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Inspector Rosenhan Visits The Asylum

As part of the Mad World exhibition which examined missing voices from the story of psychiatry. The word ‘Madness’ is a rich word, and in its labyrinths are held important stories of humanity. It means a lot of different things to different people, and for me it has come to be a word which sometimes symbolises the best qualities in humans. Billy, a man who is part of ‘the old and the bold’ that keep our ambulance service running told me:

“A man needs a little madness or else he never dares cut the rope and be free.”

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‘Future Shock’: The Crisis of Relationships Between Body, Mind and Environment by Anne Fernie

Nervous exhaustion, melancholy, Weltschmerz, ennui, alienation, neurasthenia, Americanitis, stress, chronic fatigue syndrome, burnout ~ the labels & the socio-cultural context may change yet the symptoms remain the same. We are not referring to issues of faulty brain chemistry here such as clinical depression, mania or psychosis, yet these common & everyday emotions are increasingly being perceived as mental health issues. Should they be? Existential malaise manifests itself in a myriad of symptoms with crucially, no definitive cause ever identified.

A common historical (and current) explanation is that of the socio-cultural, likened to a virus attacking the body but this psychic virus‘inflames’ the psyche (Schaffner, 2014), no more so than during times of rapid social change (Kury, 2012). I do not intend to present a clinical analysis of the ‘condition’ but, whilst acknowledging a consistent trajectory in the occurrence of this individual ‘dis-ease’ with life, focus on the presumptions, treatments and explanations of the times to demonstrate to what extent perceptions of ‘illness’ are influenced by social prejudices and expectations. Read more

Helping With Mum: Barriers to Accessing Higher Education

I would like to send a message to staff, teachers and tutors – all young adult carers need help. Some staff need to respect the fact that when we leave college or school at the end of the day, we don’t go home and go out with friends, we go home and take care of someone until they are in bed. It’s a hard job but it’s the best job ever.” Leanne: Voices of young adult carers.

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, England and Wales starts its 2013 report ‘Access and Inclusion: Young Adult Carers and Education and Training‘ with the above quote. I thought I would share this presentation: Read more

Binaries, Young Carers and The Barriers to Accessing Higher Education

“I would like to send a message to staff, teachers and tutors – all young adult carers need help. Some staff need to respect the fact that when we leave college or school at the end of the day, we don’t go home and go out with friends, we go home and take care of someone until they are in bed. It’s a hard job but it’s the best job ever.” Leanne: Voices of young adult carers Read more

The Corporate Takeover of Education

We are living in an age where increasingly the lifeworld we inherently own and share are becoming colonized with the values of the marketplace.  In short, everything is being bought and sold from under our feet and out of our lives.  This is a distinct and troubling trend where the idea of economic growth is metastasizing into a financialism which consumes everything in its wake.

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The Pornography of Benefits Street; Comments on Classificatory Struggles: Class, Culture and Inequality in Neoliberal Times by Prof Sarah Green

Professor Sarah Green works in Helsinki, having moved from Manchester last August to the faculty of Social Sciences to teach and do research on Social and Cultural Anthropology. Green’s field of study, borders and border dynamics has led her to question old theories on the matter. Green sees borders more as a phenomenon that is in the minds and realities of the people who move and stay put. “I prefer to talk about interfaces rather than borders,” she says.

Here are her comments on Imogen Tyler’s Keynote lecture “Classificatory Struggles: Class, Culture and Inequality in Neoliberal Times” which was given as the Annual Lecture for The Sociological Review on 20 February 2015. She was one of the guest speakers and reflected the importance of the content:

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Podcast: Professor Beverley Skeggs talks about Exploitation, Domination, Dispossession and Devaluation

Professor Beverley Skeggs talks about Exploitation, Domination, Dispossession and Devaluation. She worked at the Worcester College of Higher Education and the Universities of Keele, York, Lancaster and Manchester before joining the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths. She has also worked in the areas of Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies as well as Sociology.

Her research interests look at the issue of value and values. How do we know what value and values are? What do they do? The study of value/s has led her through issues of respectability in class and gender formation, an exploration of symbolic value through media and cultural formations.  She uses feminist and post structuralist theory, Pierre Bourdieu and the economic abstractions of Marx, to help unpick these issues. Read more

Podcast: Classificatory Struggles; Class, Culture and Inequality in Neoliberal Times by Dr Imogen Tyler

Dr Imogen Tyler talks about “Classificatory Struggles: Class, Culture and Inequality in Neoliberal Times” for the Sociological Review Annual Lecture.   This lecture was kindly shared via the Ragged University after getting permission from the journal and the speaker.

The content of the talk is to unpack the problems surround the portrayal of poverty and disembodiment of the term class from discourse.  Starting with an analysis of popularly dubbed ‘poverty porn’ she then spends time rooting down into what language is used in reportage and what concepts are helpful to deconstruct the Neoliberal cultural shifts we are seeing today. Read more

The Medium is the Means: The Industrial-Educational Complex

Marshall McLuhan is very well known for developing communications theory, and is famously attributed with the expression “The medium is the message”, which speaks of the different affordances which each medium has for communicating information. Speaking has different affordances from writing, radio has different affordances from television, clay has different affordances from paint… Read more

John Morrison: Pop Up Lesson in Summerhall

John Morrison does a pop up lesson in Royal Dick Vet Bar, inviting George Wilson to talk about MD20 demographics, which speaks of the most deprived people of the population.  With a focus on uptake of higher education by care leavers, the discussion explores various aspects of the social, cultural and economic aspects which might influence participation in education.

John and George flesh out the subject in the setting of Summerhall, an arts and cultural centre which is working out its identity in the Edinburgh landscape.  Housing many projects, social enterprises and businesses, the arrangement of the landscape suggests many possibilities. Read more