Category Archives: Events

The Fourth CSO Workshop: Morphogenesis and Normativity

The fourth annual CSO workshop was held from January 6th to January 9th in 2015 at Cardiff Business School. The papers from the workshop will be published in 2015 as the fourth volume of the Social Morphogenesis series.

Tuesday 6th

Doug Porpora – The Great Normative Changes of the Twentieth Century

Wolfgang Hofkirchner – Ethics from Systems: the emergence of normativity with and in social systems

Phil Gorski – Reflexive Secularity

Pierpaolo Donati – The relational understanding of the origin and morphogenetic change of social morality

Wednesday 7th

Margaret Archer –  Morphogenesis and the interpretation of codified social rules

Ismael Al-Amoudi – In letter and in spirit: Social Morphogenesis and the interpretation of codified social rules

Emmanuel Lazega – Polynormativity and Status Inconsistency: a neo-structural approach to regulation

Colin Wight –  Emergence, Development and Death: Norms in International Relations.

Tony Lawson – Collective practices, norms and modern Economics

Thursday 8th

Andrea Maccarini – A Tale of Two Wars: Ontology, Universality and the Normative Tensions of Morphogenic Society

Mark Carrigan – Fragile Movements Emerging out of Digitalization

Routines and Reflexivity – March 10th

Alistair Mutch (Nottingham Trent University)
MARCH 10TH
17.00-18.30, R1.04
Ramphal Building, University of Warwick

Much of the debate occasioned by the development of ideas about reflexivity and morphogenesis has turned on the status of habit. Whilst recognising the importance of this debate, this seminar takes an alternative tack. Returning to Bhaskar’s formulation of ‘position-practices’, it reviews recent work on organizational routines. Developing a position which sees routines as a key emergent property of organizations, recent developments in information technology are seen to cement autonomous reflexivity. Accompanied by an increasing discourse of ‘strategizing’, this might limit the development of meta reflexivity.

All welcome! E-mail socialontology@warwick.ac.uk with any questions

An eclectic account of lay morality and charitable giving in the UK – Feb 17th

Balihar Sanghera (Kent)
Tuesday, February 17th
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, R1.04
Ramphal Building, University of Warwick

This paper examines how charitable giving is an outcome of different interacting elements of lay morality. Charitable giving reflects people’s capacity for fellow-feeling (or sympathy), moral sentiments, personal reflexivity, ethical dispositions, moral norms and moral discourses. An eclectic account of lay morality and charitable giving is warranted because of the complex nature of the object. Though ordinary people engage in ethical reasoning, they often think and act in piecemeal fashion, so that confusion and inconsistencies can occur. This is particularly evident when gender, class and ‘race’ shape people’s feelings and evaluations of others, their attention and care for others, and their understanding of responsibility and blame for social issues. Morality is further complicated because it takes place in the mundane world of everyday life that can result in inconsistent and confusing judgements and actions on giving.

All welcome! E-mail socialontology@warwick.ac.uk with any questions

The Relational ‘We’ in Personal Morphogenesis – February 3rd

Beth Weaver (Strathclyde)
Tuesday, February 3rd
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, R1.15
Ramphal Building, University of Warwick

This paper discusses my empirical application of a relational realist analytic framework to illuminate the role of social groups or collectives, as social relations, in shaping and affecting outcomes for individuals and for groups. Using the morphogenetic sequence developed by Archer, to illustrate the conceptual schema progressed by Donati (2011), this framework affords equal recognition to individual actions, social relations and social systems. To empirically capture the relational ‘we’ in social morphogenesis, however, requires taking the social relation as a central unit of analysis. This means empirically conceptualising the social relation as both context and as interaction, and it means analysing the shifting dynamics and influences on the form and shape of a given social relation. Such an analysis can reveal what triggers reflexivity, what different forms of reflexivity entail, and how social relations can shape and influence outcomes for individuals and groups as well as how such processes shape and alter the relations themselves. Using examples from my own research examining the dynamics of desistance from crime, I will show how both individual and relational contributions are interconnected, and how the manner of relating and the reciprocal orientation of individuals-in-relation towards the maintenance of a given social relation are significant in understanding the relational ‘we’ in social morphogenesis.

Beth Weaver is a Lecturer at the Glasgow School of Social Work, University of Strathclyde. Prior to entering academia, she worked in the areas of youth and criminal justice social work in Scotland and latterly as a MAPPA Coordinator. 

Podcast: Dave Elder-Vass on Prosumption, Appropriation and the Ontology of Economic Form

This seminar with Dave Elder-Vass (Loughborough) took place on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. You can listen to a recording of it here:

Prosumption – the unpaid performance of productive work by ‘consumers’ who thus help commercial businesses to generate a profit – is perhaps the most studied of the many hybrid forms of economic practice that have proliferated in the digital economy. A number of critical accounts have analysed prosumption in terms of Marx’s labour theory of value, suggesting for example that as prosumers do useful work for free they are infinitely exploited by the firms that profit as a result. But such accounts analyse the digital economy in terms that were derived from the nineteenth century factory – and terms that were highly questionable even in that context.

The spectacular mismatch between this model of capitalism and the case of prosumption exposes the inadequacy of the standard monolithic conception of capitalism as a homogeneous and universal contemporary economic form – a conception that at a certain level is also shared by the marketised discourse of mainstream economics. We need a new ontology of economic form that goes beyond the totalising concepts of mode of production and market economy and instead provides us with tools for understanding the sheer diversity of forms of economic practice in the contemporary economy. This paper offers the concept of appropriative practices as a contribution to such an ontology and applies it to the case of prosumption.

Dave Elder-Vass is a senior lecturer in sociology at Loughborough University, where he teaches a variety of core sociology modules. He also offers an MA module on Digital Economies and an innovative undergraduate option that consists entirely of debates between students on popular recent books. He is available to supervise PhD students, particularly those with an interest in social theory, critical realism, digital social developments or economic sociology.

Previously, he spent three years as a British Academy post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex, after completing his PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. Before returning to the academic world he was a senior IT executive in a major UK retail business.

Podcast: Graham Scambler on an interdisciplinary approach to the ‘structuring of agency’ – November 11th

In the third Centre for Social Ontology seminar of 2014/15, Graham Scambler (Emeritus Professor of Medical Sociology at UCL) discussed reflexivity and an interdisciplinary approach to the ‘structuring of agency’:

Margaret Archer’s recent contributions to our understanding of reflexivity in late capitalist society provide useful resources for theorizing across the substantive domains of sociology. Using illustrations from my own work on the sociology health inequalities in general, and my ideal type of the ‘vulnerable fractured reflexive’ in particular, I examine some of the pros and cons of adopting an interdisciplinary approach to the structuring of agency. I conclude with a skeletal research programme involving interdisciplinary collaboration.

The seminar took place on November 11th on the University of Warwick campus. You can listen to a recording of it here:

 

Guest talk by Margaret Archer at Cardiff University – 2nd Dec. 2014

Prof. Margaret Archer will give a guest-talk at Cardiff University on
an oft-neglected aspect of critical realism. She will address how
groups and group relations are transformed in important respects in
the course of pursuing and introducing social transformations. Her
talk draws empirical illustrations from the contestation of
intellectual property in Late Modernity.

The event is open to established researchers and doctoral candidates
in relevant disciplines. Please register through the link below.

Speaker: Prof. Margaret S. Archer.

Title: How Agency is transformed in the course of Social
Transformations: Don’t Forget the Double Morphogenesis.

Date: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 (2:30-4:30pm).

Venue: Lecture theatre E1.21, Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Ave.
Cardiff CF10 3AX.

Organisers: Dr Ismael Al-Amoudi, Dr Tim Edwards, Prof. Rick Delbridge.

Registration link and additional info: https://www.eventsforce.net/cbs/105/home

Emma Uprichard on Complex Temporal Ontologies and Method – October 28th

In the second Centre for Social Ontology seminar of 2014/15, Emma Uprichard (Associate Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies) discusses Complex Temporal Ontologies and Method:

This paper reflects on the methodological challenge of applying complexity theory to study social systems. More specifically, the focus is on the problem of capturing complex patterns of time and temporality empirically. The onus of the talk will be: a) to problematize existing longitudinal qualitative and quantitative social research approaches, which fail to capture complex temporal ontologies, and b) to suggest some tentative methodological alternatives which focus on capturing temporal patterns of change and continuity from a complex systems perspective. A particular concern throughout the discussion is how to study complex change and continuity empirically, whilst also ensuring that notions of agency and the reflexive ageing actor remain central.

All welcome! The seminar will take place on October 28th, from 5pm to 6:30pm in R1.15 (Ramphal Building) on the University of Warwick campus. See here for help getting to the campus. Feel free to contact Mark Carriganwith any questions.

Podcast: Daniel Chernilo on The Idea of Philosophical Sociology

In the first Centre for Social Ontology seminar of 2014/15, Daniel Chernilo (Reader in Social and Political Thought at Loughborough University) discussed his work on philosophical sociology. This was the basis for a recent paper in the British Journal of Sociology.

chernilo2-smallIn this presentation, I introduce the idea of philosophical sociology as an enquiry into the relationships between implicit notions of human nature and explicit conceptualizations of social life within sociology. Philosophical sociology is also an invitation to reflect on the role of the normative in social life by looking at it sociologically and philosophically at the same: normative self-reflection is a fundamental aspect of sociology’s scientific tasks because key sociological questions are, in the last instance, also philosophical ones. The idea of philosophical sociology is then sustained on three main pillars and I use them to structure this article: (1) a revalorization of the relationships between sociology and philosophy; (2) a universalistic principle of humanity that works as a major regulative idea of sociological research, and; (3) an argument on the social and pre-social sources of social life. As invitations to embrace posthuman cyborgs, non-human actants and material cultures proliferate, philosophical sociology offers the reminder that we still have to understand more fully who are the human beings that populate the social world.

You can listen to a recording of the talk here:

CfP: From the anatomy of the global crisis to the ontology of human flourishing

International Centre for Critical Realism conference: From the anatomy of the global crisis to the ontology of human flourishing

The International Centre of Critical Realism presents the 17th annual conference of the International Association of Critical Realism.

When?

Friday 18th – Monday 21st July 2014

Where?

Institute of Education
University of London
20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL

Delegates’ Rates

The following Early Bird discounted rates are available until 30 May:

  • £240.00 – IACR members
  • £320.00 – non-IACR members
  • £195.00 – Students and unwaged

Book Now

From the anatomy of the global crisis…

Since 2008, what began with an initial collapse of the financial system has catalysed into an economic and political crisis of global dimensions. Lurking in the shadows of the financial crisis and occasionally breaching daylight is the ecological crisis. Global warming and climate change hangs like a sword of Damocles over the future of humanity. This is to say nothing of business as usual: growing inequality and impoverishment, continuing discrimination and exploitation, all of which functions to foster moral, psychological and existential crises. Current orthodoxy suggests that such crises are only temporary deviations from an otherwise well-functioning system. Prevailing pessimism suggests that it is easier to imagine global catastrophe and the destruction of the world rather than a change in the status quo able to avert such an outcome.

…to the ontology of human flourishing

In light of the global poly-crisis two questions are now before us; ‘how are we to understand our current situation?’ and ‘what are we to do?’ Albert Einstein is widely accredited as answering this by suggesting “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” This new thinking is what critical realism aspires to provide. Certainly, if we are not only to survive but flourish as human beings we require a robust theory and practice able to move us beyond modest business as usual to the possibilities of something more. The 17th Annual Conference of the International Association of Critical Realism (IACR) will explore the different issues connected with this crisis.

Schedule

Wednesday 16 – Thursday 17 July

  • Pre-conference workshop on critical realism
    Led by Roy Bhaskar, originator of the philosophy of critical realisim (and metaReality) and Alan Norrie, president of IACR

Friday 18 July

  • Educating for the future
    – The ecological crisis
    – Forms of realism
  • Book launch with drinks reception

Saturday 19 July

  • The political-economic crisis
    – Ethics, emancipation and metaReality in action
    – Dialectic and critical realism
  • Conference Dinner

Sunday 20 July

  • Ontology of flourishing
    – Love, sexuality and feminism in the 21st century
    – Religion, spirituality and secularism
  • IACR Annual General Meeting

Monday 21 July

Half day

  • Where do we go from here?
    – Educating for a better future
    – Concrete eutopianism
  • ICCR Annual General Meeting and a workshop on the philosophy of metaReality

Tuesday 22 July

  • Symposium on integrative metatheories

Speakers

  • Priscilla Alderson (Institute of Education)
  • Richard Andrews (Institute of Education)
  • Margaret Archer (L’Ecole Polythechnique Federale de Lausanne)
  • Alison Assiter (University of Western England)
  • Roy Bhaskar (Institute of Education)
  • Berth Danermark (Orebro, Sweden)
  • Hans Despain (Nichols College, Massachussets)
  • Sean Esbjörn-Hargens (Meridian, California)
  • Lena Gunnarsson (Orebro, Sweden)
  • David Graeber (London School of Economics)
  • Mervyn Hartwig (IACR/ICCR)
  • Nick Hostettler (Queen Mary, University of London)
  • Chris Husbands (Institute of Education)
  • Bob Jessop (Lancaster University)
  • Petter Næss (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo)
  • Alan Norrie (Warwick University)
  • Christopher Norris (Cardiff University)
  • Alister McGrath (Oxford University)
  • Doug Porpora (Drexel)
  • Richard Pring (Oxford University)
  • Michael Reiss (Institute of Education)
  • David Scott (Institute of Education)
  • Christian Smith (Notre Dame University)
  • George Steinmetz (Michigan University)
  • Michael Schwartz (Georgia Regents University)
  • Frederic Vandenberghe (UERJ, Brazil)
  • Michael Young (Institute of Education)