The ISRF Noticeboard will be home to news, one-off articles, and updates on the interdisciplinary research of its Fellows.

7th November 2017

Beyond The Failure Of Government Failure: A Critical Realist Agenda

ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow Emanuele Lobina will give a talk – Beyond The Failure Of Government Failure: A Critical Realist Agenda – to the London Realist Workshop on 1st December 2017, at SOAS, University of London.

Abstract: Using water services as reference, this paper addresses a knowledge gap that is preventing progress in the debate on public service reform: we do not have a good theory of relative organisational efficiency under natural monopoly. First, I offer an historical overview of the conventional theory, illustrating how government failure replaced market failure as the dominant tradition in the field. Second, I discuss the explanatory limitations of theories of government failure – such as public choice, property rights and transaction cost economics – with specific attention to deductivism, linear causality and reductionism. Third, I argue that the failure of government failure is not only a failure of prediction but also of morality and prescription. Finally, I sketch elements of a critical realist agenda aimed at enabling theoretical progress beyond the failure of government failure.

2nd November 2017

And This Too

An exhibition featuring the work of ISRF Early Career Fellow Jill Gibbon will run 2-25 November 2017 at the Platform Arts gallery in Belfast.

“And This Too features seven artists whose work explores, represents or challenges our understanding of contemporary conflict.  Their work reflects the diverse and complex issues which surround responses to conflict and includes drawing, painting, sculpture and installation. Much of this work is being exhibited for the first time in Belfast.  The exhibition highlights the important role which artists play in offering alternative viewpoints of conflict. Art can change our perceptions or increase our understanding of events. This is crucial given the current state of heightened security in which we find ourselves.”

27th October 2017

Emotions, Ideologies, and Violent Political Mobilization

A symposium resulting from the ISRF-funded Emotions, Ideologies, and Unconventional Political Violence residential research group is published in the October 2017 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics.

The symposium – titled Emotions, Ideologies, and Violent Political Mobilization – “aims to go beyond structural and material explanations of conflict and mobilization. […] Contributions focus on agency and provide diverse angles on the relations between emotions, ideologies, and political violence”.

Featuring contributions from Daphna Canetti, Stefano Costalli, Francesco N. Moro, Enzo Nussio, Roger Petersen, Andrea Ruggeri, Livia Isabella Schubiger, Jacquelien van Stekelenburg, and Matthew Zelina.

25th October 2017

Book Launch - Social Sciences for an Other Politics: Women theorising without parachutes

A book resulting from the ISRF-funded Understandings of ‘Prefigurative’ and ‘Utopian’ Modes of Contemporary Politics residential research group will launch at the University of Bath on Friday 1st December 2017.

The book – Social Sciences for an Other Politics: Women Theorising Without Parachutes – opens a unique intellectual space where eleven female scholar-activists (Women on the Verge scholar-activist group) working in Mexico, USA, Sweden, Australia, and the UK, explore alternative forms of theorising this social reality.

The ISRF Book Launch Fund is available to existing or previous ISRF award recipients, who may apply for one grant of up to £500 towards the cost of holding an event at which their book (or a book to which they have contributed significantly) is launched.

21st October 2017

‘Layers in the Landscape’ - Winter Exhibition Official Opening

An exhibition resulting from the ISRF-funded Layers in the Landscape project will open with a launch event at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Lampeter Campus on Friday 3rd November, 4-7pm.

Accompanying this will be an extended seminar explaining the ongoing research behind the exhibition, including a showing of a short film which explores some of the stories and science around Cardigan Bay, along with an evening performance by Three Legg’d Mare who will present the latest branch of the project; in music. The event will be chaired by Professor Mererid Hopwood.

19th October 2017

Transcriptor: Illustration, Documentary and the Material

An exhibition featuring work by ISRF Early Career Fellow Jill Gibbon will run at the James Hockey Gallery in Farnham – part of the University for the Creative Arts – from 19th October 2017 until 10th January 2018.

“The sketchbooks in this exhibition were drawn undercover in arms fairs in Europe and the Middle East. Arms fairs are trade shows where military and security equipment are promoted to an international clientele. Tanks, ammunition, and tear gas are all on show, and between the bombs, tables are laid with champagne and canapés. Jill gets inside these events by dressing up as an arms trader; her performance a metaphor for the wider masquerade of respectability in the industry.”

5th October 2017

Ivana Radačić Appointed to the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice

ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups recipient Ivana Radačić – Comparing Croatian and Slovenian Prostitution Regimes: Surpassing Exclusions and Securing Human Rights – has been appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice.

The mandate of the working group is ‘to identify, promote and exchange views with states and other actors on good practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women’.

5th October 2017

Justice, Justification, and Monetary Policy

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Martin O’Neill will give a public lecture at Harvard University’s Edmund J. Safra Centre for Ethics on 12th October 2017.

Abstract: Since the great financial crisis of 2007-8, central banks have played an increasingly important and broad role in macroeconomic management in the UK, Europe, and US. Within democratic societies, the role of technocratic institutions in setting economic policy raises important normative questions of justice and justification. This lecture considers some of these issues relating to the role of central banks, paying special attention to forms of unconventional monetary policy such as ‘quantitative easing’.

2nd October 2017

RSA Scotland: Basic Income Pilot Experiments in Europe and North America

ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow Jurgen De Wispelaere will his discuss his experience of working with basic income experiments in countries like Finland, at an event hosted by RSA Scotland and CBINS.

They Say: “Jurgen will highlight the learning which has been developed from these experiments, address areas which Scotland will need to explore and offer up thoughts for the future development of basic income in our country.”

1st October 2017

The Etiquette Of The Arms Trade

ISRF Early Career Fellow Jill Gibbon will exhibit work related to her ISRF-funded project – The Etiquette of the Arms Trade – at the Leeds Arts Research Centre, 1st October – 31st December 2017.

“The world is awash with weapons. The wars of the twentieth century have skewed manufacturing in the US, Russia, France, Germany, China, and the UK towards military production. At the end of the Cold War there was a brief opportunity to diversify into other areas; instead arms companies merged into multinationals and started selling to almost anyone who would buy. Arms fairs were established in the 1990s to provide international venues for these deals.”

6th September 2017

Put down the anti-wrinkle cream - why women over 50 need to embrace the ageing process

Former ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Jayne Raisborough discussed her ISRF-funded project – Learning How To Be Old: Frames, Feminism And The Production Of A Pro-Ageing Instructional Film – with The Yorkshire Post.

The publication coincided with a public lecture at Leeds Town Hall, entitled “Is There Life After 50? You’d Better Believe it! Women Celebrate Getting Older”, part of Leeds Cultural Conversations.

7th August 2017

Universal Basic Income Is About Trust and Decency

Kristian Haug interviewed ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow Jurgen De Wispelaere about his research on universal basic income (UBI), for the non-profit news website Truthout.

They Say: “In this interview, De Wispelaere outlines the most important aspects of UBI — its feasibility, what we can learn from previous experiments, why the right implementation is so important and how UBI touches our basic philosophy of human nature. De Wispelaere’s core argument is that the best reason for pursuing the UBI agenda is ending poverty.”

22nd June 2017

ISRF Small Group Grant Recipient Erin Kavanagh releases film "Layers in the Landscape"

As part of the ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups project Layers in the Landscape: Deep Mapping in Cardigan Bay, Erin Kavanagh and Martin Bates produced the film ‘Layers in the Landscape’, which was screened at the ISRF’s 5th Annual Workshop on 22nd June 2017.

The film premiered at the Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival (9-12 March 2017), and has subsequently screened at the International Open Workshop in Kiel (20-24 March 2017), the Taliesin Historical Society (25 April 2017), the CASCA/IUAES2017 Conference in Ottawa (2-7 May 2017), the Aeron Valley Vintage Society (17 May 2017), and the INTIMATE Conference in Aberystwyth (6-9 June 2017).

19th June 2017

ISRF Early Career Fellowships Announced

In January 2017, the ISRF launched its fourth Early Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in June 2017, and voted to make six awards.

The recipients were Dr Matthew Burch (University of Essex), Dr Catherine Charrett (Queen Mary, University of London), Dr Beverley Clough (University of Leeds), Dr Julien-François Gerber (Erasmus University), Dr Jill Gibbon (Leeds Beckett University) and Dr Jessie Hohmann (Queen Mary, University of London).

21st May 2017

ISRF Fellow Emanuele Lobina Makes the Case for Public Ownership of the Water Industry

ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow Emanuele Lobina – Reorienting Industrial Organisation Theory: From Necessary to Possible Outcomes – contributed to the debate around public ownership of the water industry in a letter published by The Guardian on 21st May 2017.

He concludes:

“What is needed in England and Wales is not tinkering with a privatised system that has failed to deliver on its promises but radically changing the priorities of water operators so that people come before profit. By abolishing the payment of dividends and lowering the cost of financing investment, nationalisation can do just that.”

23rd March 2017

ISRF Fellow Ian Loader: Crime, Justice and the Liberalism of Fear

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Ian Loader – In Search of a Better Politics of Crime – gave a lecture at the University of Melbourne on 23rd March 2017, which was subsequently broadcast on radio by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on 6th April 2017 as part of ABC’s Big Ideas series.

“The liberal philosophy which underpins much of our criminal justice system is committed to protecting individual rights and freedoms. Liberalism, by its nature, is deeply suspicious of state power and wary of the idea that the community should play a bigger role in criminal justice. Ian Loader calls this ‘the liberalism of fear’ and says it’s the reason why there’s such a divide between the views of the public, politicians and practitioners.”

17th February 2017

The ISRF is delighted to announce a pilot partnership with The Conversation

From April 2017, Josephine Lethbridge will be The Conversation’s Interdisciplinary Editor, funded by the ISRF. Josephine’s role will include working with scholars at The Conversation’s member universities, as well as past and present Fellows of the ISRF, to bring interdisciplinary social research to millions of readers worldwide. Josephine will encourage researchers to write short newsworthy articles, working with them to produce pieces with journalistic flair but no loss of academic rigour. The ISRF hope that, by promoting interdisciplinarity through this partnership with The Conversation, the usefulness of interdisciplinary approaches will reach broader audiences, and that knowledge of such work will spread beyond the confines of academia.

Any ISRF Fellows wishing to pitch an idea for an article to Josephine, or simply interested in knowing more, should contact her directly on
17th February 2017

Congratulations to Thomas Hoerber and Co-Editor Emmanuel Sigalas, on the publication of Theorizing European Space Policy

Theorizing European Space PolicyOn 17th February 2017, the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris hosted a book launch ceremony – supported by an ISRF Book Launch grant – for Dr Thomas Hoerber & Dr Emmanuel Sigalas’s Theorizing European Space Policy.

“The editors were welcomed by Dr Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Head of the Relations with Member States Department in the Director General’s Cabinet, and about 20 other distinguished guests – including the Director of the Paris office of the German Aerospace Agency, Dr Isabelle Reutzel.

Dr Hoerber started by outlining the achievements of the standing ESSCA space policy research group so far. After a timid start with a first special issue in Space Policy (2012), two rather ground-breaking books have been released, one on European Space Policy, edited by Paul Stephenson and Thomas Hoerber (Routledge, 2016) and the above-mentioned Theorizing European Space Policy, on which the book lauch event focused.”

In 2016, Thomas Hoerber was awarded an ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups award, for the project What Potential for a European Space Policy?.

Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Thomas Hoerber, Ulrike Bohlmann, and Emmanual Sigalas

More Info

The ISRF Book Launch Fund is available to existing or previous ISRF award recipients, who may apply for one grant of up to £500 towards the cost of holding an event at which their book (or a book to which they have contributed significantly) is launched.

15th February 2017

UPDATED: Audio Interviews with ISRF Fellows

ISRF Editorial Assistant Dr Rachael Kiddey speaks with ISRF Fellows past and present, to discuss their research and their time as ISRF Fellows.

New in February 2017: interviews with Ian Loader and Sherrill Stroschein.

2nd February 2017

ISRF Fellow Sherrill Stroschein: Tempo, Protest, and Emergency Ethnography in the Trump Moment

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Sherrill Stroschein – Ethnic Enclaves, Reversed Politics, and the Entrenchment of Difference – contributed a guest post to the Duck of Minerva blog, exploring three approaches to thinking more systematically about contemporary political events.

25th January 2017

Former ISRF Fellow Joy White: Growing up under the influence - A sonic genealogy of grime

Former ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow Joy White – (In)visible Entrepreneurs: How Young People Use the Urban Music Economy to Create Work and Generate Wealth – presented a paper at the Reggae Research Network Symposium: Scoping the Field in Norwich.

Introduction: Grime is a specifically English musical genre. What started out as a niche practice that articulated the lived experiences of young black men from a particular place, is now an endeavour that attracts a national and international audience. A diaspora cultural form, Grime has been nourished by its black Atlantic connections to the Caribbean, Africa and North America. In this presentation, I reflect on the influence of Reggae on Grime musical production.

11th January 2017

Congratulations to Jayne Raisborough, on the publication of her book Fat Bodies, Health and the Media

Fat Bodies, Health and the MediaOn 11th January 2017, the Leeds Beckett Media Research Festival  – supported by an ISRF Book Launch grant – saw the launch of Professor Jayne Raisborough’s Fat Bodies, Health and the Media, the result of an ISRF Mid-Career Fellowship.

“Billed as the only festival that doesn’t require wellies, the Leeds Beckett Media Research Festival (#lebeme) demonstrated live Cuban dancing, took us behind the iron curtain on the back on LP covers, gave us shocking insight into the secret space of arms-fairs, made us think critically about our fitness apps, engaged us in protests, had us question the contemporary nature of recycling, and more! The real success of the day lay in the rich interdisciplinary exchange and networking that took place. Media research is alive and well and is certainly a site for cross- fertilisation of disciplinary work championed by the ISRF.”

The ISRF Book Launch Fund is available to existing or previous ISRF award recipients, who may apply for one grant of up to £500 towards the cost of holding an event at which their book (or a book to which they have contributed significantly) is launched.

22nd December 2016

2016 ISRF Essay Prize in Organisation Studies Awarded to Simon Stevens

The Independent Social Research Foundation and Organization Studies awarded the 2016 ISRF Essay Prize in Organisation Studies to Simon Stevens (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.

12th December 2016

The PeN (Photographic e-Narrative) Project Blog

The PeN project – led by ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Julie Parsons – is being hosted at LandWorks, an independent charity that provides a supported route back into the community for current and ex-prisoners (trainees). The PeN project aims are twofold, to work as a personal development tool for trainees, whilst fostering dialogue between trainees and supporters in order to challenge social exclusion.

Support and involvement from the community is vital for successful resettlement, not least in accepting the ‘reformed’ prisoner. Indeed, social reaction is essential, with positive change in behaviour recognised by others and reflected back. This is done on a daily basis at LandWorks between staff, visitors and trainees, but the PeN project broadens this positive reinforcement. Moreover, it enables the 1000+ supporters and wider community to feel more involved, as one of the supporter’s comments “finding ways to make supporters feel valued, without taking time and resources away from trainees is tricky. I’m optimistic the PeN project will really help”

Trainees are provided with basic digital cameras to take photograph whilst they are on site (only). Photographs and accompanying narratives are then posted on the PeN project blog by the lead researcher, as prisoners are not permitted any access to social media. There are no identifying photographs posted on the blog and all participants choose pseudonyms (fake names). Any photographs taken by trainees are discussed with the lead researcher and decisions made on what photographs and narratives to upload.

For example, Matthew (a 22-year-old trainee) – in his blog post entitled ‘choices’ – took a picture of work he’d been spray painting on to the door of the ‘art department’.

Matthew says:

I’m doing a mural… and it’s, basically it’s a path which splits into two, and it’s all about your decisions, like choices, like you’ve got the left path which is crime and all the s**t, and you’ve got the right path, which is you know trying to make a change, and then when it goes in here, inside there, you’ll see the path there splits again… and then you’ve got the right side, which you can stay doing what you’re doing, like well, not doing what you’re doing, like where I am now yeah, which comes off level, well, which comes off down this way a bit, but if you go in on the right like, you’re on the benefits, and you’re trying to sort s**t out, and then you’ve got another path which comes up, which is your path with a job, your own place, mortgage, and then yeah, that sort of thing… depending on what choice you make depends on where your life goes, basically… yeah, because that door’s open yeah, in the prison system the people are so used to closing doors on people, open the door you know, let them have a chance to walk through that door you know, it’s kinda, it’s trying to go positive… [it’s called] choices… it’s a door that’s open on a door…

In his post ‘no pressure’, Rodney – a 19-year-old trainee on a community sentence – took lots of photographs of what the ‘LandWorks family’ had been working on together.

Roger says:

I did construction skills, level 1 and level 2… level 1 was just pass/fail and we did carpentry, joinery, plumbing, electrics, er… brick work, block work, plastering, rendering, and then level 2 was pass, merit, distinction, and I got an overall merit, but I got distinctions for technical drawing and electrical installation…  but see back then it was just easy… I can’t remember any of it for the life of me, whereas with the carpentry… it’s just, and I really didn’t, I used to hate carpentry, I could not stand it, I couldn’t do it, it made me angry, you know, I’d do the slightest bit wrong and end up just hammering the chisel straight through [and] out the other side just to make myself feel better and then give up on it, but… I don’t know, I come here and it’s a lot… you know, in college it’s like, well you’ve only got one, don’t mess it up… Here you do something wrong and that’s alright, go grab another bit… I tend to learn a lot better in an environment where there is no pressure… and I think that here there is no pressure whatsoever… really, at all, I mean… the most pressure I’ve ever been under is playing Boules against Nolan…

Graham, a 50-year-old former trainee and now woodwork trainer at LandWorks, is shown woodturning below.

In the blog post ‘from trainee to trainer’ Graham says:

I’ve been here 15 months… so I was coming out here on a ROTL (Release On Temporary Licence/day release) from the local prison for the last 12 months [of my sentence] and I think it was around about Christmas time [last year] that I noticed on the 5 year LandWorks plan… to employ one of the trainees coming out from the prison, which I asked the project manager about, I said is that what I think it is? And he said what do you think it is? I said to employ one of the lads coming out, and he said yeah and I said well I’d like that job then… and he said oh right ok, well I’ll think about that then, and let you know, then we spoke about it after Christmas… this was last year, and then I think it was about February that he said it was all agreed with the Trustees so here I am… All of this building was like my erm apprenticeship for the job if you like… can you put it like that? I guess, well that’s what I used to talk to the LandWorks counsellor about… I remember when we were chatting, she’d say, well just get on with it, well make a nice job of it, and the project manager can see what you can do and that, and how you work with the other lads and everything, and that was, well I wouldn’t say it was a plan as such, but it sort of panned out like that, I think… it’s a kind of portfolio, here’s what I can do…

The new PeN blogsite therefore satisfies the two inter-related aims of the PeN project, to share trainees’ photographs and accompanying narratives and to engage supporters and the wider community with the desistance journey. Follow the blog at

8th November 2016

ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups Announced

In April 2016, the ISRF launched its third Flexible Grants for Small Groups competition, aimed at supporting independent-minded researchers from different disciplines who wish to work together towards conceptual innovation in Political Economy – which the ISRF here 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 (PIs in parentheses) were:

19th October 2016

Congratulations to Joy White, on the publication of her book Urban Music and Entrepreneurship: Beats, Rhymes and Young People’s Enterprise

2On 18th October 2016, Routledge published Urban Music and Entrepreneurship: Beats, Rhymes and Young People’s Enterprise – the first book to foreground and develop a complex reading of the socio-economic significance of urban music with particular reference to grime. The book is the culmination of five years of fieldwork – which included an ISRF Independent Scholar Fellowship – and features interviews and ‘behind the scenes’ observation in the UK and in Cyprus.

Read More
4th July 2016

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Jayne Raisborough releases film "Women And Ageing"

As part of her ISRF Mid Career Fellowship project Learning How to be Old: Frames, Feminism and the Production of a Pro-Ageing Instructional Film, Jayne Raisborough (University of Brighton) – in collaboration with filmmaker and Director of Photography Mark Bader and Bader Rudebeck Films – has produced the film ‘Women And Ageing’, which was screened at the ISRF’s 4th Annual Workshop on 1st July 2016.

4th July 2016

ISRF Academic Advisor Marilyn Strathern: "Tricking Oneself: The Cultivation of Surprise"

As the ISRF’s 4th Annual Workshop on 30th June 2016, Academic Advisor Professor Marilyn Strathern gave a pre-recorded keynote presentation entitled “Tricking Oneself: The Cultivation of Surprise”.

21st June 2016

ISRF Early Career Fellow Jacob Copeman awarded British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship

Jacob CopemanDr Jacob Copeman (University of Edinburgh), recipient of an ISRF Early Career Fellowship in 2013 for his project The Politics of Names and Naming in India, has received a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship grant for a continuation of his research. The 12-month project – Names and (dis)identity: A new approach to Indian secularism – will commence in January 2017.

13th June 2016

Congratulations to Jayne Raisborough, appointed to Chair in Media at Leeds Beckett University

Jayne RaisboroughFormer ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Jayne Raisborough – whose ISRF project investigated the real world problems associated with anti-ageing culture – has been appointed to the Chair in Media at Leeds Beckett University, commencing from September 2016.

The move sees Jayne leaving the University of Brighton’s School of Applied Social Sciences for Leeds Beckett’s School of Cultural Studies and Humanities.

24th May 2016

ISRF Mid-Career Fellowships Announced

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), Professor Ian Loader (University of Oxford), Dr Martin O’Neill (University of York),  Dr Julie Parsons (Plymouth University), and Dr Sherrill Stroschein (University College London).

13th May 2016

ISRF Essay Prize winner Julie Nelson becomes inaugural editor of the Journal of Business Ethics' new section on Business Ethics and Economics

Professor Julie A Nelson, winner of the 2015 ISRF Essay Prize in Economics and an attendee at the foundations’ November 2015 colloquium ‘Reframing the Moral Foundations of Economics’, has been invited by the Journal of Business Ethics to edit a new section on Business Ethics and Economics.

This section invites discussions of the relationship between economics and business ethics. Conventional economic theories about firms and the people involved in them encourage a very narrow focus on profit and monetary incentives. Yet the reality of business is far more complex, and the consequences of ethical or unethical economic behaviour are far-reaching. How can the discipline of economics—and the teaching of economics within business schools–more adequately address issues of business ethics? Are there concerns of economists, either conventional or critical, that business ethicists should take more seriously? Authors submitting to this section are welcome to explore these questions from philosophical or historical perspectives, offer conceptual insights, and/or use quantitative or qualitative methods of empirical analysis.

Click here for more information and on-line submission.
5th May 2016


Professor Mike Neary & Dr Joss Winn (University of Lincoln), recipients of an ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups award in 2015 for their project Beyond Public and Private: A Model for Co-operative Higher Education, have been awarded a Leadership Foundation for Higher Education Small Development Project grant for a continuation of their research. The 12 month project – Co-operative Leadership in Higher Education – will run until July 2016.

The University of Lincoln School of Social and Political Sciences is currently advertising for a part-time, fixed term Research Assistant to work on this project. The closing date for applications is Friday 13 May 2016 – click here for further details.
4th May 2016

Co-operative Education Conference Paper: Beyond Public and Private - A
Framework for Co-operative Higher Education

Beyond public and private: a framework for co-operative higher educationMike Neary & Joss Winn recently presented a paper and poster at the Co-operative Education Conference in Manchester (21-22 April 2016), which will form the basis for two journal articles to be submitted later in the year.

The paper will also be presented at the ICA 2016 Almeria International Reseach Conference in Spain (24-27 May 2016), and at
the UNIKE Conference: University Futures in Denmark (15-17 June 2016).

30th April 2016

Congratulations to Lara Montesinos Coleman, promoted to Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex

Former ISRF Early Career Fellow Lara Montesinos Coleman – whose ISRF project revolved around the themes of dissent and resistance, the politics of knowledge, feminist theory, and the political sociology of development and violence – has been promoted to Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex.

30th April 2016

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

In celebration of the HAU Books re-release of Marcel Mauss’ The Gift (newly translated by Jane Guyer, and with a new foreword by Bill Maurer), SOAS, University of London hosted a panel discussion – featuring, among others, ISRF Academic Advisor Marilyn Strathern and former ISRF Early Career Fellow Jacob Copeman – to reflect on the question: “What did The Gift give to anthropology and the humanities, and what can it still give?”

29th April 2016

ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups Recipients Martin Scott, Mel Bunce & Katherine Wright Awarded AHRC Funding

Dr Martin Scott (University of East Anglia), Dr Mel Bunce (City University London) and Dr Katherine Wright (Roehampton University), recipients of an ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups award in 2015 for their project The Future of IRIN, have been awarded an AHRC research grant for an expansion of their research. The 21-month project – entitled What is humanitarian news? A multi-sited study of how journalists define, debate and reproduce the boundaries of humanitarianism – will begin in July 2016.

28th April 2016

A threatening personification of freedom or: Sobukwe and repression

Former ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Derek Hook writes in Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies on Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe.


What is it that underlies the growing public interest in the figure of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe? Sobukwe has been the subject of a form of historical amnesia – indeed, of a consensus of forgetting – in South Africa for at least the last 20 years. One way of appreciating both the force and importance of the retrieval of this historical legacy is by treating Sobukwe not merely as a biographical narrative or historical persona, but as a signifier. Sobukwe, I argue, functions precisely as a signifier for a cluster of ideas and aspirations routinely excluded – indeed, repressed – from the post-apartheid public sphere. I begin by exploring the various ways in which the signifier Sobukwe has been marginalized, disavowed, reduced (often to a crude form of anti-whiteism), and overwritten by rival political interests. Sobukwe, I suggest, haunts the post-apartheid historical situation; his memory is a reminder of those dimensions of political freedom that remain unattained.Ultimately, however, Sobukwe is not merely a repressed signifier; his name functions as a master signifier for an alternative political future. Sobukwe operates today as one prospective name for a more encompassing project of decolonization that expands beyond the given political and institutional structures of the post-apartheid condition.

28th April 2016


Martin BatesDr Martin Bates (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David), recipient of an ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups award in 2016 for his project Layers in the Landscape: Deep Mapping in Cardigan Bay, is currently leading a team of research staff from the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology in examining a large red deer skull and antlers believed to be around 4000 years old.

This is a wonderful discovery that really brings the forest and its environs to light. It is wonderful that this find was reported to us so that we could recover these remains for scientific study rather than it ending up on the wall in somebody’s house, lost to the world much as it has been for the last 4000 years.

Dr Martin Bates

The ISRF-funded project aims to combine a group of specialists from diverse fields (artist, storyteller, philologist, geoarcheologist, songwriter and poet) to create a new understanding regarding the interplay of flooding facts and fictions in Cardigan Bay. The recent deer skull find may now play a central role in this project.

21st April 2016

Anti-Street Harassment Workshop: Reflecting Diversity in Tactics

Anti-Street Harassment Workshop: Reflecting Diversity in TacticsOn 31 March 2016, a participatory research workshop ‘Anti-Street Harassment Workshop: Reflecting Diversity in Tactics’ was held in Cairo. This workshop was sponsored by the Independent Social Research Foundation and organized by Elisa Wynne-Hughes (Cardiff University), Jutta Weldes and Karen Desborough (University of Bristol). The workshop brought together members of anti-street harassment groups Hollaback! London and HarassMap (Cairo) to compare the strategies they use to address and combat street harassment in different contexts.

14th April 2016

Former ISRF Fellow Martin O'Neill: How to create a more equal society

Former ISRF Early Career Fellow Martin O’Neill  – Social Justice, Predistribution and the Democratization of Capital: Political Theory and the Future of Social Democracy – discussed economist James Meade’s views that public wealth could fund a fairer society in an article posted by the University of York’s research portal.

Martin’s work on wealth sharing featured in The University of York’s research showcase YorkTalks 2016:
12th April 2016

Call for Papers: Art, Activism and Political Violence | Loughborough University | 20-21 September 2016

‘Marche pour Youssef, mort à Calais’ by Marie Magnin, December 5th, 2015

‘Marche pour Youssef, mort à Calais’ by Marie Magnin, December 5th, 2015

Flexible Grants for Small Groups recipients Ruth Kinna & Gillian Whitely will convene a workshop on Art, Activism and Political Violence at the University of Lancaster in September 2016, for which papers are sought (to be submitted by Friday 6th May).

This workshop is the result of a collaboration between colleagues in the Anarchism Research Group and the Politicised Practice Research Group at Loughborough University and is designed to build new relationships between artists and political theorists and to explore questions of political violence and art activism.

31st March 2016

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow Lisa Baraitser awarded Wellcome Trust Seed Funding

Waiting Times: Waiting and Care in the Time of Modernity

Dr Lisa Baraitser (Birkbeck, University of London), recipient of an ISRF Mid-Career Fellowship in 2014 for her project Time Without Qualities, has received a Wellcome Trust Seed Award in in Humanities and Social Science grant for a continuation of her research. The project – Waiting Times: Waiting and Care in the Time of Modernity – will investigate waiting times in relation to mental health, clinical contact time and care, bringing together perspectives from medical humanities, medical history, psychosocial studies, literary studies and new studies of temporality, to think critically about waiting times in mental healthcare provision, the time-space of the GP encounter and practices of care for very elderly people.

30th March 2016

ISRF Colloquium: Reframing the Moral Foundations of Economics

At a meeting at Nice in France – 19-21 November 2015 – the ISRF consulted with a small group of social scientists, students, and others concerned with economics, about ways forward for it as both discipline and profession. What emerged was a strong emphasis on the need for support to methodological pluralism in economics, and for broadening the reach of economics research into areas such as the family and kinship, the firm, business and money; that is, in directions which would naturally involve work with other disciplines. Equally important were the complex and considerable institutional barriers to disciplinary and professional change, and the state of affairs in economics teaching where the student voice is insistent in its demand for a broader and more relevant economics curriculum.

The articles in the latest ISRF Bulletin – Economics: …Serious, But Not Hopeless – were chosen to give a sense of the content of that meeting; of the ideas that were raised, the issues that came up for discussion, the concerns raised about institutional inertia and the over-narrow education and professional formation of future economists. The conversations begun at Nice are a first step in an ongoing process of consultation which the ISRF will continue.

29th March 2016

Canada could join the space resource race – or take the high road

Writing in Canadian national newspaper The Globe and Mail, former ISRF Early Career Fellow Audra Mitchell and co-author Jessica West discuss the race to claim ownership of outer space minerals.

The Space Act was specifically designed to generate a race for space minerals by stimulating competition and private investment in space flight and space-based mining technologies. Michael Byers of the University of British Columbia recently called for Canada to create similar legislation to maintain dominance as a mining country. But we argue that Canada should, instead, lead in developing new frameworks for the peaceful and sustainable use of outer space.

11th March 2016

ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups Announced

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:

26th February 2016

Is IR going extinct?

Former ISRF Early Career Fellow Audra Mitchell writes in the European Journal of International Relations on biopolitics, extinction, International Relations theory, ontology, posthumanism & survival.

European Journal of International RelationsAbstract

A global extinction crisis may threaten the survival of most existing life forms. Influential discourses of ‘existential risk’ suggest that human extinction is a real possibility, while several decades of evidence from conservation biology suggests that the Earth may be entering a ‘sixth mass extinction event’. These conditions threaten the possibilities of survival and security that are central to most branches of International Relations. However, this discipline lacks a framework for addressing (mass) extinction. From notions of ‘nuclear winter’ and ‘omnicide’ to contemporary discourses on catastrophe, International Relations thinking has treated extinction as a superlative of death. This is a profound category mistake: extinction needs to be understood not in the ontic terms of life and death, but rather in the ontological context of be(com)ing and negation. Drawing on the work of theorists of the ‘inhuman’ such as Quentin Meillassoux, Claire Colebrook, Ray Brassier, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Nigel Clark, this article provides a pathway for thinking beyond existing horizons of survival and imagines a profound transformation of International Relations. Specifically, it outlines a mode of cosmopolitics that responds to the element of the inhuman and the forces of extinction. Rather than capitulating to narratives of tragedy, this cosmopolitics would make it possible to think beyond the restrictions of existing norms of ‘humanity’ to embrace an ethics of gratitude and to welcome the possibility of new worlds, even in the face of finitude.

1st January 2016

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellowships Awarded

In July 2015, the ISRF launched its third Independent Scholar Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in December 2015, and voted to make three awards.

The recipients were Dr Paul Dobraszczyk (University of Manchester), Dr Alessandra Gribaldo (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), and Dr Nina Moeller (University of Oxford).

31st December 2015

On Names in South Asia: Iteration,(Im) propriety and Dissimulation

On Names in South Asia: Iteration, (Im)propriety and Dissimulation

Credit: Sandeep Saxena/The Hindu

Former ISRF Early Career Fellow Jacob Copeman has co-edited (with Veena Das) a special issue of the South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, entitled ‘On Names in South Asia: Iteration, (Im)propriety and Dissimulation’.

23rd December 2015

UPDATED: Audio Interviews with ISRF Fellows

ISRF Editorial Assistant Dr Rachael Kiddey speaks with ISRF Fellows past and present, to discuss their research and their time as ISRF Fellows.

New in December 2015: interviews with Lisa Baraitser, Jacob Copeman, Jonathan Hearn, Julia Laite, Maja Petrovic-Šteger, and Jayne Raisborough.

16th November 2015

Interview with Professor Olivier Favereau

ISRF Editorial Assistant Dr Rachael Kiddey spoke with Professor Olivier Favereau from the University of Paris West to discuss French Nobel Prize winner Jean Tirole’s intervention in the opening of a new academic department of economics.

30th September 2015

Inaugural Conference on Cultural Political Economy: Putting Culture in its Place in Political Economy

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellow Dr Joel Lazarus presented his paper Cultivating Self-Belief and Educated Hope: Toward a Contemporary Radical Democratic Practical Theory of and for Transformative Art at the Inaugural Conference on Cultural Political Economy, hosted by the Lancaster University, 1-2 September 2015.

1st September 2015

ISRF Early Career Research Fellowships Announced

In January 2015, the ISRF launched its third Early Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in June 2015, and voted to make five awards.

The recipients were Dr Nishat Awan (University of Sheffield), Dr Oche Onazi (University of Dundee), Dr Patrick Overeem (Leiden University), Dr Illan rua Wall (University of Warwick), and Dr Jay Wiggan (University of Edinburgh).

30th June 2015

2015 ISRF Essay Prize in Economics Awarded to Professor Julie Nelson

The Independent Social Research Foundation and the Cambridge Journal of Economics awarded the 2015 ISRF Essay Prize in Economics to Professor Julie A. Nelson (University of Massachusetts, Boston) for her essay Husbandry: A (Feminist) Reclamation of Masculine Responsibility for Care, published online in the Cambridge Journal of Economics’ advance access listing in Autumn 2015.

1st May 2015

ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups Announced

In November 2014, the ISRF launched its first Flexible Grants for Small Groups competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, a pool of independent external assessors supported the funding of nine projects.

The successful projects were:

Joel Lazarus & Joy White
Joel Lazarus & Joy White
1st January 2015

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellowships Awarded

In July 2014, the ISRF launched its second Independent Scholar Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in December 2014, and voted to make two awards.

The recipients were Dr Joel Lazarus (University of Warwick) and Dr Joy White (University of Greenwich).

30th June 2014


In January 2014, the ISRF launched its second Mid-Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in June 2014, and voted to make six awards.

The recipients were Dr Sarah Amsler (University of Lincoln), Dr Lisa Baraitser (Birkbeck, University of London), Dr Matt ffytche(University of Essex), Dr Richard Powell (University of Oxford), Dr Jayne Raisborough (University of Brighton), and Professor Martin Thomas (University of Exeter).

28th May 2014

2014 ISRF Essay Prize in Social Theory Awarded to Professor Kenneth Gergen

The Independent Social Research Foundation and the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour awarded the 2014 ISRF Essay Prize in Social Theory to Professor Kenneth J Gergen (Swarthmore College) for his essay From Mirroring to World-Making: Research as Future Forming.

Kenneth Gergen
Maja Petrović-Šteger & David Reece
Maja Petrović-Šteger & David Reece
1st October 2013

ISRF Independent Scholar Fellowships Awarded

In August 2013, the ISRF launched its first Independent Scholar Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in September 2013, and voted to make two awards.

The recipients were Dr Maja Petrović-Šteger (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and Dr David Reece (University of Lancaster).

30th June 2013

ISRF Early Career Fellowships Awarded

In January 2013, the ISRF launched its second Early Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in June 2013, and voted to make five awards.

The recipients were Dr Kimberley Brownlee (University of Warwick), Dr Lara Coleman (University of Sussex), Dr Julia Laite(Birkbeck, University of London), Dr Audra Mitchell (University of York), and Dr Martin O’Neill (University of York).

30th November 2012

ISRF Mid-Career Fellowships Awarded

In May 2012, the ISRF launched its first Mid-Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in November 2012, and voted to make five awards.

The recipients were Dr David Graeber (Goldsmiths, University of London), Dr Jonathan Hearn (Edinburgh University), Dr Derek Hook (Birkbeck, University of London), Professor Matt Matravers (York University), and Professor Pál Nyiri (Vrije University of Amsterdam).

31st January 2012

ISRF Early Career Fellowships Awarded

In August 2011, the ISRF launched its first Early Career Fellowship competition. Having received a number of strong proposals, the Selection Panel met in January 2012, and voted to make five awards.

The recipients were Dr Jacob Copeman (University of Edinburgh), Dr Bregje De Kok (Queen Margaret University, Belfast), Dr Oliver Dowlen (Queen Mary, University of London) , Dr Juliane Reinecke (University of Warwick), and Dr Andrea Ruggeri (University of Amsterdam).