Jovan at Culture Matters (and, not coincidentally, with me at Macquarie’s anthro department) pointed out to me a conference in Manchester. Titled, Vital Signs: Researching Real Life, the conference is an interdisciplinary meeting to think about how to do research on the kinds of complex tangles that we seem to gravitate towards at Neuroanthropology. The meeting will 9-11 September 2008 at Manchester University. The website describes how:
We are using the concept of ‘real lives’ in an open way to stimulate debate about how research methodologies and methods in the social sciences and beyond can rise to the challenge of producing knowledge and understandings that are ‘vital’ and that resonate with complex and multi-dimensional lived realities.
The call for abstracts is online and outlines the following areas for discussion:
- Methods for researching nature, culture, the material and the social
- Researching visual, auditory, tactile and other sensory realms
- Bridging different disciplines in understanding real life; for example, combining ‘social science’, ‘science’, ‘art’, ‘literature’, ‘history’ and ‘journalism’
- Mixing methods in real life research. Eg How do we, how can we, combine ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ approaches? Can we transcend that divide?
- Accessing, measuring, and representing real life. What counts as ‘evidence’?
- Authenticity, rigour and rhetoric in real life research
- Researching intersubjectivity, memory, emotions, and humour
- Communicating and disseminating real life research (in a vital way?)
- Challenges in analysing real life data
- Real life research in policy and politics
- Participatory real life research
- Real life research ethics and moralities
- What is real life? Theorising real life
Keynote speakers are Les Back, Tim Ingold and Carolyn Steedman (more info on them here).
Overall, might be worth an inquiry if you’re going to be anyway near Manchester in September.