Workshop on Politics of Consumption

Workshop on Politics of Consumption
11 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London City Centre, August 25-29 2014

This workshop, primarily intended for doctoral students in any subject area but also open to early career researchers or other interested parties, is FREE to attend.

“The important thing” Daniel Bensaïd wrote in his recently translated memoirs, “is always to clearly indicate one’s colour instead of pretending to the objectivity and impartiality of self-evidence”. For Bensaïd, it was easy to discern his own colour; “The colour is red, since the very air is red, as if screaming”. Further he claimed that “partisan writing” is not an act of sectarianism, but “a token of basic honesty towards the reader”. The purpose of this workshop is to probe the colour of research and ask participants to account for the political implications of their research, research that is often conducted in business schools in private colleges, or in public colleges transforming according to a privatising logic. We seek to tie such analyses into broader spectrums of thinking, be they conservative, leftist, liberal, etc. Simply put, have you thought about the politicality of your own research? If not, why not? If not, perhaps we can help. To echo Bensaïd, we are not seeking to generate sectarian divisions but rather to think through the political implications of theoretical positions.

The workshop builds upon various research strands including the 2013 special issue of Ephemera entitled The Politics of Consumption (available as open access here http://www.ephemerajournal.org/issue/politics-consumption) and will include speakers from a broad range of subject areas including sociology, culture studies, art history, philosophy, economics, organisational studies, psychosocial studies and marketing. The workshop does not aim to assist in the professionalisation of doctoral students nor socialise/discipline them into the protocols of particular peer-review publishing processes, nor is the seminar committed to producing incremental theory development, but rather seeks to provide a high quality analysis that introduces scholars to various critical aspects of the Politics of Consumption. Therefore students hoping for more hands-on practical guidance such as receiving direct feedback from faculty regarding their dissertations might opt for other parts of the Consumer Culture Theory European School. The purpose of this workshop is to engage with questions of the Politics of Consumption. Therefore the only JCR that we will be discussing is the Jeunesse communiste révolutionnaire.

The workshop will be co-ordinated by Detlev Zwick, Stephen Dunne and Alan Bradshaw and shall be held in the centre of London.

Attendance is free however we ask all applicants to write a 5 page outline, in addition to a short abstract, of their particular research programme and to clearly express the political dimensions, the “colour”, of their research – all orientations are welcome. We are particularly concerned that those who do become enrolled for the programme commit to attending all events for the five days so please do not apply unless you intend to commit to the event completely. Send applications to alan.bradshaw@rhul.ac.uk Applications shall be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.

A full list of speakers, bios and topics of presentation will be posted in time. For now confirmed speakers include Jo Littler, Kate Soper, James Fitchett, Will Large, Warren Carter, Greg Elmer and Sukhdev Johal. Keep an eye for further updates.