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TCD/UCD Public Lecture Series 2014-2015

The Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD) and the Policy Institute at TCD, has initiated a series of public lectures in which internationally acclaimed speakers will discuss contemporary sociological issues. The aim of this TCD-UCD Sociology Public Lecture Series is to promote informed and non-partisan debate and to offer new ideas on cutting-edge sociological issues including but not limited to responses to the current crisis. It provides a platform to deepen research and teaching synergies between TCD and UCD especially in light of HEA’s policy ‘Towards a Future Higher Education Landscape’. The series features two public lectures per term with one event hosted at TCD and the other at UCD.

Upcoming Speakers:

  • Professor Craig Calhoun

First Event

Title: 'What Threatens Capitalism Now'?
Speaker: Professor Craig Calhoun (Director of London School of Economics)
Date and time: 2 October 2014, 5 pm
Venue: Edmund Burke Theatre, Arts Building

To attend please complete the online booking form as places are limited.



Global capitalism has not yet fully emerged from a period of serious fragility and stalled growth signaled by the financial crisis of 2008-9. Still it did not collapse in crisis nor did it face successful or even widespread movements in favor of a systemic alternative. It may be that capitalism is threatened less by collapse due to internal contradictions, or direct opposition than by external factors. Arguably the biggest risks before the world include not just systemic risk in the capitalist system but the potential for war, problems of the environment, the loss or casualization of employment, the rise of illicit capitalism, and the dissolution of social solidarity. These are not, however, entirely separate factors. They are caused, shaped, or exacerbated by capitalism’s externalities – the ways capitalist enterprises create costs that are borne not on the balance sheets of firms but by others. Creating strong social institutions to mitigate the damage of capitalism’s externalities is a critical challenge globally and nationally. Karl Polanyi described this as a ‘double movement’ in which economic growth destabilises social life and states try to mitigate damage and restore solidarity. Today, relevant state institutions themselves face serious challenges. Philanthropy may help. The informal sector provides partial but not scalable solutions. Entrepreneurship may bring market solutions to some problems. But the questions of how to achieve solidarity, mitigate conflict, and manage global challenges like climate change are as basic as the question of how to achieve capitalist growth.



Professor Calhoun is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He took up his post as LSE Director on 1 September 2012, having left the United States where he was University Professor at New York University and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge and President of the Social Science Research Council. Professor Calhoun took a DPhil in History and Sociology at Oxford University and a Master's in Social Anthropology at Manchester. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes. He is the author of several books including Nations Matter, Critical Social Theory, Neither Gods Nor Emperors and most recently The Roots of Radicalism (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Describing his own approach to academic work, Professor Calhoun says: 'We must set high standards for ourselves, but in order to inform the public well, not to isolate ourselves from it.'



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Last updated 18 September 2014