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The Sociology Post

Structures, Subjectivity, and Virtual Reality

30th March 2018

In an earlier posting I discussed the idea of the 'social mind' and the way in which such a collective consciousness' must be understood as dispersed to and contained in the minds of the individual members of a society. This provides us with a way of understanding social structures, seen by Durkheim as external and constraining factors in social life. In my work on social structure I showed that the institutions and relations that comprise a social structure must be seen as 'embodied structures', but I did not properly specify how such individual phenomena relate to collective structures.

Social Consciousness and Social Mind

23rd March 2018

In his Division of Labour in Society, Durkheim introduced the idea of 'social consciousness', which he developed through his narrower idea of the 'collective consciousness' as the moral binding force in social life. The more general idea of social consciousness, however, has much wider relevance to the ways in which actions give rise to social structures with real, sui generis, properties capable of constraining individual thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Scotland and Scottish society

23rd March 2018

Sociologists of a certain age will recall the courses on 'The Social Structure of Modern Britain' that many of us followed as students or taught as lecturers. Most such courses have now disappeared. However, there are distinct advantages in pursuing a course that is focused on the key structures constituting a particular national society - and, of course, its global context.

Reforming Corporate Governance

20th March 2018

The Government is considering establishing a register of the beneficial owners of overseas companies, the so-called Persons with Significant Control (PSCs). The aim is the better understanding and regulation of corporate control. I have submitted some comments to the Call for Evidence drawing on my own research into corporate ownership and control. My comments concentrate on issues relevant to the collection and recording of shareholder information. This post comprises the various suggestions made in my submission.

Narratives of Nothing

20th March 2018

It is often remarked that you can have a sociology of anything. It is not so often said that you can have a sociology of nothing, but this is exactly what Susie Scott of Sussex University is trying to develop. We are familiar with ideas about non-places since the work of Marc Augé and Rob Shields, and George Ritzer has elaborated ideas of non-things and non-people in his book on The Globalization of Nothing, but Susie aims at a far more general approach to nothing at all.

Relevance and Impact for Sociology

13th March 2018

A recent book by David Walker (Exaggerated Claims? The ESRC, 50 Years On, London: Sage Publications, 2016) has set out criticisms of sociology for its lack of relevance and engagement with contemporary policy issues. In my review of the book in Sociology (Vol. 51, 2, 2016) I have criticised his argument and established a case for both the impact of sociology and the failure of policy makers to engage with it. Reprinted here is the text of that review.

Reforming the Lords

13th March 2018

Much of my research has concerned status and the dominant classes in relation to political power. One focus has been on the role of the House of Lords in Parliament. This has changed considerably over time. The link between the House of Lords and an hereditary peerage has almost disappeared. Most members of the House today are Life Peers who are appointed by the main political parties or by an Appointments Commission as independent, crossbench members. The Lords today has to be viewed as a central part of the parliamentary system concerned with reflecting on, revising, and improving legislation. The important question is what further reforms are needed in order to enhance its role.


9th March 2018

Welcome to the Sociology Post.

This is the place where I will be posting notes, comments, and reports on sociological matters and issues of sociological relevance. It is where I hope to engage with all of those who come to my website or who have read my work.

Watch this space!