Plenary Speakers

The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Patrick Baert Juliet Mitchell
Jack Goody The Energy Cultures Team
Rom Harré
Mary Kalantzis

Garden Conversations

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations - unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

The Speakers

Patrick Baert

Patrick Baert is Fellow of Selwyn College and Reader in Social Theory at the University of Cambridge. He developed a new perspective on philosophy of social science, inspired by American neo-pragmatism and Continental hermeneutics. Amongst his publications are Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Towards Pragmatism (2005), Social Theory in the Twentieth Century (1998) and Time, Self and Social Being (1992). He was Vice-President for Publications of the European Sociological Association and President of its Social Theory Network.

Jack Goody

Anthropologist and Professor Sir John (Jack) Rankine Goody has been a fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge since 1961. He received his knighthood in 2005, the same year he was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in the US. He started his career as an anthropologist with fieldwork in an African village, where he became a friend of the ancestors. Since then Professor Goody has opened up several new fields of study tackling themes as diverse as the impact of writing on societies, cooking, the culture of flowers, the family, feminism and the contrast between eastern and western cultures. Now in his 80s and officially retired, he continues to write and study, giving seminars and speaking at conferences with a mixture of spontaneity and brilliance which captivates and inspires his audience.

Rom Harré

Rom Harré was for many years the University Lecturer in Philosophy of Science at Oxford and Fellow of Linacre College. Currently he is Distinguished Research Professor in the Psychology Department of Georgetown University in Washington DC, teaching there in the Spring Semester. He combines this with the post of Director of the Centre for Philosophy of the Natural and Social sciences at the London School of Economics. He began his career in mathematics and physics, turning later to the foundations of psychology. His research has been directed to the use of models and other kinds of non-formal reasoning in the sciences, as well as a long series of studies on the role of causal powers and agency concepts in both natural and human sciences. He has been a pioneer in the development of advanced methods of research in social psychology. His publications include among others Causal Powers (with E. H. Madden); Varieties of Realism; Modelling: Gateway to the Unknown; The Explanation of Social Behaviour (with P. F., Secord).

Mary Kalantzis
Mary Kalantzis has been Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 2006. Before then, she was Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education. With Bill Cope, she is co-author or editor of: The Powers of Literacy, University of Pittsburg Press, 1993; Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Routledge, 2000; New Learning: Elements of a Science of Education, Cambridge University Press, 2008; and Ubiquitous Learning, University of Illinois Press, 2009. She is co-author of a forthcoming book, to be published later in 2010 by Woodhead, Cambridge, ‘Towards a Semantic Web: Connecting Knowledge in Academic Research’.

Juliet Mitchell
Juliet Mitchell is Professor Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies and Head of Department in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College Cambridge. She is a Full Member of the International Psychoanalytic Society. Her books include: Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria and the Effects of Sibling Relations on the Human Condition; Psychoanalysis and Feminism and Women’s Estate; and Women: The Longest Revolution. Her latest book, Siblings, was published by Polity Press in October 2003. Juliet Mitchell is married to anthropologist Jack Goody and has one daughter and five step-children. She lives in Cambridge, U.K.

The Energy Cultures Team

From left to right:  Prof Gerry
Carrington, Dr Paul Thorsnes, Dr Janet Stephenson, Prof Rob Lawson, Prof Barry Barton, Dr Miranda Mirosa

Energy Cultures brings together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in a 3 year project on household energy behaviours based at Otago University, New Zealand.   

The ‘Energy Cultures’ research programme applies a novel combination of complementary social science methods to improve understanding of the drivers of household energy behaviours, and to deliver an effective strategy to achieve more energy-efficient behaviours.

Our disciplinary backgrounds include physics/engineering, economics, marketing, sociology/human geography and law.  Prof Lawson, Dr Stephenson and Prof Carrington will co-present at the plenary.

Prof Gerry Carrington is an Emeritus Professor of Physics, at the University of Otago, New Zealand.  His professional speciality is in Energy end-user technology development and deployment; heat pump technology; drying and energy use; energy management education; and integrated energy systems.
Dr Paul Thorsnes is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics University of Otago.  His current research interests include: Urban Housing; Economics and Policy; Environmental Economics and Policy.
Dr Janet Stephenson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CSAFE), University of Otago.  Her areas of research interest include perceptions of landscape qualities; social conundrums in energy transitions; and indigenous management of resources.
Prof Rob Lawson is a Professor of Marketing at the University of Otago.  He specialises in values, lifestyles and consumer behaviour research.
Prof Barry Barton is a Professor of Law at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.  His speciality is in natural resources law and environmental law, including energy law, mining law and property rights in natural resources.
Dr Miranda Mirosa is the Energy Cultures Project Co-ordinator, based at the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CSAFE), University of Otago.  Her research field is consumer behaviour with a focus on social activism.