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Democratic finance… from liquidity crisis to liquid money

Abundance Generation, the product of three years hard work, including many weeks ‘deep hanging out’ with people across the UK, is finally ‘launched’.

Abundance has tried to shift the focus of investment from the 1% (who frankly have enough) to the 99% who are short of meaningful choices of things to do with their money which invest for the future rather than add to their debt or material clutter.

We call it democratic finance – and is a clear example of how working with the thinkers like those in the Bauman Institute can inspire change and make a positive impact  in the ‘real world’.

You can read more about it all here in the Guardian article which came out today or go online to www.abundancegeneration.com

Feel free to tweet or get in touch directly with your comments and thoughts or join the debate here, on the Guardian site or at my blog post with ResPublica.

This entry was posted in News.

Where are the fresh voices? They are out there in abundance.

On Monday (16 April), Aditya Chakrabortty wrote a thought-provoking article in The Guardian entitled ‘Economics has failed us: but where are the fresh voices?’ The article is well worth a read, as are the numerous responses that followed from a diverse range of commentators.

The essence of Chakrabortty’s piece is captured in the strap line: Mainstream economic models have been discredited [true]. But why aren’t political scientists and sociologists offering an alternative view? [the truth is, they are]. Not unreasonably perhaps, the evidence for Chakrabortty’s claim was a seemingly hasty browse through the conference abstracts from the British Sociological Association’s Annual Conference  (held here at Leeds, 11-13 April). In his view, the conference was sadly lacking in addressing the ‘big questions’ of the moment, citing (somewhat unfairly) a single paper from a stream session as somehow emblematic of the entire sociological vocation. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Blog, News.

We get the budgets we deserve?

New post on Res Publica blog on how the budget reflects the last gasps of economics as politics in disguise and the need for new sources of knowledge and understanding about the meaning of money… step forward the sociology and anthropology!  http://respublica.org.uk/item/We-get-the-budgets-we-deserve

This entry was posted in News.

All that is solid melts into air?

Having been the inspiration for www.zopa.com, Liquid Modernity can now claim a new offspring –  www.abundancegeneration.com

Abundance hopes to disrupt the conventions of money and financial services which deliberately alienate and disorientate the individual by allowing ordinary people to earn cash by investing directly in renewable energy production.  The minimum investment is £5 which makes it the first truly accessible retail investment product authorised by the FSA in more than a decade.

Democratic finance won’t be stopping there, once we have proven the model with wind and solar farms, we will be enlisting truly public money in the financing of other forms of big society or good society (depending on your political persuasion/ glossary) including schools, hospitals, etc.

Launch is planned to be very soon – proof that the problem with money is not that the system is ‘broken’ and anti-social, just that people need to take back control and bring money back into the social domain.

This entry was posted in Consumerism and Sustainability, Ethics and Soci(ologic)al Theory, News.

Zygmunt Bauman – Histories of Violence

As a part of the Histories of Violence project, directed by Dr Brad Evans (POLIS, University of Leeds), The Guardian newspaper has launched its 10 Years of Terror series: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/10-years-of-terror

Today, a specially commissioned video lecture by Zygmunt Bauman was launched on the Comment is Free website and can be accessed here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2011/sep/01/zygmunt-bauman-terrorism-video

For more information on the Histories of Violence project, see:

http://www.historiesofviolence.com/

This entry was posted in News, The Social Thought of Zygmunt Bauman.

Higher Education in the Liquid Modern Era: Swirling down the Drain?

This one day, BSA sponsored conference, hosted at the University of Leeds in conjunction with the Bauman Institute, will be looking to discuss the following;

  • How has sociological theory impacted on the ethical, economic, social and political landscape?
  • Is there space for substantive ethical development within ‘the academy’?
  • How might proposed drives towards efficiency, impact and ‘value-for-money’ lead to irrational outcomes?
  • Can postgraduate students assert the value of sociology by opposing the changes inside academic institutions?
  • Will there still be space for critical sociology or will changes to funding limit critical thought?

For more information, see http://www.lssi.leeds.ac.uk/events/higher-education-in-the-liquid-modern-era-swirling-down-the-drain/

This entry was posted in Events, News.

CITSEE.eu: Zygmunt Bauman on the Future of Europe

For a recent interview with Zygmunt Bauman, visit:

http://www.citsee.eu/interview/past-central-europe-future-europe-interview-zygmunt-bauman

www.citsee.eu is a website of the CITSEE project (The Europeanisation of Citizenship in the Successor States of the Former Yugoslavia) and is focused on the over-arching theme of “Citizenship in Southeast Europe”.

For more on the CITSEE project, see: www.citsee.eu

This entry was posted in News.

New Bauman Institute MA Scholarships

The School of Sociology and Social Policy is delighted to announce two new scholarships at the Bauman Institute for 2011 to 2012 and invites applications from UK students that want to begin their studies in September 2011.

The two awards cover the full cost of fees and are available to students for either of the Bauman Institute’s MA programmes, namely MA Social and Political Thought and MA International Social Transformation.

More information about the scholarships and application forms are available here.

This entry was posted in News.

Shared Social Responsibilities, continued…

A quick update on developments following the Shared Social Responsibilities conference in Brussels at the start of this month.

The Council of Europe have created a webspace specifically for the conference, including a draft version of the Charter, copies of the main speeches, and information about forthcoming publications. More details can be found here.

On a related matter, Dr Sean Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland, is organising a significant event in Dublin in September that concerns directly the idea of sharing social responsibilities as a strategy for the future.

Dr Healy has very kindly invited me to offer a keynote address at this event. The working title of my paper is: Crises of Consumerism – Sharing Social Responsbilities as a Way Ahead. More details on this event soon. Further information about Social Justice Ireland can be found at their website: Social Justice Ireland.

This entry was posted in Events, News, Renewing Politics and Civil Society.

Social Europe Journal

Zygmunt Bauman is now contributing frequently to Social Europe Journal (SEJ).

Social Europe Journal (SEJ) is the first journal, delivered mainly electronically, addressing issues of critical interest to progressives across Europe and beyond. It was founded in late 2004 and has been continuously published since spring 2005.

SEJ is above all a forum for debate and innovative political thinking. We not only deal with social democracy and European economic policy but also use ‘Social Europe’ as a viewpoint to examine issues such as globalisation, political economy, industrial policy and international relations.

Primarily as an electronic journal, we encourage interactive communication. It is our goal to make as many readers as possible active participants of SEJ. By providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas, SEJ is the pioneer of a new form of European public realm – a public realm that grows and is shaped from the people up; driven by citizens.

We are committed to publishing stimulating articles by the most thought-provoking authors. Since its founding, SEJ has published writers of the highest calibre including several Nobel laureates, international political leaders and academics as well as some of the best young talent.

SEJ is published by Social Europe Journal Ltd., a UK-based not-for-profit company, in cooperation with the Global Policy Institute London and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.

You can follow Zygmunt’s column here.

This entry was posted in News, The Social Thought of Zygmunt Bauman.

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