Topic: Sociology After Durkheim

Sociology After Durkheim
21st June 2006

Keynote Speakers
Michael Lynch, Cornell University                              Steve
Woolgar, Oxford University
Anne Warfield Rawls, Bentley College                                    Paul
du Gay, The Open University

Much sociological theory was wrought in the mould formed by Durkheim with
his principle of social objectivity, but both his position and aspiration
have been challenged by post-structuralist, post modernist and feminist
critiques of received notions of the social and of objectivity. Latour
(2005) repudiates Durkheim¹s concept of the social as stable and
distinctive, and argues for a return to an earlier usage and an emphasis on
transient associations. Garfinkel (2002), however, has reworked Durkheim¹s
aphorism as the foundation of ethnomethodology, while eschewing theory. Is
there scope for new form of theory, for synthesis and re-evaluation of
existing works, or must we accept that sociological theory has, reflexively,
persuaded us to stop theorizing?

We plan a one day event for delegates from a wide constituency, including
established theorists, newer academics and PhD students. Places are limited
to approximately 30 in order to facilitate discussion. The workshop is
subsidised by the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, and the
British Sociological Association Theory Study Group. However, there is a
nominal fee of £50, which includes refreshments and lunch. We invite
submission of abstracts and expressions of interest in attendance. Papers
will be available on the workshop website in advance to enable delegates to
read them before attending. We are also planning to publish an edited
collection from the workshop papers.

Call for Abstracts
The workshop theme is open to wide interpretation and we invite papers
including but not limited to the following:
Reworking Durkheim                                                   Social
theory as situated practice
Theorizing after theory
Reconfiguring social objectivity
Is classical sociological theory redundant?                 Theory/practice
If you are interested in presenting at the workshop, please email an
abstract (up to 300 words) to to reach us no later
than 3rd March 2006. All abstracts will be subject to anonymous peer review.
Successful applicants will be notified by the 17th March 2006. If your
abstract is accepted you will need to submit a short paper of 3,000 to 4,000
words by the 19th May 2006.

Expressions of Interest
If you would like to attend, without presenting a paper, please email with your name and affiliation to reach us no later
than 3rd March 2006. Please include a short explanation (up to 100 words) of
why you are interested and how the workshop theme relates to your own work.

Key Dates:
Expressions of interest or submission of abstracts
3rd March 2006
Notification of acceptance
17th March 2006
Completed paper   
19th May 2006     
21st June 2006

Contact details:
Organisers - Ruth Rettie, Geoff Cooper and Andy King
Workshop website:

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… the answer is, in essence, that during this century of science’s greatest achievements, most physicists and philosophers have given  up on the idea that the purpose of science is to discover how the world really is. Instead they want to regard it as a mere instrument for making predictions and achieving pragmatic goals.