This volume provides a set of new approaches for the investigation of the contemporary world. Building on the increasing importance of methodologies that cut across disciplines, more than twenty expert authors explain the utility of 'devices' for social and cultural research – their essays cover such diverse devices as the list, the pattern, the event, the photograph, the tape recorder and the anecdote.
This fascinating collection stresses the open-endedness of the social world, and explores the ways in which each device requires the user to reflect critically on the value and status of contemporary ways of making knowledge. With a range of genres and styles of writing, each chapter presents the device as a hinge between theory and practice, ontology and epistemology, and explores whether and how methods can be inventive. The book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars of sociology and cultural studies.
Celia Lury is Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at University of Warwick. Her substantive research interests are focused on the sociology of culture and feminist theory. She explores contemporary developments in the culture industry with a special focus on changing cultural forms. Her recent publications include the jointly authored book The Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things (Polity, 2007, with S. Lash) and the introduction to a special issue of the European Journal of Social Theory on ‘What is the empirical?’. More recently, she has become interested in the relations between methods, space and representation in the context of an exploration of the value of topology for social science.
Nina Wakeford is Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London and a visual artist. Her interests include the ways in which collaborations can be forged between social science and design, and the way in which ethnography has been put to use in the design of new technologies. She is particularly concerned with the ways in which contemporary social and cultural theory can play a part in the design process, and how aspects of practice-led disciplines can be brought back into sociology, in particular though science and technology studies. Amongst her publications are papers on virtual methodologies, queer identities, and visual representations in design work.
Understandings of globalization have been little explored in relation to gender or related concerns such as identity, subjectivity and the body. This book contrasts `the natural' and `the global' as interpretive strategies, using approaches from feminist cultural theory. The book begins by introducing the central themes: ideas of the natural; questions of scale and context posed by globalization and their relation to forms of cultural production; the transformation of genealogy; and the emergence of interest in definitions of life and life forms. The authors explores these questions through a number of case studies including Benneton advertising, Jurassic Park, The Body Shop, British Airways, Monsanto and Dolly the Sheep. In order to respecify the `nature, culture and gender' concerns of two decades of feminist theory, this highly original book reflects, hypothesizes and develops new interpretive possibilities within established feminist analytical frames.
The collection is structured around the inter-linked concepts of genre, inter-subjectivity and memory. Whilst exemplifying the very different levels of autobiographical activity going on in feminist studies, the contributions chart a movement from autobiography as genre to autobiography as cultural practice, and from the analysis of autobiographical texts to a preoccupation with autobiography as method.