CRITIQUE’s Theory in Sociology Research Group is dedicated to exploring, discovering, learning about, elaborating, sharing, discussing, and developing theory and theories in sociology and social science.


Georg Simmel used to think that there are very few fundamental currents of thought that connect the most personal and intimate in the ‘philosopher’s’ (or social scientist’s) being to the ‘totality of life’, and that each new thinker will ultimately join one of these, deploying and enacting this or that fundamental current. Others talk about theorising as a practice, meaning it as a set of operations and tools, for social scientists conceived of as ‘theorising agents’.


This group sees theory, that is to say critical theoretical thought, indeed as a practice, and one that mobilises both our most personal being and a way of being generic too. Theory is what allows us to question the world and clarify our own social scientific stances, produce insights into the way the world works, and even strive towards changing it. In short, far from being decorative, scholastic, or ideological, we would like theory to help us to think, and we believe that the power and pleasure of collective discussions of theoretical texts can facilitate this.


Founding members:


Dr Isabelle Darmon


Dr Stephen Kemp


Our research group organises seminars around strands of social theory, in which we discuss published texts as well as our own work. We are open to discussions in many areas of sociological and social theory, including:


Critical social theory, including Feminist, Marxist and Decolonial currents of thought


Ontological debates, including the “ontological turn”


Critical ecology


Debates about the role of culture and discourse in society


Disputes about ways of knowing the social world, including the viability of standpoint epistemologies