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Hybrid social theory and education research: working with conceptual interdisciplinarity

July 9

This all-day event, taking place in the University of Glasgow on Tuesday July 9th, 2019, is geared towards education researchers who are interested or engaged in hybridising social theory in their own educational research. The day will include a number of speakers and sessions geared towards forms of ‘conceptual interdisciplinarity’, and will provide a platform for participants to consider the various ways in which theoretical concepts from different intellectual paradigms can be interconnected in education research.

Contrary to what theory purists might think, hybridization – combining elements of different theories to form another – is a vital tool for theory building. Extolling the virtues of hybridization is an important activity when it comes to the theory-method relationship, as too often researchers approach theories such as those developed by Bourdieu, Habermas or Foucault as if they were set in stone and therefore immune to change or even challenge. This is a mistake, as the best applied work is not afraid to question the theory it is applying, opening it to critique while combining it with other socio-theoretical concepts.

The day’s events include sessions on ‘Working with hybrid theory in education research: an overview (Dr. Mark Murphy), ‘Relational approaches to social theory (Prof. Alex Law)’, ‘Hybrid theory and the field of digital education’ (Dr. Cristina Costa)’, ‘The Process of hybridisation‘ (Dr. Eric Lybeck), ‘Languages of/for description of/for practice’ (Prof. Cathie Doherty), as well as scheduled workshops where participants can work on their own projects and share ideas with others. Please see the programme below – you can register via this page (there are some bursaries available for early career researchers).


09.15 Registration & refreshments
09:45 Introductions and Keynote: Working with hybrid theory in education research: an overview
Dr. Mark Murphy, University of Glasgow
10.15 Group session – Hybridising social theory in your own research
10.45 Refreshments break
11.00 Relational approaches to social theory: an overview
Professor Alex Law, University of Abertay
11.30 Group session – Hybridising social theory in your own research
12.00 Languages of/for description of/for practice
Professor Cathie Doherty, University of Glasgow
12.30 Group session – Hybridising social theory in your own research
13.00 Lunch
13.45 The Process of Hybridisation
Dr. Eric Lybeck, University of Manchester
14.15 Breakout group session
14.45 Digital education and hybrid theory
Dr Cristina Costa, University of West of England
15.15 Expert Panel Q&A Forum
15.55 Completion of evaluation forms
16.00 Close of event


July 9


University of Glasgow
United Kingdom

About the author /


Mark Murphy is a Reader in Education and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. He previously worked as an academic at King’s College, London, University of Chester, University of Stirling, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University College Dublin and Northern Illinois University. Mark is an active researcher in the fields of education and public policy. His research interests include educational sociology, critical theory, accountability in higher education, and public sector reform.