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  4. Explaining the Long-Term Sociological Roots of Britain’s Current Leadership Crisis




Explaining the Long-Term Sociological Roots of Britain’s Current Leadership Crisis



Public, Staff, Students


This talk will argue that Britain’s current leadership crisis has been decades in the making. The Brexit vote and current impasse are more than temporary setbacks for the Establishment. Instead, there is a deeper crisis of leadership that has been developing over an extended period. The great transformations of the 1980s onwards have not only upended societies, they have reshaped elite rule itself. The UK is producing a new generation of leaders who, although richer, have lost coherence, vision, influence and power. Their failings are not only damaging the wider public, economy and society, they are undermining the very foundations of the Establishment itself. The talk asks: how did we end up producing the leaders that got us here and what can we do about it?

The talk draws on some two decades of research on Britain’s evolving modern elite, involving over 350 interviews with elite figures across business, politics and finance. His research here has been published in several journals, including in the British Journal of SociologyTheory, Culture and SocietyPolitical StudiesNew Media and Society, and Media Culture and Society, as well as in his most recent book: Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment (MUP, 2018)

About the speaker

Aeron Davis is Professor of Political Communication, Deputy Head of Department and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work crosses media, sociology and politics and, most recently been focused on elites, financialization and political communication. He is the author of six books and two edited collections, most recently The Death of Public Knowledge? (Goldsmiths/MIT Press, 2017), Reckless Opportunists (MUP, 2018) and Political Communication: A New Introduction for Crisis Times (Polity, April 2019).

Organised by The Jeremy Tunstall Global Media Research Centre, Department of Sociology, City, University of London

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When and where

4.00pm - 5.30pmWednesday 13th February 2019

D220 Rhind Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom