We are pleased to invite contributions which explore pressing matters of public concern in terms of personal troubles, linking the biographical to the historical and the everyday to the institutional. Examples might include issues such as the crisis in social care, racism post-Brexit or housing struggles but we are open to any suggestions that fit within the theme. Please see the first post in the series as an example of what a contribution might look like.
The series curator Bev Skeggs, The Sociological Review's Editor At Large, has offered some suggestions for potential contributors:
- The key issue is to relate affect and emotion to public policy, institutions and politics. This is to show how institutions and structures are experienced intimately.
- Context is absolutely essential. Remember the blog is read by international audiences and so institutions have to be explained.
- Statistics and comparisons are often helpful as they show the specificity of the setting. I added in costs as few of my friends believed me when I first told them.
- Quotes may help if they are given a context and explained.
- Remember this type of writing is really hard as you are excavating very personal issues. It's the hardest thing I've ever written. My piece began six months ago as I was trying to make sense of the horror that was happening around me. Writing became a form of evidencing as I tried to answer my own questions: "Did that really happen? Did they really do that? Did they really say that?" The 1.5k word final article came from over 20k of evidence. Crafting it into shape took days, really painful days, as I had to think of what was the key issue amongst many.
- I also had to think about what did it mean to use such personal information on a public forum. For me it was a protest blog, a shout out, designed to warn people that this could happen to them. My experience was a whole education in privatisation. I wanted to evidence the costs, both personal and public, of the system not working. I also wanted to show how this was a national crisis that could affect and effect everybody and how people were and will continue to die as a result of political negligence.
- It is also worth thinking about what does it mean to make your personal troubles into public issues? Who do you want to speak to, and why. And why do you have the authority to tell your story?
- As with all writing it is worth asking your friends who are not academics to read to see if it makes sense to them. My friends asked for more context.
- Try telling your story out loud to a person to see what captures their attention. The blog is for a public as well as academic audiences.
Contribution should be between 750-2000 words, written in an accessible style and use hyperlinks rather than references.
Please e-mail a brief synopsis of 100-200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org