Updates from October, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Mark 7:14 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Enduring Love? Couple Relationships in the 21st Century 

    Enduring Love? Couple Relationships in the 21st Century

    The Enduring Love? project is a major ESRC-funded study (2011-2013) that has been exploring how couples experience, understand and sustain their long-term relationships.

    To celebrate the end of the project we are hosting an event to launch the study findings and, with our dynamic array of speakers, to provoke wider discussion on making research count, why relationship research matters and dialogic research practice. The project has been designed, developed and implemented in collaboration with policy makers, relationship support organisations, media commentators and academic colleagues so the event promises to be a highly stimulating and critically engaged forumThere are also canapés and a glass or two of wine to take us into the evening.

    We would be delighted if you could join us on:

    Tuesday 14th January 2014, 12.30 – 6pm at The British Library, Euston Road, London

    Full programme details are included below and are attached in poster format. Please feel free to circulate widely.

    To register online please go to:

    http://www.open.ac.uk/ccig/events/enduring-love-findings-dialogue-future-directions

    or contact CCIG Research Secretary Sarah Batt at:

    SocSci-CCIG-events@open.ac.uk

     
  • Mark 7:11 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: celeb youth,   

    Celebrity and Young people’s classed and gendered aspirations: End of Award Event – 11 July 2014 

    On the 11th July 2014, Heather Mendick, Kim Allen and Laura Harvey will host an end of award event to discuss findings from their ESRC funded research project on Celebrity and Young People’s classed and gendered aspirations (CelebYouth).

    This interactive and participatory event will be an opportunity to share the ideas coming from this two year qualitative research project. Attendees will hear about the research and be invited to engage in discussions about the implications of the research for scholarship across education, sociology and media and cultural studies, and for practitioners working with young people.

    Confirmed discussants include (*more names to be announced):
    •Dr Anita Biressi (Reader in Media Cultures, Roehampton University) and Professor Heather Nunn (Professor of Culture and Politics, Roehampton University)
    •Professor Rob MacDonald (Professor of Sociology/ Deputy Director – Social Futures Institute, Teeside University)
    •Geeta Ludhra (Lecturer in Education, Brunel University)
    •Camilla Stanger (teacher and doctoral student at Goldsmiths, University of London)
    •Justin Hancock (sex educator and youth worker http://bishuk.com )

    Booking for the conference on the 11th July is now open here:  https://celebyouthevent.eventbrite.co.uk

    The evening before this event, we’ll be hosting a related evening performance by artist Bryonny Kimmings (who the Guardian called ‘the Pam Ayers of Performance Art’), followed by an optional dinner at a local restaurant.  You can find out more and book for this here: https://celebyouthperformance.eventbrite.co.uk

     
  • Mark 10:29 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Empathy & Trust In Communicating Online (EMoTICON) Commissioning Sandpit 

    The ESRC have recently launched the above initiative.

    The ESRC, in partnership with a number of other funders, is commissioning new research to develop a greater understanding of how empathy and trust are developed, maintained, transformed and lost in social media interactions. In order to develop innovative approaches and stimulate genuinely transdisciplinary collaborations, the ESRC is commissioning projects via a sandpit. The aim of the sandpit is to bring together researchers and other partners to create projects that will develop theoretically-informed and empirically-derived understandings of the workings of empathy and trust in online contexts and communities.

    This call is intended to attract participants from across the full range of social sciences, arts and humanities, and engineering and physical sciences.Applicants should not feel constrained by traditional assumptions about “relevance”, in terms of either research expertise or background. If you are unsure if your expertise is relevant to the research themes, please contact theresa.osman@esrc.ac.uk. The ESRC is particularly looking for people with particular personal attributes – creativity, openness, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team. A willingness to engage with policy-makers, community organisations, government agencies, businesses and other key stakeholders is also essential.

    Full-time and part-time scholars at UK-based research organisations (ROs) can apply. A mix of researchers at different career stages is also sought. The sandpit is aimed at early- and mid-career researchers as well as those in senior academic posts. We regret that, on this occasion, PhD students and scholars based overseas are not eligible to participate in the sandpit.

    The sandpit is an intensive residential event and participants must attend all five days of the event. The closing date for expressions of interest is 11.00 on Monday 11 November. Applications from interested candidates should be submitted via the short electronic application form athttp://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/funding-opportunities/28443/Empathy_and_Trust_In_Communicating_Online_EMoTICON_Sandpit.aspx

    For further information, please contact:

    Theresa Osman theresa.osman@esrc.ac.uk or Christina Rowley christina.rowley@esrc.acuk

     
  • Mark 8:52 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    (a)Sexuality and Pathology 

    As the AVEN website describes, “in a world where sexuality is promoted as the norm, many asexuals grow up thinking that they’re somehow sick, broken or deficient” (AVEN, 2011). This raises the question of the nature of this norm, as well as how it is formed and propagated. Why would individuals who do not experience sexual attraction be so pervasively prone to considering that this might be a function of some underlying pathology? Seemingly the association between sexual desire  and ‘normal’ physical and psychological functioning is sufficiently pervasive that it goes largely unrecognized and unquestioned. Kim suggests that reaction to asexuality can be understood in terms of the “pathological framework for asexuality” which results from a “larger trend in which sexuality is tied up with the image of ‘normal bodies’”. On her account stigmatizing reactions to asexuality should not be assumed to be particularistic prejudicial responses to a newly emerging minority identity but rather stem from culturally pervasive and near hegemonic ideas about health and the body. She suggests that “the absence of sexual desire, feelings and activities is seen as abnormal and reflective of poor health because of the explicit connection made between sexual activeness and healthiness”. This association is echoed in the everyday experiences of many asexual individuals.

    Kim places much stress on contemporary attitudes towards health and the body as an explanation of the marginalization and stigmatization which the asexual community is widely subject to. She suggests that “health information and interpretations about sex are grounded too much in belief in universal sexual desire and given too much authority to health professionals to produce ‘cures’ marketed by sex therapy and pharmaceutical industries”. This stands as a plausible claim given the high visibility which such ‘lifestyle and health’ discourses are afforded in a world saturated by information television, lifestyle magazines and health websites. The aggregative effect of such phenomena is to propagate a sense of normalcy which equates bodily health with sexual satisfaction. Within disability studies, much attention has been paid to the ‘myth of asexuality’, identifying the role which outward markers of disability are equated with an underlying lack of sexual function.

    This pervasive tendency within contemporary culture to equate health with sexual activity expresses itself in the trend, discussed earlier, for asexual individuals to initially consider that the difference they recognize in themselves (i.e. their lack of interest in sex) is the result of some underlying pathology. Though the vocabulary used and the stress placed varies from person to person, the notion in play is the same: ‘if I don’t have a desire for sexual activity does this mean there’s something wrong with my health?’

    However while this prevalent discourse of the healthy sexual body clearly plays some role in the sexual assumption, it does not explain it in its entirety. To suggest that it does would assume firstly that individuals in contemporary society are ‘cultural dupes’, with attitudes entirely determined by medical discourses propagated in the media and secondly that the emergence of the sexual assumption correlates directly with the increasing proliferation of lifestyle advice about sex and the body. While an empirical investigation of this latter claim is beyond the purview of the present chapter, it seems implausible that this could be so, not least of all because the bringing into being of such an idea through massive exposure in the media would surely prompt a degree of reflection upon it which has heretofore been lacking. Therefore I will argue that other factors play a crucial role in explaining the genesis and trajectory of the sexual assumption within contemporary society.

    I found an incomplete draft of a book chapter I had intended to write a couple of years ago. I’m unlikely to ever do anything substantive with it so I’ve posted it in sections on my blog. 

     
  • Mark 8:46 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    The Ambiguity of (a)Sexual Categories 

    The situations one faces in negotiating intimate life without a desire for sexual activity foregrounds the centrality of the sexual assumption in the conceptual apparatus culturally available for making sense of human intimacy and human sexuality. Without the assumption of sexual desire, the salience of intimacy concepts begins to break down. While they may retain their place within the everyday vocabularies of individuals who do not experience sexual desire, their efficacy as conceptual tools to capture the emotional and moral texture of intimate relationally is profoundly undercut. They cease to adequately explain important aspects of what is at stake personally in intimate life, as well as impeding the possibility of successfully communicating that human caring to others who are still operating naively within that conceptual matrix. In effect the disjuncture between the sexual assumption (as encoded in prevalent relationship concepts) and a lack of sexual desire prises  open a conceptual and experiential space between human emotional experiences and the discursive resources we rely upon to articulate that experience to ourselves and others. With this space comes a need for creative redescription, personalizing and rearticulating these concepts before ultimately, perhaps, moving beyond them entirely. In the term of Archer (2010) these can be seen as rendering reflexivity imperative. The cultural resources afforded to asexuals within contemporary western societies are simply inadequate to make sense of large aspects of their personal experience. This throws them back on their own resources to deliberate about themselves and similar others. Chasin (2011) makes this point eloquently:

    “In many cases, asexual people are simply not able to draw on the same cultural resources that other people use to construct their close personal relationships. Consequently, the asexual community is one place where people are actively involved in creative discussion (Jay, 2007), figuring out how to make sense of the experience of being asexual and relating to other people from asexual perspectives. Since “whatever we might say (and think) about ourselves and others as people will always be in terms of a language provided for us by history” (Edley, 2001, p. 210), we are limited by what is possible within the discourses we can access (Shotter, 1997). In practice, trying to make sense out of our asexual selves and relationships sometimes requires inventing new discursive “tools” (i.e., generating new words and ways of talking about relationships) or adapting pre-existing tools to new situations. These new discourses literally make the unique and often confusing relationships asexual people engage in make sense, that is, they render otherwise non-normative relationships intelligible.”

    As earlier stated, many asexual individuals have experienced difficulty in getting those around them to take the notion of an ‘asexual relationship’ seriously because without the presence of sex,  it is difficult to differentiate it from a friendship. Often sex is seen as a precondition (indeed an explanation) of intimacy within a relationship between two people. So relationships which diverge from this particular conception (dyadic, exclusive, intimate, sexual) pose conceptual problems which are rarely addressed. In a very literal sense, their participants meet the limits of language, as a relatively limited range of relational concepts (friend, sexual partner, romantic partner, life partner – there’s a variety of descriptions for these concepts but obvious convergence upon the underlying ideas) fail to do justice to their emotional experience.

    Being in a relationship leaves both individuals needing to articulate and present that relationship: to themselves, to each other and to the wider world. There is more to our experience and understanding of relationships than the terms in which we describe them. In fact it is the interaction between the former and the latter which leads to growth and change, as we try to put it words what we feel. Reciprocal understandings and expectations begin to flow from that dialogue, producing transformation in the form and content of the relationship which in turn poses new descriptive challenges.

    I found an incomplete draft of a book chapter I had intended to write a couple of years ago. I’m unlikely to ever do anything substantive with it so I’ve posted it in sections on my blog. 

     
  • Mark 8:43 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    The Commercialization of the Erotic 

    In contemporary society it stands starkly obvious that ‘sex sells’: it has become a cultural resource incorporated into and deliberately deployed as part of the machinations of consumer capitalism. As Elliott and Lemert (2009: 114) observes, “sexuality increasingly becomes a terrain on which the impact of global capital, ideas and ideologies are brought to bear’ and that this can be seen most strikingly in the ‘ways in which sexuality is farmed and regulated today through advertising, mass media and information culture’. Weeks (2007) refers to this as the ‘commercialization of the erotic’, arguing that sex has indirectly, in the form of advertising, as well as directly, in the form of online pornography and the global sex trade, become an increasingly central aspect of the political economy of late capitalism. While he does not take this to mean that “every act of sex or love or intimacy is inevitably tainted by commercialization”, he does argue that the sexual and the intimate “ are never free from the threats as well as the opportunities provided by its giant presence” (Week 2007: 13).

    The increasing public visibility of sexuality has developed hand-in-hand with a new found acceptance and openness towards sexual desire, creating a space for goods and services which, either directly or indirectly, service those desires and provide personal and social outlets for them. It would be deeply misleading to conceive of this process as a zero-sum affair, brought into being ex nihilo by the sexual radicalism of the new left, particularly given the use of sex in advertising and commerce prior to this time (Stearns 2006: 54).Nonetheless two processes from the 1960s onwards led to a radical increase in the intensity and extension of the linkage between sex and commerce.

    Firstly, the increase in public visibility and openness about sexual desire, extending, albeit unevenly, throughout the world. Secondly, a restructuring of western economies which moved the locus of accumulation away from production and towards consumption. Under such conditions the technologies of stimulating consumption take on a newfound importance, generating a vested interest in the manipulation of libidinal energies through commerce and advertising. My contention is that the reciprocal interaction between these two trends, with each in turn intensifying  as a result of various extrinsic factors since the 1980s, has brought about a heretofore unparalleled sexualisation of society.

    This has profound implications for asexuals in terms of the social environment which they confront, with markers of sexuality seemingly omnipresent throughout society, entailing the frequent necessity of reflexive negotiation to make sense of their own identities in light of a commercialised culture which implicitly repudiates their asexuality. In fact it could be speculated that this is an important factor, alongside others such as the spread of internet access, in explaining the specificity of the asexual identity’s historical emergence. It seems plausible that there have always been people who are asexual (albeit without applying a socially recognised label to their experiences) so why did the asexual community only emerge in the first decade of the twenty-first century? The sexualisation of society undoubtedly played a role in this, as individuals who later come to identify as asexual have more encounters with sexual and sexualising material from an earlier age.

    I found an incomplete draft of a book chapter I had intended to write a couple of years ago. I’m unlikely to ever do anything substantive with it so I’ve posted it in sections on my blog. 

     
  • Mark 6:35 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , post-ideology,   

    What is Capitalist Realism? 

    Assuming I haven’t completely misunderstood Mark Fisher’s point then I’d argue this is one of the most striking examples of capitalist realism I’ve ever encountered. It was posted as a comment on this Glenn Greenwald article. Note how an assertion of the obviousness of this state of affairs goes hand-in-hand with a dismissal of the ‘rubes’ who are assumed to have uncritically assented to the enormously powerful ideological forces from which the commentator has long been immune. Self-congratulation at being ‘smart enough’ to see through manufactured illusion and contempt for those who failed to do this substitute for moral condemnation of something which is nonetheless regarded as a social problem. The post-ideological stance of ‘seeing through’ the lies in fact engenders objective passivity coupled with a reactionary orientation to those who seek to engage in proactive opposition:

    I just don’t understand why people hadn’t assumed this kind of surveillance was going on already. Has no one seen the Enemy of the State? In all seriousness, I wondered about it after figuring out how communications satellites work and realizing that all of those satellites are launched by the government.

    Is it such revelation that a country on a planet as nationalistic as Earth had the opportunity to spy on most of the world and took that opportunity? If you are a student of history you would know that spying on other nations/groups is human reality.

    I don’t necessarily think its a great idea to have one country doing a lot of this under the guise of “the greater good” because they will end up using it to benefit themselves in any way they feel they can. I just don’t think any of the Snowden revelations should have been so inflammatory. How could you not see the writing on the wall? How could you assume this wasn’t happening?

    I just don’t like the Greenwald tone of “I can’t believe this, can you? We don’t live in a perfect world as our politicians had told us!!” He comes across as a rube if he is truly shocked by all of these spying “revelations.”

    And I defy you to find a country on this planet who doesn’t conduct all of the surveillance that they possibly can. Its an aspect of national defense and economic survival that causes this espionage all over the planet. The US just possess a crazy ability to spy on mostly everyone because of the system of communications the US gov’t help set up for the world.

    All I’m saying is, you missed the window to complain about this by about 15-20 years. The groundwork for this type of communications monitoring has been in front of your face since the 80’s & 90s and you weren’t smart enough to see it. There is no going back.

     
  • Mark 6:14 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , press freedom,   

    The Slow Death of Press Freedom? 

    I find it more than a little disturbing that these two explicit threats to press freedom have been issued by the government in the space of 24 hours. Note that Cameron’s statement about the Snowden leaks comes at the same time as prominent NSA loyalists are breaking ranks in America to call for a ‘total review’. Much like ‘compassionate conservatism’ and ‘vote blue, go green’, it seems that any pretence of a commitment to breaking with the creeping authoritarianism of the New Labour era has now been abandoned:

    The BBC could face a cut in the TV licence fee or have to share it with other broadcasters unless it rebuilds public trust, a Tory minister has said.

    Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps told the Sunday Telegraph the broadcaster must be “more transparent” and change its “culture of secrecy”.

    The current £145.50 annual fee would be “too much” without reform, he said.

    A BBC spokesman said transparency and freedom from political pressure were key to the BBC’s future.

    Mr Shapps’ comments come after negative publicity over pay-outs to top executives and the handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

    Numerous allegations against Savile, who presented programmes including Jim’ll Fix It during a long career at the BBC, emerged after his death in 2011 and police have since described him as a “prolific, predatory sex offender”.

    Mr Shapps also mentioned the case of former BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a series of sexual assaults on young girls.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24690002

    In a statement to MPs on Monday about last week’s European summit in Brussels, where he warned of the dangers of a “lah-di-dah, airy-fairy view” about the dangers of leaks, the prime minister said his preference was to talk to newspapers rather than resort to the courts. But he said it would be difficult to avoid acting if newspapers declined to heed government advice.

    The prime minister issued the warning after the Tory MP Julian Smith quoted a report in Monday’s edition of the Sun that said Britain’s intelligence agencies believe details from the NSA files leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden have hampered their work.

    The Sun quoted a “top surveillance source” as saying that terrorists have “gone quiet” after the publication of details about NSA and GCHQ operations.

    Cameron told MPs: “We have a free press, it’s very important the press feels it is not pre-censored from what it writes and all the rest of it.

    “The approach we have taken is to try to talk to the press and explain how damaging some of these things can be and that is why the Guardian did actually destroy some of the information and disks that they have. But they’ve now gone on and printed further material which is damaging.

    “I don’t want to have to use injunctions or D notices or the other tougher measures. I think it’s much better to appeal to newspapers’ sense of social responsibility. But if they don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/28/david-cameron-nsa-threat-newspapers-guardian-snowden

    Nick Cohen wrote a fantastic post on this last night which gets to the crux of the issue:

    I don’t see how any reasonable person can argue that a British newspaper should not break a story about a foreign power spying on another foreign power, when there is no threat whatsoever that the revelation will help terrorists groups or organised crime. That criticism persists shows that the Guardian’s enemies are suffering from an advanced case of what Orwell called “transferred nationalism” : though nominally British they have transferred their loyalty to the United States, and react to any threat to American interests as if it were a threat their own.

    In any case, the Guardian – for whose parent company I work, I should add – is not only bringing us foreign news. On Saturday, its correspondent James Ball answereda question that has baffled everyone who has hung around the criminal justice system: why do the police and security services refuse to present intercept evidence in court? The answer is that they feared that the public might realise the scale of state surveillance – and protest. Hence, the intelligence services lobbied furiously to hide the fact that, in their words, telecoms firms, had gone “well beyond” what they were legally required to do to help intercept communications. For good measure, GCHQ admitted in private to fearing a legal challenge under the Human Rights Act if its surveillance methods became better known.

    The concerns about the failure to produce bugged evidence do not always fall within the standard arguments between liberal doves and national security hawks. Juries acquit guilty men because prosecutors cannot reveal the full case against them. In a free society spies should accept – must accept – that we need an open debate on intercept evidence involving the judiciary, the legal profession, parliament and – for we are meant to be a democracy, after all – the public. We need it even more, when, by its own admission, GCHQ may be breaking the law.

    But open debates aren’t the fashion in Britain. We don’t do that kind of thing here.
    Tonight, David Cameron warned the Guardian that if it did not “demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.”

    No one should have been surprised. The ground for his threat to the free press had been well manured by none other than the free press itself.

    A friend of mine with time on his hands read all the comment in blogs and columns the Daily Telegraph had run on the Guardian and the security service leaks. His weary eyes surveyed 20 pieces in total. All damned the Guardian, he found. Not one defended the right of newspapers to hold the state to account, even after agents of the state went into the Guardian’s office and supervised the destruction of a computer with copies of Edward Snowden’s documents on. The idea that you defend the freedom to publish – regardless of whether you agree with what is published or not – never occurred to its writers.

    The only exception in the wider Telegraph stable was Janet Daley of the Sunday Telegraph, an American expat, significantly. She described her astonishment at the unwillingness of the British to stand-up for basic liberties. “An editor of the US National Review wrote last week of those ‘who steadfastly refuse to express anxiety unless they can actually hear jackboots,’,” she said. “Note: once you hear the jackboots, it’s too late.”

    The editor of the Mail, meanwhile, came as close as he dared to demanding that the police arrest the editor of the Guardian. Earlier this month, Stephen Glover, his in-house columnist, reported that Oliver Robbins, Britain’s deputy national security adviser, had said that the Guardian has ‘already done real damage’ to Britain by its revelations, and that information still held by the newspaper could lead to a ‘widespread loss of life’. Suitably primed, Glover thundered:

    The Guardian is being accused of putting at risk not only the lives of agents but also potentially the lives of ordinary British people, whom MI5 will now find it more difficult to protect. Divide the accusations in two, and then halve them again, and they are still mind-boggling.

    This is the language of a treason trial; words that justify any action by the state to silence the journalist. The reason the Mail deploys them goes far beyond disagreements over one story. Foreigners will not understand the circular firing squad the British media have formed unless they understand that the British Right has its own version of the Marxist myth of false-consciousness.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/nick-cohen/2013/10/british-journalists-lock-each-other-up-and-throw-away-the-key/

    I find myself increasingly convinced that Owen Jones is right that British politics could get very nasty in the run up to the next election (and perhaps beyond).

     
  • Mark 11:20 pm on October 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The Stangely Poetic Character of WordPress Spam 

    Because the admin of this web page is working, no uncertainty
    very shortly it will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

     
  • Mark 4:02 pm on October 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: sylvia plath,   

    “Do not be mean, I am ready for enormity” 

    What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful?
    It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?

    I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
    When I am quiet at my cooking I feel it looking, I feel it thinking

    ‘Is this the one I am too appear for,
    Is this the elect one, the one with black eye-pits and a scar?

    Measuring the flour, cutting off the surplus,
    Adhering to rules, to rules, to rules.

    Is this the one for the annunciation?
    My god, what a laugh!’

    But it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
    I would not mind if it were bones, or a pearl button.

    I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
    After all I am alive only by accident.

    I would have killed myself gladly that time any possible way.
    Now there are these veils, shimmering like curtains,

    The diaphanous satins of a January window
    White as babies’ bedding and glittering with dead breath. O ivory!

    It must be a tusk there, a ghost column.
    Can you not see I do not mind what it is.

    Can you not give it to me?
    Do not be ashamed–I do not mind if it is small.

    Do not be mean, I am ready for enormity.
    Let us sit down to it, one on either side, admiring the gleam,

    The glaze, the mirrory variety of it.
    Let us eat our last supper at it, like a hospital plate.

    I know why you will not give it to me,
    You are terrified

    The world will go up in a shriek, and your head with it,
    Bossed, brazen, an antique shield,

    A marvel to your great-grandchildren.
    Do not be afraid, it is not so.

    I will only take it and go aside quietly.
    You will not even hear me opening it, no paper crackle,

    No falling ribbons, no scream at the end.
    I do not think you credit me with this discretion.

    If you only knew how the veils were killing my days.
    To you they are only transparencies, clear air.

    But my god, the clouds are like cotton.
    Armies of them. They are carbon monoxide.

    Sweetly, sweetly I breathe in,
    Filling my veins with invisibles, with the million

    Probable motes that tick the years off my life.
    You are silver-suited for the occasion. O adding machine—–

    Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it go whole?
    Must you stamp each piece purple,

    Must you kill what you can?
    There is one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.

    It stands at my window, big as the sky.
    It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center

    Where split lives congeal and stiffen to history.
    Let it not come by the mail, finger by finger.

    Let it not come by word of mouth, I should be sixty
    By the time the whole of it was delivered, and to numb to use it.

    Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.
    If it were death

    I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
    I would know you were serious.

    There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
    And the knife not carve, but enter

    Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
    And the universe slide from my side.

    http://www.internal.org/Sylvia_Plath/A_Birthday_Present

     
  • Mark 12:15 pm on October 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: campaign for the public university, council for the defence of the british university,   

    Inaugural meeting for a SE London Campaign for Public Uni / CDBU group 

    INAUGURAL MEETING SE LONDON GROUP CDBU/CPU

    Aim

    to start a Council for the Defence of British Universities-Campaign for the Public University SE London Group

    by comparing ‘Greenwich and Goldsmiths in the market’

    supported by UCU nationally and Goldsmiths and Greenwich UCU branches + SUs, also inviting S.Bank, QMC, East London, Kent, CCC and SE London FE colleges.

    When/ where

    6th November at Maritime Greenwich (Queen Anne Building Room165, 2-5pm)

    What/ who

    Patrick Ainley, Greenwich and co-author The Great Reversal, Education and Employment in a Moribund EconomyComparing two universities in the market.

    Des Freedman, Secretary Goldsmiths’ UCU and co-author The Assault on Universities, A Manifesto for Resistance: Resistance to the assault on the universities.

    Greenwich and Goldsmiths SU speakers

    UCU speaker – our activities as complementary to UCU’s fight against privatization and redundancies etc.

    Discussion

    to agree constitution of Group with a programme of regular meetings alternating between the two unis/ activities amongst ourselves and with others, eg. a programme of outside speakers (eg. Andrew McGettigan, Peter Scott etc). Need to anticipate likely future developments, ie. worst and best case scenarios outlined in PA’s ‘uncertain futures’ above with Departmental and School/Faculty meetings and/or Special Interest Groups, eg. research v. teaching (do these have to be opposed?) and other issues as they arise, eg. MOOCs, ‘the unbundling of the university’, governance, meetings with partner colleges, UNISON, student societies – including overseas students. Publications, seminars, public lectures/ ‘teach outs’ etc. Any other suggestions how best to – as the CDBU say, ‘Stop the Rot’!

     
  • Mark 12:12 pm on October 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Case Against Open Access 

    I think the argument made here by John Holmwood is very important. My instinct is to support open access, though I think the scale of its ramifications are sometimes overestimated, however there has often seemed to be a degree of inattentiveness to economic and political context within which these arguments are being made:

    For many commentators, open access to data and academic publications will bring clear public benefits, facilitating better public debate and allowing different kinds of elites to be held to account, whether they be political elites, policy makers or other kinds of experts. The case for open access appears overwhelming where the research is publicly-funded. Why should the public be denied access to that research by the high subscription pay-wall of journals? And, indeed, aren’t most academics interested in the widest dissemination of their work?

    This argument confronts a paradox. The push to open access occurs in the context of dramatic reforms to universities that stress that higher education should not be seen as a public benefit, but a private investment in human capital for which the beneficiary should pay (and should pay above its costs once fees are allowed to rise above the current fee cap). Indeed, the Minister for Universities and Science seeks a more efficient and diverse system in which for-profit providers will play a larger part, and even envisages a change in the corporate form of the university to facilitate greater engagement with private equity investors. It seems that a paywall is to be removed, at the same time as new paywalls are under construction.

    Once the common factor of commercialisation is teased out the paradox disappears. One of the main drivers of open access is to make academic research more easily available for commercial exploitation, especially by small and medium enterprises. In this context, it is significant that the licence under which open access should function is CC BY which enables commercial exploitation and reuse in any form. The consequence, for the natural sciences, or any other research with a directly exploitable commercial idea, is to bring the underlying research under the protection of Intellectual Property Rights.

    All of this is part and parcel of the impact agenda whose primary economic purpose is to shorten the time from idea to income. Here we are witnesses to an inversion of previous science policy inaugurated by Lord Rothschild in the 1970s that was concerned with publicly funded research and advanced the idea that, where there was a private beneficiary, the beneficiary should pay. Now it seems that there should be no research undertaken without a beneficiary, but that beneficiary does not pay.

    But what of the humanities and social sciences? Surely, here the situation is different? First, let it be noted that the very commercialisation of the university itself will have the consequence of dividing the higher education system between a small number of elite universities and others subject to the pressures from for-profit providers. This will include the ‘unbundling’ of their functions (also involving the separation of research from teaching), as described by Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor of Pearson (and former member of the Browne Review), in a recent publication for IPPR . In this context, open access – especially MOOCS (and the online curriculum of Pearson) – provided by ‘elite’ universities is the means of undermining the conditions at other institutions and providing a tiered educational system that reinforces social selection to elite positions. This is the context in which Mike Boxall of PA Consulting Group speaks of a sector divided among ‘oligarchs, innovators and zombies’.

    Equally significant, is that the argument for unbundling (some) universities is the claim that research is increasingly taking place outside universities. In the case of the social sciences, this is research undertaken by ‘think tanks’ and commercial organisations. It is here that access to ‘big data’ provides commercial opportunities. Open access is an opportunity to amalgamate data from different sources, develop techniques of analysis under patent, and re-present data, and the means of checking any analysis using it, behind a new paywall. Significantly, the recent ESRC call for a What Works Partnership in Crime Reduction specifies that the products of the research need not be under CC BY, but under IPR arrangements.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/10/21/markets-versus-dialogue/

     
  • Mark 2:31 pm on October 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Future of Scholarship 

    The LSE Impact Blog co-hosted a conference about Open Access last week which I’m now wishing I’d gone to. I really liked the talk given by Jonathan Gray, director of policy at the Open Knowledge Foundation, which offered an adept diagnosis of the present crisis in scholarly publishing and its implications for the future of scholarship:

    If sheer quantity is a measure of success then things aren’t going too badly. The amount of research being published is growing at an astonishing rate. Recent studies estimate that around 50 million journal articles have been published since their first appearance in the mid 17th century (Jinha). This colossus is estimated to be expanding at around 1.5 to 2 million articles per year, which is roughly 3 to 4% annually. (Scopus lists about 1.6 million in 2012. The UK Publishers Association suggested global output is around 2 million per year, quoting 120,000 articles as around 6% in evidence to UK parliament. This is up from an estimated 1.3 million in 2006.)

    But more people publishing more words does not necessarily mean that our system of scholarly communication is serving us well. Scholarship is not just about publication, but about interaction, interpretation, exchange, deliberation, discourse, debate, and controversy. Plato writes of understanding as being a kind of flash that occurs between two people trying to come to terms with something from different viewpoints, a flash that arises from the friction of discussion and momentarily floods everything with light.

    Scholarship is, of course, not just about the production of text – text which has been processed, reviewed, and packaged up in the right way, in accordance with the dictates of style manuals and in keeping with the appropriate theoretical or methodological genre. Scholarship is about the way in which constellations of people and objects produce meaning, understanding and insight, through interaction, acts of interpretation. The value of a journal article is not the stated impact factor of the journal, any more than the value of a scholar is the aggregate of his or her publishing record. The value of a piece of scholarly text is in the interaction it has with its readers, in the sparks it generates, the friction and light that it produces – whether tomorrow, or in a hundred years time.

    Unfortunately our current system of scholarly communication has often developed with other priorities in mind. For a start it echoes our broader cultural and social attitudes towards sharing the fruits of our creative and intellectual labour more generally: our disproportionate focus on protection and compensation, commodification and control. The default is still that our creations cannot be shared without payment or explicit permission. Even though they are unlikely to receive a penny for it, scholars are often inclined to be more guarded than generous about sharing their published work. This social and cultural hostility to sharing in turn reflects the state of the law, which is profoundly imbalanced towards protecting and rewarding rights-holders rather than recognising that copyright is an instrument which should strike a balance between protecting private interests and providing the public with access to the fruits of our collective intellectual labour.

    Furthermore, the academic career structures in many disciplines are heavily focused around and driven by publication. Not even on scholarly output, but very specific forms and genres of publication, with a strong focus on certain journals and publishers. Journal articles and monographs have become the de facto currency of scholarship, and certain venues are worth more than others. Other forms of engagement – from collaborative projects to conferences – are often not recognised, or only recognised insofar as they result in publication.

    If publishing operations such as journal titles and monograph series are the stars which structure the orbits of scholarly communication, then we may forget that what gives them their gravitational force is ultimately the scholars and scholarly communities associated with them. Hence we may conflate the trust, reputation and authority that derives from the scrutiny, energy and attention of a particular group of scholars, with the avenue through which this is manifested: namely the title of a particular publication or series. So entangled are the reputations of scholars and publishing operations that sometimes we may find it hard to wrench them apart and to recall that ultimately it is publications which are dependent on scholars, and not the other way around.

    The result of all of these things is the lamentable situation we find ourselves in today, whereby a huge amount of the intellectual energy and attention of researchers is funnelled into the creation of products for the publishing industry which are then locked up and sold back to the institutions which employ them: the very same institutions which effectively subsidise the creation, editorial and peer review of said products. In 1999 a scholar and a librarian wrote a report unpacking the implications of this situation, which they called the ‘crisis in scholarly publishing’, which they described as: “a vicious cycle of increasing prices and decreasing distribution, straining (or breaking) library budgets, and leading to cancellations of journals and cuts in other acquisitions, as well as dangerous erosion in confidence in the integrity of peer review”. “Ultimately”, they concluded, “the flow of scholarly communication is at stake, eroding the academic mission.”

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/10/25/gray-recomposing-scholarship/#author

     
  • Mark 2:17 pm on October 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Things That Are Not Asexuality 

    I found this post about what asexuality isn’t very interesting (HT Asexy Vida). I’m fascinated by how people who aren’t asexual respond to asexuality, particularly when they first encounter it. I’ve argued in the past that the almost universal tendency to explain away asexuality reveals some very interesting things about contemporary sexual culture. This helpful article does a good job of addressing the confusions which are still so common surrounding asexuality:

    Asexuality is not celibacy or abstinence.

    Celibacy and abstinence describe behavior, they’re about actions. A celibate or abstinent person does not have sex. Asexuality is an orientation, it’s about attraction, not action. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction, but they may or may not have sex.

    Asexuality is not a lack of sexuality.

    Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t have sex. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t masturbate. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t wear make-up or nice clothes. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone can’t be interested in sex. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone is infertile or impotent. Asexuality doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t have a libido. Asexuality means that someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction, and that’s all.

    Asexuality is not virginity.

    Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, and won’t suddenly start experiencing sexual attraction by having sex. Many asexuals have had sex, and yet are still asexual. In fact, many asexuals don’t even discover that they’re asexual until after they’ve had sex and start to wonder why they’re not all that interested in it.

    Asexuality is not a hormone imbalance.

    Many asexuals have had their hormones tested and have been found them to be within normal levels. Some asexuals have undergone hormone therapy for other conditions and have not reported any change in their sexual orientation. In general, asexual people do not experience any of the other signs of a hormone imbalance (hair loss, erectile dysfunction, depression, hot flashes, etc.), so even when they haven’t been specifically tested, they can be reasonably sure that their hormones are in order. Also, a loss of sexual interest due to a hormone imbalance is often sudden, while an asexual person typically has never experienced sexual attraction for their entire lives, so it’s not like anything was “lost”, because it was never there.

    (If you do have reason to believe that your hormones may not be in order, particularly if you’ve suddenly lost the interest in sex that you used to have, go see a doctor about it.)

    Asexuality is not a fear of sex.

    Being asexual doesn’t mean someone afraid of sex, just like being heterosexual or homosexual doesn’t mean a person loves sex. Being asexual doesn’t say anything about a person’s opinion of sex. Some asexuals are afraid of sex. Some asexuals love sex. Some asexuals are indifferent to sex. Many people who do experience sexual attraction are afraid of sex, but that does not make them asexual.

    Asexuality is not a purity pledge or a religious act.

    Asexuality has nothing to do with adhering to religious beliefs and is not the result of taking a purity pledge. If one chooses not to have sex because their religion or personal beliefs prohibit it, that’s abstinence, not asexuality. It is possible for someone who is asexual to refrain from sexual activity for religious reasons, which would make them abstinent and asexual. On the flip side, there are many asexuals who are not religious and do not appreciate having religious motivations ascribed to them.

    Asexuality is not a choice.

    Like every other sexual orientation, asexuals were born this way. We never looked at our lives one day and thought “You know, I’m done with this sex stuff” and decided to become asexual. You cannot choose to be asexual any more than you can choose to be gay or straight. Certainly, you can choose who you have sex with or whether or not you have sex at all, but that’s behavior, not who you’re attracted to. If you experience sexual attraction and choose not to act on it, then you’re not asexual. Asexual people do not experience sexual attraction.

    Asexuality is not a disease.

    There’s nothing physically wrong with people who are asexual. We’re not asexual because of a tumor or a virus or a parasite. We’re not contagious. Some people like men, some people like women, some people like both, some people don’t care, and there’s nothing to cure about any of those cases.

    http://asexuality-exists.tumblr.com/post/24002523142/things-that-are-not-asexuality

     
  • Mark 8:39 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: british social attitudes survey, ,   

    The value of public higher education 

    An important analysis on LSE Politics Blog looking at what the British Social Attitudes survey says about public attitudes towards higher education:

    In an era of rising tuition fees, deepening student debt and the global commodification of learning, any remaining notion of Higher Education as a ‘public good’ may seem improbable. However, evidence from the British Social Attitudes survey shows that the broader, society-wide benefits of Higher Education are still prized, albeit not always by those you might expect.

    Together with colleagues from Oxford and London University, we examined surveys from the last thirty years to chart how public attitudes towards participation have reflected changes in policy. Despite questions being framed in ways that increasingly constructed university as a public expense, we identified a persistent belief in the core values of Higher Education. For example, 43% of those surveyed in 2010 thought that over half of young people should go on to university, a finding at odds with popular perceptions of a labour market saturated by graduates of ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree programmes.

    More surprising, Higher Education was cherished most highly by those from lower social classes. Only 10% of working class respondents thought opportunities should be reduced, compared to 26% among the professional and managerial classes. We also found gender and school type to be key predictors of attitude. Men were more likely than women to say that university isn’t worth the time and money, as were those educated privately. But the strongest predictor was whether respondents had themselves participated, with graduates more than twice as likely to favour a reduction as non-graduates. Those who profit most from Higher Education, it would seem, are those most inclined to pull up the ladder behind them.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/36638?utm_content=buffer8dce9&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

     
  • Mark 8:33 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , economists, self-selection, sociologys,   

    Economists are horrible people 

    I don’t think this is a particularly meaningful statement. But it’s certainly an attention grabbing one. I encountered it earlier when Salon picked up on a post by Adam Grant on Psychology Today:

    Why does the invisible hand want to slap you across the face?

    Because it belongs to a douchebag.

    That’s the conclusion, anyway, of aprovocative blog post in Psychology Today by Wharton professor Adam Grant making the rounds across planet internet.

    But before all you econ majors get your demand curves in a twist, hear what the good professor has to say.

    Citing research by Cornell professor Robert Frank, Grant makes the compelling case that economists are neither generous, nor cooperative. And that’s because they’ve swallowed one of Adam Smith’s main tenets: people act out of rational self-interest.

    Emphasis here on the self.

    In short: economists don’t feel bad about acting in their self-interest because — well — the economic theories tell them that they should be selfish.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/24/economists_are_horrible_horrible_people_study_says_partner/

    This is the same Adam Grant who’s achieved an impressive degree of visibility at a relatively young age, not least of all because of the snappily counter-intuitive thesis propounded in his last book that ‘giving’ is a route to career success. As befitting the youngest tenured professor at the Wharton Business School*, his claim about economists is one grounded in empirical research:

    Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell, believes that his profession is squashing cooperationand generosity. And he believes he has the evidence to prove it. Consider these data points:

    Less charitable giving: In the US, economics professors gave less money to charity than professors in other fields—including history, philosophyeducation, psychology, sociology, anthropology, literature, physics, chemistry, and biology. More than twice as many economics professors gave zero dollars to charity than professors from the other fields.

    More deception for personal gain: Economics students in Germany were more likely than students from other majors to recommend an overpriced plumber when they were paid to do it.

    Greater acceptance of greed: Economics majors and students who had taken at least three economics courses were more likely than their peers to rate greed as “generally good,” “correct,” and “moral.”

    Less concern for fairness: Students were given $10 and had to make a proposal about how to divide the money with a peer. If the peer accepted, they had a deal, but if the peer declined, both sides got nothing. On average, economics students proposed to keep 13% more money for themselves than students from other majors.

    In another experiment, students received money, and could either keep it or donate it to the common pool, where it would be multiplied and divided equally between all participants. On average, students contributed 49% of their money, but economics students contributed only 20%. When asked what a “fair” contribution was, the non-economists were clear: 100% of them said “half or more” (a full 25% said “all”). The economists struggled with this question. Over a third of them refused to answer it or gave unintelligible responses. The researchers wrote that the “meaning of ‘fairness’… was somewhat alien for this group.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/give-and-take/201310/does-studying-economics-breed-greed

    This raises the obvious question of causation: does economists make people horrible or are horrible people drawn to economics? Obviously, it’s likely to be a little of both. It seems glaringly self-evident to me that self-selection is at work in shaping the characteristics of people within different disciplines (not least of all because I have a few hundred surveys from my PhD that demonstrate precisely this). There is a sense in which it is meaningful to talk about ‘physics people’ and ‘english literature people’, though these are of course fuzzy folk typologies which barely meet the status of being an empirical generalisation. Where I think they become more plausible though, is in making sense of the mentalities likely to be found amongst professionalised members of disciplines i.e. though who keep on self-selecting all the way to grad school and beyond. So could we assume on this basis that the processes identified amongst economics students are likely to apply with a greater intensity amongst professional economists? Here’s what Grant suggests with regard to the former:

    To figure out whether economics education can shift people in the selfish direction, we need to track beliefs and behaviors over time—or randomly assign them to economics exposure. Here’s what the evidence shows:

    1. Altruistic Values Drop Among Economics Majors

    At the very beginning of their freshman year, Israeli college students who planned to study economics rated helpfulness, honesty, loyalty, and responsibility as just as important as students who were studying communications, political science, and sociology. But third-year economics students rated these values as significantly less important than first-year economics students.

    2. Economics Students Stay Selfish, Even Though Their Peers Become More Cooperative

    When faced with choices between cooperating and defecting, overall, 60% of economics majors defected, compared with only 39% of non-economics majors. For non-economists, 54% of freshmen and sophomores defected, while only 40% of juniors and seniors did. The economists, on the other hand, did not decrease in defection significantly over time. Roughly 70% defected across the board. Non-economists became less selfish as they matured; economists didn’t.

    3. After Taking Economics, Students Become More Selfish and Expect Worse of Others

    Frank and his colleagues studied college students in astronomy, economic game theory, and economic development classes. Self-interest was a fundamental assumption in the game theory class, but had little role in the economic development class. In all three classes, students answered questions about benefiting from a billing error where they received ten computers but only paid for nine and finding a lost envelope with $100. They reported how likely they would be to report the billing error and return the envelope, and predicted the odds that other people would do the same.

    When the students answered these questions in September at the start of the semester, the estimates were similar across the three classes. When they answered the questions again in December at the end of the semester, Frank’s team tracked how many students decreased their estimates. After taking the game theory course, students came to expect more selfish behavior from others, and they became less willing to report the error and return the envelope themselves.

    “The pernicious effects of the self-interest theory have been most disturbing,” Frank writes in Passions Within Reason. “By encouraging us to expect the worst in others it brings out the worst in us: dreading the role of the chump, we are often loath to heed our nobler instincts.”

    4. Just Thinking about Economics Can Make Us Less Caring

    Exposure to economic words might be enough to inhibit compassion and concern for others, even among experienced executives. In one experiment, Andy Molinsky, Joshua Margolis, and I recruited presidents, CEOs, partners, VPs, directors, and managers who supervised an average of 140 employees. We randomly assigned them to unscramble 30 sentences, with either neutral phrases like [green tree was a] or economic words like [continues economy growing our].

    Then, the executives wrote letters conveying bad news to an employee who was transferred to an undesirable city and disciplining a highly competent employee for being late to meetings because she lacked a car. Independent coders rated their letters for compassion.

    Executives who unscrambled sentences with economic words expressed significantly less compassion. There were two factors at play: empathy and unprofessionalism. After thinking about economics, executives felt less empathy—and even when they did empathize, they worried that expressing concern and offering help would be inappropriate.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/give-and-take/201310/does-studying-economics-breed-greed

    I recall encountering more work exploring this issue in the past and I really wish I’d saved the references. It also leads me to wonder if economists have a unusual proclivity for empirically studying themselves and, if so, what this says about the discipline in general and these findings in particular? As naval gazing as sociologists tend to be, they also seem to spend much less time studying themselves… at least until I persuade someone to part with the money that would allow me to spend my early 30s writing The Sociology of Intellectual Faddishness. Encountering Grant’s post has also left me wondering if I should do something more substantive with my PhD surveys, originally just an overly-elaborate preliminary to my sampling strategy, given that they shed light on this issue in an interesting way. The survey instrument I used measures style of reflexivity and they were distributed to the compulsory first year modules for English Literature, Sociology, Physics and Business students. For anyone interested, the results are discussed in the methodological appendix of Margaret Archer’s The Reflexive Imperative. 

    *Writing this post also led me to discover that he’s only 4 years older than me, which is a piece of information now lodged in my brain that I’m not really sure what to do with.

     
    • Roy Wilson 8:50 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink

      You say: *Writing this post also led me to discover that he’s only 4 years older than me, which is a piece of information now lodged in my brain that I’m not really sure what to do with.”

      I say: Perhaps the numerical difference needs ‘mulling over’, sts, especially in connection with your ultimate concerns which, together with your context, might make the seemingly unfavorable comparison with Grant somewhat irrelevant (contrary to the ‘Borg’ philosophy).

    • Mark 9:25 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink

      Hmm I think I sometimes confuse my ambivalence about the formal structures of academia with my not being ambitious in any substantive sense – I’m not enormously bothered by his status but would very much like to replicate his productivity in the next four years!

    • Roy Wilson 10:04 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink

      Nicely mulled.

  • Mark 3:27 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bi research, bisexuality,   

    BiReCon 2014 – bisexual conference Call for Papers 

    Call for Papers
    Please circulate – any queries to birecon2014@bicon2014.org.uk

    BiReCon 2014: Out in the World
    Forging links between research and communities

    BiReCon is a conference for anyone with an interest in contributing to, or finding out about, current work on bisexuality. The conference aims to bring together academics, professionals, activists, and bisexual communities. It is organised by BiUK (www.biuk.org) and is held every two years – see the BiUK website for information about past BiReCons. This year it will take place on Thursday 31st July 2014 at Leeds Trinity University.

    We invite papers and workshop sessions that include but are not limited to the following:

    • Bisexuality, wellbeing and health (including mental health)
    • The implications of bisexual identities and labels.
    • Bisexuality and communities.
    • Bisexual people’s access to, and experiences of, health and other services.
    • Inclusion and erasure of bisexual people in politics and activism.
    • Representations of bisexuality in media, culture and literature.
    • Intersections with other aspects of experience such as physical disability, age, race/ethnicity, nationality, gender (both trans- and cis-gender) and social class.
    • Public engagement in bisexuality research.

    We welcome papers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines including social sciences, health sciences, arts and humanities, therapeutic practitioners, activists and others. During the day there will be opportunities to:

    • Find out about issues affecting bisexual people
    • Hear from experts about cutting-edge research on bisexuality
    • Discuss ways in which organisations can better work with, and for, bisexual people, drawing on good practice
    • Take part in workshops on specific issues

    If you would like to present at BiReCon, please provide a 250 word abstract and a brief biography, by28th February 2014 to birecon2014@bicon2014.org.uk

    If you are interested in facilitating a workshop, roundtable, or panel discussion at BiReCon, which can include data gathering for current projects or research, then please email birecon2014@biuk.org with a brief description of your workshop by 28th February 2012

    For attendees, please watch http://www.biuk.org and http://www.bicon2014.org.uk for registration details.

    BiUK and BiReCon are community organisations so unfortunately there are no funds for presenters or travel expenses. However, BiReCon provides an excellent opportunity to network with others working in the field, to share good practice, and there will be spaces available to conduct research which fits within the ethos of the event.

     
  • Mark 3:26 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gender studies, ,   

    Call for Papers – NGender: Seminars in Gender and Sexuality Related Research 

    Call for Papers

    NGENDER: Seminars in Research Related to Gender and Sexuality

    University of Sussex, Spring 2014

    NGender is entering it’s exciting fifth year at Sussex. We hope to continue the success of previous years in hosting interdisciplinary papers on a variety of gender and sexuality-related themes.

    NGender is organized by doctoral students and aims to bring together scholars from Sussex and beyond; across departments and disciplines to share ideas and discover new trends and developments. We are now inviting submissions of abstracts from doctoral students and early career scholars who wish to present their work-in-progress and get feedback in a supportive scholarly environment, at an institution with a strong reputation for gender-related research.

    The seminars will take place fortnightly during Tuesday lunchtimes throughout the spring term, from mid-January to mid-March, at the University of Sussex. We encourage participation from across schools and disciplines, and welcome proposals on the following, non-exhaustive list of themes below:

    • Gender-Based Activism, Social Change and Participation
    • Femininities and Girlhood, Masculinities and Boyhood
    • Geographies, Migration and Sexual Geographies
    • Development, Economics and Politics
    • Authoritative Knowledge, Education, Learning and Teaching
    • Bisexualities and Queer Identities
    • Drag, Performativity and Tomboys
    • Trans, Intersex and Non-Binary Identities
    • Theoretical and Methodological Debates
    • Histories of Gender
    • Gender and Violence
    • Gender, Sexuality, Legal Systems and Justice
    • Narratives of Health, Disability, the Body, [In]Flexibility, and Embodiment

    -Literature and Linguistics

    • Arts and Art History
    • Digital Technologies, Media and Film
    • Religions and Spirituality

    If you would like to present, please send a word document containing:

    • An abstract (300 words) for a 20 minute presentation
    • A brief biography (including name, degree, year and research interests)
    • 5 keywords which reflect the main themes of your presentation
    • The dates of any Tuesdays on which you are NOT free to present between 21st January 2014 and Tuesday 8th 2014
    • Your contact details

    We regret that there are no bursaries available for travel and expenses incurred in attending NGender to present papers.

    Abstracts must be received by Monday 2nd December 2013 to be considered.

    Please direct all submissions and enquiries to ngender@sussex.ac.uk

    NGender: Graduate seminars in Gender and Sexuality, University of Sussex

    http://ngender.wordpress.com/

    http://www.facebook.com/sussexgender/

    http://twitter.com/sussexgender

     
  • Mark 3:25 pm on October 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Transseminars – free seminars with some bursaries available for travel. See below 

    Trans’ in Popular Representation (Thursday 28th November, University of Warwick)

    We’re delighted to announce details of the third seminar in this ESRC-sponsored series.

    This FREE event will focus on trans as a cross-media phenomenon involving traditional and

    new media from film and television to web-based media, photography and performance art.

    Speakers

    Del LaGrace Volcano (gender variant visual artist)
    Dr Kat Gupta (University of Nottingham)
    Lee Gale (TransBareAll)
    Helen Belcher (Trans Media Watch)

    9am to 5pm
    Thursday 28th November 2013
    Radcliffe, University of Warwick

    The event will be highly interactive, with several opportunities for extensive discussion

    of themes and issues raised by the speakers.

    A limited number of travel bursaries are available for participants who do not have

    institutional funds to attend. Let us know if you’d like to apply for one of these

    bursaries when you register.

    Information on how to register can be found here: http://transseminars.com/register

     

     
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