognition of differences founded in previous histories and present realities of harm, privilege and inequality? There seems a need to find inclusive ways to speak of human and social connection and shared purpose, while not losing sight of the risks of implicit or even explicit silencing of marginalised perspectives and experiences in need of recognition. Black Lives Matter being an important reminder of such a need.

The complexity of these issues reflects their traversal of different dimensions – economic, political, cultural, personal, social, and institutional. Nancy Fraser famously called for formulations of justice that bring together redistribution and recognition. This call and what it means for how we engage with identity, community and social solidarity is something sociology should be in a position to play an important role in responding to. 

The theme for the 2018 conference encourages a space to generate different imaginaries of how communities and individuals form social bonds across difference and similarity. It looks to participate in the public questioning of the individualisation, privitisation and commodification of social life. We are interested in papers and provocations that bring conceptual and methodological depth to how we move forward in these debates. 

The BSA Annual Conference is the primary annual conference for sociology in the UK with opportunities for everyone connected to the discipline.

See you there! In the meantime, why not watch the highlights from 2017.

BSA Annual Conference 2017 Highlights