CGD Critical Realism Seminar with Professor Alpesh Maisuria & Dr Grant Banfield

CGD Critical Realism Seminar with Professor Alpesh Maisuria & Dr Grant Banfield

This past event was cancelled

Critical Realism - A Conversation

This seminar has been rescheduled to September 2024. Further details will follow in due course.



Critical Realism is a broad movement within the philosophy of science. Its historical origins lie in the social and cultural upheavals of the post-WWII in the West, which saw science not only pushed in post-positivist directions but also pressed into the questioning of its traditional disciplinary boundaries. However, from these historical conditions of possibility, the unique path taken by critical realism flowed directly (but not exclusively) from the ground-breaking work of Roy Bhaskar and his bold revindication of ontology. For Bhaskar, the ‘holy trinity’ of critical realism (ontological realism, epistemic relativism, and judgemental rationality) made it possible for science to be an emancipatory force: to underlabour scientific practice so that it would (i) recognise and eliminate oppressive social relations and (ii) work to replace such relations with to enable humans to flourish.

In this presentation, Alpesh and Grant will provide an overview of the conceptual and ethical architecture of critical realism. The content will be delivered so that it will appeal to newcomers to critical realism, as well as to those already familiar with it. They will then discuss how they have used critical realism in their respective works and draw on examples from their recent co-edited book: Working with Critical Realism (Routledge, 2023). Finally, they will address the issue of where to now for critical realism/ists to facilitate a progressive historical moment in today’s de-humanised world. In doing so, they will be inviting participants to join in on the conversation.



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Alpesh Maisuria is Professor of Education Policy in Critical Education, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Through underlabouring Marxism with Critical Realist philosophy of science, his work examines the ideological and political drivers of policy decisions to critique education in (re)producing forms of inequality. Alpesh is the Joint Deputy Editor of Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS) and is an organiser of the International Conferences on Critical Education (ICCE). Alpesh has an extensive publications record and in 2022 he edited the Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education – the first book of its kind. His co-edited book - Working with Critical Realism (2023) with Grant Banfield was nominated for the Cheryl Frank Memorial prize. Alpesh is also a Academic Parliamentary Fellow in the House of Commons, where he is a specialist in schools' policy. In this role he provides research and information to MPs, parliamentary staff, and the Education Select Committee to effectively scrutinise the executive. 

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Grant Banfield has been a university academic, educator and activist for more than 35 years. He researches and writes in the fields of sociology and the political economy of education. His particular interests flow from the development of Bhaskarian critical realism as a conceptual underlabourer to Marxian praxis. Critical Realism for Marxist Sociology of Education (Routledge, 2016) and Working with Critical Realism (Routledge, 2023 – with Alpesh Maisuria) are signposts of this work. After retiring in 2019 as a full-time academic at Flinders University Grant took a position as an adjunct scholar at the University of South Australia. His current research projects include: (i) Education for Social Inclusion: Vocational Education and Training Programs in South Australia (with Dr Juan Ramón Rodríguez-Fernández, University of León, Spain) and (ii) Structures of Governance and Indigenous Engagement Strategies in Australian Society (with Mr Tim Agius, Chair of Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation.

Professor Alpesh Maisuria & Dr Grant Banfield
Hosted by
Centre for Global Development

Pre-booking is not required, but please email if you would like a calender invite forwarded to you.