Home / ECR / ESRI Seminar Series – Summer 2017

ESRI Seminar Series – Summer 2017

The Education and Social Research Institute is one of the leading UK centres for applied educational research and evaluation, and a thriving research community.

Anthropology and/as education
Professor Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen, UK
Wednesday 26th April 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room 2.19


Anthropology is a generous, open-ended, comparative and yet critical inquiry into the conditions and possibilities of life in the one world we all inhabit. But these principles – of generosity, open-endedness, comparison and criticality – are also cornerstones of education. Thus I go beyond an exploration of the interface between the disciplines of anthropology and education to argue for their more fundamental identity. This argument, however, calls for a reassessment on both sides. On the side of anthropology, we have to depart from the established view that it is about making studies of different peoples and their worlds, and recognise that it is about going to study with them: it is, in that sense, to undergo an education. And it is to acknowledge that this education carries the responsibility, on the part of its recipients, to become educators themselves. Teaching is thus as essential to the practice of anthropology as is the learning that takes place through participant observation. On the side of education, it is necessary to overturn the traditional view of teaching and learning as the transmission of authorised knowledge from one generation to the next. I argue instead for a view of education as a ‘leading out’ (from the Latin, ex-ducere) of novices into the world that opens up paths of intellectual growth and discovery, without predetermined outcomes or fixed end-points. It is about attending to things, rather than acquiring the knowledge that absolves us of the need to do so; about exposure rather than self-defence. As with the anthropologists’ participant observation, the paths of education are often difficult to follow and entail considerable existential risk. The ‘school’ for the educator, like the ‘field’ for the anthropologist, is a place where people gather to follow such paths together. The task of the teacher, then, is not to explicate knowledge for the benefit of those who are assumed, by default, to be ignorant, but to provide inspiration, guidance and criticism in the exemplary pursuit of truth. I conclude that by joining forces, and by recognising their common purpose, anthropology and education have the power to transform the world.

Biography: Tim Ingold is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, and a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Following 25 years at the University of Manchester, where he was appointed Max Gluckman Professor of Social Anthropology in 1995, Ingold moved in 1999 to Aberdeen, where he went on to establish the UK’s newest Department of Anthropology. Ingold has carried out ethnographic fieldwork among Saami and Finnish people in Lapland, and has written on comparative questions of environment, technology and social organisation in the circumpolar North, as well as on the role of animals in human society, on issues in human ecology, and on evolutionary theory in anthropology, biology and history. In his more recent work, he went on to explore the links between environmental perception and skilled practice. Ingold’s latest research pursues three lines of inquiry that emerged from his earlier work, concerning the dynamics of pedestrian movement, the creativity of practice, and the linearity of writing. He is currently writing and teaching on issues on the interface between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. Ingold is the author of many books, including The Perception of the Environment (2000), Lines (2007),Being Alive (2011), Making (2013) and The Life of Lines (2015).

School Toilets: Queer, disabled bodies and gendered lessons of embodiment
Dr. Charlotte Jones and Dr. Jen Slater, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Wednesday 10th May 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G16

In this paper we argue that school toilets function as one civilising site (Elias, 1978) in which children learn that disabled and queer bodies are out of place. The small body of existing school toilet literature generally works from a normative position which implicitly perpetuates dominant and oppressive ideals. We draw on data from Around the Toilet, a collaborative research project with queer, trans and disabled people (aroundthetoilet.wordpress.com) to critically interrogate this work. In doing this we consider ‘toilet training’ as a form of ‘civilisation’, that teaches lessons around identity, embodiment and ab/normal ways of being in the world. Furthermore, we show that ‘toilet training’ continues into adulthood, albeit in ways that are less easily identifiable than in the early years. We therefore call for a more critical, inclusive, and transformative approach to school toilet research.

Audio walks, sense-making and sound
Dr. Kate Moles, Cardiff University, UK
Wednesday 24th May 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G16

This paper will present some ideas around a set of participant-produced audio walks to develop understandings of how we make and traverse areas using guides and tours. I think about how audio walks invite participants to attune differently with the world around them, and how these particular audio walks opened up (sound)spaces of discovery, alternative lines of inquiry and intrigue, providing participants with different resources for making sense of the routes they walked. Drawing on ideas of the flaneur, I think about how we navigate the city, how the material culture of the streets combine with audio narratives of the past and present, and how audio walks can offer non-linear, ‘messy’ accounts of the places they bring people.

Biography: Kate Moles is a lecturer in sociology at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences. Her research interests converge around place, memory, heritage and mobility. She has an enduring interest in mobile methods, particularly walking, and has developed this with reference to sound, mapping and the idea of tours, as well as an emerging interest in photographs and photographic practice in qualitative research.

Child as method: Brexit, the pedagogy of failure, and how intergenerational relations structure the resistance of racist discourse to analysis
Professor Erica Burman, University of Manchester, UK
Wednesday 21st June 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G16

This talk extends an analytical approach I call ‘child as method’ formulated as a contribution to pedagogies of and for decolonization. Here I read the position accorded ‘the child’/children as constitutive of the production and justification for racism, taking a key (but little discussed) psychoanalytic text that explores the dynamics of (self and other) misrecognition, with corresponding exclusionary effects. Octave Mannoni’s (1969) essay, ‘I know well, but all the same’, explores how cultural rituals involving the deception of children are pivotal to forms of socially shared, apparently wilful, adherence to convictions that are recognised to be untrue. This motif not only underlies much racist discourse but also accounts for its intractable deniability and so persistence. After outlining Mannoni’s argument I, first, apply this to contemporary illustrations of racism and nationalism, before, secondly, mobilising an anticolonial sensitivity informed by the work of Frantz Fanon (who vigorously critiqued Manonni’s work), to show how Mannoni reveals himself to be subject to the same (racialised) dynamics he identified. However, mobilising a psychoanalytically-attuned ‘pedagogy of failure’ (after Fanon), such ‘mistakes’ can be fruitful. Indeed Mannoni’s account prompts a re-reading of Fanon’s claims about children and childhood. Reflecting on all this, I discuss how ‘child as method’ resists the traditional modern and Western abstraction of the child from sociopolitical relations that position it as ‘other’, showing instead the mutual configuration of generational and racialised attributions that underlie differential entitlements, including the dynamics of othering.

Biography: Erica Burman is Professor of Education at the University of Manchester, and a United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists registered Group Analyst. She trained as a developmental psychologist, and is well known as a critical developmental psychologist and methodologist specialising in innovative and activist qualitative research. She is the author of DeconstructingDevelopmental Psychology (Routledge, 3rd edition, 2017), Developments: child, image, nation (Routledge, 2008), and co-editor (with Dan Cook) of the SAGE Encyclopaedia of Childhood Studies (forthcoming). Her research has focused on critical developmental and educational psychology, feminist and postcolonial theory, childhood studies, and on critical mental health practice (particularly around gender and cultural issues). She has co-led funded research projects on conceptualising and challenging state and interpersonal violence in relation to minoritised women and children, and on educational and mental health impacts of poverty and ‘austerity’.

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Lucy Simpson
Humanities in Public Media Assistant
lucy.simpson@mmu.ac.uk