9th May

Next question: "Can sociology change society?" No, society isn't changed by sociology or thinking but perhaps we are changing ourselves. I try to offer them some examples where social research has influenced society positively but also examples where sociology has acted as racism's accomplice. We are changed by 'living in books' and by entering into such conversations and thinking together but also by opening out to the social world and having our understandings challenged as a result. This is not the arrogant certainty that has the last word, or the capacity to translate or transpose the world through sociological revelation or that privileges sociological thought as the key to unlock common sense. It is close to what philosopher Romand Coles calls a dialogical ethics, or the give and take of a receptive generosity that both hears and speaks. Every year it's alive in that room.

"Knowledge that is not communicated has a way of turning the mind sour"
Mills, Charles Wright (1944)


"Our capacity to feel and to apprehend hangs in the balance."
Butler, Judith (2004)

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7 June