Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lectures 2015-16
The Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lectures is a long-standing annual public lecture series hosted by the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, within the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool.
The 2015/16 series of lectures is particularly significant given that 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of Eleanor Rathbone’s death. As such, the forthcoming series of lectures will address explicitly three issues that were central to Eleanor’s work: (i) refugees and migrants (ii) women, citizenship and democracy and (iii) family allowances:
Professor Alice Bloch, (University of Manchester)
‘Undocumented Migrants: Surviving Without Rights‘ Wednesday 21 October, 2015, 5 pm – 7 pm
Undocumented migrants are a global phenomenon. In the UK undocumented migrants make up an increasing,
but unknown, proportion of the migrant population. While undocumented migrants are a heterogeneous group –
with diverse motives for migration, differing routes to becoming undocumented and varying experiences of
work, social and community networks and family life – they share a lack of rights and protections that often
leave them in vulnerable and precarious positions. This lecture will consider the position of undocumented
migrants within wider human rights frameworks and it will explore what the lack of rights means in terms of the
everyday lives of undocumented migrants who are surviving on the margins of a deeply unequal and stratified
Professor Susan Pedersen (Columbia University, New York)
‘Women and the Quest for Equal Citizenship‘ Wednesday 24 February, 2016 5 pm – 7 pm
Eleanor Rathbone (1872-1946) was remarkable for the number and range of causes she took up. Perhaps her
most profound commitment, however, was to women’s equality. This lecture examines Rathbone’s unflagging
effort to secure ‘equal citizenship’ for women. It explores what she meant by the term and the campaigns she
launched, first in Liverpool and then nationally and internationally, to achieve it. Rathbone was unusual in that
she was both a staunch advocate of women’s equal right to participate in all spheres of life, and a sharp and
perceptive critic of the inherent gender bias of the very institutions they sought to join. The lecture will then
turn to some of our political and social arrangements today, and our feminist politics, in light of her analysis.
Women are ‘equal citizens’ legally and politically, but our political, economic and international arrangements
still require the ‘feminist refashioning’ that Rathbone called for three-quarters of a century ago.
Professor the Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett (Loughborough University)
‘Women and Children First? Social Justice in an Age of Austerity’ Wednesday 11 May, 2016 5 – 7 pm
The lecture will take as its starting point Eleanor Rathbone’s classic work The Disinherited Family to explore
current social policy issues including the ‘living wage’, financial support for children and social security (aka
‘welfare’). It will address the implications for child poverty and children’s rights of current policies, making the
link with women’s poverty and autonomy. The lecture will critically examine the political rhetoric used to frame
current policies and argue for a less divisive and more inclusive understanding of ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’.
These free public lectures will take place in the Hearnshaw Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building, University of Liverpool. For further details visit http://www.liv.ac.uk/sociology-social-policy-and-criminology/research/events/.