Social and Criminological Research Seminars

Date and time
Wednesday, 3 October 2018 15.00 -
Wednesday, 5 December 2018 16.00

One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus
One Friar Gate Square
Agard Street

The Social Cultural and Legal Research Centre at the University of Derby is pleased to announce its Autumn series of seminars in social and criminological research. 

The seminars are open to all students and staff from the University as well as the general public. 

The seminars will all take place 3pm-4pm in room FG202.

For security and catering reasons, please use the booking form below to register for individual seminars.

The Future of Welfare: Comparing the Political Debate on Universal Basic Income and universal Credit in Finland and the UK

Dr Hermann Aubie, Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy

Dr Hermann Aubié is a lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University; his current research examines the emerging movement around a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Europe and East Asia from a comparative perspective. Another strand of his research interests focus on human rights, civil society transformations and disability rights advocacy in East Asia, with particular attention to how citizens use the law and media to promote sociopolitical change and to redress injustice for individuals/groups who are excluded.


In the social policy debate about welfare reform, both Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Universal Credit (UC) have become regular topics of discussion and controversy in the United Kingdom (UK) and in Finland. Today, both policies have the potential to influence the emerging politics of welfare in very different directions. Considering how poverty and inequality rates have rapidly risen since the 2008 financial crisis with ten years of austerity-driven welfare retrenchment, growing labour precarization and automation as well as social policy reforms like UC in the UK, UBI has gained more attention through awareness-raising moments like the EU citizens’ initiative of 2014, the Swiss referendum of 2016, and the 2-yrs Finnish experiment of 2017-2018.

As a result, both in the UK and Finland as well as across Europe, an increasingly complex debate about welfare reform and the politics of labour has emerged between supporters and critics of UBI and UC from across the ideological spectrum. In turn, this has led to agrowing political tension that reflects a wider fault line in the global social policy debate in both developed and developing countries, with advocates of universal or unconditional welfare schemes like UBI on one hand, and advocates of conditional and targeted welfare schemes like UC on the other. Against this wider background, this presentation compares the emerging politics of welfare and labour in Finland and the UK where UBI and UC have been debated and contrasted, in an effort to better ascertain the wider implications of these recent developments beyond these two national contexts.

Why do applicable police research? If you bother, what’s worth doing?

Professor Ken Pease, Professor of Policing, University of Derby


The session will discuss the ethics and practicalities of applicable police research. In my view, researchers were on balance parasitic on policing until the 80s, but are now increasingly trying to be useful without ‘going native’. Examples will be given.

As with all applicable research, first consult your conscience. Are the values of the organisation to which your results would be applicable outside of the ethical range which you could accept? Would you do research on the usefulness of the information gained by waterboarding? Would you work for Quadrilla on how to change public opinion about fracking or Google (pr Mossad) on how to stop people caring about its invasions of privacy?

Once your conscience has excluded ‘not with a barge pole’ organisations, it has not finished its work. The organisations which remain will be mixturesof good and unethical attributes. You have a choice. In the words of the song you have to

“Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Don’t mess with mister in between”

Ideally you would be doing both some accentuating and some eliminating, achieving a balance. However, research which eliminates the negative is unlikely to be funded by the organisations whose flaws you are identifying or by compliant referees of research proposals. Tenders for research bids tend to swerve past the flaws. Once you have wrestled with your conscience and pressures from your employing university, you have research plans to put into effect. At this point your conscience has its final big job. Will you be true to the data by reporting whatever results come out?

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: A Model Remedy to Resolve Cross-border Legal Disputes in the Era of Political Uncertainty 

Michala Meiselles, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Derby


In this era typified by shifting national allegiances, re-emergence of nationalist forces, isolationism, and disintegration of trade blocs, the stability and longevity of commercial ties have become crucial, with private law remedies such as nachfrist offering a panacea if and when disputes arise between the contracting parties.

I will explore the benefits associated with nachfrist, and argue that nachfrist enhances efficiency through saving money, time and resources.

In doing so the talk will endeavour toshed new light on the resolution of private legal disputes whilst recommending how toovercome conflicts between commercial parties efficiently.

Crime, Conflict and Secularism: Turkish Feminist Movement against Femicide

Dr Baris Cayli, Senior Research Fellow, University of Derby


This study explores a Turkish feminist movement campaigning to prevent femicide. The unyielding struggles of Turkish women challenge the structural and legal basis of the Turkish criminal justice system and provide a pivotal account to explore the volatiledynamics of a transforming society from a secular repertoire of culture towards an androcentric Islamic paradigm. Exploring political rhetoric, court verdicts, identities of offenders, 1,414 femicide cases, and the reactions of feminist activists, I introduce the "criminological landscape of secularism" as a novel concept to unveil the role of secularism in politically contested places of injustice. Further, I claim that the criminological landscape of secularism opens new ways of uncovering the role of politicocultural character of society in the process of victimisation and resistance of vulnerable groups.

Toward a Sociology of Conservative Crisis

Dr Phil Burton-Cartledge, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Derby


Despite winning the largest number of seats and 42% of the popular vote at the 2017 general election, the Conservative Party is in crisis. Rather than relying on explanations emphasising a catalogue of missteps by the party leadership to the exclusion of all else, this paper argues the election result and divisions over Brexit negotiations has brought to a head a number of long running tensions symptomatic of the party’s long-term decline. These are expressed in diminishing party organisation, the reliance on a declining voter base and media support, and its retreat from a party of business-in-general to an increasingly sectional party. The opposite but complementary process to the growth and recomposition of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, this working paper draws on the cognitive capitalism approach of Hardt and Negri (2000, 2004, 2009) and others to explain the trajectory of the Conservatives, how it lost “natural” seats but gained "traditional" Labour seats at last year's election, the delicate balance of power at the top of the party, and the low chances of it being able to reinvent itself sufficiently to overcome these structural difficulties in the short to medium term.

Is the International Monetary Fund really interested in reducing inequality? Evidence from Policy Advice to Member States 

Professor Alex Nunn, Professor of Global Political Economy and Research Centre Lead, University of Derby


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified inequality as a significant problem in the global economy but previous research has suggested that there is a gap between its rhetoric and practice with high level policy commitments to reduce inequality only very partially reflected in the policy advice given to member states. The Fund responded to this by highlighting a series of ‘pilots’ for its inequality work.This paper takes a large sample of Article IV reports in which the Fund monitors member state economies and offers policy advice.It tests the prominence of inequality in these reports over time. It also compares the pilot countries with the rest to address three questions:

  1. To what extent is Fund policy discussion and advice adopting a more progressive approach to inequality in Article IV reports over time?
  2. Does the approach to policy discussion and advice differ in IMF’s inequality pilots?
  3. How does Fund policy advice in the pilots seek to reduce inequality?

The paper concludes that there is evidence of change in IMF orientation to inequality and that this reflects a serious commitment but that there is still considerable scope for further change and suggest ways in which this might be advanced, as well as discussing potential reasons behind the lag in operationalising high level commitments.

Revisiting The History Boys: Where has widening participation gone wrong?

Dr Ciaran Burke, Associate Professor of Higher Education, University of Derby

Higher Education is an opportunity for many to become socially mobile or to cut a different path which would have historically been taken. By design, higher education, when accessed through widening participation, is a foreign institution, a place which people are often trying to make sense of and confirm a sense of belonging. Akin to other elite institutions, higher education operates through unwritten rules and tacit expectations (Bourdieu, 1974). Previous research has illustrated the difficulties “non-traditional” students experience when trying to navigate such structures, resulting in issues of well-being, retention and attainment (Reay, et al., 2009; Bathmaker, et al., 2016; Waller, et al., 2017). This paper argues that a central issue within the widening participation agenda spanning the last 20 years is that in the pursuit of social mobility students are taught to “pass” as members of the dominant group, or what I termed: a return to the history boys.

In the context of the reproduction of social inequalities, contrary to the widening participation agenda, additional support for “non-traditional” students during their time in higher education is required. This paper will examine a number of challenges we face in the pursuit of providing sustained support to widening participation students.  In particular it will examine the need to adopt an ecological approach when considering widening participation and student identity (Fuller, Heath and Johnston 2011). The paper will be supported by three competing but complementary theoretical positions:

  • Hot knowledge – Ball and Vincent (1998) discuss the friction between hot knowledge (information from individuals and informal sources) and cold knowledge (information from written/official source). The authors contend that individuals both favour hot knowledge and welcome such information from individuals who share demographic characteristics – the main issue remains, as Reay, et al. (2005) argue, that such preferences and exchanges reproduce position within social space
  • Communicative reflexivity – a central tenant within Margaret Archer’s critical realist model of a Morphogenetic Society (1996, 2003, 2007) is reflexivity: an individual’s awareness of social space and ability to navigate an increasingly fractured and fluid set of social structures. One type of reflexivity is Communicative reflexivity – a form of reflexivity where such awareness and actions are created and employed through conversations with others. While Archer concedes that conversations tend to take place between those who share demographic characteristics, Kahn (2017) suggests a possible framework for social mobility through adjusting the actors in the conversation
  • Collective habitus – an equally central tenant within Pierre Bourdieu’s structural constructivist model of practice (1977, 1984) is habitus: an individual’s norms, values and dispositions influenced by family, school, peers and environment. While the habitus is understood to be durable in nature, Bourdieu maintains that a significant out-of-environment experience can alter the habitus (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992). However, Bourdieu cautions against the difficulty in such an alteration taking place; the collective form of habitus, he argues, moves in unison to quickly quell dissent from an individual member of the group, reinforcing the “original” habitus and reproducing position within social space

External involvement in civil wars: Towards a theoretical framework

Dr Francesco Belcastro, Lecturer and Subject Leader in International Relations, University of Derby


The topic of this research is regional involvement in civil wars. External intervention typically causes an increase in the level of violence, as well as in the average duration of conflict. This paper studies what ‘structural’ factors drive external actors to intervene in civil wars in neighbouring countries. Previous works focused on a broad range of aspects, from ethnic and sectarian cleavages to security concerns. This research seeks to build a theoretical framework that includes these different parameters. It does so by looking at different cases of civil wars drawn from the MENA region.

Trading in Gender Equality: An opportunity for whom?

Dr Adrienne Roberts, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, The University of Manchester
Dr Silke Trommer, Lecturer in Politics, The University of Manchester


This talk centres on research we are currently conducting (with Erin Hannah at King’s College, Canada) on the recent move toward bringing the goals of ‘gender equality’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ into trade policy in the UK and globally. We explore some of the reasons why the idea of gendering global trade has become so pervasive at the contemporary conjuncture – a time when many of the civil society organizations that emerged in wake of the 1999 WTO protests with an interest in pushing for a feminist trade agenda have disappeared. Using examples such as the WTOs ‘Joint Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment’, the gender chapters that have been added to several bilateral trade agreements, and recent global initiatives such as ‘SheTrades’, we ask who stands to gain from attempts to make trade more equitable for women. We use the lens of feminist international political economy to critically interrogate the openings as well as the foreclosures that come with this most recent effort at mainstreaming gender concerns within neoliberal economic relationships.

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