BSA Annual Conference 2017

The theme for the 2017 Annual Conference is - Recovering the Social: Personal Troubles and Public Issues.  The conference will take place at the University of Manchester from 4-6 April 2017. 

We are delighted to announce our plenary speakers:

  • Ben Carrington, the University of Texas at Austin;
  • Lynn Jamieson, the University of Edinburgh (BSA President); and
  • Zoe Williams, Guardian Columnist

The last few decades have seen the rise of a culture of hyper-individualism in the UK, USA and elsewhere, reversing a tentative trend towards greater social cohesion and solidarity that began to emerge in the first half of the 20th century. The current scenario has largely been driven by a political and public discourse stressing that autonomous individuals and their families are solely responsible for their own destinies, life chances, fortunes and misfortunes, on an equal footing with their ‘competitors’, a standpoint that contrasts starkly with C. Wright Mills' famous aphorism that '(N)either the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both'.

Denigration of the role of the social and structural organisation in governing everyday lives and life chances has also been accompanied by a long sequence of public policy 'reforms', that seem tailored to increasingly favour individual greed, selfishness, discrimination and division over collective need, solidarity and empathy. Moreover, these developments have also been accompanied by the stigmatisation of various group defined as 'other', reducing public sympathy for those least fortunate who have lost out in the Social Darwinist competition this credo has inspired. Amongst a range of regressive developments, this has supported the dismantling of social supports that were once considered essential to both individual security and social progress.

The broad theme of our 2017 conference will consider how we might explore and challenge misrepresentations of the relationship between the personal and the public realm, while focusing upon the myriad ways in which social arrangements govern our lives, including the various ways in which inequitable social arrangements constrain the life chances of the marginalised, in terms of class, race, ethnicity, disability and gender. We are interested in papers that speak to the personal as well as the public, and those that link both.

Our themes are deliberately broad and all-encompassing, designed to appeal to the entire spectrum of sociologists and stimulate lively debate.  You are at the heart of the discipline. Your voice is important. Join the finest scholars from across the globe to lead the debate. Policy makers are coming to hear what you – the people with real experience – have to say.

The aims of this conference are: to showcase the latest sociological research; to attract a concentration of international specialists in our major research fields; to provide a forum in which to discuss the teaching of sociology and the professional practice of being a sociologist; and to facilitate debate, networking and professional development opportunities.

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 2016.