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Storying self-defence: Women’s Narratives of Resisting Street Harassment
29th January 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Dr Jennifer Fleetwood (Goldsmiths, University of London)

After Weinstein the question of sexual harassment has received renewed attention. Research shows thats sexual harassment is widespread at work, in relationships, and on the street. But research often tells only half the story: although we know much about harassment, little research has looked at women’s responses. This presentation examines over 500 first person accounts of street harassment submitted to the London branch of the online feminist organisation, Hollaback! between 2012 and 2017. Firstly, quantitative analysis reveals the everyday kinds of self-defence undertaken by women in response to street harassment such as speaking or shouting at harassers, walking away or ignoring. These stories challenge the myth of women’s passivity, and by implication, men’s power. Secondly, narrative analysis was undertaken. It is argued that women’s narratives of harassment do not just describe harassment, but motivate everyday self-defence against street harassment. 

Teaching and Learning Together: Understanding Justice in HMP Belmarsh
5th February 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Dr Alison Lamont, Dr Amanda Holt, Dr Finola Farrant, Dr Jennifer Melvin (University of Roehampton)

In the Autumn semester of this academic year, the University of Roehampton ran a third year Criminology module entitled Understanding Justice in HMP Belmarsh. Every Wednesday, ten Roehampton students joined ten freshly enrolled students residing in HMP Belmarsh for this fully accredited module built around a "learning together" model. Though the course content and environment were challenging, all participating students have reported very high levels of engagement and enjoyment.

This staff seminar takes the opportunity to reflect on the experience of teaching on this module. Chaired by Dr Alison Lamont, the convenor of the Understanding Justice module, the seminar aims to share experience and answer questions about this exciting opportunity. She will be in conversation with Dr Finola Farrant, who set up the partnership between the Roehampton and Belmarsh, and Dr Jen Melvin and Dr Amanda Holt who guest lectured on separate sessions during the module. Together, we will reflect on the challenges and benefits of teaching in a Category A prison; working with a mixed group of ability, age and gender; learning without technology; and the joy of getting into prison.

If you are interested in educational opportunities in prisons, universities' outreach agendas, teaching mixed groups, or curious about the module for next year, then come and join us!

From this City to the World: Street Crime in a Globalized Context
19th February 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Johnny Ilan (City University)

This paper reflects on the extent to which contemporary street crime, from drug dealing to violence, sits at the apex of a range of global processes. Whilst the story of northern deindustrialisation and the hollowing out of inner-city life in the developed world has become depressingly familiar, the arguably more severe socio-economic changes in the developing world are arguably ignored by many criminologists. It remains the case, however, that drugs and weapons (and indeed an ever-renewing pool of marginalized individuals) often have their origins in destabilized and impoverished developing countries. Urban criminology risks missing vital parts of the puzzle if it restricts its lens to what is occurring within the northern city alone and should be more attuned to global flows if it is to better understand what is occurring locally. 

Charity research reports on homophobia in educational contexts: Claims-making as a tool of trauma construction ​
26th February 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Mark McCormack (University of Roehampton)

Gay rights charities and stakeholder groups published eight research reports on the homophobic bullying of young people in educational settings between 2012 and 2015. This article presents a discursive and thematic analysis of these documents to argue that they are a form of influence-based evidence—where stakeholder groups try to influence policy through creating an evidence-base rather than directly making policy. By demonstrating the claims-making activities in these reports, and evaluating the rigour of their evidence base, it is argued that the charities concerned are using these research documents as an attempt to install a master narrative of homophobic bullying as a ‘cultural trauma’ in British society. The implications this has for how these documents should be used as resources for social policy related to sexuality are examined, and a more nuanced and sophisticated approach to engaging with research funded and published by charities more generally is required. ​

Profaning the (advertising) city: subvertising and the potential of chaos
5th March 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Thomas Dekeyser (University of Southampton)

The protagonist in Friedrich Nietzsche’s novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2006: 9) proclaims that ‘one must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star’. But, he is quick to add, ‘Beware! The time approaches when human beings will no longer give birth to a dancing star.’ (ibid.) With this statement, Nietzsche predicts an obsession with fixity and order in which much is lost and forgotten, in which chaos, as a pre-condition of (self-)transformation, is smoothened out to the point of depletion. Can we think of urban spatial hegemony as an expression of Nietzsche’s prediction, exerting its power in the guise of a ‘natural’ order, cleanliness and foreclosing of chaos?

In this paper, I draw on fieldwork with subvertisers (those illegally intervening into outdoor advertising space), to suggest that a particular ideal of urban space, that of a ‘regime of order’, is folded into the hegemonic spatial management of urban life by advertising actors through processes of ‘consecration’. These processes are simultaneously material, legal, technological and social. Like one of Agamben’s acts of ‘profanation’, on the one hand subvertising makes visible the ‘natural’, sacred appearance of this urban regime, on the other hand it reveals alternative expressions of urban space. Here I trace the alternative forms of spatiality and relations to urban space actively cultivated through subvertiser’s being in space, and its insistence on taking seriously the affective charge of a disorderly city of excess, surprise, contestation and expanded social expressiveness. Such efforts, I suggest, offer a modest glimpse of a post-advertising city. 

Visions of Obamageddon: the Political Foundations of “Doomsday” Prepping in the contemporary American Right
12th March 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Michael Mills (University of Kent)

This paper examines the political foundations and significance of “doomsday” prepping – an American activity centred on storing food, water, and weapons in preparation for social collapse – during Barack Obama’s two terms as President of the United States. Prepping’s popularity has surged remarkably post-2008, and prevailing understandings of this trend suggest it has been closely intertwined with a wider growth of White Supremacist and extreme anti-government activity during Obama’s presidential administrations (and now continuing into the 'Trump era'). These understandings suggest that, in this setting, preppers’ activities have recently been undergirded by ‘paranoid’ fears of federal tyranny under the country’s first African-American president. Drawing on ethnography with thirty-nine American preppers in 2014, this paper offers a new understanding of prepping as a more mainstream political phenomenon. It shows that while prepping has indeed been energised by Obama-related concerns, many preppers’ fears have been closely aligned with popular right-wing thinking within and around the United States’ ‘Tea Party’ movement. The paper therefore rejects established narratives suggesting the recent rise of prepping has been premised on fringe, extremist ideologies. It argues, instead, that many preppers’ activities emanate from ideas and fearful outlooks that have: increasingly resonated in mainstream American conservatism throughout the past fifty years, gained particular traction in popular right-wing reactions to Obama’s presidency, and continued throughout the rise of Donald Trump. Building on this, the article contends that prepping’s existence as a popular phenomenon ought to be explained (in part) as an outcome and exemplification of recent shifts in mainstream right-wing thought that have popularised hard-right ideology and fearful outlooks towards opposing ideas and leaders.

Innovative approaches to asylum-seeker reception: Learning from the Utrecht Refugee Launchpad
19th March 2018, 1-1:50PM,  in Hirst 209
Caroline Oliver (University of Roehampton)

The dominant approach to asylum seeker reception is characterised by enforced passivity for asylum seekers, leading to delayed integration for those granted asylum. The Utrecht Refugee Launchpad (URLP) is an initiative led by Utrecht city council, in collaboration with a range of partners, including universities, co-housing and refugee NGOs and a social enterprise, that aims to develop a more dynamic, socially inclusive and ‘future-free integration process’ for asylum seekers. The project brings asylum seekers together with local young people in a disadvantaged community to live and learn together, through co-housing with local young people from the neighbourhood, English language classes and entrepreneurship programmes offered to inhabitants from both the centre and local neighbourhood. The aims of the project are to generate social bonding among participants, reduce local hostility, equip participants with new skills to facilitate integration there or elsewhere, and encourage a reframing of asylum seekers’ narratives. This paper will present findings from research conducted during the first year of the project, offering insight into multiple perspectives on the innovation drawn from surveys, interviews and participant observation and briefly reflect on the challenges of conducting research into this local level innovation.