Big Conversation

LSSI – Beech Grove House

A workshop at LSSI to develop a research agenda about equality, diversity and security

  • What do the terms “equality”, “diversity” or “security” mean to you?
  • How do their meanings differ in international and interdisciplinary contexts?
  • What research questions do these ideas raise?
  • What methodological tools do we need to research equality, diversity and security?
  • Who else is interested in developing this research agenda?

International participants include:

  • Tim Jensen (Institute of Philosophy, Education, and The Study of Religions, University of Southern Denmark);
  • Steve Herbert (Comparative Law and Social Studies Centre, University of Washington, USA);
  • Kathleen Lynch (Equality Studies Centre, University College Dublin, Eire);
  • Erik Olin Wright (Havens Center for the Study of Social Structures, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA;
  • Kevin Haggerty, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Canada);
  • Deborah Brannan (Faculty of Economics, University of Sydney, Australia);

You will need to register asap (by 9th June) to attend this workshop

Please email Alison Suckall at a.j.suckall@leeds.ac.uk

PROGRAMME

10.00 -10.30 Arrival and coffee

10.30 -12.30 Short presentations

  • Introduction to LSSI and its research agenda: Gill Valentine, LSSI
  • “Equality” – Kathleen Lynch, Equality Studies Centre, University College Dublin, Eire
  • “Diversity” – Tim Jensen (Institute of Philosophy, Education, and The Study of Religions, University of Southern Denmark)
  • “Security” – Steve Herbert (Comparative Law and Social Studies Centre, University of Washington, USA)
  • Researching equality, diversity and security – Sarah Irwin (ESRC NCRM Node, University of Leeds)
  • Questions/general discussion

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 3.00 Parallel workshops to discuss the meanings of, and relationships between, the concepts of equality, diversity and security and the research questions that they raise.

  1. Equality diversity and security in “public2 and “private” contexts (led by Sue Yeandle, Sociology. University of Leeds, Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kevin Haggerty, Sociology, University of Alberta, Canada).
  2. Equality diversity and security in local context (led by David Bell, Geography, University of Leeds)
  3. Equality diversity and security in international Context (led by Fiona Williams, CAVA/Sociology, Ruth Pearson, Politics and International Studies (POLIS) University of Leeds; Deborah Brannan, Faculty of Economics, University of Sydney, Australia)

3.00 – 3.30 Tea break

3.30 – 4.30 Plenary – To define some key interdisciplinary and international research questions, and to develop ideas for collaborative grant applications (Chaired by Kim Knott, Theology, University of Leeds)

Followed by wine, nibbles and networking

Why This Matters?

As the anniversary of the London bombings approaches questions of equality, diversity, and security, and the relationships between them have never been more pertinent, as recent debates about “Britishness” and ID cards testify.

This autumn will see the launch of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) which will champion equality, diversity and human rights. This Commission will replace the Disability Rights Commission, Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, and will, also include the other equality strands of “faith/religion/belief”, “age” and “sexuality”. The CEHR is to introduce a Single Equality Act and will also have a public duty to promote good relations within, and between, communities.

The new CEHR will need to respond to the outcome of the Equalities Review panel, headed by Trevor Phillips. Its interim report has identified chronic and persistent inequalities in the UK and the costs of this for the UK economy. In doing so it has raised questions about how to define equality in particular whether equality has its roots in socio-economic factors (i.e. whether class has primacy) or whether other factors are more important in our (in)ability to participate in society; as well as questions about how equality might be measured.

As these policy debates and initiatives suggest “the capacity to live with difference is the coming question of 21st Century” (Stuart Hall).