The first* Michigan Social Theory conference was very much a success. I want to thank anyone involved who reads this blog. We had a consistent audience of 30-40 people, 16 excellent presentations, 5 great discussants, and a fantastic closing speech by George Steinmetz.
George spoke of the need to create an autonomous subfield of social theory, much as historical sociology has done, in order to help protect it “like an endangered species”. He also argued, contra many, that social theory can and should be done on its own as well as part of larger empirical projects – that the same people do not have been doing all the empirical and theoretical work. That said, he also acknowledge that theory cannot be factless (just as empirical work is never theoretically neutral, or completely atheoretical). He ended with a discussion of 7 principles that he saw underlying good social theory, and then showed how Bourdieu (with a little help from Bhaskar’s critical realism) met those 7 conditions.
Alright, with that out of the way, now it’s time to get some work done this term… See you all!
* And hopefully not last.