This term’s series explores social science’s big concepts. It examines the contested meaning and diverse application of some of the theoretical ideas that unify and challenge social scientists. It brings together the bright minds of Oxford, and high profile external speakers, to consider the range of ways in which we can think about ‘power’, ‘space’, ‘identity’, and ‘belonging’.
What does it mean to ‘belong’ to a community or a society? What defines and shapes inclusion and exclusion, and for whom? This discussion examines the diverse contributions that social science can make to thinking about societal membership and the interventions that can enhance societal participation and human flourishing. It will explore what this means for early life, school age children, and refugees, for example, from a range of disciplinary perspectives.
Jane Barlow is Professor of Evidence Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford. Jane’s main research interest is the role of early parenting in the aetiology of mental health problems, and the evaluation of interventions aimed at improving parenting practices during pregnancy and the postnatal period. She also undertakes research to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed at preventing child abuse. She is currently President of AIMH UK, Affiliate Council Representative of the Executive Board of WAIMH, an Associate Editor for the Infant Mental Health Journal, and was a member of PreVAiL (Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan). She is currently undertaking research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on services from pregnancy through age 5 years for families who are high risk or have complex social needs.
Roger Zetter is Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies, retiring as the fourth Director of the Refugee Studies Centre in September 2011. His long association with the RSC commenced in 1988 as Founding Editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies, published by Oxford University Press, a position held until 2001. In an academic career spanning over 35 years and with regional expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Middle East, his teaching, research, publications and consultancy have included all stages of the ‘refugee and displacement cycle’. He has written over 45 peer reviewed journal papers, six books, 32 book chapters, 21 major research reports/monographs, and numerous op. eds. His 1991 Journal of Refugee Studies paper, ‘Labelling refugees: forming and transforming a bureaucratic identity’ is one of the most widely cited in refugee studies. For the centenary of Oxford University Press Journals, the paper was selected as one of the 100 most influential papers published over the previous century.
Ian Thompson is an Associate Professor of English Education at the Department of Education and Director of the PGCE course. He is joint convenor of the Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT) and a Fellow of St. Hugh’s College. Ian is currently co-PI on the £2.55 million ESRC funded project ‘Excluded Lives: the Political Economies of School Exclusion and their Consequences’. He has previously undertaken research on disparities in rates of permanent exclusion from school across the UK. His published work includes the co-authored book Poverty in Education Across the UK: A Comparative Analysis of Policy and Place (2020).