The Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize 2015
The joint winners of the prize for 2015 are Pierpaolo Donati and Margaret Archer for their book The Relational Subject (Cambridge University Press), and Douglas Porpora for his Reconstructing Sociology: the Critical Realist Approach (Cambridge University Press).

The Relational Subject
draws upon Donati’s relational sociology and Archer’s account of the morphogenetic society to produce a work that combines theoretical sophistication with reflection upon more practical political and social issues. The outcome is an important contribution to social theory and to the world that social theory helps constitute and comprehend. The award is also an opportunity to reflect on Margaret Archer’s outstanding contribution to critical realism and sociological theory over many years.

Porpora’s Reconstructing Sociology combines thoughtfulness, acuity and wit to explain and elaborate how central debates in the social sciences are illuminated and effectively addressed by critical realism. Its clarity and self-conscious humanism will make it an important intervention for critical realism in sociology, particularly in North America.

There was an extremely strong field. The committee was impressed in different ways by all the short-listed works (see the list below), and felt that the following deserved special mention for its use of critical realist concepts to illuminate and help further an emancipatory context: Gracelyn Smallwood, Indigenist Critical Realism: Human Rights and First Australians’ Well-being

About the Prize

The Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize is awarded annually for a book or article that constitutes, motivates or exemplifies the best and/or most innovative writing in or about the tradition of critical realism, including the philosophy of metaReality, in the previous year. The winner will be invited to give the annual Cheryl Frank Memorial Lecture at the IACR Annual Conference or some other suitable venue. If the Author wishes, the lecture will be considered for publication in Journal of Critical Realism.

The Cheryl Frank Committee consists of one nominee each from IACR, the Centre for Critical Realism and JCR. The current members are Mervyn Hartwig, Jamie Morgan, Alan Norrie and Nick Wilson. Where the work of one of its members is being considered the Committee invites a substitute nomination from the relevant organization.

Shortlist for 2015:
  • Grant Banfield, Critical Realism for Marxist Sociology of Education (Routledge)
  • Roy Bhaskar, Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Nicholas Hedlund and Mervyn Hartwig, Metatheory for the Twenty-First Century: Critical Realism and Integral Theory in Dialogue (Routledge)
  • Pierpaolo Donati and Margaret S Archer, The Relational Subject (Cambridge University Press)
  • Maureen Ellis, The Critical Global Educator: Global Citizenship Education as Sustainable Development (Routledge)
  • Tony Lawson, The Nature and State of Modern Economics Routledge
  • Douglas V Porpora, Reconstructing Sociology: the Critical Realist Approach (Cambridge University Press)
  • Gracelyn Smallwood, Indigenist Critical Realism: Human Rights and First Australians’ Well-being (Routledge)
  • Christian Smith, To Flourish or Destruct: a Personalist Theory of Human Goods, Motivations, Failure, and Evil (University of Chicago Press)
  • Andrew Wright, Religious Education and Critical Realism: Knowledge, Reality and Religious Literacy (Routledge)

Past recipients of the Prize:

Christian Smith, What is a person? (University of Chicago Press)
Alan Norrie, Dialectic and difference. Dialectical Critical Realism and the grounds of justice (Routledge)

Chris Sarra, Strong and Smart: Towards a Pedagogy for Emancipation (Routledge)

Ruth Groff, Ontology Revisited: Metaphysics in Social and Political Philosophy (Routledge)
Nick Hostettler, Eurocentrism: A Marxian Critical Realist Critique (Routledge)

Lena Gunnarsson, The Contradictions of Love: Towards a Feminist-Realist Ontology of Sociosexuality (Routledge)
Matthew L. N. Wilkinson for his book A Fresh Look at Islam in a Multi-Faith World: A Philosophy for Success through Education (Routledge)


IACR Conference 2016

Dear colleagues,

The International Conference for Critical Realism will be held in Cardiff (Great Britain) on 20-22 July 2016. It will be preceded by an optional pre-conference workshop on 18-19 July.

This year’s theme is de/humanisation. We welcome contributions from all areas of the humanities and the social sciences. A number of grants will be available for PhD students.

Registration and abstracts’ submission (250-500 words, deadline 30 April 2016) is now open.

Full details are available on:


Do not hesitate to circulate this call to your networks. Apologies for cross-posting.

Best wishes
Ismael Al-Amoudi, Tim Edwards & Joe O’Mahoney


New deadline, JCR special issue, CR, Gender and Feminism

Critical Realism, Gender and Feminism
Special Issue of the Journal of Critical Realism (15:5, 2016) Edited by Angela Martínez Dy, Lena Gunnarsson and Michiel van Ingen

An increasing number of gender scholars have become familiar with critical realism, finding it a robust alternative to the poststructuralist perspectives that currently dominate gender studies and feminism. This trend has coincided with an increased interest among feminist theorists in the issues of ontology, materiality and nature, which have always been at the heart of critical realist interventions. However, despite these thematic alignments, and despite the fact that both critical realism and feminist theory are inherently critical-emancipatory, the critical realist approach continues to occupy a marginal role within both feminist and gender studies debates. Concurrently, the field of critical realism is decidedly ‘masculine’ in nature, both in the sense that men dominate the field, and in terms of the issues with which critical realists have most commonly concerned themselves. Recent critical realist feminist work, the International Association of Critical Realism’s adoption of a proactive policy to enhance the representation of women in its organs and activities, and the growing critical realist preoccupation (particularly in Bhaskar’s philosophy of metaReality) with historically ‘feminine’ topics such as love, mark a potential shift away from these unfortunate trends.

In order to encourage the development of this emerging field of critical realist feminism and gender studies, as well as critical exchanges between the respective branches of critical realism (including dialectical critical realism and metaRealism) and feminist theory/gender studies, we are happy to invite submissions for a special issue of Journal of Critical Realism on Critical Realism, Gender and Feminism. We welcome not only contributions that draw on critical realism in studying gender relations and/or engaging with feminist concerns but also critiques of critical realism from feminist or gender-based points of view.

Topics of interest include, but are by no means limited to, the following:

      Critical realism and poststructuralist feminism/gender studies

      Critical realism and socialist/eco/radical/black/postcolonial feminism

      Critical realism and the ontological/materialist/naturalistic turn in feminist theory

      Critical realism and intersectionality

      Critical realism, metaRealism, love and gender

      Critiques/auto-critiques of existing critical realist work from a feminist/gender studies perspective

      Feminist epistemology, standpoint theory and critical realism

      Critical realism and feminist critiques of (social) science

      Examinations/critiques of feminist taboos on realism, nature and causality

      Critical realism and post-feminist culture

      Critical realism, dialectics and feminist deconstruction

      Revitalizing the explanatory feminist tradition: what is patriarchy?

      Critical realism and sexuality

      Critical realism and queer studies

      Critical realism and men/masculinity studies

      Critical realism, sex and gender identity

      Critical realism and gendered/sexual violence

      Critical realism, feminism, gender studies and war/conflict

      Critical realism and feminist ethics

      Critical realism and pornography

      Critical realism and feminist methods/methodology

      Agency, gender and critical realism

      Critical realism and feminist activism/politics

      Feminism, gender studies, critical realism and other realisms (Barad’s agential realism, post-positivist realism etc.)

      Critical realism as underlabourer for applied work in feminism/gender studies

      Critical realism, interdisciplinarity, gender and feminism

      Feminist spirituality and metaRealism

      Critical realism and feminist economics

Instructions for authors
Papers should be no more than 8,000 words (not inclusive of references). In all other respects, our instructions for authors apply. Please consult these at www.maneyonline.com/ifa/rea> or use one of our recently published articles as a guide in setting out your work. Articles (as distinct from pieces for our Perspective and Debate sections) will be subject to external peer review.
Submissions need not be exclusively concerned with critical realism or its critique, but should relate their arguments in some significant way to critical realism. For instance, the main focus of an article could be Karen Barad’s feminist appropriation of Bohr’s agential realism, but it should include consideration of critical realism.

Important dates
October 31, 2015: deadline for first drafts February 26, 2016: reviewers’ reports and editors’ decision provided May 23, 2016: deadline for final drafts June 30, 2016: final copy due with the publisher October 2016: publication of the special issue online and print

Enquiries and submissions
Please send any enquiries to lena.gunnarsson@oru.se> Please upload articles for peer review to our online system, http://www.editorialmanager.com/rea/default.asp. When uploading you will be asked if your paper is for a themed issue. Please answer ‘Yes, the special issue on Critical Realism, Gender and Feminism’. If your paper is accepted but not included in the special issue, it will appear in a subsequent issue. Please send any other material for the special issue to lena.gunnarsson@oru.se>.

About the Journal
Journal of Critical Realism is the journal of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR), established in 1997 to foster the discussion, propagation and development of critical realist approaches to understanding and changing the world. It provides a forum for scholars wishing to promote realist emancipatory philosophy, social theory and science on an interdisciplinary and international basis, and for those who wish to engage with such an approach.


Critical Reallism Network Webinars

Dear Colleagues,
I’m pleased to invite you to join the inaugural public webinar for the Critical Realism Network where I will present “Emergence as a Sociological Concept” on Tuesday, September 22 from 12-1:30pm EDT. This webinar will pick up on one of the many key themes from the Philosophy of Social Sciences Summer Seminars 2015.
In August, around 35 graduate students, postdoctoral associates and junior faculty gathered in Chicago to review key texts in Western philosophy and social theory and then examined critical realism and its implication for sociological methods and research. Our teaching team included both sociologists and philosophers: myself, Professor George Steinmetz, Professor Douglas Porpora, Professor Frederic VandenbergheProfessor Ruth Groff, Professor Daniel Little, Dr. Margarita Mooney, and Dr. Timothy Rutzou.
Key themes discussed included emergence, causal powers, human flourishing, sociological constructivism, methodological pluralism, and robust interdisciplinarity. If you want to learn more, sign up for our webinar on emergence and review our online resources.
Philip Gorski