ESRI Seminars Spring Term 2017

ESRI Seminars Spring Term 2017

Wednesday 25th January 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G17

Professor Deborah Youdell, University of Birmingham, UK

A case for biosocial education

This paper makes a case for biosocial education as a field of research and as a potential framework for education practice. It engages with  sociology of education¹s contemporary interests in embodiment and  affect, the possibilities offered by concept studies, and uses of assemblage and complexity theory for thinking about educational phenomena. It also considers broader social science and political theory engagements with epigenetics and neuroscience. The paper examines the legacy of the biology/sociology split and the risks, limits and potentialities of degrounded collaborative trans-disciplinary biosocial research. The paper considers developments in biosciences that may have particular resonance and promise for education, in particular the epigenetics of care and stress and the metabolomics of diet. The paper argues that education should engage with bioscience to interrogate the folding together of the social, cultural, biographical, pedagogic, political, affective, neurological, and biological in the interactive production of students and learning.


Bio: Deborah Youdell is Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her work is concerned with how inequalities are connected to subjectivities, everyday practices, pedagogy, institutional processes and policy, spanning issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, social class, ability and disability and underpinned by engagements with post-structural thinking about power, the subject, space, and the political. She is a current holder of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship bringing emerging knowledge in the new biological sciences together with sociological accounts of schooling and subjectivity.  She is author of several books and is currently working with molecular biologist Martin Lindley on a book, Biosocial Education, to be published by Rutledge.




Wednesday 15th February 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G17

Dr Rachel Rosen, University College London, UK

‘The Scream’:  Sociological reflections on the politics of voice and early childhood ‘soundscapes’

Abstract:  TBC

Bio: Rachel Rosen is the Programme Leader of the MA in Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights at University College London. Her research is concerned with the politics of children and childhood, including the intersections of generation with other relations of inequity.


Wednesday 8th March 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G17

Professor Matthew Clarke, York St John University, UK

Beyond reproductive futurism and cruel optimism: Teaching-learning as world spectatorship

As in other areas of life in contemporary capitalist society, schooling, teaching and teacher education have been colonised by a discourse that justifies present sacrifice in the name of future returns. Moreover, an avowedly meritocratic ethic underpins the distribution of these returns, which are deemed to be available to anyone on the basis of effort and/or talent alone, with no distinctions drawn along (purportedly) out-dated lines of age, class, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. The logic of this worldview is neatly captured in the title of the UK Government’s March 2016 White Paper – Educational Excellence Everywhere. The current paper draws on conceptual resources from psychoanalytic theory, including disavowal, sublimation and world spectatorship (Silverman, 2000) – a view of human subjects as worldy spectators, looking from a “there” which is not our own (p. 73), but rather a space of partnership between the world and the human in which we are co-implicated in the perpetually incomplete, yet perpetually renewed, generation of care, meaning and beauty – to consider ways in which teachers and teacher educators might resist their co-option into the cruelly optimistic, reproductively futuristic and ultimately fantasmatic logics of contemporary education policy and practice.

Reference: Silverman, K. (2000). World spectators. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Bio: Prior to taking up his current post as Professor of Education at York St John University, Matthew taught and researched at universities in Australia, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. He has also taught in schools and language centres in England and Australia. His undergraduate studies were in politics and philosophy, and his research and writing are characterised by enduring concerns with issues of politics and questions of identity in relation to education and teaching. His work has appeared in a range of journals, such as the Journal of Education Policy, Critical Studies in Education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and the Cambridge Journal of Education. In recent years he has been grappling with the complexities and challenges of psychoanalytic theory and seeking to draw on its insights in order to analyse and critique education policy. His latest book, published by Routledge in January 2017 and co-authored with Anne Phelan of the University of British Columbia, Canada, is Teacher Education and the Political: The Power of Negative Thinking.


Wednesday 22nd March 2017: 16:00 – 17:30, Brooks Building, Room G17

Professor Helen Gunter, University of Manchester, UK

An Intellectual History of School Leadership

In this talk I will present a framework for undertaking and constructing Intellectual Histories, and I will deploy this framework in regard to the field of school leadership. I will then examine the ways in which this can be used and open it up for conversation about potential new insights. This work is based on nearly thirty years of thinking, reading and research. The current work is reported in my new book published by Bloomsbury: An Intellectual History of School Leadership Practice and Research.

Bio: Helen Gunter is Professor of Educational Policy and Sarah Fielden Professor of Education in The Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, UK. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and recipient of the BELMAS Distinguished Service Award 2016. She co-edits the Journal of Educational Administration and History. Her work focuses on the politics of education policy and knowledge production in the field of school leadership. Her most recent books are: Leadership and the Reform of Education published in 2012 by Policy Press; Educational Leadership and Hannah Arendt published in 2014 by Routledge; An Intellectual History of School Leadership Practice and Research in 2016 by Bloomsbury Press; and Consultants and Consultancy: the Case of Education, coauthored with Colin Mills, 2016 by Springer.