The Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities (CASEI) and its Director, Professor Beverley Skeggs, are pleased to host a Festschrift event to celebrate and recognise the intellectual contribution of Professor Andrew Sayer on Tuesday 2 November 2021 from 2pm-5pm via MS Teams.
Andrew began lecturing at Lancaster University in 1993 in the Department of Sociology, having previously lectured in the School of Social Sciences at Sussex University. He became a Professor in 1997 and served as Head of Department from 1999 to 2002. Originally a geographer, Andrew sees his own intellectual contribution as ‘post-disciplinary’, utilising approaches from a range of disciplines including political economy, philosophy, geography and sociology. This engagement has enriched the intellectual life for both staff and students at Lancaster University as well as the wider academic world.
Andrew’s early work pushed back against the prevailing orthodoxies of the rising tide of regional studies in critical human geography, developing a critical realist perspective that connected abstract social theory with materialist methods. This view is articulated in his Method in Social Science: A Realist Approach (Hutchinson, 1984; second edition Routledge, 1992) as well as with colleagues at Sussex University including Microcircuits of Capital: “Sunrise” Industry and Uneven Development (Polity, 1988) with Kevin Morgan and The New Social Economy: Reworking the Division of Labour (Blackwell, 1992) with Richard Walker from the University of California, Berkeley.
Alongside colleagues such as Professors Bob Jessop and John Urry at Lancaster, Andrew’s research emphasised the value of social theory, which he used to revisit the canon of political economy. His work can be regarded as responding to the challenge of postmodernism and social constructionism from a material dimension, particularly his books Radical Political Economy: A Critique (Blackwell, 1995) and Realism and Social Science (Sage, 2000).
Beyond his body of work on political economy, place and critical realism, Andrew has developed material that explores the ethical and experiential dimensions of contemporary social inequalities. Linked with his approaches in political economy, this has emphasised the notions of value, capital and relations, most notably his works The Moral Significance of Class (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Aimed at a wider audience, his 2014 book Why We Can’t Afford the Rich (Policy Press, 2014) won the Peter Townsend Prize from the British Academy for puncturing the myths legitimating wealth inequalities and accumulation.
This event celebrates and recognises each of Andrew’s overlapping intellectual interventions to debates in social sciences and his contribution to the Sociology Department and University at Lancaster. Each panel invites a series of papers from colleagues related to each of these different spheres coupled with a response from Andrew. The Director of the Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities Distinguished Professor Bev Skeggs will chair the event:
2.00pm Welcome from Professor Imogen Tyler (Head of Department, Sociology, Lancaster University) and Introduction by Distinguished Professor Bev Skeggs.
2.15pm First Panel: Place, Class and Inequality
2.15pm Professor Kevin Morgan (Professor of Governance and Development, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University)
2.35pm Professor Diane Reay (Professor of Education, Faculty of Education, Cambridge University)
2.55pm Response from Professor Andrew Sayer
3.15pm Second Panel: Moral and Political Economies
3.15pm Dr Balihar Sanghera (Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent)
3.35pm Distinguished Professor Bob Jessop (Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University)
3.55pm Response from Professor Andrew Sayer
4.10pm Third Panel: Colleagues and Collegiality
4.10pm Dr Elizabeth Houghton (Policy Designer (Teaching Services), Department for Education)
4.15pm Professor Karen Broadhurst (Professor of Social Work and Co-Director of the Centre for Family and Child Justice and the Data Science Institute, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University)
4.20pm Professor Corinne May-Chahal (Professor of Social Work and Co-Director of Security Lancaster, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University
4.25pm Contributions from Departmental Colleagues Past and Present
4.45pm Response, Summary and Reflections by Professor Andrew Sayer
If you would like to register for the event please book your ticket through Eventbrite and you will be sent a link for the Festschrift on MS Teams. If you wish to share your reflections about the personal or intellectual contribution of Professor Andrew Sayer or for other enquiries relating to the event, please contact Dr Michael Lambert: firstname.lastname@example.org.