Research at Leeds Beckett
Dr Ay Salem
About Dr Ay Salem
Ay lectures in sociology at Leeds Beckett, and is on the editorial boards of The Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies and Sociology: Thought and Action/Sociologija. Mintis ir Veiksmas.
Since joining the University, Ay has worked closely with undergraduates and postgraduates studying sociology, social psychology and politics; some comments that characterise their responses run as follows:
- Critical and Philosophical Issues in Social Science (for Year 3 students): “This is a really fascinating module, covering content not usually on offer, and pushing you to take a really close look in the mirror! It has challenged our preconceptions, widened the scope of our understanding, and pushed us to rethink how we relate to the reality we observe. Importantly, discussing philosophical issues, whilst abstract, makes you care and think about concrete, practical matters more deeply, in particular ethical and political ones”.
- Critical and Public Sociology (for Year 2 students): “I really like this subject and how it is taught. It is also rewarding to see my research work progress, and very rewarding to know that the accompanying exchanges and dialogues with members of a marginalised group could actually improve their situation, and not necessarily or only in ways I had envisaged”.
- Sociology, Capitalism and Modernity (for Year 1 students): “Gripping and controversial topics. Things are explained in simple yet clever ways which help me picture and understand theorists and theory, while the use of current examples and interesting analogies has helped me understand social processes on a deep level that I didn’t know I was capable of. The content is incredibly in-depth and really inspires me to think about the world sociologically”.
Ay’s published writings have centred around social and critical theory, sociology of education, particularly the cultural politics of university education, and the role of socio-cultural criticism in a post-structuralist intellectual climate, in which all forms of knowledge and certainty are in a deep sense open to doubt. Ay has supervised research projects on thinkers as diverse as Henri Bergson, Paulo Freire, Jürgen Habermas and Michael Burawoy, most recently including an MRes dissertation that used the ideas of Giorgio Agamben, Isaiah Berlin, Michel Foucault and Herbert Marcuse to analyse the politics of ‘freedom’ and ‘freedoms’ in contemporary culture, and a PhD thesis which brought the theories of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann to the reading of contemporary art works.