The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 8 - Sarah Quinn (Washington)

We tend to think of the market and government as separate spheres, related to one another, perhaps regulating one another, but rarely do we track the long-term ways in which both have created and shaped one another. Sarah Quinn, in her new book, 'American Bonds: How Credit Markets Shaped a Nation' tells a different story - one that positions the government's construction of credit markets in order to achieve policy ends - especially in housing - produced entire fields of finance in the market, while making government unaccountable and invisible within these processes and policies we tend to associate with the private, rather than public sector. This week, on The Civic Sociologist podcast, we talk with Dr Quinn about her fascinating and revealing retelling of the American story.

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 7 - James Block (DePaul)

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously declared the ‘End of History’ in which we could expect liberal capitalist democracies to triumphantly expand across the globe. While many today might laugh at the assertion that anything about the present could be defined as a successful or stable political order, what happens if we take the longer view of things back to the turn of the 20th, rather than 21st century.

As I discuss with James Block, Professor of Political Thought at DePaul University in Chicago, progressives back then thought the American project had culminated, with all the central institutions of liberalism firmly in place. The question became, how do we get our population to buy into this American project – which required participation - if it was already finished? The answer was found in consumption – individual gratification and the promise of fulfilled desire – a promise that appeared to be attained by the mid-1960s, only to produce alienation on a massive scale when the younger generation realised the moral emptiness of this new regime. Tracking the consequences of these trends to the present, we can see the end of the line for this particular order of things – requiring a radically new imagination if we propose to get out of the current mess we find ourselves in after the end of history.

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 6 - Carl Fraser (Coventry)

This week I'm sitting down with Carl Fraser, Lecturer in Architecture at Coventry University and director of Situation Architecture. Specialising in 'counter-mapping' Carl was involved in a project we conducted in Exeter last year to develop cooperative housing for early career professionals, which you can read more about on the civic sociology blog. He has also conducted fascinating research into the decline of the British high street and the adaptation of public space in the Occupy and other protest movements. We discuss these and related topics in our conversation conducted last month in London.

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 5 - Pamela Herd (Georgetown)

This week, on The Civic Sociologist podcast we will be speaking with Pamela Herd, Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Her recent book, co-authored with Don Moynihan, titled 'Administrative Burden: Policymaking By Other Means', explores the politics of greater or lesser degrees of burden citizens experience when interacting with government bureaucracies and policies. It's a fascinating discussion of an underexplored set of dimensions in public policy. We then turn to discuss the role and position of sociology in these debates and the academy, in general, pointing to possibilities for our further involvement and public significance moving forward.

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 4 - Eric Lybeck (Manchester)

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 4 - Eric Lybeck (Manchester)

This week on the Civic Sociologist podcast, I'll be presenting a recording of a talk I gave at a recent conference in Manchester called 'A Processual Account of the Rise of the Modern University System', which tracks my on-going research into the long-term 'Academization Process' beginning in the early 19th century. We can see two phases in this process, first a shift from the medieval to a modern elite university, then a second phase moving from elite to mass. Because contradictions embedded in the logic of the first phase have not been resolved, we can see a range of social issues and inequalities that are *caused* by further expansion of credentials today. This links us up with many of the themes we are interested in at Civic Sociology, including the rise of anti-expert populism and what we might do differently to better connect academics and professionals with the public and vice-versa.

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 3 - Tariq Modood (Bristol)

In this week's podcast, we are speaking with Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy at the University of Bristol. I ask about his work as a leading public intellectual around issues of 'multiculturalism' since the 1990s, including his experiences with the Labour Party at that time and since. We explore his views on multiculturalism which are distinctly rooted in ideas of the civics, community and values. Listen to see if there might yet be a future for multiculturalism in Britain and beyond.

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The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 2 - Rebecca Elliott (LSE)

In this episode of The Civic Sociologist podcast, journal editor, Eric Lybeck, sits down with Rebecca Elliott from the London School of Economics Department of Sociology to discuss her work connecting issues of climate change with social research, policy and activism. Elliott’s research into issues of flood insurance take us from the relatively mundane world of insurance to pressing issues around the sociology of loss, in general. We also discuss her contribution to debates surrounding the Green New Deal.

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Civic Sociology project wins Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize

Civic Sociology project wins Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize

Editor-in-Chief, Eric Lybeck, has won the Bennett-Prospect Prize for Public Policy. Here he writes about developing the winning project idea.

Yesterday, I was honoured to receive the first Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize awarded by the recently founded Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Indeed, this year’s conference themes around ‘fairness, equity and democracy’, in which many speakers addressed the importance of place-based as well as global policymaking, drew into focus many challenges facing us in the 21st century and why our work at civic sociology to solve local and regional problems in ethical ways is ever more urgent.

The Civic Sociologist Podcast - Ep. 1 - Michael McQuarrie

In our first podcast for our new journal, Civic Sociology, Eric Lybeck speaks with associate professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, Michael McQuarrie about his research into Rust Belt America & his emerging comparative study of similarly ‘left behind’ regions in the East Midlands of the UK. 

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Comments on the Civic University Commission Report

Yesterday, the long awaited Civic University Commission Report led by Lord Kerslake for the UPP Foundation was published. The report contains a welcome summary of findings the commission obtained during the past year when it gathered evidence across the UK seeking to better understand and revitalise universities’ ‘civic role’. As editor of a new journal also founded, in part, to understand the relationships between universities, civics and places, I wish to add some constructive, critical comments to support progress of this most important agenda.