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Blog archive for 2009

Notes on visiting Gurkhas

Having spent the past 18 months doing research on Commonwealth soldiers in the army, I thought it was time to try and explain what I’ve been up to. It’s been a strange and haunting journey involving many train rides, the odd plane, and countless lifts from army drivers who have been instructed to pick me up at stations and take me into the guarded enclaves of different bases.

Final report from Beirut

The themes raised in both these sessions were continued the following day. The local paper The Daily Star provided a surprisingly good summary. If interested it’s worth reading, but here’s a bit more detail.

Report from Beirut, Day 2

As the conference progressed, the divisions and disagreements deepened, but at the same time it was clear that shared political perspectives were not only emerging but becoming enriched by the conversations. First the disagreements, inevitable – and necessary – in any political gathering. There were tensions between participants from the Gulf countries and others from Lebanon, Egypt, and to some extent North Africa.

Report from Beirut

5th October. I'm here attending the conference on Arab Feminism: a critical perspective, organised by the Association of Lebanese Researchers (Bahtithat) and the Women and Memory Forum in Cairo. It started last night with a keynote by Mervat Hatem, who is president of the Middle East Studies Association, and who has written a lot about women and politics. Before that Jean Said Makdisi, one of the hosts, welcomed everyone, and acknowledged the Palestinian visitors who had gone to great lengths to travel to Beirut via Amman. They were given a spontaneous round of applause.

CCIG Writers Group

CCIG hosted an excellent writing workshop led by Rowena Murray on 16 June 2009. The audience comprised CCIG early career researchers and PhD students. The purpose was to help us write more efficiently – whatever our personal writing tasks.

What a great set of strategies Rowena provided: warm up exercises, writing to prompts, freewheeling generative writing, preparing abstracts, outlining papers, and more.

Thinking about the Present

Is this a tipping point? This phrase linked much of the discussion in a workshop on Thinking about the Present, held on May 29th at the Marx Memorial Library. A group of diversely leftist academics and activists came together to explore the dangers and possibilities of the present moment in British and global politics. Although the idea of this moment being a tipping point was a powerful organising idea, there was rather less agreement on exactly what was being tipped into what…

Reflecting on Managed Migration

The recent ‘Managed Migration’ conference (19 May 09) organized by inside government took place in the plush surroundings of a central London hotel. As I was looking for the hotel, I mused about how the choice of location, a hotel in transnational ownership hints at transnational mobility, though in this case of capital.

Summoning the Active Citizen

Responsibility, participation and choice summon different images of the 'active' citizen and produce different publics.  The tensions between them, however, tend to be displaced onto citizens themselves, colliding with other repertoires of action and political engagement.

Punk Aesthetics and Doing Social Sciences Research Online

Social scientists who want to open dialogues online and engage multiple publics with their research need not be professionally trained, nor have the production values of radio and television. As philosopher Nigel Warburton – serving on a panel in CCIG Forum 4 on the social sciences and the uses of Internet technologies – put it, just getting new online content out there is actually ‘kind of punk’.

How the Financial Crisis is Being Packaged for Public Consumption

How is the financial crisis being packaged for public consumption? I think there are four main ways this is being played. The first is to re-install a ‘business as usual’ narrative. This is one which is forging a new category of the ‘nervous public at risk’. It suggests that the main task is to re-secure the stability of the financial system, stimulate the consumer boom, re-capitalize the banks and re-stimulate the housing market.

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