Professor Larry Ray completed his DPhil and MA in Sociology at Sussex University and his BA in Sociology at Lancaster University. He joined the University of Kent in 1998 from the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. In 1996, he was visiting scholar, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand. At Kent, he was Head of the Department of Sociology from 1999-2001, and Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2009-2011. He is currently Chair of the Sociology Pathway in the South East Network Doctoral Training Partnership

Research interests

Professor Ray’s main research interests are sociological theory, postcommunism, the sociology of violence, Jewish studies and visual sociology. He has worked in recent years on the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt, the challenge to social science explanations of violence from neuroscience, and the sociology of Jewish identity and culture. He has also worked with Dr Sławomir Kapralski on Disputed Holocaust Memory in Poland, which is the subject of a special issue of the Journal of Holocaust Studies. He is currently working on photography, sociology and visual modernity, and disputed Holocaust memory in current European culture wars. 

In 2018, Professor Ray published the second edition of Violence and Society, 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. 

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


Professor Ray teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on globalisation, sociology of violence and sociological theory.


Professor Ray welcomes PhD proposals within his areas of interest.



  • Member of the British Sociological Association
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Executive Committee member and former President of the British Association for Jewish Studies
  • Fellow of the British Association for Holocaust Studies 


  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Holocaust Studies
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Max Weber Studies



Showing 50 of 68 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Ray, L. and Kapralski, S. (2019). Introduction to the special issue – disputed Holocaust memory in Poland. Holocaust Studies [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2019.1567657.
  • Ray, L. and Wilkinson, I. (2019). Introduction – Bicentennial Marx. Journal of Classical Sociology [Online] 19:3-9. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468795X18816150.
  • Ray, L. and Wilkinson, I. (2019). Interview with David McLellan July 2018. Journal of Classical Sociology [Online] 19:87-104. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1468795X18810580.
    David McLellan, interviewed here, is a Fellow of Goldsmiths College, University of London and
    Emeritus Professor of Political Theory, University of Kent. Since the 1970s he has been one of the
    leading biographers, translators and commentators on Marx in the English-speaking world. He is
    the author of several books on Marx and Marxism, including The Young Hegelians and Karl Marx;
    Karl Marx: His Life and Thought; Karl Marx: Selected Writings; Marx before Marxism; and Marxism and
    Religion. He has also published a biography of Simone Weil, books on the political implications of
    Christianity, and a lengthy article on contract law and marriage. He lectures widely around the
    world on these topics, frequently in China, and in 2018 addressed a conference in Nairobi on
    religion and world peace. In this interview, or conversation, with Larry Ray and Iain Wilkinson, in
    July 2018, David discusses the origins of his interest in Marx, the development Marx’s thought and
    his critique of the Hegelians, Marx’s critical method, Marx and religion, Marx on Russia, the role
    of violence in social change, the relevance of Marx’s work today, and offers comments on some
    recent biographies. David has spent much of his intellectual career engaging with the meaning and
    legacy of Marxism and these reflections should generate reflection and debate on the significance
    of Marx and the possibilities of radical political change today.
  • Wass, M., Ray, L. and Michaelis, M. (2019). Understanding of researcher behaviour is required to improve data reliability. GigaScience [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giz017.
    A lack of data reproducibility (“reproducibility crisis”) has been extensively debated across many academic disciplines.

    Main body
    Although a reproducibility crisis is widely perceived, conclusive data on the scale of the problem and the underlying reasons are largely lacking. The debate is primarily focused on methodological issues. However, examples such as the use of misidentified cell lines illustrate that the availability of reliable methods does not guarantee good practice. Moreover, research is often characterised by a lack of established methods. Despite the crucial importance of researcher conduct, research and conclusive data on the determinants of researcher behaviour are widely missing.

    Meta-research is urgently needed that establishes an understanding of the factors that determine researcher behaviour. This knowledge can then be used to implement and iteratively improve measures, which incentivise researchers to apply the highest standards resulting in high quality data.
  • Ray, L. (2016). Explaining violence - towards a critical friendship with neuroscience?. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour [Online] 46:335-356. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jtsb.12102/abstract.
    The neurosciences challenge the ‘standard social science’ model of human behaviour particularly with reference to violence. Although explanations of violence are interdisciplinary it remains controversial to work across the division between the social and biological sciences. Neuroscience can be subject to familiar sociological critiques of scientism and reductionism but this paper considers whether this view should be reassessed. Concepts of brain plasticity and epigenetics could prompt reconsideration of the dichotomy of the social and natural while raising questions about the intersections of materiality, embodiment and social action. Although violence is intimately bound up with the body, sociologies of both violence and the body remain on the surface and rarely go under the skin or skulls of violent actors. This article argues for a non-reductionist realist explanation of violent behaviour that is also interdisciplinary and offers the potential to generate nuanced understandings of violent processes. It concludes that sociology should engage critically and creatively with the neuroscience of violence.
  • Ray, L. and Diemling, M. (2016). Arendt’s ‘Conscious Pariah’ and the Ambiguous Figure of the Subaltern. European Journal of Social Theory [Online] 19. Available at: http://est.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/22/1368431016628261.refs.
    Hannah Arendt’s Jewish writings were central to her thinking about the human condition and engaged with dialectics of modernity, universalism and identity. Her concept of the ‘conscious pariah’ attempted both to define a role for the public intellectual and understand the relationship between Jews and modernity. Controversially she accused Jews of lack resistance to the Nazis and argued that their victimization resulted from apolitical ‘worldlessness’. We argue that although Arendt’s analysis was original and challenging, her characterization of Jewish history as one of ‘powerlessness’ is exaggerated but, more importantly, her underdeveloped concept of ‘the social’ is insensitive to the complex modalities of resistance and consciousness among subaltern Jewish communities. Further, her lack of interest in religious observance obscures the importance of Judaism as a resource for resistance. This is illustrated by ‘hidden transcripts’ of Jewish resistance from the early modern period.
  • Diemling, M. and Ray, L. (2014). "Where do you draw the line?" Negotiating Kashrut and jewish identity in a small british reform community. Food, Culture and Society [Online] 17:125-142. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175174414X13831235510699.
    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.
  • Ray, L. (2014). Shame and the city – ‘looting’, emotions and social structure. Sociological Review [Online] 62:117-136. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12136.
    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, L. (2013). Mark of Cain – Shame, Desire and Violence. European Journal of Social Theory [Online] 16:292-309. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368431013476536.
    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. (2011). Prediction and prophecy in communist studies. Comparative Sociology [Online] 10:691-709. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156913311X599025.
    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.
  • Ray, L. (2010). Migration and remembrance: Sounds and spaces of klezmer ’revivals’. Cultural Sociology [Online] 4:357-378. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1749975509356868.
    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. (2009). At the end of the postcommunist transformation? Normalization or Imagining Utopia?. European Journal of Social Theory [Online] 12:321-336. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368431009337349.
    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. (2009). At the End of the Post-Communist Transformation? Normalization or Imagining Utopia?. European Journal of Social Theory [Online] 12:321-336. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368431009337349.
    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. (2009). Profit of Innvation? Schumpeter and Classical Sociology. Journal of Classical Sociology [Online] 9:347-352. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468795X09105448.
    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, L. (2007). Reflections on the demise of communism in Europe. European History Quarterly [Online] 37:442-456. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265691407078447.
  • Ray, L. and Dixon, L. (2007). Current Issues and Developments in Race Hate Crime. Probation Journal [Online] 54:109-124. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0264550507077251.
    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. and Reed, K. (2005). Community, mobility and racism in a semi-rural area: Comparing minority experience in East Kent. Ethnic and Racial Studies [Online] 28:212-234. Available at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/routledg/rers/2005/00000028/00000002/art00002.
    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. (2004). Pragmatism and Critical Theory. European Journal of Social Theory [Online] 7:307-322. Available at: http://dx.doi.org10.1177/1368431004044195.
    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., Smith, D. and Wastell, L. (2004). Shame, Rage and Racist Violence. British Journal of Criminology [Online] 44:350-368. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azh022.
    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, L. and Smith, D. (2004). Racist Offending, Policing and Community Conflict MacLachlan, I. and Syrontinsky, M. eds. Sociology [Online] 38:681-699. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038504045859.
    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. (2003). Capitalism, Class and Social Progress. Current Sociology [Online] 51:163-169. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00113921030512008.
  • Ray, L. (2003). August Comte and the religion of humanity: The post-theistic program of french social theory. Sociology-the Journal of the British Sociological Association [Online] 37:203-204. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038503037001400.


  • Ray, L. (2018). Violence and Society. [Online]. Sage. Available at: https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/violence-and-society/book244467.
  • Ray, L. (2011). Violence and Society. [Online]. SAGE Publications Ltd. Available at: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book232247?siteId=sage-uk&prodTypes=any&q=Violence+and+Society&fs=1#tabview=title.
    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. (2006). Globalization and Everyday Life. [Online]. London: Routledge. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/Globalization-and-Everyday-Life-isbn9780415340953.
    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. and Outhwaite, W. (2005). Social Theory and Postcommunism. [Online]. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Available at: http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/Social_Theory_and_Postcommunism/9780631211112.
    "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.

Book section

  • Ray, L. (2017). The Sociology of Violence. In: Korgen, K. ed. The Cambridge Handbook of Sociology. Cambridge University Press, pp. 178-187. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316418369.019.
  • Ray, L. and Outhwaite, W. (2016). Communist Cosmopolitanism. In: Bhambra, G. K. and Narayan, J. eds. European Cosmopolitanism: Colonial Histories and Postcolonial Societies. Routledge, pp. 41-56. Available at: https://www.crcpress.com/European-Cosmopolitanism-Colonial-Histories-and-Postcolonial-Societies/Bhambra-Narayan/p/book/9781138961104.
  • Ray, L. (2014). Colonialism, neo-colonialism and globalism – reconfigurations of global/local inequalities. In: Filipiak, A., Kania, E., Van den Bosch, J. and Wisniewski, R. eds. Evolving Dependency Relations – Old and New Approaches. Revolutions Research Centre, pp. 35-70. Available at: http://revjournal.org/larry-ray-colonialismneo-colonialism-and-globalism-reconfigurations-of-globallocal-inequalities/.
  • Ray, L. (2012). Civil Society and the Public Sphere. In: Amenta, E., Nash, K. and Scott, A. eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Chicester: John Wiley and Sons Ltd, pp. 240-251.
  • Ray, L. (2009). After 1989 - Globalization, Normalization and Utopia. In: Hayden, P. and El-Ojeili, C. eds. Globalization and Utopia - Critical Essays. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 101-116. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=287506.
  • Ray, L. (2007). From Postmodernity to Liquid Modernity: What’s in a Metaphor?. In: Elliott, A. ed. The Contemporary Bauman. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd, Routledge, pp. 63-80. Available at: http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/search_results.jsp?wcp=1&quicksearch=1&cntType=&searchType=keywords&searchData=0-415-40968-3&g=.
  • Ray, L. (2007). Habermas, Pragmatism and Truth. In: Baert, P. and Turner, B. S. eds. Pragmatism and European Social Theory. The Bardwell Press, pp. 137-156. Available at: http://www.bardwell-press.co.uk/publications/pragmatism.htm.
  • Ray, L. (2006). Mourning, Melancholia and Violence. In: Bell, D. ed. Memory, Trauma and World Politics: Reflections on the Relationship Between Past and Present. London: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 135-156. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=276128.
  • Ray, L. (2005). Violent Crime. In: Hale, C., Hayward, K. J., Wahidin, A. and Wincup, E. eds. Criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 223-44.
  • Ray, L. (2004). Civil Society and Public Sphere. In: Nash, K. and Scott, A. E. eds. The Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell.

Conference or workshop item

  • Ray, L. (2008). Migration and Remembrance – The Sounds and Spaces of Klezmer Music ‘Revivals. In: Nottingham Trent Institute of Cultural Analysis Seminar Series. Nottingham.
  • Ray, L. (2007). Remembrance and Ambiguity: Sounds and Spaces of Jewish Culture in Kraków. In: British Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference. London.
  • Ray, L. (2006). Remembrance and Ambiguity. In: Conflicting Identities/ Identities In Conflict.
  • Ray, L. (2006). Legislating Emotion - Hate Crime, Power and Difference. In: British Sociological Association Conference.
  • Ray, L. (2005). The Politics of Hate Crime. In: Common Programme Conference on Cultural Criminology.
  • Ray, L. (2003). Memory, Trauma and Genocidal Nationalism. In: Cambridge International Studies Association Conference on Genocide and World Politics.
    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.

Edited book

  • Elliott, A. and Ray, L. (2003). Key Contemporary Social Theorists. [Online]. Elliott, A. and Ray, L. J. eds. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Available at: http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/Key_Contemporary_Social_Theorists/9780631219712.
    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. (2006). Reducing Hate Crime in Europe’ Report for AGIS Project ‘Reducing Hate Crime in Europe. AGIS National Probation Service.

Research report (external)

  • Ray, L. (2004). Racist Violence in the UK. Commission for Racial Equality and Racism and Xenophobia European Network.


  • Ray, L. (2017). A moral theory of solidarity. Contemporary Political Theory [Online]:1-4. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-017-0174-3?.
  • Ray, L. (2008). Imaginary Neighbors: Mediating Polish-Jewish Relations after the Holocaust. Holocaust Studies 14:153-155.


  • Burns, R. (2017). The Hidden Holocaust: Bystanders, Thoughtlessness and Sympathy.
    This research draws on key sociological theorists to show that the architecture and topography of the concentration camps promoted thoughtlessness amongst civilians, which ultimately allowed the Holocaust to take place. In the works of Arendt, Bauman, Cohen and Elias the theme of psychological denial or 'thoughtlessness' recurs. Bauman argued that the civilising process had failed to 'erect a single foolproof barrier against the genocide' (2009: 110), however, this research argues that Elias' theory of the 'civilising process' shares key links with Bauman's theory in that it is through mental and physical sequestration that denial can take place through the 'dyscivilising process' argued by De Swaan. Moreover, it is as a result of this sequestration that the civilising process is relevant to other key theorists of the Holocaust including Arendt and Cohen.

    The results are comprised of two parts. Firstly, the results of an analysis of the architecture and topography of the camps are presented, to show the sequestration that took place which promoted the 'thoughtlessness'. Secondly, the results of a case-study of Mittelbau Dora concentration camp are presented, to show how this sequestration impacted on empathetic and sympathetic responses by civilians.

    Specifically, the research examines the changes in sensory knowledge of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany by German civilians and the importance of the 'dyscivilising process' for their inception and development. Sensory knowledge is explored through data collected by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and historical maps. This is further complimented by contemporary and archival photographs of concentration camps in the Harz and Hamburg regions. In so doing, I challenge the descriptions of Sofsky and Goffman as to what a concentration camp looked like in that many concentration camps were located in previously used buildings such as farms or houses. Across time, it is possible to explain the changes in sensory knowledge through a breakdown of the 'civilising process' and the importance of physical and psychological sequestration of violence, suffering and death acknowledged by academics including Arendt, Bauman and Cohen. I argue that while the camps in Germany were very much an 'open secret', it was only very late in the Nazi era that most German civilians had first-hand, sensory knowledge of them. Moreover, in a case-study of Mittelbau Dora concentration camp, I argue that the physical and psychological distances between inmates and civilians had a direct impact on the 'mutual identification' and empathic responses between them, thus the architecture and topography of the camps promoted thoughtlessness. Moreover, in a case-study of Mittelbau Dora concentration camp, I argue that the physical and psychological distances between inmates and bystanders had a direct impact on the 'mutual identification' between them. In direct contrast with Goldhagen, I argue that the residents of the Harz region were not the 'willing' and virulent Nazis he would argue. Civilian workers at the V2/A4 rocket plant at Mittelbau Dora were more able than other civilians in the region to identify with the inmates because of the sensory knowledge, which allowed for greater empathy and 'fellow-feeling'. Conversely, the residents of the Harz region who did not work alongside the inmates were much more able to psychologically deny the camps and the suffering of the inmates because their first-hand sensory knowledge was so limited. Thus, the architecture and topography of the camps contributed to the thoughtlessness of the civilians as a result of the sequestration.
  • Stoyanova, V. (2016). Ideology and Utopia in Social Protests in Bulgaria - Beyond the Transition’s ’Liberal Consensus’.
    This thesis offers a critical examination of political struggles in post-socialist (and post-transitional) Bulgaria. Through a focus on the protest mobilisations of 2013, and specifically on their internal antagonisms, it attempts to understand the dynamics of class and power on the terrain of civil society in the country more than twenty years after it began a 'transition' to liberal democracy and free market economy. To grasp these, it places a focus on their discourses, adopting a Critical Discourse Analysis approach to study the ways in which the language of the protests reflected and at the same time constructed specific power configurations. The theoretical framework it builds to understand the socio-political context of the protests draws on the social theory work of Antonio Gramsci and Ernst Bloch. The theoretical synthesis of their work on ideology and utopia, and its application to the political contestations in Bulgaria, enables this thesis to argue that the 2013 mobilisations were underpinned by a historical class struggle between a more conservative and a more radical line of contention. The latter was designed by and for subaltern groups whose anti-systemic programme called for not just the eradication of corruption, but for more participatory forms of democracy, for social justice, and for freedom from want. The former, on the other hand, was designed by large sections of the powerful group of intellectuals, for the middle classes, in whose imagined figure the intellectuals saw the historical strata capable of advancing the 'catch-up' projects of modernisation and Europeanisation which they zealously champion. In arguing for the significance of these insights, the thesis calls for more attention to be paid to class antagonisms in political mobilisations across the post-socialist region, as well as for a stronger theoretical focus on the intersection between ideological constructions and genuine utopian longings in studies of popular protest, since such a focus can help us better understand what propels many to enthusiastically support projects for social change which often fail to correspond to their own (class) interests.
  • Adewumi, B. (2015). High Expectations: Black Professional parents’ Aspirations for Their Children.
    Qualitative research on education and aspirations has been produced with the sole focus on the reproduction of class inequalities within a White middle class structure. There has only been a handful of studies of analytic engagement with Black professional middle class parents' expectations and aspirations regarding their children's futures in Britain. This gap creates an opportunity for new research to gain deeper insight into what decisions and choices are made by Black professional middle class parents and bring to light important knowledge of professional middle class educational attainment.
    The research presented here explored how Black professional middle class parents’ construct strategic approaches towards creating better futures for their children within a predominantly White middle class structure. Drawing on primary data taken from interviews with 25 Black African and Black Caribbean middle class parents’ (half from African or Caribbean heritage) , this thesis analyses parents’ strategic decision making and navigation in an unequal playing field of education. Findings indicate adaptations of Bourdieu’s social, cultural and economic capitals to prepare and engage their children along certain pathways in order to create aspirational opportunities. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) it is argued that while class is very influential in explaining educational attainment, understanding Black professional middle class parents’ aspirations for their children requires a deeper understanding of race. Evidence from in-depth narratives provided an insight into parents' own biographies that were either originally working or middle class backgrounds in shaping their orientations to, and manner of engagement with, their children's futures. Drawing from the data middle class parents were beginning to be geographically mobile, moving out of inner London areas in search of a better quality of life for their children and a preferred school choice – with a higher quality of education found around the surrounding areas of London and the South East suburbs. Parents’ subjective biographies illustrated diverse parenting practices and values such as those sets of parents using their Christian faith to help build a solid foundation for moral values, self-confidence and respectability. The research offers new insights into the choices made and strategic approaches used to nurture high aspirations for Black professional middle class children’s futures.
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