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Roy Bhaskar, 1944-2014


Roy Bhaskar died at his home in Leeds at about 6 pm GMT on Wednesday 19 November 2014.

‘It is not that there are the starry heavens above and the moral law within, as Kant would have it; rather, the true basis of your virtuous existence is the fact that the starry heavens are within you, and you are within them.’  (Roy Bhaskar, The Philosophy of MetaReality, p. 351)

The International Association for Critical Realism has established an online condolence book here: http://site.uit.no/iacrroy/

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:

Daniel Little reviews Social Morphogenesis volume 1 and volume 2

The philosopher Daniel Little has written about volume 1 and volume 2 of the Social Morphogenesis book series on his Understanding Society blog:

“Margaret Archer’s contribution to critical realism has been an important part of the recent progress of the field, and her theory of morphogenesis is key to this progress. Her recent volume, Social Morphogenesis, represents a rigorous and serious step forward in the project of articulating this theory as both a meta-theory for the social sciences and a potential contribution to sociological theory. The volume includes two good essays by Archer, as well as contributions by Douglas Porpora, Andrea Maccarini, Tony Lawson, Colin Wight, Kate Forbes-Pitt, Wolfgang Hofkirchner, Emmanuel Lazega, Ismael Al-Amoudi, and Pierpaolo Donati.”

– Daniel Little on volume 1

“This volume, like its companion, Social Morphogenesis, is an impressive demonstration of the value of collaborative research in social theory and the philosophy of social science. It is evident that the contributors to the two volumes have developed their ideas in interaction with each other, and the framework has acquired a great deal of substance and coherence as a result.”

– Daniel Little on volume 2