Category Archives: Research Methods

Social Science Calls for Papers: October & November 2012

Half a Twitter conversation last week turned into half an idea – someone was looking for a particular call for papers on a particular subject and couldn’t find it, where was the best source, etc.  I’m one of those people who keeps a list of half-baked ideas (actually, most of them are not even quarter-baked: still in the packets with no recipe, if I’m honest) for papers, conference presentations, etc that I tell myself I’ll work up into beautiful prose should the right opportunity come along.  Strangely, it never seems to – or another of my lists (of calls for papers in the social sciences) never seems to coincide.  But, there’s no reason why someone else’s shouldn’t!  So, sharpen your pencils, herewith a meta-list of calls for papers (Journal Issues and European Conferences) with October/November deadlines.  If it’s popular, I’ll carry it on… and maybe even submit something one day.

 

PERSPECTIVES ON EVIL (Conference)

CfP deadline: 12th October 2012

Event date: 10th – 12th March 2013, Lisbon, Portugal

Themes: Issues surrounding evil and human wickedness.

http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/at-the-interface/evil/perspectives-on-evil/call-for-papers/

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(MIS)REPRESENTATIONS OF BRITISHNESS (Conference)

CfP deadline: 12th October 2012

Event date: 6th December 2012, University of Northumbria, Newcastle, UK

Themes: Changing approaches to writing about Britishness; “English, I mean, British” – the ambiguity of national identity; The ideas of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ within ‘Greater Britain’; Whether established institutions can still be seen as inclusive vehicles for the varying forms of Britishness; Shifting representations of Britain, its nations and regions in the media; Devolution and the effect on regional and national British patriotisms.

http://misrepresentationsofbritishness.wordpress.com/

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THE ETHICS OF HUMAN SUBJECTS RESEARCH WITH MINORITY PARTICIPANTS (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 12th October 2012

Special Issue of American Journal of Public Health

Themes: Novel strategies for the ethical engagement of underrepresented participants; impact of prominent cases of research abuse on community attitudes and regulatory policy; training; implications of cultural, social and political factors on willingness to participate; social impacts of research on minority communities; implications of the ethical duty to engage minority participants.

http://www.healthequity.umd.edu/call_forpaper.asp

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FRAGMENTS OF AUTO/BIOGRAPHY (Conference)

CfP deadline: 12th October 2012

Event date: 14th December 2012, British Library, London, UK

BSA Auto/Biography Study Group, Centre for Biography and Education

http://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/44773/bl_call_xmas_2012.pdf

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THE PARTY’S OVER?  POLITICAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE

CfP deadline: 14th October 2012

Event date: 25th – 27th March 2013, Cardiff, UK

Themes: Any topics related to the conference theme, as well as on other topics spanning the entire range of political studies.

http://www.psa.ac.uk/2013/call.aspx

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PROVOCATIONS: (RE)-VISIONING DATA IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 15th October 2012

Special Issue of Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies

Themes: What counts as data, and how do we recognise it when we see (or sense) it?  How does data appeal to us?  Is there agency in data?  Can data set things in motion, or is it condemned to its subordinate and passive status?

http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/mirka.pdf

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE STATE: PROTESTS, REVOLUTIONS, RIOTS, CRIME AND POLICING IN THE AGE OF FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND YOUTUBE (Edited collection)

CfP deadline: 15th October 2012

http://fuchs.uti.at/wp-content/CFP_SMPS.pdf

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MIXED METHODS IN HEALTHCARE DELIVERY SYSTEMS RESEARCH (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 15th October 2012

Special Issue of Health Services Research

Themes: Studies that use mixed methods to generate important empirical findings on delivery systems and/or help advance the field of mixed methods research.  Of particular interest are studies that “mix” data by merging or embedding data from different sources, rather than simply connecting methods in a sequence.

http://www.hsr.org/hsr/abouthsr/call-for-papers-special-issue.jsp

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CRISIS AND CONTINGENCY: STATES OF (IN)STABILITY (Conference)

CfP deadline: 15th October 2012

Event date: 25th – 27th June 2013, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Themes: Economic crisis of debt, the euro and unemployment,  globalization, heightened nationalisms, continued migration, shifting cultures, rising inequality, concerns over security, climate change, sustainable development; all of these transform definitions of Europe: of its geographical boundaries; of what institutions are needed to structure and resolve issues of policy and democracy; and of how Europe can and might interact with other parts of the world.

http://councilforeuropeanstudies.org/conferences/2013-ces-conference#Conference%20call

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MIXED METHODS IN GENDER AND SEXUALITIES RESEARCH (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 15th October 2012

Special Issue of International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches

Themes: Epistemological background for research on genders and sexualities; Theoretical issues and planning stages for multiple approach; Challenges and emerging issues; Mixed methods and evaluation for intervention and research with under-represented groups.

http://mra.e-contentmanagement.com/archives/vol/7/issue/3/call/

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HAPPINESS RESEARCH IN SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 19th October 2012

Special Section of Sociological Research Online

Themes: Happiness broadly to include research into wellbeing, life satisfaction, flourishing and quality of life and we welcome papers around the inter-relationships between sociology and the study of happiness.

http://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/43906/abstract_call_socresonline_specsection13.docx

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EXCLUSIVITY: BOUNDARIES OF DIFFERENCE (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 19th October 2012

Special Issue of Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

Themes: Who is on the inside? Who is on the outside? Exclusivity, change and continuity in social classes/boundaries, race/ethnic/national identity,  gender,  popular culture,  religion,  sexuality,  cyber culture,  genre and theoretical boundaries, diversity (or lack of) in academia.

http://www.limina.arts.uwa.edu.au/

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LONGEVITY: SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON HEALTH, ILLNESS AND SERVICE PROVISION (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 19th October 2012

Special Edition of Health Sociology Review

Themes: The possibility and actuality of living to very old age, role of structural support systems, the delivery of appropriate health care, and the phenomenological experience of ageing and dealing with frailty and decline.

http://hsr.e-contentmanagement.com/archives/vol/23/issue/1/call/

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PRODUCING LEGITIMACY: GOVERNANCE AGAINST THE ODDS (Conference)

CfP deadline: 26th October 2012

Event date: 22nd – 23rd April 2013, University of Cambridge, UK

Themes: Legitimacy claims of anomalous geopolitical spaces, such as de facto states, annexed territories, governments-in-exile, and territories governed by insurgencies, liberation movements or unrecognised governments.

http://legitimacyconference.wordpress.com/

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SOCIAL HISTORY SOCIETY ANNUAL CONFERENCE

CfP deadline: 26th October 2012

Event date: 25th – 27th March 2013, University of Leeds, UK

Themes: Deviance, inclusion and exclusion; Life-cycles and life-styles; Economies, culture and consumption; Political cultures, policy and citizenship; Narratives, emotion and the self; Spaces and places; Theory and methods.

http://www.socialhistory.gellius.net/annualconference.php

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VISUAL METHODOLOGIES (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 30th October 2012

Special Issue of Graduate Journal of Social Science

Themes: Visual methodologies in the social sciences.

http://www.gjss.org/index.php?/Visual-Methodologies.html

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THE VALUE OF TRUST IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 30th October 2012

Special Issue of International Journal of Business and Globalisation

Themes: Relationships among different types of trust (interpersonal, institutional), trust dimensions and approaches to measuring trust in entrepreneurial contexts; Inter-organisational and intra-organisational trust (horizontal and vertical dimensions) and their effects on young firm operations and entrepreneurial activities; Trust issues in developed versus developing countries and their effects on entrepreneurship; The effects of trust on the level of entrepreneurship at micro and macro levels; The role of trust in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship development

http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/cfp.php?id=1907

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CRITICAL GOVERNANCE STUDIES CONFERENCE 2012: FROM CRITIQUE TO TRANSFORMATION? (Conference)

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Event date: 10th – 12th December 2012, University of Warwick, UK

Warwick Business School, International Centre for Governance and Public Management

Themes: Governance futures in and beyond capitalism; ‘In and against the state’ once more? Towards critical governance practices; and the governance of science and sustainability.

http://www.wbs.ac.uk/events/2012/12/10/Critical/Governance/Studies

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SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH BIENNIAL CONFERENCE

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Event date: 25th – 27th June 2013, University of Nottingham, UK

Themes: Any aspect of the histories of children and youth, from any place and in any era,  especially sessions that examine and compare how space and childhood are mutually constitutive in historically and geographically specific settings.

http://shcyhome.org/conference/

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RETHINKING COMMUNITY: RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES AND MUTATIONS IN LATE MODERNITY (Conference)

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Event date: 27th – 30th June 2013, Turku, Finland

International Society for the Sociology of Religion

Themes: New phenomena arising, e.g. growing into megachurches, resorting to marketing and branding, and operating in new transnational ways, globalisation, mediatization and individualization.

http://www.sisr-issr.org/English/Conferences/Conferences.htm

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E-LEADERSHIP: SUSTAINABILITY OF E-GOVERNMENT AND E-BUSINESS INNOVATIONS (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Special Issue of Electronic Government: An International Journal

Themes: Current issues related to technical, organisational, managerial and socio-economic aspects of e-leadership and its impact on e-government and e-business innovations. How e-leadership influences digital strategy; management in the digital era; how ict enables organisational transformation and the sustainability of digital innovations from the perspective of ICT4D.

http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/cfp.php?id=1927

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DEVELOPMENT-INDUCED DISPLACEMENT AND RESETTLEMENT: BRIDGING RESEARCH AND PRACTICE (Conference)

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Event date: 22nd – 23rd March 2013, University of Oxford

Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK

Themes: Development-induced displacement and resettlement, e.g. how much is enough to compensate an oustee for example, or what is a successful resettlement? How can we “re”settle mobile populations that are not settled in the first place?

http://www.didrconference.org/root/callforpapers/index.html

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DEMOCRATISING REGIONALISM?  CIVIL SOCIETY AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Conference)

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Event date: 2nd – 5th July 2013, School of Social and Political Science, Technical University of Lisboa, Portugal

http://www.seas.at/?p=5123

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POWER, TIME AND AGENCY: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF CRITICAL TEMPORALITIES (Conference)

CfP deadline: 31st October 2012

Event date: 17th – 18th January 2013, University of Manchester, UK

Themes: Time and Power; Organising Time; Critical Temporalities; Time and Agency; Conceptualising/Experiencing Time.

http://www.temporalbelongings.org/power-time-and-agency.html

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STRUGGLES, STRATEGIES AND ANALYSIS OF ANTICOLONIAL AND POSTCOLONIAL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012

Special Issue of Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements

Themes: Praxis and the politics of anticolonial and postcolonial movements; meaning of postcolonialism, anticolonialism or

decolonization and its relevance/implications; regional and historical and other contextual differences in the way that these movements have developed.

http://www.interfacejournal.net/archives/call-for-papers/

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORKS (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012

Special Issue of Organization Science

Themes: How do group network structures and group members’ affective states co-evolve? How do social categories and schemas affect the perception of organizational networks? Are inter-organizational networks affected by how influential organizational decision-makers perceive the network of relationships among organizations in their field of activity? How do employee emotions, attitudes, cognitions or behaviors diffuse through networks?

http://www.informs.org/Pubs/OrgSci/Calls-for-Papers#Psychology

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SETTLING THE MOUNTAINS: THE ROLE OF ECO-CULTURAL TOURISM AND SOCIO-ECOLOGY (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012

Special Issue of International Journal of Tourism Anthropology

Themes: Eco-cultural tourism physical planning and networks; Reuse and revival of cultural heritage and landscapes, including experimental archaeology; Nature reserve regulations and policies; Sustainable and unsustainable practice(s)/experience(s); Indigenous people and mountain tourism; New markets for mountain products and/or services; Corporative governance and decision making; Quantitative limitations of environmental and ecological capacity(ies); Geo-based land use distribution patterns

http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/cfp.php?id=1844

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GENDER, IMPERIALISM AND GLOBAL EXCHANGES (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012 (extended)

Special Issue of Gender & History

Themes: Gendered dimensions of sexual, bodily, social, material, political, cultural and intellectual dynamics of empire from a wide range of temporal and geographic settings.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291468-0424

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MUSEUM NEXT (Conference)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012

Event date: May 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Themes: Trends and related best practice from the digital side of museums, with the aim of providing a clear insight into how technology and media are shaping our institutions and the world around us.

http://www.museumnext.org/conference/conference.html

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ENGAGING RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE: A RETURN TO ETHNOGRAPHY AND THEOLOGY (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012

Special Issue of Practical Matters

Themes: Why theologians are turning to ethnographic methods and how an interdisciplinary conversation among anthropologists, scholars of religion, and theologians contributes new insights. The possibilities and limitations of ethnography for translating communal embodied experience into different communities and contexts.

http://www.practicalmattersjournal.org/submissions

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IMPLEMENTING WEB 2.0 TOOLS IN ORGANISATIONS (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 1st November 2012

Special Issue of The Learning Organization

Themes:  How much of an impact does organisational culture have on the introduction and adoption of Web 2.0 tools in organisations?  Do different industry disciplines and organisational contexts have an impact on the implementation of Web 2.0 tools?  How does the way in which Web 2.0 tools are introduced into an organisation impact on success?

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0969-6474&volume=19&issue=4&articleid=17032139&show=html&PHPSESSID=m3jptrfgp6rq3cvu2l8a5v0gk0

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PREOCCUPY/MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 15th November 2012

Special Issue of Journal of Social Theory in Art Education

Themes: Is art education more than an occupation? Art education can expand or constrict participation. Preoccupation with standards, expectations, bureaucracy, assessment can impede maximum occupancy of teaching and learning.  In order for change to happen, is great risk inevitable? Are we willing to take great risks in making education/art education change? Is it more than an occupation?

http://www.cstae.org/cstae/?q=node/44

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LANGUAGE AND SUPER-DIVERSITY: EXPLORATIONS AND INTERROGATIONS (Conference)

CfP deadline: 15th November 2012

Event date: 5th – 7th July 2013, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Centre for Applied Language Studies/International Consortium on Language and Super-diversity

Themes: The perspective and potential offered by super-diversity to language study – to, for example, linguistics, sociolinguistics, sociology of language, linguistic anthropology, applied linguistics, discourse studies, new literacy studies, pragmatics, ethnography and multi-modality.

https://www.jyu.fi/en/congress/superdiversity

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FROM PARADOX TO PRACTICE: THE RISE OF CO-OPETITION STRATEGIES (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 15th November 2012

Special Issue of International Journal of Business Environment

Themes: Theoretical framework development for coopetition studies across different levels of analysis (microfoundations, interorganisational, network, industry); Managerial tensions generated within and between organisations when implementing coopetition strategies (ambidexterity of coopeting organisations, role of dynamic capabilities in developing coopetitive relations, governance structures fostering coopetition success, team composition and behaviours, co-opetition cultural antecedents); co-opetition phenomena.

http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/cfp.php?id=1869

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THINKING OUT OF THE BOX: DEVISING NEW EUROPEAN POLICIES TO FACE THE ARAB SPRING (Conference)

CfP deadline: 15th November 2012

Event date: 22nd – 23rd February 2013, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

Themes: The Arab Spring: Revolutions or Stalemate?  Outcome and Perspectives of the Arab Spring.  Geopolitical Implications of the Arab Upheavals in the Mediterranean.  The Arab Spring: the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and International Law Implications.  The Fall of Authoritarianism and the New Actors in the Arab World: What Challenges Lie Ahead?  A New Mediterranean Political Landscape? The Arab Spring and Euro-Mediterranean Relations.  A New Mediterranean Agenda for a New Mediterranean Political Setting.

http://nepas-project.net/call-for-papers/

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CROSS-CULTURAL PRAGMATICS AT A CROSSROADS: MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (Conference)

CfP deadline: 15th November 2012

Event date: 26th – 28th June 2013, University of East Anglia, UK

Themes: How can the theories of cross-/intercultural communication be applied to solve communicative conflicts in multicultural/globalised settings?  How can the theories of cross-/intercultural communication be applied to promote understanding and respect for otherness in all its richness, and pre-empt communicative conflict in multicultural/globalized settings?  How can the theories of cross-/intercultural communication be further developed?

http://www.uea.ac.uk/ccp3/call-for-papers

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WHAT IS OLD AGE? NEW PERSPECTIVES FROM THE HUMANITIES (Conference)

CfP deadline: 23rd November 2012

Event date: 23rd February 2013, University of Warwick, UK

Representations of old age/ageing in different times and places

Themes: Concepts of age/ageing; explanations of the ageing process; Aged subjectivities; The aged body/embodied ageing; The material consequences of old age; The role of the humanities within the interdisciplinary project of gerontology.

http://whatisoldage.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/

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NEW FORMS OF ORGANIZATIONAL ETHNOGRAPHY (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 30th November 2012

Special Issue of Journal of Organizational Ethnography

Themes: New forms of OE (new settings, new actors, new topics; new design, data collection and analysis; implications for the research process).  How can new forms of ethnography contribute to contemporary organizational studies?  What are the interests and limitations of these new forms of ethnography?  Challenges (redesign of access to this field; roles of emotion and power in OT; new ways of presenting and disseminating results; ethical decisions; self-reflexivity of researchers)

http://www.egosnet.org/jart/prj3/egos/data/uploads/downloads/CallforPapersFlyingPages/CfP_OE_New-forms.pdf

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RELIGIONS AND FINANCE (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 30th November 2012

Special Issue of International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance

Themes: Faith-based study of the connection between finance and religions; Christianity and finance; Islamic asset management; Shari’ah compliant private equity and venture capital investment; Islamic derivatives and Sukuk; Islamic finance: behavioural aspects; Collateral financing: the Islamic finance perspective; Islamic microfinance and poverty alleviation; Incentives and Islamic finance; Zakat economics; Ethical study of finance; Religion, culture, reciprocal behaviour (trust, fairness) and finance; Religion and stock market development

http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/cfp.php?id=1794

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TEACHING SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (Journal Issue)

CfP deadline: 30th November 2012

Special Issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly

Themes: Research, methods, pedagogical theories, and ideas that may lead to student awareness about past and modern American social movements and protest as well as their potential implications and impact perspectives. Specifically, what effective instructional strategies prepare and engage modern social sciences and humanities student’s ability to learn about the relevance, importance and purpose of social activism, community development, and foster outlooks about social issues that lead to social movements and protest as possible viable outlets of expression and demands for reform.

http://rapidintellect.com/AEQweb/

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LIVING IN VIOLENT TIMES (Conference)

CfP deadline: 30th November 2012

Event date: 19th April 2013, University of Warwick, UK

Themes: From revolutionary violence and terror to genocide, total war and the process of decolonization, political violence is a constant theme throughout human history. History has repeatedly thrown up the problem of political violence, how to define, explain and understand it; how to justify, excuse and legitimise it; and how to go beyond and end it. We invite both historical and contemporary approaches to political violence, embracing all academic disciplines.

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/hrc/confs/lvt/

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YOUTH 2.0: CONNECTING, SHARING AND EMPOWERING (Conference)

CfP deadline: 30th November 2012

Event date: 20th – 22nd March 2013, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Themes: Affordances, uses and risks of social media.  Children’s, adolescents’ and emerging adults’ uses of social media in general and social network sites in particular.

http://www.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.YOUTH2.0&n=108200

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TALKING BODIES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON IDENTITY, SEXUALITY AND REPRESENTATION

CfP deadline: 30th November 2012

Event date: 26th – 28th March 2013, University of Chester, UK

Themes: the ‘taboo’  and self-perception;  articulating that taboo; representing the complexities of the embodied self; the ‘talking body’ conflicting with the ‘talking mind’; body modifications; erotica, porn and the ‘obscene’ and the embodied self; representation of the body facilitating political activism; gender and ideology intersecting on the site of ‘the body’; Is language ever sufficient in talking about bodies?

http://talkingbodiesblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/announcement-and-call-for-papers/

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Top Ten Ideas for starting points for Social Science seminars

It’s pretty much impossible to start a debate with “Topic X.  Discuss.”  An interesting, controversial or downright unusual source is a great way of getting things going – introduce it at the beginning, show it on screen or pass copies round, get everyone in the class to note down anything about it that strikes them, and away you go: who has written down the same thing? Who agrees/disagrees?  Why?  Who might have a different point of view?  A good source should provoke a response – either positive or negative – and serve as a starting point for marshalling opinions.  Here are my Top Ten ideas for discussion-starters to get you thinking:

1. Crime maps.  These are amazingly detailed and available online from the police website.  Put in a postcode and you’ll get the crime stats for the area on the right – click on “Crime and outcomes in this area” for detailed maps and a breakdown by type of crime.  Look at the stats for your local area and ask why certain types of crime occur in different areas?  Where are the “hotspots”?  Why?  Look at the types of crime listed – what occurs where?  What constitutes “anti-social behaviour”?  According to whom? Why has it become a policy priority?  Compare different parts of your town, different towns, urban/rural, university locale vs rest of city, what happens where students live?  Look at the historical data – what is going up/down?  Where does this data come from?  How reliable is it as a source?  Good for: Criminology, Environment, Social Policy.

2. Census records and the national archives.  The census records for every 10 years beginning in 1841 are online.  There’s a 100-year embargo so the most recent available is 1911.  Although most commonly used for tracing family histories, there’s a wealth of social information contained in them, particularly after the late 1800s ones when more detail was recorded.  You need to register (and pay!) to view the original copies but you can get samples for free – just do an image search for “example census page” and there’ll be material you can use.  What is recorded on each page?  Why was this data captured?  Discuss privacy and personal data.  Look at the family structure at each address – what do you notice?  How does it compare with the modern family?  Look at a few from different censuses – what is different?  Look at the employment column – what does it tell you?  How is this linked to the area lived in?  Are there regions today which are associated with a particular type of work?  Why?  Link this with the “where born” column – who moved where?  Why?  Does this still happen?  Look at the last column – for example, the 1901 census asks if the person is “(1) deaf-and-dumb, (2) blind, (3) lunatic, or (4) imbecile, feeble-minded.”  Huge amounts of mileage there for a discussion on attitudes to illness and mental health, why was this recorded, what health information is taken in modern censuses? Why?   Good for: Health/Medical Sociology, Work, Families, Education, Migration.

3. News stories.  There are vast amounts online – start with the BBC and newspaper sites, look at local newspapers, local radio, student publications, it’s easy to link to a video clip to start a seminar.  Compare coverage of a news story in different media, whose angle is it?  Are they for or against?  Why?  Is the news source impartial or does it have an underlying ideology informing its news coverage?  Who is producing/writing the story?  How reliable are news sources as factual data?  Will the story influence the behaviour of those viewing it?  How/why?  Don’t restrict yourself to UK news sources – everything is online, so see how a foreign newspaper has covered a British story, compare and contrast – especially if you’re teaching a comparative policy course.  Good for: All social science branches, Media.

4. Government departments.  All departments produce vast numbers of publications, reports, papers, press releases, etc, etc.   You can use most of it for something!  Assess both the content and the presentation: evaluate who the perceived audience is for the material, who wrote it, for what purpose?  How is the material being presented and why?  Is it successful?  Look at any statistics – are they reliable?  How do you know?  Again, what is being portrayed and why?  There’s too much to cover in much detail here (maybe a future blog post!) but a few examples of bits I’ve used are:  the Government Art Collection (How much should be spent on public art?  What is its value? How does it contribute to British culture?); weekly A&E statistics (Who sets the targets? Are they meaningful? How are they used/abused?);  Dept for Education advice on drugs (whose responsibility is it to teach young people about illegal drugs? Is the advice valid? Useful? Appropriate? How would/should it translate into the classroom? How involved should schools be in the home lives of their pupils?).  You get the idea.  Good for:  All social science branches.

5. University publicity material.  Gather prospectuses, brochures, flyers, website screenshots.  It’s instantly relatable but harder to critically assess from an objective viewpoint.  How is the University’s publicity department trying to portray itself?  What pictures are used?  Did the class use such material in deciding to apply?  Was it effective?  Does the material convey a sense of place?  Community?  How?  What language is used?  What is its effect?  How would you design publicity material to convey the campus culture?  Good for: Environment, Culture, Identity, Visual methods.

6. Mass observation material, searchable here.  Again, vast amounts of material are available here so pick one or two items and use them to start a discussion.  Try a section of personal diary from the 1930s, one of the “panel” day observations or questionnaire responses.  An interesting subsection is the Worktown Collection, a special study of Blackpool and Bolton.  Beware the website, once you get into it there’s a real risk you won’t be seen for days…  Use for a historical perspective on contemporary topics around daily life.  Find a modern cohort study and compare the methods and data generated.  Good for: Work and employment, Culture, Politics.

7. Non-news magazines.  This will cost you a few pounds and may involve slight embarrassment if you are doing the buying (Nuts magazine, anyone?), but works really well in seminars.  Buy a selection of magazines, compare and contrast.  For example, to look at sources of health advice – Men’s Health, Women’s Health, the aforementioned Nuts, Saga magazine, a fashion magazine, a teen magazine, a sports magazine.  Evaluate differences in content and presentation between Men’s and Women’s Health, look at health and wellbeing content of different magazines – who is the audience? Who is the author? Why is this material being presented? Does it work?  Good for: Health/Medical, Media, Gender.

8. Wikipedia (bear with me), here.   Not so much the content of the site, but the way in which it is constructed.  Look at a relevant topic and evaluate it in terms of content and layout.  Use the Wikipedia principle to construct an informative handout on a different topic – where does one person start in writing it?  How is it edited?  Who agrees?  Who has control over online publishing?  Who is responsible for fact-checking?  Does it work?  What about other user-editable sites (eg Wikileaks)?   What are the implications for incorrect information entering the public domain?  Good for: Most topics, Media, Education.

9. British Social Attitudes survey, hereA great resource for all sorts of data on everything from health and welfare to crime and transport.  Pick a statistic and go with it – ask Why?  Says who?  So what?  Can you identify problematisation? Look at the methods section and analyse how the survey is carried out.  What can it be used for?  How would you improve it?  Good for: Most topics, Research Methods.

10. British Library’s sound archive, searchable here.  Again, this is a website you can disappear into and not surface until your coffee alarm goes off.  Use the Accents & Dialects section to start a discussion on place and identity; use the Sound Maps to debate representations of environment and culture; use the Oral Histories on any topic you can find – this a rich source, there’s everything from a collection of children’s songs to a history of the common cold.  Go explore.  Good for: Pretty much anything.

Have you tried anything similar?  How did it go?  Any more ideas to add?  Leave a comment!

Hannah Perrin is an ESRC DTC Scholar and PhD student in Social Policy, and Assistant Lecturer in Health Policy at the University of Kent, with interests in clinical education and training, occupational socialisation and work transitions. She blogs about her research and HE topics at www.hcperrin.wordpress.com; or follow @HCPerrin.