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Economy and Society Summer School

Blackwater Castle, Co. Cork, Ireland. 11-15th of May 2015

Applications are now open! Please contact: info.easss@gmail.com for more information or to apply

z E+S Summer School with logo

About the Summer School

Now in its second year, for five days next May, at Blackwater Castle Ireland, the Economy and Society Summer School will bring together 50 scholars – around 20 faculty and 30 business and social sciences PhD researchers for an intensive and convivial residential course dealing with theories, concepts and methods of inquiry.

The summer school is tailored to the needs of doctoral students in Business and Social Sciences, and aspires to help early stage researchers strengthen and widen their theoretical basis in ways that allows them to position their work amongst broader discourses, extend and sharpen their understanding of their theoretical and empirical practices and to contribute to their formation as independently-minded researchers. The school will be of particular interest to  PhD researchers from sociology, politics, anthropology, geography and history on the one hand, and organisation studies, management, marketing, finance and economics on the other.

The School is a rich mix of conventional presentations, small group work, student-led seminars & discussions, peer-group presentations & feedback sessions; all arranged to promote discussion and argument around your research and how it fits into the broader themes of the economy and society. To that end, the number of participants is limited to no more than 30 and the cost of participation is kept low.

The Summer School is designed around three different kinds of learning formats and interaction: By providing these three different formats our aim is to enhance a structured, interactive but also informal way of discussing broader issues around each individual’s research. These formats are:

  1. Key notes given by invited faculty followed by discussions
  2. Short dialogical presentations usually delivered in thematically selected pairs
  3. Small breakout reading groups based on selected key readings, functioning as small tutorial sessions on the talks and their relevance to student’s work

About our Approach to Investigating the Economy and Society

Post-graduate students from across disciplines in business and social sciences need to address both economy and society. Clearly, the economy shapes society, and economic institutions are irreducibly social. Furthermore, in an increasingly interdisciplinary academic world, sociology, anthropology, politics, geography and history on the one hand, and organisation studies, management, marketing, finance and economics on the other can indeed be mutually illuminating. Thus, this summer school is oriented to the contemporary social science concern with the economy and the turn towards the social in the broad range of economics and business. Bridging the gap between these paradigms and developing a new language to address the intersections of economy and society is a vital contemporary concern

To some, the economy appears as a sort of autonomous assemblage of law-like forces; supply, demand, labour and capital, and yet it can be concretely investigated through more micro phenomena such as offices, factories, companies, entrepreneurship, internationalisation, networks or cultural practices such as consumerism, leisure and credit. Furthermore, historical perspectives suggest that there is a complex and often surprising lineage in the emergence, transformation and consolidation of money, private property and markets. Another concern is the subjective experience of economic processes, for instance, the trials of job-seeking and ‘selling yourself’, the experience of indebtedness, poverty or social mobility. And in the quest to make a contribution, researchers examining these phenomena look to a broad set of theorists and researchers from across the social sciences, a selection of which will be presented in detail in the summer school reading groups.

The most important political ideas in the last century are liberalism and socialism, both of which are economic philosophies; these paradigms dominate public debate and politics. The main activities of the contemporary state are economic management; taxation, regulation and providing social services. Furthermore, many areas of social and personal life have become suffused with economic logics; we work on ourselves, our families and our relationships; there is a marketplace for ideas, for love and for friendship; we ‘consume’ media history and politics. While there is much to critique in the injustices, excesses and absurdities of the ‘economy’, it is first of all necessary to understand it interpretatively. Since Weber’s ‘protestant ethic’ thesis, it is clear that in modern society one of our highest values, our most important institutions and primary markers of identity is work. Paradoxically, a gulf has opened between economic practices and social norms, even as society has increasingly taken on the market principle.

The Economy and Society summer school aspires to help early stage researchers strengthen and widen their theoretical basis in ways that allows them to position their work amongst broader discourses, extend and sharpen their understanding of their theoretical and empirical practices and to contribute to their formation as independently-minded academics. In this way we hope to offer a space to move beyond the narrowing of fields and hair-splitting discourse of some contemporary research.

Now open for applications: info.easss[@]gmail.com

Organisers: Tom Boland, Ray Griffin and John O’Brien – Waterford Institute of Technology,

 In collaboration with Kieran Keohane, Colin Sumner and Arpad Szakolczai – University College Cork

ethics

Kindly supported by the Irish Academy of Management