CfP: Normality in an uncertain world

Normality in an uncertain world

6th ENQUIRE Postgraduate Conference, 10th and 11th September 2013

Call for Abstracts

This conference aims to bring together post-graduates and researchers, with an interest in normality, to explore the development, current application and possible future of such research.

We are pleased to confirm our keynote speakers:

  • Derek McGhee, Professor of Sociology, University of Southampton
  • Angharad Becket, Associate Professor of Political Sociology, University of Leeds
  • Julia O’Connell Davidson, Professor of Sociology, University of Nottingham

In a world of uncertainty, never has ‘the normal’ been so important. All societies operate normative patterns of behaviour that are enforced by sanctions. Such patterns are now interwoven and valorised at global, national, communal and personal levels so that ‘the normal’ has become a powerful entity. Ideas of biopower and self-governance are structured around the control of bodies and the creation of ‘normal’ ways of being. It can now be argued that tyrannies of perfection structure contemporary social life.

While social research has often focused on explaining deviance and the abnormal, such explanations are dependent upon a perception of ‘the normal’ for their existence. ‘The normal’, therefore, becomes important across disciplines, resonating with researchers as a central concept in addressing the pressing sociological issues of our time.

The idea of a ‘normal’ raises pertinent questions for future research. Who defines normality? What are the implications for deviance? Why do researchers construct and deconstruct the abnormal? Does normality serve as a mechanism of control? What function does normality play in different cultures/societies? Is normality inevitable?

Such questions apply across the discipline and call into question the normality of research itself. Indeed, are there such things as normal and abnormal methodologies? How important is the statistical norm? What structures the conception of ‘valid’ or ‘useful’ research?

In order to create a conference that pushes the boundaries and stimulates further and continued debate, we welcome broad interpretations of the conference title. Example themes for papers include but are not limited to:

Gender and sexuality Families
Migration and Citizenship Globalisation
Health, illness and disability The body
Statistics Methodology
Culture Technology
Social policy Political action







Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by Friday 3rd May 2013 to

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