Saturday, June 07, 2008

"Subjectivity: Critical Psychology, Cultural Studies and Social Theory," School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, June 27-29, 2008.

This conference explores shifting conceptualisations of subjectivity in contemporary culture, politics, social science and theory. Although subjectivity is a key analytic term in fields as diverse as critical psychology, postcolonial studies, film theory, gender studies, social theory, geography, anthropology and cultural studies, it is rarely discussed in its own right. The conference attempts to explore subjectivity as a locus of social change, to rethink possibilities for everyday social interventions, to explore how subjectivities are produced and how emerging subjectivities remake our social worlds. We are interested in proposals for papers and symposia whose scope falls within or between one of the following areas: Embodiment, Affect, Materiality: The emergence of 'body-theory' across the humanities has transformed the terrain in which questions about power, ideology, discourse and subjectivity can be asked. There is a move to dismantle the idea of separation between the body and the world and to see bodies as always gesturing towards practices, energies, things and intensities beyond themselves. This focus on process, connection, relationality and bodily affectivity traverses a diverse range of disciplines and is forcing a reconsideration of our understanding of subjectivity. In this stream we welcome papers that might deal with areas such as 'carnal knowing', the sentient body, embodiment, critical perspectives on cyberculture and the machine-human symbiosis, new materialism, affective labour and care, disability and the critiques of the 'able body', somatic feeling and the non-cognitive, for example. New Political Subjectivities/New Social Movements: A developing body of scholarship examines the production of new subjectivities and social movements in a moment marked by neoliberalism, de/re-territorialising capitalism and emerging new sensibilities in relation to gender, sexuality, transnational mobility and racial and religious differences. What role are the media and new information and communication technologies playing in the production of new femininities, masculinities and sexualities - and resistance to them? What kinds of social movements are emerging to address global injustice related to the transformation of labour and the new conditions for the production of science and technology, biotech and medical rationalities? How adequately have our theoretical vocabularies engaged with new social, political and cultural complexities related to processes of racialization and migration? What new possibilities are there for interdisciplinary work that creates new spaces and dialogues, activism and interventions? Redistributing the Psychological: For many years, critical psychologists and social theorists have attempted to move away from an individualist concept of the psychological. Some psychologists attempted to rework what was understood as on the inside to the outside through the concepts of discourse, activity and narrative; sociologists have attempted to understand what constitutes the psychological through exploring its position within the social and cultural lifeworld; social theorists have attempted to expand the concept beyond reductionist notions of the subject. While these attempts are all important, how successful are they? What is the future of critical studies of psychology and of the psychological? How can we develop work which goes beyond the psychological while still being able to accommodate and understand singularity and experience? Visit the conference homepage here:

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