'Thicker Lines and Globally Distributed Lives' at the BSA Annual Conference
On 7-9 April 2010 the Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association took place at the Glasgow Caledonian University. Professor Les Back presented the paper 'Thicker Lines and Globally Distributed Lives' at the Sub plenary – 'Social Justice and Inclusion: Theorising and Researching Difference'. In his presentation, Les Back focuses on the scale of our sociological imaginations, and the way in which we scale social divisions. Read more about the BSA Annual Conference 2010 and about the sub-plenary events.
The paper 'Thicker Lines and Globally Distributed Lives' explores the challenges of thinking social divisions on a global scale. Exploring the limits of what Beck called ‘methodological nationalism’ the paper discusses the challenges of contemporary class analysis in the context of gender relations, human mobility and racism. Through using case studies drawn from the EUMARGINS Project – these issues are situated in the context of lives that confound staple sociological categories. How do we define the class position of young Albanian migrant categorised as ‘middle-class’ in Albania but after being smuggled in a truck to London ends up in a ‘working class’ school in Dagenham? Or, for that matter how do we theorise the experience of a young educational migrant from Dominica with a first class degree from a British university who is working as a casual night time worker in London’s retail sector? It is argued that it is important to develop new ways to comprehend how social divisions are lived as migrants traverse very different social contexts that read, position and situate them within increasingly thicker lines of social division.