Transforming Economies of Care

The second event in the Transforming Economies of Care seminar series focusing on finance took place on Monday 13 December. The slides used by Colin Haslam and Kevin Lucas are available and can be accessed by clicking on their names in this post. Although Kendra Strauss did not use slides, her paper drew upon her recent article:

Strauss, K. (2021). Beyond crisis? Using rent theory to understand the restructuring of publicly funded seniors’ care in British Columbia, Canada. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Spacehttps://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X20983152.

The next event organised by Distinguished Professor Bev Skeggs and Daisy Baker (Lancaster University), Dr Emma Dowling (University of Vienna) and Dr Amy Horton (University College London) will built on the first two in developing thinking and resources about the political economies of care.

On Monday 24 January 2021, 4-5.30pm (16.00-17.30 UK GMT) CASEI will be hosting the third event on ‘Platform Care’. This features contributions from Karin Schwiter (Assistant Professor in Labour Geography at the University of Zurich), Simon Yuill (artist, writer and software engineer) and Emma Back (founder of Equal Care) with Helen Hester (Professor of Gender, Technology and Cultural Politics at the University of West London) as discussant. The event will be convened virtually on Zoom in conjunction with The Sociological Review.

When people speak of gig economies they usually refer to transport and delivery sectors such as Uber and Deliveroo. Far less attention is given to platforms that advertise care workers. Yet these platforms have developed rapidly and now form a significant “marketplace” for a range of caring services ranging from nannies to dog walkers. They usually operate significant “gig” features such as a competition over rates of pay, no health or safety checks, and reliance on customer ratings and reviews. This session will discuss what happens to care workers when care becomes platformed, and also what happens to social responsibility on platforms with little accountability. Care work has already been subject to destruction of protections and privatisation through subcontracting agencies in which wages and conditions have “raced to the bottom”, a persistent devaluation globally of wages. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic starkly revealed how the value of care work is rarely recognised, so what happens when it operates in similar ways to other labour that has been gigged and deskilled?

You can register for the seminar through Eventbrite here. Please direct any queries to Dr Michael Lambert (CASEI): m.lambert3@lancaster.ac.uk.

Transforming Economies of Care

Following the virtual launch of Unfree: Migrant Domestic Work in Arab States (Stanford University Press, 2021) by Professor Rhacel Salazar Parreñas on 25 October 2021, CASEI will be supporting the next event of the Transforming Economies of Care seminar series. This is organised by Distinguished Professor Bev Skeggs and Daisy Baker (Lancaster University), Dr Emma Dowling (University of Vienna) and Dr Amy Horton (University College London).

On Monday 13 December 2021, 4-5.30pm (16.00-17.30 UK BST) CASEI will be hosting the second event on ‘Financing Care: Labour Rights Amid New Models of Investment’. This features contributions from Professor Kendra Strauss (Simon Fraser University), Kevin Lucas (UNISON North West) and Professor Colin Haslam (Queen Mary University of London) with Dr Kate Bayliss (SOAS) as a discussant. The event will be convened virtually on Zoom in conjunction with The Sociological Review.

As care needs rise, models of financial investment in the social care sector are proliferating, and care work, already a major source of employment, is seen as key to future jobs. However, poor pay and conditions are generating exploitation and labour shortages in many places. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the challenges facing care staff and services.

What are the prospects for protecting labour rights and improving working conditions? Research has shown that private equity firms and real estate investors have squeezed wages and employment conditions to increase financial returns from care companies. This session will explore these dynamics of financialisation. We will debate the strategies that care workers and their supporters are using to promote labour rights in this context. And we will consider experiments to finance care differently, informed by research on relational business models, wellbeing and social infrastructure.

You can register for the seminar through Eventbrite here. Please direct any queries to Dr Michael Lambert (CASEI): m.lambert3@lancaster.ac.uk.

Slavery Family Trees Conference

On Saturday 13 November 2021 from 9am to 5.30pm the Lancaster Black History Group will be hosting a conference entitled ‘Facing the Past and Transforming the Future: Exploring Lancaster’s links to Transatlantic Slavery’. It offers a showcase of research which decolonises the history of the city as well as exposing its deeply embedded social, economic and cultural links with the slave trade. You can register for the event through Lancaster University LibCal here.

The day will feature presentations from community researchers as well as talks from the Director of the British Slave Ownership project at University College London, Professor Catherine Hall, Director of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, Dr Richard Benjamin, and an introduction from Professor Alan Rice, the Director of the University of Central Lancashire Research Centre in Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX).

Further details of the conference outline and programme can be viewed here.

Rethinking British Citizenship Podcast Talk

On Thursday 28 October 2021 from 4pm-6pm UK BST, the Connected Sociologies project will be hosting a discussion on Rethinking British Citizenship: The British Nationality Act 1981 from Decolonisation to Brexit. You can register for the event through Eventbrite here. This is part of a programme of events to support the launch of the podcast series Who do we think we are? hosted by Professor Michaela Benson, Professor in Public Sociology at Lancaster University.

Timed to take place within a few days of the 40 year anniversary of the British Nationality Act 1981 being granted Royal assent, this event chaired by Amit Singh (Connected Sociologies) brings together in conversation Anne-Marie Fortier (Lancaster University), Devyani Prabhat (University of Bristol), with podcast host and producer Michaela Benson (Lancaster University), to discuss the colonial legacies in British citizenship law, contemporary immigration policy, and the citizenship test.

About the contributors:

Michaela Benson is Professor in Public Sociology at Lancaster University, co-lead of the ESRC-funded project Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit, and host and producer of Who do we think we are?

Anne-Marie Fortier is Professor in Sociology at Lancaster University and the author of Uncertain citizenship: life in the waiting room (Manchester University Press, 2021).

Devyani Prabhat is Professor in Law at the University of Bristol, author of Britishness, Belonging and Citizenship (Policy Press, 2018) and editor of Citizenship in times of turmoil (Edward Elgar, 2019)

Amit Singh is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London, project manager for Connected Sociologies and organiser for Consented.

Next Events

Two events being hosted by the Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities (CASEI) based in Sociology this October which may be of interest.

The first is the launch of a new podcast on global citizenship, inequalities and identities on Thursday 21 October from 4-5.30pm by our own Professor in Public Sociology Michaela Benson. You can register for the virtual event here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talking-about-citizenship-in-global-britain-tickets-186172345497.

The second is a book launch of ‘Unfree: Migrant domestic workers in Arab States’ by Prof Rhacel Parrenas on Monday 25 October 5-6.30pm. You can register for that as well: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-unfree-by-professor-rhacel-salazar-parrenas-tickets-186128594637.

Andrew Sayer’s Feschrift

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

3.05pm Break

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

4.05pm Break

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

5.00pm Close

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: m.lambert3@lancaster.ac.uk.

Book Launch for Dr Laura Clancy’s ‘Running the Family Firm’

The Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities (CASEI) is delighted to host the launch of Running the Family Firm: How the Monarchy Manages its Image and Our Money (Manchester University Press, 2021) by one its members, Dr Laura Clancy. Dr Clancy completed her PhD here in the Sociology Department at Lancaster University and is now a Lecturer in Media. Her book is based on this body of original work and is an excellent showcase for its world-leading research. The book shows unequivocally that we cannot talk about inequalities in Britain today without talking about the monarchy. It is available in hardback, paperback and as an ebook through the publisher’s website.

Owing to ongoing restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic the launch will be hosted virtually via MS Teams on Tuesday 28 September 2021, 4pm-5:30pm UK BST. It will be chaired by the Director of CASEI Distinguished Professor Beverley Skeggs and feature Dr Bruce Bennett (Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Lancaster University), Professor Helen Wood (Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, Lancaster University), and Dr Sivamohan Valluvan (Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick), as discussants as well as questions and answers with the author.

You can register for the event via Eventbrite here. A video of the launch will be available through our YouTube channel after the event. For any enquiries relating to the event, please contact the organiser Dr Michael Lambert: m.lambert3@lancaster.ac.uk.