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Professor Andrew Sayer

Professor Andrew Sayer

Professor

Bowland North
Lancaster University
Bailrigg
Lancaster
United Kingdom
LA1 4YN


Tel: +44 1524 594201

Affiliations

LIP - Language, Ideology and Power Group
CPERC - Cultural Political Economy Research Centre

PhD Supervision Interests

Political economy, moral economy, normativity and ethics in everyday life, inequality, employment and organisational life, climate change, social theory and the philosophy of social science. Postdisciplinary proposals particularly welcome!
I am keen to supervise empirical and theoretical research relating to any of the above topics, preferably pursued in a post-disciplinary manner, and having some concern for the implications for human well-being! There may be possibilities for co-supervision not only with colleagues in Sociology, but also colleagues in other departments with complementary interests. In the past I have co-supervised with colleagues in Linguistics, and I have also had links with human geography, philosophy and politics in the past. I also welcome visiting research students who are doing PhDs elsewhere but want to spend a term or two in Lancaster with some supervision from me. Please email me if you'd like to discuss research possibilities.

Current Teaching

Undergraduate: SOCL305 Living with Capitalism

Graduate: SOCL 912 Theories of Economy and Society and SOCL 921 Contemporary Debates in Sociology: Critique and Value, plus contributions to Introduction to Philosophy of Social Science and Ethics and Social Research

Research Interests

Background

I joined the department in 1993 from Sussex University. My two main interests are firstly social theory and political economy, and secondly philosophical issues in social science. My early work in the seventies and eighties was devoted to the development of radical political economic theory through the study of uneven development, and urban and regional change. I published both theoretical and empirical research in this field, including The New Social Economy: Reworking the Division of Labor (with R.A.Walker, Blackwell, 1992), and Microcircuits of Capital (with Kevin Morgan, Polity, 1988). I then worked on political economic theory itself, attempting to reconstruct it in the wake of post-Marxism and the rise of neoliberalism (Radical Political Economy: A Critique, Blackwell, 1995). On the philosophical/methodological side I have a longstanding interest in critical realism as a philosophy of and for the social sciences. This is represented in my Method in Social Science (Routledge 1992) and in Realism and Social Science (Sage, 2000).

In the latter part of the 90s I began seeking new sources for developing critiques of economic aspects of contemporary society. This began with the need to take the cultural dimensions of economic phenomena more seriously (Culture and Economy after the Cultural Turn, edited with L.J.Ray, Sage, 1999) and led to an interest in Pierre Bourdieu's analysis of economic and cultural capital and the reproduction of inequalities. I developed this last theme in my book The Moral Significance of Class (Cambridge University Press, 2005). This analyses the ethical aspects of people's experience of class inequalities - how it affects not only people's material wealth and opportunities but how people value one another and themselves, and hence their self-respect. It seeks to explain why it is common for people to be 'in denial' about class despite its continuing influence on their life chances. It uses not only social theory but ideas from moral philosophy to reinterpret empirical studies of how class is lived. It might have been subtitled 'Bourdieu with the ethics put back in'.

Current Research

The search for standpoints from which critiques of contemporary social and economic arrangements can be made has thus led me to take an interest in ethics and morality in everyday life. A major focus has been on the relationship between 'moral economy' and political economy. The former is concerned with the moral or ethical influences on, and legitimations of, contemporary economic practices and forms of organisation, and how economic pressures influence ethical sentiments and norms. The objects of this assessment can range from families, capitalist and other organizations, up through the welfare state to the international division of labour i.e. a big subject! An ESRC research fellowship in 2004-5 (Res-000-27-044) gave me the opportunity to research these matters in much more depth. Arising from this, I published Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life (2011, Cambridge University Press), which explores social science's difficulties in acknowledging and understanding people's evaluative or normative orientation to their social worlds - or in simple terms, why anything matters to them. It attributes these problems to the common modernist belief that values are purely subjective, or merely conventional, and beyond the scope of reason. This gives much social research an alienated and alienating character, in that by evading the issue of people's well-being it fails to grasp why people care about anything. It includes chapters on the weakening of 'critique' in social science, what social science can learn from ethical theories, on dignity in everyday life, on the capabilities approach to conceptions of human flourishing, and the limits on normative thinking in social science. It tries to bring together social scientific and ethical thinking through accessible, everyday examples.

I am now working on a book likely to be entitled: Moral Economy: Why We Can't Afford the Rich. This develops a critique of legitimations and consequences of contemporary forms of economic organization, and discusses popular beliefs about economic justice, particularly the view that differences in income, wealth and quality of work are deserved. It is motivated by the dramatic expansion of the economic and political power of the rich and super-rich over the last four decades. I am also interested in the struggle to stop global warming.

I'm involved in the Cultural Political Economy Research Cluster, and the Language, Ideology and Politics group run by the Linguistics Department.

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Current PhD Students

Peter Denenberg: 'Fostering: Attachment, Persistence and Disruption': William Lui 'Urban-rural return migration in China'; Oznur Erdemli 'Inter-class relations in contemporary urban Turkey'; Lizzie Houghton 'University Students and Neoliberalism'; Jihyun Choi 'The failure of multiculturalism: economic and cultural dimensions'

View on-line papers by author

View on-line papers by topic

Additional Information

2013

Looking forward to new realist debates

Sayer, A. 2013 In: Dialogues in Human Geography. 3, 1, p. 1-4 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2012

Wurde am arbeitsplatz [Dignity at Work]

Sayer, A. 09/2012 In: Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Philosophie. 60, 4, p. 557-572 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Power, sustainability and well-being: an outsider's view

Sayer, A. 2012 Sustainable practices: social theory and climate change. Shove, E. & Spurling, N. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 292-317 26 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Facing the challenge of the return of the rich

Sayer, A. 11/2012 Class inequality in austerity Britain. Atkinson, W., Roberts, S. & Savage, M. (eds.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 163-179 17 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Power, causality and normativity: a critical realist critique of Foucault

Sayer, A. 2012 In: Journal of Political Power. 5, 2, p. 179-194 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Capabilities, contributive injustice and unequal divisions of labour

Sayer, A. 2012 In: Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. 13, 4, p. 580-596 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2011

Misrecognition: the unequal division of labour and contributive justice

Sayer, A. 2011 The politics of misrecognition. Thompson, S. & Yar, M. (eds.). Farnham: Ashgate, p. 87-100 24 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Habitus, work and contributive justice

Sayer, A. 02/2011 In: Sociology. 45, 1, p. 7-21 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life

Sayer, A. 2011 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 296 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

2010

Bourdieu, ethics and practice

Sayer, A. 2010 Cultural analysis and Bourdieu's legacy: settling accounts and developing alternatives. Silva, E. B. & Warde, A. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 87-101 15 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

2009

Understanding lay normativity

Sayer, A. 2009 Nature, social relations and human needs: essays in honour of Ted Benton. Moog, S. & Stones, R. (eds.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 128-145 18 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Contributive justice and meaningful work

Sayer, A. 02/2009 In: Res Publica. 15, 1, p. 1-16 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Radical geography and its critical standpoints: embracing the normative

Olson, E. & Sayer, A. 01/2009 In: Antipode. 41, 1, p. 180-198 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Geography and global warming: can capitalism be greened?

Sayer, A. 09/2009 In: Area. 41, 3, p. 350-353 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

The injustice of unequal work

Sayer, A. 12/2009 In: Soundings. 43, p. 102-113 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Who's afraid of critical social science?

Sayer, A. 11/2009 In: Current Sociology. 57, 6, p. 767-786 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2008

Case studies and a single, differentiated reality: a reply to Sue Llewellyn

Sayer, A. 2008 In: Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management. 5, 1, p. 11-14 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Moral economic regulation in organizations: a university example

Sayer, A. 03/2008 In: Organization. 15, 2, p. 147-164 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2007

Class, moral worth and recognition

Sayer, A. 2007 (Mis)recognition, social inequality and social justice: Nancy Fraser and Pierre Bourdieu. Lovell, T. (ed.). London: Routledge, p. 88-102 15 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Moral economy as critique

Sayer, A. 2007 In: New Political Economy. 12, 2, p. 261-270 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Dignity at work: broadening the agenda.

Sayer, A. 1/07/2007 In: Organization. 14, 4, p. 565-581 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2006

Language and significance - or the importance of import: implications for critical discourse analysis.

Sayer, R. A. 1/12/2006 In: Journal of Language and Politics. 5, 3, p. 449-471 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Realism as a basis for knowing the world.

Sayer, A. 2006 Philosophies, people and practices.. Valentine, G. & Aitken, S. (eds.). London: Sage, p. 98-106 9 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Instrumentalism and after: or: the good, the bad and the instrumental

Sayer, A. 2006 Institutions, production and working life. Wood, G. & James, P. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 203-216 14 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

2005

The Moral Significance of Class.

Sayer, R. A. 2005 Cambridge University Press. 247 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Class, Moral Worth and Recognition.

Sayer, A. 2005 In: Sociology. 39, 5, p. 947-963 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Approaching moral economy.

Sayer, A. 2005 The moralisation of the markets. Stehr, N., Henning, C. & Weiler, B. (eds.). New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, p. 77-97 21 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

2004

Critical realism and semiosis (revised version).

Fairclough, N., Jessop, R. D. & Sayer, A. 2004 Realism, discourse and deconstruction. Joseph, J. & Roberts, J. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 23-42 20 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Why critical realism?

Sayer, A. 2004 Critical realist applications in organisation and management studies. Fleetwood, S. & Ackroyd, S. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 6-20 15 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Seeking the geographies of power.

Sayer, A. 2004 In: Economy and Society. 33, 2, p. 255-270 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Restoring the moral dimension in social scientific accounts: a qualified ethical naturalist approach.

Sayer, A. 2004 Defending objectivity: essays in honour of Andrew Collier. Collier, A., Archer, M. S. & Outhwaite, W. (eds.). London: Routledge, 268 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Realisms through thick and thin.

Sayer, A. 2004 In: Environment and Planning A. 36, 10, p. 1777-1789 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2003

(De-)Commodification, consumer culture and moral economy

Sayer, R. A. 1/05/2003 In: Environment and Planning D Society and Space. 21, 3, p. 341-357 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2002

Critical Realism and Semiosis.

Fairclough, N., Jessop, B. & Sayer, A. 05/2002 In: Journal of Critical Realism. 5, 1, p. 2-10 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2001

For a critical cultural political economy

Sayer, A. 09/2001 In: Antipode. 33, 4, p. 687-708 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Reply to Holmwood

Sayer, A. 2001 In: Sociology. 35, 4, p. 967-984 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2000

System, Lifeworld and Gender: Associational Versus Counterfactual Thinking.

Sayer, A. 11/2000 In: Sociology. 34, 4, p. 707-725 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Realism and social science.

Sayer, A. 2000 London: Sage. 211 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Moral Economy and Political Economy.

Sayer, A. 2000 In: Studies in Political Economy. 61, Sp, p. 79-104 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Method in social science.

Sayer, A. 2000 Unknown Publisher.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

For postdisciplinary studies: sociology and the curse of disciplinary parochialism and imperialism.

Sayer, A. 2000 For sociology: legacies and prospects. Eldridge, J... A. (ed.). Durham: Sociologypress, p. 83-91 9 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Critical and Uncritical Cultural Turns.

Sayer, A. 2000 Cultural turns/geographical turns: perspectives on cultural geography. Cook, I... A. (ed.). Harlow; New York: Prentice Hall, p. 166-181 16 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Caracteristicas chave do realismo critico.

Sayer, A. 2000 In: Estudios Sociologicos. 6, 2, p. 7-32 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Contemporary British Society.

Abercrombie, N., Warde, A., Deem, R., Penna, S., Sayer, A., Soothill, K. L., Urry, J. & Walby, S. 2000 Cambridge: Polity Press. 602 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

1999

Bourdieu, Smith and disinterested judgement.

Sayer, A. 1999 In: Sociology Review. 47, 3, p. 403-431 29 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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