Call for Papers – Social Science and Cultural Politics

Cultural politics is a concept used to label a complex range of social phenomena, frequently as diverse as media cultures and ideologies, forms of political action and social movements, institutional and professional cultures. However, social sciences themselves are driven (explicitly or otherwise) by
ideological commitments and assumptions about their own role in society (this being particularly questioned at the moment, especially in the UK).
Social scientists conceive their own cultural politics, reflecting (or not reflecting) on their own ‘culture’.

On the other hand, how the notion of ‘cultural politics’, as well as the subsidiary concepts of culture and politics, are addressed by current research projects concerned with the realms of political and culturalactivity. From this angle, we encourage a wide notion of cultural politics, which could encompass topics like media cultures and subcultures, cultures of institutions and organisations, political cultures and forms of political activism.

The conference aims to discuss the ways culture is conceptualised as well as the implicit and explicit forms of its ‘action’ both inside and outside the academic community. The following themes/questions are intended as a (non-exclusive) guide of possible topics/clusters that could be presented at the conference:

Theory. How should we theorise culture? How should we theorise politics? Are such theoretical questions important for empirical research into culture and/or politics?

Role of Academia. How has the academia influenced changes in the politics of culture and cultural politics? What are the consequences of the different epistemological and ontological assumptions under which culture has been conceptualized in academic debates? How has culture shaped and challenged social science?

Role of Media. How do ideas about culture play out in media communities? How are subjectivities constituted in the context of media and new media forms of production and consumption? How are media institutions shaped and produced by professional assumptions and ideologies?

Identity. How do gender, class, sexuality, race and ethnicity intersect with the study of cultural politics? How does the politics of identity relate to the cultural arena? Has gender and/or queer theory challenged our views on culture? Public policies. How has culture been used in social policy design and implementation? Has the concept of race being replaced by the concept of culture in contemporary political debates? How has the concept of multiculturalism shaped the development of public policies? How subcultures affected and/or challenged stereotypes and the change or amendment of public policies/institutions?

Politics. How can we conceptualise politics, political ideologies and political institutions in the global era? In which ways have political cultures influenced the development of political institutions? How has culture contributed to the development of political activism and its political effects? Is there such a thing as a global culture and/or a multiculture?

The organisers welcome abstracts from postgraduates in any discipline, on issues within and beyond the questions and topics suggested above. Selected papers will be presented at informal seminars among peers, with each presentation lasting 20 minutes and 10 minutes for questions and answers. Papers should be presented to provoke discussion!

Please send an abstract (under 300 words including your personal details -name, institution, phone number and e-mail) to postgraduateconference2011@gmail.com. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 1st February 2011. If you have any questions or/and comments, please e-mail the organisers at the above e-mail.

Decisions will be made and informed by the 10th February 2011. The conference will take place on the 12th March 2011 at Warwick University premises.


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