Social Democracy and Social Technocracy: Labour Party Intellectuals and Social Sciences in 20th Century Britain

Date&Time: Thursday, 27th of April, 11 am

Location: DMB, 2S8

Join online: Teams Meeting ID: 385 169 700 653, Passcode: 8RWpPc

Speaker: Azure Bao

About: Azure Bao will present his work on revealing the history of thought of the intellectuals of the British Labour Party in the 20th century. Focusing on Hugh Gaitskell, Evan Durbin and Mark Abrams, his research explores how the conceptualized social sciences and studied their ways of constructing social scientific knowledge in their intellectual and political life. Given their shared endeavour of injecting a scientific rigour in understanding social and political phenomena, his dissertation reveals their common utilitarian way of using social science knowledge. Situating the intellectual development among the intellectuals in the history of social science as well as contemporary British history, this paper argues that moral and political commitments remain relatively stable despite the renewed scientific outlook of the social science knowledge. By picturing the emergence story of the governing through statistics, he also challenges the common view in education studies that governing through numbers is a governing tool that belongs to neoliberal age alone. In doing so, he tries to disenchant the nostalgia for the 1960s and critique the modernising discourse in the construction of the Post-War welfare state.

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