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Department of Sociology

 
Emilio E. Feijóo

Congratulations to Emilio E. Feijóo for winning this year's Polity Prize, awarded for the best overall mark on the MPhil in Sociology programme. The prize comes with £100 worth of books from Polity Press.

After studying his undergrad at Florida Gulf Coast University, Emilio was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and came to England for the Masters programme in Ideology and Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex. From there, Emilio went on to enrol in the MPhil Sociology programme at the University of Cambridge, to pursue an empirical case study on intellectuals in Spain. Under the supervision of Professor Patrick Baert, his work was theoretically informed by the sociology of intellectuals, hegemony theory, post-structuralism and German Idealism. He draws his theoretical inspiration from Ernesto Laclau and political aspiration from Podemos (a political project led by young academics turned politicians, Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón.)

Emilio is also inspired by his mother, who fled authoritarian Cuba during the ‘Período especial’ (an extreme economic recession from 1991-2000) and raised her two sons to be politically and socially aware. She recently lost her job as a social worker for pregnant women due to cuts in federal and municipal government services under President Trump, and so Emilio has returned to the U.S. to help support the family. In the future, Emilio has ambitions to develop Podemos’ socio-political project and become the “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” of South Florida. He is undeterred by the challenges of deep political polarization in the U.S., and hopes that his story as a Cuban-American can bring working people together in social bonds beyond ideological identifications.

In particular, he hopes to inspire young people from all walks of life who are struggling under the current social and economic conditions in South Florida. To meet this aim, he has teamed up with Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. — a socially conscious attorney— to empower South Floridians with more equitable legal representation.

“If you work hard and set goals you can accomplish great things – even if you come from unfavourable circumstances" Emilio says. "Your circumstances do not wholly determine who you are”.

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The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is a world-leading centre for teaching and research in Sociology, consistently ranked first in UK league tables by The Guardian, The Times, and the Independent.