Research Seminar, 11 November: Division and isolation following the tornado effect of the economic slump

Research Seminar: ‘Findings from the “Hard Times” project: division and isolation following the tornado effect of the economic slump’

Dr Gabriella Elgenius, University of Gothenburg

3.00 to 4.30 pm, Tuesday 11 November 2014, Room 639, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAL


Hard Times was a research collaboration between the University of Manchester and Harvard University, including a number of scholars linked to Professor Anthony Heath and Professor Robert Putnam, with the support of Tom Clark at The Guardian. The book – Hard Times – was published by Yale University Press in 2014.

The authors examined the effects of the recent economic downturn, which they label as the ‘nastiest’ recession, as opposed to the deepest or biggest, because of the inequality and social damage it has caused and because it is the worst slump since the Second World War. Moreover, the recession has hit vulnerable groups disproportionately: we are not “all in it together” as claimed by some politicians. The Hard Times Project builds on the social capital discourse as it investigates the effect of the economic crisis and its implications for communities in Britain.

This talk will address the main findings of the Hard Times project, focusing on the destructive effects on individuals and communities, and on the patterns of experiences of vulnerable groups (including the young, unemployed, ethnic minorities, single mothers, disabled, and groups with no secondary education) who have been hit hardest by the recession; and will demonstrate that the most vulnerable have taken the hardest hit – as if a tornado had swept through Britain.

Gabriella Elgenius is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Gothenburg, and Associate Member, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. Her research interests include Nationalism, Diasporas, Citizenship, Ethnicity and Identity Politics. She is working currently on research projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, the John Fell Fund, and by a Marie Curie Fellowship.

The seminar is free to attend, but prior registration would be helpful: to register, please contact

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