Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

 

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Professor Larry Ray

Professor of Sociology

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Location:
Room 207
School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Cornwallis North East
Canterbury , Kent, CT2 7NF

 

I am a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. See the rest of the Sociology team.

My main teaching and research interests are in the areas of sociological theory, globalization, postcommunism, memory and violence.

My most recent book, Violence and Society (Sage), develops a wide-ranging analysis of violence including prehistoric violence, long-term trends in homicide; masculinities, gender and violence; and modernity and the Holocaust. 

My current project is an examination of Jewish identity and memory in the UK and Europe which includes the role of music, food and community networks in sustaining identities and articulating relationships to the past. I am also continuing to work on aspects violence particularly in relation to inequality, consumer culture and desire.

Listen to Mark Carrigan’s podcast in which he interviews me about the 2011 summer riots in the UK. Read more on The Sociological Imagination website.

Career


I joined the University of Kent in 1998. Before that I was in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. In 1996, I was visiting scholar, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand. At Kent I was Head of the Department of Sociology and then SSPSSR between 1999-2001, and Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences between 2009-11. I am currently Director of Research for SSPSSR.

Education


I completed my DPhil and MA in Sociology at Sussex University and my BA in Sociology at Lancaster University.

Find me


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Visit the Kent Sociology website

 

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Articles

    Diemling, M. and Ray, L. J. (2014) "Where do you draw the line?" Negotiating Kashrut and jewish identity in a small british reform community. Food, Culture and Society, 17 (1). pp. 125-142. ISSN 1552-8014.

    Abstract

    This study explores the importance of food and the negotiation of kosher laws in the context of strategies to maintain an individual and collective Jewish identity among a British Reform Jewish community in a non-metropolitan area. Based on interviews with active members of the local synagogue, it explores the challenges to maintaining Jewish life in a small, disparate community remote from any major Jewish settlement. In the interview data, food emerges as a major point of reference for defining identity and for positioning members of the community in relation to religious traditions. Food observance further serves as a means of defining boundaries within as well as outside the community. This discussion raises several important issues: the place of religious observance in modern societies, the question of membership and boundaries of communities, the diversity of contemporary Jewish Reform observance and, finally, the specific role of food and foodways in negotiating these challenges. © Association for the Study of Food and Society 2014.

    Ray, L. J. (2014) Shame and the city – ‘looting’, emotions and social structure. Sociological Review, 62 (1). pp. 117-136. ISSN 0038-0261.

    Abstract

    The sociology of violence is an emerging field but one in which there remains a tension between structural explanations and phenomenological-situational ones that focus on the micro conditions of violence. This article proposes an analytical framework for connecting these levels through a critical appropriation of Scheff's theory of the shame-rage cycle. It argues that while shame is a significant condition for violent action, Scheff does not have a theory of violence in itself but treats the connections between shame-rage and violence as largely self-evident. While emotions such as shame have agental properties, as Scheff and others argue, these need to be situated within structural and cultural conditions that are likely to evoke shame. Moreover, to develop Scheff's approach further, violence needs to be understood as being communicative and invoking normative justifications, which mediate the effects of shame-rage. This analysis is developed with reference to recent instances of collective disorder, especially the English riots in August 2011, which is based on published research and media accounts from participants. The acquisition of consumer goods through ‘looting’ was public performance in spaces where a ‘moral holiday’ permitted a brief revaluation of the social order. Through this example the article shows how an underlying configuration of inequality, exclusion and shame coalesced into events in which the violence was a form of performative communication. This articulated ‘ugly feelings’ that invoked normative justification for participation, at least at the time of the disturbances. The discussion provides an integrated account of structural-emotional conditions for violence combined with the dynamics of situated actions within particular spaces. It aims to do two things – to provide a framework for analysing the structural and affective bases for violence and to offer a nuanced understanding of ‘violence’ with reference to public disorder.

    Ray, Larry J. (2013) Mark of Cain – Shame, Desire and Violence. European Journal of Social Theory, 16 (3). pp. 292-309. ISSN 1368-4310.

    Abstract

    Violence presents a paradox. There is evidence that violence is universal in all in human societies. However, in writing mostly from the standpoint of relatively peaceful social spaces, violence often appears exceptional, and a product of the breakdown of integrating social institutions and conventions. Norbert Elias persuasively identified growing thresholds of repugnance towards violence with the transition to modernity, although understanding the balance between formalization and informalization poses some critical questions about his thesis. The discussion begins with these as a means of opening a broader discussion of theories of violence which are developed through a critical analysis of Girard’s and Gans’ theories. It is argued that these may offer a way of addressing the informalization problem in a context of mimetic consumption desires in a context of apparent but false equalization in contemporary societies.

    Outhwaite, W. and Ray, L. J. (2011) Prediction and prophecy in communist studies. Comparative Sociology, 10 (5). pp. 691-709. ISSN 15691322.

    Abstract

    Contrary to Popper's classic article with this title, it can be argued that the principal failure of Western analyses of communism was not the failure to predict the collapse of most of the communist regimes in and around 1989 but more a failure of prophecy, in the sense of a more speculative theory of the contradictions of those regimes and their unsustainability. The reasons can be found in the polarisation between overblown theories of totalitarianism and excessively bland comparative approaches couched in terms of the, then popular, theories of industrial society and, often, convergence. There were also methodological reasons arising from the positivist shibboleths of factual documentation, with the consequence that dubious statistics were considered better than none, and value-freedom. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011.

    Ray, L. J. (2010) Migration and remembrance: Sounds and spaces of klezmer 'revivals'. Cultural Sociology, 4 (3). pp. 357-378. ISSN 1749-9755.

    Abstract

    This article discusses the cultural meanings of recent revivals in Yiddish music in the USA and central Europe. It does this with reference to Adorno's critique of lyrical celebration of the past as a means of forgetting. It examines the criticisms that recent 'Jewish' cultural revivals are kitsch forms of unreflective nostalgia and considers the complexity of meanings here. It then explores the ways in which klezmer might be an aural form of memory and suggests that revivals can represent gateways into personal and collective engagement with the past. It further argues that experimental hybrid forms of new klezmer potentially open new spaces of remembrance and expressions of Jewish identity. © The Author(s) 2010.

    Ray, L. J. (2009) Profit of Innvation? Schumpeter and Classical Sociology. Journal of Classical Sociology, 9 (3). pp. 347-352. ISSN 1468-795X.

    Abstract

    The Austrian theorist Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1950) is not generally included in discussions of classical sociology, although he was part of the political generation that included Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Gustav von Schmoller and the German Historical School. An economic theorist whose project was to synthesize insights from sociology, social psychology, and cultural and historical studies of economics, he has perhaps not been centrally established within any disciplinary boundary. His best-known work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942), has been read more in political science and sociology than economics, and for a long time his work was eclipsed by his contemporary and rival, John Maynard Keynes. However, Schumpeter’s works, and especially his concept of ‘creative destruction’, are currently receiving enthusiastic interest in business schools, which is illustrated by Thomas McCraw’s major intellectual biography (Professor of Business History in the Harvard Business School). McCraw’s volume is scholarly, thorough and systematically grounded in a comprehensive range of Schumpeter’s published works, personal papers and diaries as well as the recollections of both colleagues and intimate friends. This was possible in part because, after his death, Schumpeter’s widow and co-researcher, Elizabeth Boody, donated to Harvard his personal papers unexpurgated (p. 494). McCraw’s study is bursting with documentation, anecdotes and elaboration, and there is no sign here of the alleged decline and fall of annotation – of the 700 odd pages, around 200 are endnotes, which will probably please some and annoy others, although the endnote material is often essential reading.

    Ray, Larry J. (2009) At the end of the postcommunist transformation? Normalization or Imagining Utopia? European Journal of Social Theory, 12 (3). pp. 321-336. ISSN 1368-4310.

    Abstract

    This article reviews the implications of the collapse of Communism in Europe for some themes in recent social theory. It was often assumed that 1989 was part of a global process of normalization and routinization of social life that had been left behind earlier utopian hopes. Nothing that utopia is open to various interpretations, including utopias of the everyday, this article suggests, first that there were utopian dimensions to 1989, and, second, that these hopes continue to influence contemporary social and political developments. The continuing role of substantive utopian expectations is illustrated with reference to the politics of lustration in Poland and the rise of nationalist parties in Hungary. This analysis is placed in the context of the already apparent impact of the global economic crisis in post-communist countries. It concludes that the unevenness and diversity of the post-1989 world elude overly generalized attempts at theorization and demand more nuanced analyses.

    Ray, Larry J. (2009) At the End of the Post-Communist Transformation? Normalization or Imagining Utopia? European Journal of Social Theory, 12 (3). pp. 321-336. ISSN 1368-4310.

    Abstract

    This article reviews the implications of the collapse of Communism in Europe for some themes in recent social theory. It was often assumed that 1989 was part of a global process of normalization and routinization of social life that had been left behind earlier utopian hopes. Nothing that utopia is open to various interpretations, including utopias of the everyday, this article suggests, first that there were utopian dimensions to 1989, and, second, that these hopes continue to influence contemporary social and political developments. The continuing role of substantive utopian expectations is illustrated with reference to the politics of lustration in Poland and the rise of nationalist parties in Hungary. This analysis is placed in the context of the already apparent impact of the global economic crisis in post-communist countries. It concludes that the unevenness and diversity of the post-1989 world elude overly generalized attempts at theorization and demand more nuanced analyses.

    Ray, L. J. (2007) Reflections on the demise of communism in Europe. European History Quarterly, 37 (3). pp. 442-456. ISSN 0265-6914.

    Ray, L. J. and Dixon, L. (2007) Current Issues and Developments in Race Hate Crime. Probation Journal, 54 (2). pp. 109-124. ISSN 0264-5505.

    Abstract

    This article considers the ‘hate agenda’ as a model for interventions targeted at race hate crime. The authors consider current initiatives in different agencies and make some comparisons between the American and British experience.

    Ray, L. J. and Reed, K. (2005) Community, mobility and racism in a semi-rural area: Comparing minority experience in East Kent. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28 (2). pp. 212-234. ISSN 0141-9870.

    Abstract

    Much research into community, racism and racialization has been conducted in metropolitan urban settings. It is only recently that race in rural areas has received some attention. A key theme of existing research on race in rural areas has focused on the issue of racial violence. Drawing on interviews with a variety of ethnic minority groups in East Kent the article will focus on broader issues of race and ethnicity in a semi-rural area. The study explores the meaning of race, ethnicity and belonging in the partially rural setting of East Kent, UK. The article will raise issues around the intersection of the regional and global, the problematic notion of "community", and the fluidity of racialization in a setting in which many ethnic minorities were transitory and mobile. We conclude by highlighting the ways in which community, racism and racialization are embedded in differentiated discourses and processes.

    Ray, L. J. and Smith, D. (2004) Racist Offending, Policing and Community Conflict. Sociology, 38 (4). pp. 681-699. ISSN 0038-0385.

    Abstract

    Since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry several initiatives have transformed the policing of racism, and have entailed significant changes in the criminal justice system. This article reviews these in the light of our research on racist offenders in Greater Manchester between 1998 and 2001. We argue that racist offending is not necessarily consistent with the assumptions underlying some of these initiatives. The conclusions from this work are then discussed in the context of the disturbances in Oldham and elsewhere in the UK during the summer of 2001. We suggest that constructions of racist offending have given excessive weight to individual motives and intentions, while much offending behaviour is grounded in wider cultural and social contexts. We present the background to these conflicts in terms of a vicious spiral of styles of policing, use of reported statistics and the involvement of racist organizations. We conclude that to explain racist violence we need to think in terms of not a single issue but of multiple issues of bias, and of cultures of violence, exclusions and marginalization.

    Ray, L. J. and Smith, D. and Wastell, L. (2004) Shame, Rage and Racist Violence. British Journal of Criminology, 44 (3). pp. 350-368. ISSN 0007-0955.

    Abstract

    In this article, we argue that much racist violence can be understood in terms of unacknowledged shame and its transformation into fury. We use studies by Scheff and Retzinger as a framework for understanding transcripts of interviews with racist offenders from Greater Manchester, UK. We argue that much of the interview data support the claim that unacknowledged shame can be transformed into rage against those who are seen as the sources of shame. We argue that offenders' shame is rooted in multiple disadvantages and that rage is directed against south Asians who are perceived as more successful, but illegitimately so, within a cultural context in which violence and racism are taken for granted. The article is intended to contribute both to greater understanding of the complex motivation of racist violence and to current moves to redress the cognitive bias of much contemporary social science and reassess the role of emotion in human behaviour.

    Ray, Larry J. (2004) Pragmatism and Critical Theory. European Journal of Social Theory, 7 (3). pp. 307-322. ISSN 1368-4310.

    Abstract

    This article discusses Habermas’s project of reformulating Critical Theory through a pragmatic philosophy of communication, while defending post-metaphysical reason and commitment to grounded critique. Habermas’s use of pragmatics is contrasted with Rorty, who argues for a non-foundational pragmatism that eschews the idea of science as the only site of reason and social progress. The argument moves through three stages. First, it outlines Habermas’s project of recovering critical activity with particular attention to his debt to pragmatic philosophy and the departures from earlier Critical Theory that this entailed. Second, it examines his theory of communicative action and identifies some key areas of contestation with sceptical approaches. Finally, it identifies some of the problems and limitations in Habermas’s pragmatic turn, suggesting that his quasi-transcendental critique is developed at the expense of a pragmatic commitment to grounding in embodied agency-in-the-world. It concludes that the spirit of pragmatism, rather than its detail, might help Critical Theory focus on political analysis and resistances to domination.

    Ray, L. J. (2003) August Comte and the religion of humanity: The post-theistic program of french social theory. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association, 37 (1). pp. 203-204. ISSN 0038-0385.

    Ray, Larry J. (2003) Capitalism, Class and Social Progress. Current Sociology, 51 (2). pp. 163-169. ISSN 0011-3921.

    Ray, L. (2002) Crossing Borders? Sociology, Globalization and Immobility. Sociological Research Online, 7 (3). ISSN 1360-7804.

    Abstract

    Globalization theorists frequently claim that the disembedding of social relations across various dimensions renders obsolete the former object of sociology, namely 'society'. The exceptional change to social life arising from globalization demands that sociality is viewed in more fluid and complex ways than in the past. A closer examination of classical concepts of the social would reveal more nuanced and multidimensional concepts. I suggest that globalization does not entail the stretching of social relations beyond recognition, but reconfigures spaces and identities according to powerful dynamics. Classical theory emphasizes the embeddedness of exchanges and flows in social and cultural relations. This will be exemplified with reference to migration, which both epitomizes globalizing tendencies and illustrates its limitations. Along with mobile subjects there are immobile subjects (racialized migrants) policed by actual and threatened violence, who have been underplayed in globalization theory. The paper concludes that concepts of the 'social' may need rethinking but central to this should be an understanding of the interlocking of mobility with the circulation of capital, commodities and cultural practices.

    Smith, D. and Ray, L. J. and Wastell, L. (2002) Racist Violence And Probation Practice. Probation Journal, 49 (1). pp. 3-9. ISSN 0264-5505.

    Ray, L. J. and Smith, D. (2001) Racist Offenders and the Politics of “Hate Crime”. Law and Critique, 12 (3). pp. 203-221. ISSN 0957-8536.

    Abstract

    In the UK and USA ‘Hate crime’ has become a topic of public controversy and social mobilization around issues of violence and harassment. This has largely but not exclusively addressed racism, homophobia and gender based violence. This article has three objectives. First, to situate hate crime legislation within a broad theory of modernity;secondly to examine the politics of its emergence as a public issue; thirdly to use data from the authors' recent research in Greater Manchester to illuminate the complexity of the concept of ‘hate crime’. The centrality of ‘hate crime’ to current debates derives from the importance of rights-based regulation of complex societies and the juridical management of emotional life. Hatred and violence have become problematic behaviour thrown into relief by a long term civilizing process. Hate crimes have thus acquired powerful rhetorical focus for mobilization of victim and identity politics. With reference to racist violence in Oldham and elsewhere in Greater Manchester, we argue that in its application and construction, however, ‘hate crime’ is a complex phenomenon that might dramatize rather than regulate the problems it seeks to address.

    Ray, L.J. (1999) 'Fundamentalism', modernity and the new Jacobins. Economy and Society, 28 (2). pp. 198-221. ISSN 0308-5147.

    Abstract

    This paper offers an interpretation of 'Islamic fundamentalism', especially the Iranian Revolution, in the context of sociological debates about 'modernity'. The problematic nature of both these terms is acknowledged. It criticizes explanations of 'fundamentalism' that begin from the assumption of a dichotomy between fundamentalism and modernity, arguing instead for a more nuanced understanding of both Islamic revivalism and the modern. The paper begins by offering a model of modernity as a set of bi-modal tensions within which Islamic 'fundamentalism' could be understood as a form of modernist revolutionary populism. This argument is then developed through a comparison between the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Jacobin phase of the French Revolution. It argues that there are parallels between the idea of Islamic revolution and the Jacobin revolutionary imagination, which demonstrate the modernist dimension of Islamist movements. The discussion concludes with some observations on Islam, and the closure of the Jacobin revolutionary project.

    Ray, L. J. (1999) 'Fundamentalism', modernity and the new Jacobins. Economy and Society, 28 (2). pp. 198-221. ISSN 0308-5147.

    Abstract

    This paper offers an interpretation of 'Islamic fundamentalism', especially the Iranian Revolution, in the context of sociological debates about 'modernity'. The problematic nature of both these terms is acknowledged. It critizes explanations of 'fundamentalism' that begin from the assumption of a dichotomy between fundamentalism and modernity, arguing instead for a more nuanced understanding of both Islamic revivalism and the modern. The paper begins by offering a model of modernity as a set of bi-modal tensions within which Islamic 'fundamentalism' could be understood as a form of modernist revolutionary populism. This argument is then developed through a comparison between the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Jacobin phase of the French Revolution. It argues that there are parallels between the idea of Islamic revolution and the Jacobin revolutionary imagination, which demonstrate the modernist dimension of Islamist movements. The discussion concludes with some observations on Islam, and the closure of the Jacobin revolutionary project.

    Ray, L. J. (1999) 'Memory, Trauma and Genocidal Nationalism'. Sociological Research Online, 4 (2). ISSN 13607804.

    Abstract

    Nationalism poses several analytical problems for sociology, since it stands at the intersection of familiar binary conceptual contrasts. It further has the capacity to appear alternatively democratic and violent. This paper examines the conditions for violent nationalism, with particular reference to the Kosovo conflict. It argues that the conditions for potentially genocidal nationalism lie in the apparently routine rituals through which 'nations' are remembered and constructed. Violent nationalism may appear where the transmission of collective identities is infused with mourning and traumatic memory. However, the presence of such forms of memory is not sufficient in themselves to provoke violent nationalism. These are unleashed in the context of state crisis where former loyalties are replaced with highly affective commitment to rectification of imagined historical wrongs.

    Ray, L. J. and Smith, D. and Wastell, L. (1999) The Macpherson Report: A View from Greater Manchester. Sociological Research Online, 4 (1). ISSN 13607804.

    Abstract

    These comments arising from the Macpherson Report are made in the light of our research on racist violence in Greater Manchester. This study, funded by the ESRC as part of the Violence Research Programme, is still in progress and our findings at this stage are tentative. The focus of the study is mainly on the perpetrators of racist violence, but we have also obtained material on the response of the police and other agencies to racist attacks and harassment.

    Ray, L. J. (1997) Post-Communism: postmodernity or modernity revisited? British Journal of Sociology, 48 (4). pp. 543-560. ISSN 0007-1315.

Books

    Ray, L.J. (2011) Violence and Society. SAGE Publications Ltd, 232 pp. ISBN 9781847870360.

    Abstract

    In this compelling and timely book, Larry Ray offers a wide-ranging and integrated account of the many manifestations of violence in society. He examines violent behaviour and its meanings in contemporary culture and throughout history. Introducing the major theoretical debates, the book examines different levels of violence - interpersonal, institutional and collective - and different forms of violence - such as racist crime, homophobic crime and genocide. It provides readers with a succinct and comprehensive overview of its nature and effects, and the solutions and conflict resolutions involved in responses to violence. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the text draws on evidence from sociology, criminology, primate studies and archaeology to shed light on arguments about the social construction and innate nature of violence. Engaging, wide-reaching and authorative, this is essential reading for students, academics and researchers in sociology, criminology, social pyschology and cultural studies.

    Ray, L.J. (2006) Globalization and Everyday Life. The New Sociology. Routledge, London, 238 pp. ISBN 978-0-415-34095-3.

    Abstract

    Globalization and Everyday Life provides an accessible account of globalization by developing two themes in particular. First, globalization is an outcome of structural and cultural processes that manifest in different ways in economy, politics, culture and organizations. So the globalized world is increasingly heterogeneous, unequal and conflictual rather than integrated and ordered. Secondly, globalization is sustained and created by the everyday actions of people and institutions. Both of these have far-reaching consequences for everyday life and are fully explored in this volume. Larry Ray skilfully guides students through the various aspects of the globalization debate and illustrates key arguments with reference to specific topics including nation, state and cosmopolitanism, virtual societies, transnationals and development. This innovative book provides this information in a clear and concise manner suitable for the undergraduate student studying sociology, social geography, globalization and development studies.

    Ray, L. J. and Outhwaite, W. (2005) Social Theory and Postcommunism. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, Oxford, 264 pp. ISBN 9780631211112.

    Abstract

    "Social Theory and Postcommunism" undertakes a thorough study of the implications of post-communism for sociological theory. Written by two leading social theorists, the book discusses the thesis that the fall of communism has decimated alternative conceptions of social organizations other than capitalism. It analyzes the implications of the fall of communism on social theory. It discusses alternative ideas of social organizations other than capitalism, in the wake of the collapse of communism. It covers state/civil society, globalization, the future of 'modernity', and post-socialism.

    Ray, L. J. (1996) Social Theory And The Crisis Of State Socialism. Studies of Communism in Transition series. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Cheltenham, 304 pp. ISBN 9781852786885.

    Abstract

    The collapse of communist governments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union requires a major rethink of many sociological theories of social integration and change. Drawing on a wide range of social theory, Social Theory and the Crisis of State Socialism offers a comparative analysis of the democratic revolutions, combining historical understanding with accounts of the crisis of communism in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Russia. Larry Ray identifies contradictions within Soviet societies, developing a theory of crisis management that accounts both for the survival of the system over several decades and for its eventual failure.

    Ray, L. J. (1993) Rethinking Critical Theory: Emancipation in the Age of Global Social Movements. SAGE Publications Ltd, London, 224 pp. ISBN 9780803983632.

    Abstract

    In Rethinking Critical Theory, Larry Ray effectively outlines the fundamental concepts of Habermas' Critical Theory. Developing an analysis of such ideas as the public sphere, communicative action, and the colonization of the lifeworld, he examines the insights that critical theory can offer global analysis--and its relation to global social change. Ray argues that, on the one hand, modernity is poised between the threat of authoritarian politics of identity, and on the other, it is between the promise of opening up new democratic communicative organizations. The analysis is illustrated by a detailed discussion of post-communist eastern Europe, Islamic revivalism in Iran, and the liberation struggle in South Africa. Exploring the potential for critical and emancipatory politics of social movements, Rethinking Critical Theory will be of interest to students and scholars in social theory, philosophy, sociology, and development studies. "Author Larry J. Ray makes important contributions to the rethinking of both critical theory and social movement theory." -Contemporary Sociology

Book Sections

    Ray, L. J. (2012) Civil Society and the Public Sphere. In: Amenta, E. and Nash, K. and Scott, A. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Wiley Blackwell Companions to Sociology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, Chicester, pp. 240-251. ISBN 9781444330939.

    Ray, L. J. (2009) After 1989 - Globalization, Normalization and Utopia. In: Hayden, P. and El-Ojeili, C. Globalization and Utopia - Critical Essays. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 101-116. ISBN 9780230203594.

    Ray, L. J. (2007) From Postmodernity to Liquid Modernity: What’s in a Metaphor? In: Elliott, A. The Contemporary Bauman. Taylor & Francis Ltd, Routledge, London, pp. 63-80. ISBN 9780415409681.

    Ray, L. J. (2007) Habermas, Pragmatism and Truth. In: Baert, P. and Turner, B. S. Pragmatism and European Social Theory. Europan Studies in Social Theory. The Bardwell Press, pp. 137-156. ISBN 9781905622009.

    Ray, L. J. (2006) Mourning, Melancholia and Violence. In: Bell, D. Memory, Trauma and World Politics: Reflections on the Relationship Between Past and Present. Palgrave MacMillan, London, pp. 135-156. ISBN 978-0230006560.

    Ray, L. (2005) Violent Crime. In: Hale, C. and Hayward, K.J. and Wahidin, A. et al. Criminology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 223-44. ISBN 0-19-927036-8.

    Ray, L.J. (2004) Civil Society and Public Sphere. In: Nash, K. and Scott, A. The Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Blackwell, Oxford. ISBN 978-1405122658.

    Ray, L. J. and Smith, D. and Wastell, L. (2003) Racist violence from a probation service perspective: Now you see it, now you don’t. In: Lee, R.M. and Stanko, E.A. Researching violence: Essays on methodology ajnd measurement. Routledge, London, pp. 217-231. ISBN 9780415301312.

    Ray, L. J. and Smith, D. and Wastell, L. (2002) Understanding racist violence. In: Stanko, E.A. The Meanings of Violence. Routledge, London, pp. 112-129. ISBN 9780415301305.

    Ray, L.J. and Smith, D. (2002) Hate crime, violence and cultures of racism. In: Iganski, P. The Hate Debate:Should Hate be Punished as a Crime? Profile Books/IJPR, London, pp. 88-103. ISBN 978-1861974495.

    Ray, L. J. (2000) Civil Society and the Public Sphere. In: Nash, K. and Scott, A. The Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Blackwell Companions to Sociology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, Oxford, pp. 219-229. ISBN 9780631210504.

Conference Items

    Ray, L.J. (2008) Migration and Remembrance – The Sounds and Spaces of Klezmer Music ‘Revivals. In: Nottingham Trent Institute of Cultural Analysis seminar series, January 22 2008, Nottingham Trent University. (unpublished)

    Ray, L.J. (2007) Remembrance and Ambiguity: Sounds and Spaces of Jewish Culture in Kraków. In: British Association for Jewish Studies annual conference., London. (unpublished)

    Ray, L.J. (2006) Remembrance and Ambiguity. In: Conflicting Identities/ Identities In Conflict, University of Birmingham. (unpublished)

    Ray, L.J. (2006) Legislating Emotion - Hate Crime, Power and Difference. In: British Sociological Association Conference, April 2006, Harrogate. (unpublished)

    Ray, L.J. (2003) Memory, Trauma and Genocidal Nationalism. In: Cambridge International Studies Association Conference on Genocide and World Politics, Cambridge University. (unpublished)

    Abstract

    Nationalism poses several analytical problems for sociology, since it stands at the intersection of familiar binary conceptual contrasts. It further has the capacity to appear alternatively democratic and violent. This paper examines the conditions for violent nationalism, with particular reference to the Kosovo conflict. It argues that the conditions for potentially genocidal nationalism lie in the apparently routine rituals through which 'nations' are remembered and constructed. Violent nationalism may appear where the transmission of collective identities is infused with mourning and traumatic memory. However, the presence of such forms of memory is not sufficient in themselves to provoke violent nationalism. These are unleashed in the context of state crisis where former loyalties are replaced with highly affective commitment to rectification of imagined historical wrongs.

    Ray, L. J. (2001) Crossing borders – sociology, globalization and immobility. In: British Sociological Association Conference, April, 2001, Manchester. (unpublished)

    Abstract

    Globalization theorists frequently claim that the disembedding of social relations across various dimensions renders obsolete the former object of sociology, namely 'society'. The exceptional change to social life arising from globalization demands that sociality is viewed in more fluid and complex ways than in the past. A closer examination of classical concepts of the social would reveal more nuanced and multidimensional concepts. I suggest that globalization does not entail the stretching of social relations beyond recognition, but reconfigures spaces and identities according to powerful dynamics. Classical theory emphasizes the embeddedness of exchanges and flows in social and cultural relations. This will be exemplified with reference to migration, which both epitomizes globalizing tendencies and illustrates its limitations. Along with mobile subjects there are immobile subjects (racialized migrants) policed by actual and threatened violence, who have been underplayed in globalization theory. The paper concludes that concepts of the 'social' may need rethinking but central to this should be an understanding of the interlocking of mobility with the circulation of capital, commodities and cultural practices.

Reviews
Monographs
Research Reports
Edited Books

    Elliott, A. and Ray, L. J. (2003) Key Contemporary Social Theorists. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 336 pp. ISBN 9780631219712.

    Abstract

    Key Contemporary Social Theorists is a comprehensive introduction to the most significant figures in social, cultural, political and philosophical thought in the twentieth century. Over forty leading theorists from around the world are profiled in short essays that cover the thinkers' lives, ideas, and major criticisms. The contributors, themselves distinguished authors and leading academic scholars, cover individuals who have developed key schools of though in social theory: Benjamin, Elias, Goffman, Lacan, Said, Jameson, Heidegger, Giddens, Bauman, Williams, and many others. Readers will find this to be an authoritative guide and invaluable reference for understanding the roots and trends of development in modern social thought.

    Ray, L. J. and Reed, M. (1994) Organizing Modernity: New Weberian Perspectives on Work, Organizations and Society. Taylor & Francis Ltd, London, 224 pp. ISBN 9780415089173.

    Abstract

    Organizing Modernity provides a reassessment of the significance of Max Weber's work for the current debates about the institutional and organizational dynamics of modernity. It re-evalutates Weber's sociology of bureaucracy and his general account of the trajectory of modernity with reference to the strategic social structures that dominated the emergence and development of modern society. Included here are detailed analyses of contemporary issues such as the collapse of communism, fordism, coporatism and traditionalism in both Western and Eastern societies. All of the contributors are scholars of international repute. They undertake analyses of Weber's texts and his broader intellectual inheritance to reassert the centrality of Weberian sociology for our understanding of the moral, political and organizational dilemmas of late modernity. These analyses challenge orthodox readings of Weber as the prophet of the iron cage. Instead they offer interpretations of his work which emphasize the reality of modernity as a dual process with the potential for both disarticulation of rational structures and deeper colonization of daily life. Not only is this book essential reading for Weber specialists but it also provides compelling analyses of modernity and the inherently contingent nature of global cultural and stuctural transformation.

    Ray, L. J. (1991) Formal Sociology: Work of George Simmel. Schools of Thought in Sociology. Cheltenham, 358 pp. ISBN 9781852782986.

Total publications in KAR: 60 [See all in KAR]
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Research interests

My main research interests are sociological theory, globalization, postcommunism, memory and violence. For more than 20 years I have researched the crisis and transformation of post-communist societies and its implications for social theory.

Current


One current project I am developing is an examination on the emergence of Jewish identity and memory in Poland with particular reference to the contested role of music in articulating relationships to the past and the Holocaust. I would welcome inquiries from anyone interested in postgraduate research on any of these topics.

Recent


In 2011 I published Violence and Society (Sage) which develops a wide-ranging analysis of violence including prehistoric violence, long-term trends in homicide; masculinities, gender and violence; and modernity and the Holocaust. This work is informed by an interest in sociological theory and social transformation.

Past


In 2005 I published Social Theory and Postcommunism (Blackwell) with William Outhwaite at Newcastle University. In 2007 I published Globalization and Everyday Life (Routledge) which focuses on the diverse ways in which globalization is sustained through and embedded within the practices of everyday life.

A project on racially motivated violence in Greater Manchester (with Prof. David Smith, Lancaster University), that was part of the ESRC’s Violence Research Programme, led to a wider interest in the sociology of violence. This has involved work on 'hate crime' legislation and its effectiveness along with the politics of hate movements. This research has involved work with the Probation Service, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and other public sector bodies.

Supervision

I welcome PHD proposals within my areas of interest. If you are interested in studying at the University of Kent, please email me to discuss further.


 


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Current

My teaching interests at undergraduate and postgraduate levels include globalization, sociology of violence and sociological theory. I currently convene the following modules:

  • SO534 Sociological Approaches to Violence (higher level module - part of the Sociology and Criminology programmes)
  • SO824 Sociological Theories of Violence (Masters module on MA Sociology, Criminology and LLM programmes)

I also contribute to:

  • SO500 Concepts and Theories in Sociology (core intermediate level Social Theory module)
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Memberships

  • Member of the British Sociological Association. 
  • Executive Committee member and President-elect British Association for Jewish Studies.

Editorial

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Youtube

Professor Larry Ray

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Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 17/03/2014