Wednesday, 13 December 2006

In the Abstract

No not a piece of modern painting. I'm talking about the academic convention. There's a postgrad conference taking place in Newcastle on January 20th and I hope to unleash some aspects of my research on my peers. The main problem is they're a bunch of politics types and I'm not. But like I care! I've sat in many a political science seminar without being able to understand the proceedings and now it's payback time!

Here it is:

Walking the Tightrope: Some Political and Ethical Dilemmas of a
Movement-Relevant PhD

Abstract: The American Sociological Association’s endorsement of ‘public sociology’ has dominated debate in American sociology and has spilled over into other English-speaking national sociological fields. The call for sociology to seek a wider audience appears attractive but there are a number of problems too. One key criticism is that public sociology overlooks how the methodology of existing sociological research empowers participants in contrast to the top-down practices implicitly bound up with the ‘populist turn’ to public sociology. Unfortunately sociological research that aims to be relevant to movements cannot escape power effects notwithstanding the intentions of researchers. This dilemma is heightened when producing a thesis that is geared toward movement relevance but with the additional objective of obtaining a PhD. This paper confronts the spectre of 'liberal surveillance' by looking at the responses of far left activists to the author's research. The central dilemma is whether the value of movement relevancy outweighs the benefits institutional and counter-movement actors would gain from its liberal surveillance effects.

Guaranteed to be the talk of the town I'm sure.

In the words of a much-maligned UKLN'er, comments on the above most welcome.


Brian C. said...

Phil, nice blog.

What exactly is your Phd thesis about?

Phil said...

Hi Brian, my PhD is about the radicalisation and commitment of socialist activists. Next week I'll post up a full research description.