Social Europe and the work/life balance

Are individuals able to control their working lives and find greater flexibility in their working hours? Can they find a pattern to fit with their other responsibilities and ambitions? Or are workers having to fit their lives around the demands of the market and patterns which reduce business costs? Jean Lambert has been the Green Party Member for London since 1996. She won the 2005 MEP award for Justice and Human Rights and sits on the Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. For this committee, Jean Lambert works on issues such as sustainability, social inclusion, workers’ rights, corporate social responsibility and social security. The author of a consultative document on “Flexible Working” in 2004 she is about to publish an updated report this month. She will discuss UK progress in this important aspect of social policy making.

The social production of Natural disasters

To what extent is a ‘natural’ disaster natural? There is a strong tendency in the discussion of natural disasters to concentrate on their social and political effects without considering the socio-political orders in which they occur, and which are vital to an understanding of their scale and consequences. Recent events such as the Tsunami, Katrina and the events following the earthquake in Pakistan provide some of the discussion points in a search for a reappraisal of the phenomenon of the natural. Prof. Kapferer is an anthropologist with extensive research experience in South Asia, Africa and Australia. He
holds appointments at the University of Bergen, Norway; James Cook University in Queensland, Australia; and is Honorary Professor at University College London.

Progressive politics in France in European context

The European Constitution was largely rejected in France, not by Eurosceptics, but by pro-European left-wing voters. France is currently experiencing the most Thatcherite government
since the end of the Second World War, but contrary to most European countries, the French Left remains vigorous, and its struggles against the marketisation of society are popular
among the public. Dr Philippe Marlière, Senior Lecturer in French and European politics at University College London, has published widely on French socialism, European social
democracy and the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. He will consider the French verdict in the context of the 2007 presidential election, and assess what chances the Left has of stemming the neoliberal onslaught.

The effect of 7/7 on the Muslim community in Britain: from the inside

moazzam_beggMoazzam Begg was wrongly detained and endured months of solitary confinement and aggressive interrogation by both US and UK security officers in the isolation block at Guantanamo’s Camp Delta. Since his release there have been the 7/7 bombings and a knee jerk attenuation of civil liberties, together with heightened international tension in the Middle East. Much respected for his intelligent and conciliatory approach, Moazzam Begg explains the effects of these events on his community in Birmingham in the context of his own experience and suggests positive steps for the future. His fascinating story is told in his new book to be published later this year.