Uncomfortable positions in local government: negotiating cohesion, inequality and change – Hannah Jones – Seminar tomorrow

The next Sociology Department Research Seminar will be delivered by our very own Hannah Jones in the Gillian Rose Room from 5:00-6:30 this Wednesday (4 December). We look forward to seeing you there and further details about the talk are pasted below. Hannah’s talk will be followed by a drinks reception in the foyer of the Ramphal Building- all are welcome. 
Wednesday 4 December, 2013

Hannah Jones, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick

Uncomfortable positions in local government: negotiating cohesion, inequality and change

Working in policy and government can be uncomfortable. It can be uncomfortable to recognise inequalities of power and discrimination, to challenge these inequalities, and to find limitations on what can be changed. Using empirical research into negotiations about ‘community cohesion policy’ within English local authorities (especially in London), I will consider how research which engages with policy practitioners in their talk and practices can provide a more critical lens and effective analysis of power than the more usual policy critique based only on documents. I will argue for the need to take seriously the narratives – and feelings – of policy practitioners because these are the tools they use to conduct government, with material consequences for the populations they govern. This is particularly the case in the arena of ‘community cohesion’, where questions of identity, multiculturalism, belonging and inequality are at the fore, and the aims of government have focused explicitly on managing behaviour, feelings and affinities. I will explore some examples of how local policy practitioners manage their ethical, professional and political commitments in this context, and consider how this relates to an application of the sociological imagination in the broadest sense.

For a full list of the Department Research Seminars visit: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/news/scd/2013-14

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