Cambridge Realist Workshop
The Cambridge Realist Workshop has been meeting regularly on Monday evenings since 1989/1990. The realist emphasis originated with the common perception of a group of Cambridge economists that modern economics pays too little attention to the nature of material it aims to illuminate. In consequence, social ontology, the study of the nature of society, became the focus and an early workshop objective was to assess how method can usefully be adapted to insights into the nature of social material. Once instituted the workshop quickly broadened its themes and now encompasses almost any sort of discussion in the field of methodology or the philosophy of social science. Its emphasis is pluralist and critical. A concern with relevance remains central however.
In term-time the workshop takes the form of a seminar series. For twenty years, seminars were held each Monday from 8 p.m. until (about) 10 p.m. Up until 2001 they took place in Kings College; in 2001 they were moved to Newnham College; in 2004 they were moved to the main seminar room of CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities) at 17 Mill Lane. Since October 2009 workshops are held in Clare College, in the Latimer Room, which is in Old Court in Trinity Lane. As always they take place on Mondays, but since 2009/10 on a fortnightly basis only. The presentations start at 8:00 pm, with wine and other drinks served from 7:30pm.
The seminars are fairly informal events, usually concerned more with exploring topics of relevance, and with advancing the discussion, than with providing finished work. Presentations can be by local Ph.D. students, visiting professors, Nobel Memorial Prize winners, or whoever. Usually about 40 people attend, although sometimes the number is significantly higher. Anyone interested is welcome: just turn up.
Out of term many workshop participants continue to meet each Monday evening, usually at a local pub. Also within term various reading groups can emerge.
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We can be contacted at CSOG@econ.cam.ac.uk