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"Have We Ever Been 'Post'? Critiques of Social Knowlege'

Jean-Francois Lyotard, by Bracha Ettinger

Registration is now open for a British Sociological Association (BSA) Theory Group conference to be held at the University in September this year.

"Have We Ever Been 'Post'? Critiques of Social Knowlege" will revisit the problems of understanding, explaining and representing the social world as disclosed in works by C. Wright Mills, Michel Foucault and Jean-Francois Lyotard.

Mills' The Sociological Imagination (1949), Foucault's The Archaelogy of Knowledge (1959) and Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition (1979) all celebrate landmark anniversaries this year and although coming from distinctive positions, and with different aims, these books share the quality of bringing about strong critiques of knowledge production in the social sciences and, fundamentally, challenging major principles of Western social theory and sociology.

The conference, which is jointly organised by the BSA Theory Study group and the University's Department of Sociology, will take into account the increasing atmosphere of 'post'-orientation in universities and academia to revisit and perhaps update the legacy of these "critiques of knowledge".

Keynote speakers include Steven Siedman of State University, New York, who will give a plenary entitled "From 'Capital' to the Politics of Difference: Reconfiguring Social Theory" and Liz Stanley of the University of Edinburgh, who will talk about "Social Theory and the Conceptual Practices of Power: on Dorothy Smith, other Feminist Social Theory and the Boy Problem in Theory and its Canon".

Other sessions include discussion on culture after multiculturalism; assertions, morphopticism and new social sciences; the promise of sociology in the 21st century; the post-secular feminist subject; and reclaiming the Past in a 'Post' world.

The conference is on the 17th and 18th September and costs £60 for a BSA member, £85 for a non-member and less for concessions. There will also be a Conference Dinner on the 17th at an extra cost of £25.

The deadline for registration is the 15th August.