Merit or meritocracy?

Back in April colleagues in Imagining Pasts and Futures organised a one-day conference reflecting on the idea of meritocracy 60 years after Michael Young published the book that put the term into wide circulation. With guest speakers Jo Littler, Nicola Ingram and Daniel Smith we explored meritocracy as ideology and discourse; merit as a social quality and value; the concept of meritocracy in relation to education, policy and work; the history of the idea in sociology and politics; and the kinds of futures that the idea of meritocracy does and does not make imaginable.

Discussions at the event were stimulating, interesting – and sometimes challenging.

We are delighted to announce that one outcome of that event is a special issue of the online journal Discover Society. It was a pleasure working with colleagues from Newcastle (Geoff Payne, Ruth Graham, Anselma Gallinat and Angus McVittie – well done Angus on a first publication! – and Lisa Garforth in Sociology; Samantha Shields in ECLS; and an honorary shout to Kirsty Morrin, UG at Newcastle not that many years ago and now lecturing at Liverpool) and beyond to produce this wide-ranging, critical, reflective and above all readable set of short articles. We encourage you to read and enjoy!

Thanks to the BSA Sociology of Education Study Group for helping us with the April event.


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