Luke's Notes

Sussex Stories: Contents and Introduction

These are stories of my time working at Sussex University 1990-2024. Here's a list of the contents, and below that there's a brief introduction.



The early years 1990-98

Part 1
Interview and arrival
From secretaries to co-ordinators
Students, seminars, offices
New ideas of socialism
Part 2
The interdisciplinary system
The Spence university
Managers and meetings
The arrival of computers
Chair of Social and Political Thought
Ecology and Society

The Smith years 1998-2007

Part 1
New Labour
The end of the interdisciplinary system
Head of Department
Part 2
New appointments and equal opportunities
The Sussex summer school
The origins of Sociology at Sussex
Globalisation and political sociology

The Farthing years 2007-16

Part 1
Flashy buildings
Restructuring again
115 redundancies and the Sussex 6
Professor of Political Sociology
President of Sussex UCU
Senate and REF
Part 2
Saving the staff statute
Outsourcing and occupation
The closure of continuing education
Head of Department again
Alternative Societies and free education

The part-time years 2016-24

Part 1
Tickell 2016-22
USS pensions disputes
Right-wing and left-wing students
Part 2
COVID and lockdown
Trans and decolonial issues
Sasha Roseneil 2022 onwards

There is a PDF version of Sussex Stories here.


I once saw a reference someone had written about me. I think it was for a promotion application, but I'm not sure. It was positive but included the sentence 'I don't know if he would survive outside Sussex'. I was struck by this. However, it's true I've spent nearly all my career at Sussex University. When I arrived there, it was my kind of place, more than any other university. It, in particular, has been part of my identity and life.

I arrived as a lecturer in sociology in 1990. I'm retiring in 2024. This is an account of my time at Sussex in that period.

It's not an attempt to provide a comprehensive account, more my memories, so selective. I didn't keep a diary or journal. I've used some documents and articles. But on the whole, these are recollections, some of which may be flawed and open to revision. If anyone spots errors, let me know.

Students have been more important to me than staff, but this is about my experiences as a member of staff.

The account is chronological but where a topic from later times comes up in an earlier period I've sometimes discussed it in the earlier part. Occasionally it's the other way around.

The stories are about changing politics and culture more than individuals. But, of course, individuals feature. I've changed some names or not named people. I've checked with individuals, where I thought relevant, that they're happy to be mentioned.

The early years were fairly calm and the account reflects that. If you like more drama, that comes later. You can read later posts without reading earlier parts. But the early days were 'beautiful'.

Many thanks to those who checked anything from the odd sentence to the whole of these posts and gave much-appreciated feedback.

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