Time Slot: 
Monday 21st March 12:30 - 13:30

The Good Life: From Miserable Inequality to Happy Equality?

Speaker: Professor Shirin Rai (University of Warwick)
Chair: Professor Rosie Campbell (Birkbeck, University of London)

Can we think about a good life without thinking about whose life that is? What makes for a good life after all is rooted in particular landscapes and histories - the horizon that we look to is shaped by the place we stand. While disembedded utopias have some value - of escape from insecurity, from violence and discrimination, of new imaginaries of inclusion and happiness – are these also not marked by privilege and limited by our everyday worlds? And can such visions of the good life spur us on to action in concert with others, to change the world we live in? Building on feminist and postcolonial work, critiquing mainstream visions of the good life - reversing the flow of Adam Smith’s thinking on happiness, for example - I address some of these questions.


Shirin Rai studied at the University of Delhi (India) and Cambridge University (UK) and joined the University of Warwick in 1989. She is professor of international political economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies. Her work spans a wide spectrum that includes work on the gender politics of parliaments, unpaid domestic work, and performance and politics. She directed the Leverhulme Trust Programme on Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament. She is the author of The Gender Politics of Development (2008, Zed Books/Zubaan Publishers), and has edited (with Janelle Reinelt) The Grammar of Politics and Performance, London: Routledge (2015) and (with Rachel E Johnson) Democracy in Practice: Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2014) and (with Georgina Waylen) New Frontiers in Feminist Political Economy (2013), Routledge IAFFE Advances in Feminist Economics,  London: Routledge. Shirin Rai was nominated Eminent Scholar by the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section of the International Studies Associations in 2015.