2016 Annual Report

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independent social research foundation


Annual Report

First published January 2017 Copyright © 2017 Independent Social Research Foundation

ABOUT THE ISRF The Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) is a public benefit foundation funded by a group of private philanthropists with interests in academia and social science, founded in 2008. It is dedicated to advancing the social sciences through the promotion of new modes of inquiry and the development of interdisciplinary expertise and methods, and through better understanding of social entities and processes. To achieve this objective it intends to provide a series of research grants, enter into partnerships with academic institutions and support research activities that promote development in its field. ACADEMIC BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES There is an increasing recognition — both within and outside academic organisations — that the most pressing social and research challenges are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research. There is evidence of this in universities, key funding bodies and the users of social science research. This is particularly true of fundamental questions in the social sciences: How do societies evolve? Why does hunger persist? How do people make decisions? What are the causes of war? These questions are inherently complex and call for diverse insights. A particular challenge created by this complexity is the need to understand the implicit content of the models employed in social science and to ensure that it is appropriate for social analysis. The ISRF believes that interdisciplinary research — understood here as not just the simple combination of traditional approaches, but the conversation between established disciplines and the introduction of new modes of inquiry — is critical for the advancement of new knowledge and for solving contemporary theoretical and practical problems. 3

ISRF ACADEMIC ADVISORY BOARD Olivier Favereau - Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Paris Ouest

Elizabeth Frazer - Associate Professor of Politics, University of Oxford

Kostas Gavroglu - Professor of History of Science, University of Athens

Andrew Graham - Former Master of Balliol College, University of Oxford

William H. Sewell Jr. - Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History, University of Chicago

Charles Stewart - Professor of Anthropology, University College London

Marilyn Strathern - Formerly William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University



2016 ANNUAL REPORT ISRF GRANTS COMPETITIONS EARLY CAREER FELLOWSHIPS In January 2016, the ISRF launched its third Mid-Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in May 2016, and voted to make five awards. The recipients were: Dr Deana Heath (University of Liverpool): ‘Colonial Terror: Torture, Violence and the Unmaking of the World’Professor Ian Loader (University of Oxford): ‘In Search of a Better Politics of Crime’ Dr Martin O’Neill (University of York): ‘Democracy at Work: Power, Voice and Employment in the 21st Century’ Dr Julie Parsons (Plymouth University): ‘Developing capitals through a Photographic e-Narrative (PeN) project at a prisoner/ex-offender resettlement scheme (RS)’ Dr Sherrill Stroschein (University College London): ‘Ethnic Enclaves, Reversed Politics, and the Entrenchment of Difference’

FLEXIBLE GRANTS FOR SMALL GROUPS In October 2015, the ISRF launched its second Flexible Grants for Small Groups competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, a pool of independent external assessors supported the funding of twelve projects.


The successful projects were: Responsibility and Human Enhancement. Concepts, Implications and Assessments – Dr Simone Arnaldi (Jacques Maritain Institute) Layers in the Landscape: Deep Mapping in Cardigan Bay – Dr Martin Bates (University of Wales, Lampeter) Building on Positive Convictions – Dr Rod Earle (Open University) Henri Lefebvre’s Writings on Rural Sociology, Ground Rent and the Politics of Land – Professor Stuart Elden (University of Warwick) & Professor Adam David Morton (University of Sydney) What Potential for a European Space Policy? – Professor Thomas Hoerber (ESSCA - Ecole Superieure des Sciences Commerciales d’Angers) Art Activism and Political Violence – Professor Ruth Kinna & Dr Gillian Whiteley (Loughborough University) Ethnographic Peace Research Workshop: Examining Strengths, Challenges, and Ethics – Dr Gearoid Millar (University of Aberdeen) Swedish/UK Research Dialogue on Critical Approaches to Autism – Dr Lindsay O’Dell (Open University) & Dr Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist (Umeå University) The Pharmaceuticalisation of Prevention: Public Health in the PrEP era – Dr Sara Paparini Comparing Croatian and Slovenian Prostitution Regimes: Surpassing Exclusions and Securing Human rights – Dr Ivana Radacic (Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences) & Dr Mojca Pajnik (The Peace Institute, Ljubljana)



Centering Labor at the Artisanal- and Small-scale Mining Frontier: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives – Dr Boris Verbrugge (Radboud University Nijmegen) The Marlon James Conundrum: Perceptions of Masculinity and Anti-gay Prejudice in Jamaica – Dr Keon West (Goldsmiths, University of London) & Dr Kate Houlden (Anglia Ruskin University) In April 2016, the ISRF launched its third Flexible Grants for Small Groups competition, aimed at supporting independentminded researchers from different disciplines working together towards conceptual innovation in Political Economy – which the ISRF extends to include the social scientific study of economies across the whole range of the social sciences. Having received a number of strong proposals, a pool of independent external assessors supported the funding of eight projects. The successful projects were: The Anti-politics of Austerity: Exploring the Scalar and Spatial Dimensions of Political Crisis and Renewal in Europe – Dr Ross Beveridge & Dr David Featherstone (Glasgow University Transnational Business Networks: The European Corporate Elite Through the Lens of Network Analysis and Sequence Analysis – Dr Philippe Blanchard (University of Warwick), Francois-Xavier Dudouet (Université Paris-Dauphine), & Dr Antoine Vion (Aix-Marseille Université) Using Critical Reflection to Develop Poverty-aware Professionals – Professor Janis Fook (Leeds Trinity University), Professor Michal Krumer-Nevo (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Dr Anna Gupta (Royal Holloway, University of London)


2016 Annual Workshop Clockwise from Top-Left: Jayne Raisborough; Oche Onazi; Sarah Amsler; Jay Wiggan; Nishat Awan; Maja Petrović-Šteger & Martin Holbraad.


2016 Annual Workshop Clockwise from Top-Left: Andrea Ruggeri; Lara Montesinos Coleman; Charles Stewart; a group discussion; Mary Target; the Museum of London.

The Political Economy of State Transformation and Transnational Governance in Asia – Dr Lee Jones (Queen Mary, University of London) The International Political Economy of Space: Applying Theory to Space Activity – Dr Sarah Lieberman (Canterbury Christ Church University) The Marketisation of Everyday Life – Dr Sidonie Naulin (Institut d’études Politique de Grenoble) & Dr Anne Jourdain (Université Paris-Dauphine) The Fourth Quadrant Research Project (4QRP): What can Heterodox Economic Theory Contribute to Responsible Innovation? – Dr Stevienna de Saille (University of Sheffield) Political Economies of Illiberal Peacebuilding in Asia – Dr Lars Waldorf & Dr Claire Smith (University of York)

POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS In August 2016, the ISRF launched its first Political Economy Research Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, a Selection Panel is convened for February 2017 to agree award recipients.

ISRF ESSAY COMPETITIONS ORGANISATION STUDIES: AUTONOMY & ORGANISATION The Independent Social Research Foundation and Organisation Studies awarded the 2016 ISRF Essay Prize in Organisation Studies to Simon Stevens (Postgraduate Researcher, Loughborough University) for his essay ‘Life and Letting Die: A story of the homeless, autonomy, and anti-social behaviour’, to be published online in the Organization Studies OnlineFirst listing in January 2017.


ISRF-SUPPORTED PROJECTS THE ‘LIMITS OF THE NUMERICAL’ RESEARCH PROJECT September 2015 - August 2018 This project explores one of the most pressing sets of questions for modern social science and its relation to policy. What are the effects on a system of social policy when numerical quantification and evaluation is introduced into that system? How does the use of numerical evaluation exclude, trivialize or distort other systems of political, moral and social evaluation? What are the political and moral consequences of this shift towards numerical evaluation? These questions are addressed with respect to three distinct strands of social policy — education, climate change and healthcare — three areas where social science, policy and the gritty world of politics interact with intense urgency. Co-principal Investigators: Dr Stephen John (Pembroke College, University of Cambridge) & Dr Anna Alexandrova (King’s College, University of Cambridge) ISRF Research Fellows: Dr Gabriele Badano & Dr Trenholme Junghans (Girton College, University of Cambridge) The following workshops took place in 2016: The Uses and Abuses of Quantification in Healthcare: interdisciplinary perspectives 21-22 July 2016 A two day conference discussing how particular measures and models of evidence currently prevalent in healthcare have developed and what the practical effects of the use of such measures and models are, and what philosophical issues they raise.


Evidence under Challenge 16 December 2016 A one day closed workshop engaging new directions in healthcare policy and regulation.

CENTRE FOR SOCIAL ONTOLOGY January 2014 - December 2016 The Centre for Social Ontology (CSO) was established in 2011 at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Based from 2014-2016 in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick, the main recent focus has been the Morphogenetic Project. Personnel: Professor Margaret Archer, Director (University of Warwick), Dr Ismael Al-Amoudi, Deputy Director (University of Cardiff) & Dr Mark Carrigan, Research Fellow (University of Warwick). The Morphogenetic Project produced an annual volume as part of the Social Morphogenesis series: 2013 - Volume 1: Social Morphogenesis 2014 - Volume 2: Late Modernity: Trajectories towards Morphogenic Society 2015 - Volume 3: Generative Mechanisms Transforming the Social Order 2016 - Volume 4: Morphogenesis and the Crisis of Normativity 2017 - Volume 5: Morphogenesis and the Good Society (in press)



DIGITAL SOCIAL SCIENCE FORUM 2015-2016 The Digital Social Science Forum brought together innovative figures to develop an interdisciplinary space in which to address fundamental questions posed by computational techniques in the social sciences. Members included: Dr Mark Carrigan, Convenor (University of Warwick), Professor Les Carr (University of Southampton), Dr Jonathan Gray (University of Amsterdam), Professor William Housley (Cardiff University), Professor Evelyn Ruppert (Goldsmiths, University of London), Professor Susan Halford (University of Southampton), Dr Noortje Marres (University of Warwick), Dr Emma Uprichard (University of Warwick) & Dr Farida Vis (University of Sheffield) The Forum’s 2016 outputs included: Conceptual Challenges in Interdisciplinary Social Media Research 11 July 2016 | International Conference on Social Media & Society A workshop to familiarise participants with common conceptual challenges confronted in interdisciplinary social media research, including the disciplinary origins of these conceptual challenges. Social Media and Social Futures 13 July 2016 | International Conference on Social Media & Society This panel addressed themes around social media’s impact on society: private self/public self, the sharing/attention economy, virtuality & memes, political mobilization and engagement.


Digital Methodologies: Beyond Big & Small Data 12 September 2016 | International Conference on Social Science Methodology Conference stream on the methodological challenges of digital social research and the need to incorporate technical issues pertaining to digital methods into the development of new digital methodologies beyond Big and Small Data.

 30 June & 1 July 2016 At the Workshop, the ISRF’s Fellows reported on their work, to each other and to a wider audience drawn from University College London (UCL), who co-hosted the event at the Museum of London. Its title, Discovery and Recognition, prompts the researcher to question how her work disrupts the world. As social scientists, our work sets out to produce new knowledge but, do we really seek something previously unknown or is it rather that we rediscover things which were intentionally or unofficially forgotten? ‘Good’ social science should be conscious of itself and its practices. But what surprises do we then face? A Panel of cross-disciplinary guest speakers considered these and other questions.

ISRF BULLETIN The termly Bulletin presents the interdisciplinary research of Fellows, and other aspects of the ISRF’s work. Each issue is themed around a topic or debate of interest for the social sciences, with articles by ISRF Fellows on their research, as well as by ISRF Academic Advisors and others.



In 2016 the issues were:

Issue 9: Economics - …Serious, But Not Hopeless

In the previous (2015) issue, Economics: The Situation is Serious..., contributions centred on the problems. Economics: …Serious, But Not Hopeless suggests ways forward. Contributors were: Dr Christopher Brooke (University of Cambridge), Dr Elizabeth Frazer (ISRF Academic Advisorl University of Oxford), Dr Jamie Morgan (Leeds Beckett University), Dr Martin O’Neill (University of York), J. Christopher Proctor (Kingston University & Université Paris 13)

Issue 10: Discovery & Recognition Based on the 2016 Workshop the Bulletin looks at how social science interrupts the world. Beginning with a note from Academic Advisor Professor Charles Stewart (University College London), this edition includes an informal conversation on the theme with Professor David Graeber (London School of Economics), one of the ISRF’s first Fellows, and workshopbased contributions from ISRF Early Career Fellows Dr Nishat Awan (University of Sheffield) & Dr Oche Onazi (University of Dundee), and ISRF Independent Scholar Fellows Dr Joel Lazarus (University of Warwick) and Dr Maja Petrović-Šteger (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts).

Issue 11: The Ethical and is The Social Articles on how to combine methodological, conceptual and empirical approaches from across the social sciences, in our efforts to improve understanding of society and tackle the challenges we face, are contributed by Professor Sheila Dow (University of Stirling), Dr Christopher Gregory (Australian National University), 2015 ISRF Economics Essay Prize winner Professor Julie A. Nelson (University of Massachusetts, Boston), and the team behind the ISRF-funded Small Grants project Responsibility and Human Enhancement. 13

THE ISRF EXECUTIVE TEAM Dr Louise Braddock Director of Research Louise Braddock works with the ISRF’s Executive Board to direct all academic work within the Foundation, in consultation with its Academic Advisors. She proposes, implements and assesses the Foundation’s funding strategy and activities.

Dr Rachael Kiddey Editorial Assistant Rachael Kiddey is primarily responsible forthe ISRF Bulletin, assists in the running of grants competitions, workshops, and leads on generating content for the ISRF website.

Stéphane Thompson-Walde Finance Administrator Stéphane Thompson-Walde handles the assets of the organisation.

Stuart Wilson Administrator Stuart Wilson oversees the general administration of the ISRF’s operations. He supports the Director of Research in the implementation of the Foundation’s funding strategy and activities, and is the first point of contact for all general enquiries.

THE ISRF FOUNDATION BOARD Dr Lorenzo Bernasconi Kohn Treasurer

Mr Thijs Clement Secretary

Dr John Latsis Chairman 14

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