Down the Pan: New Directions in the Sociology of Dirt

Time: 9:30am – 5:00pm, Monday 20th March, 2017

Location: The Kelvinhall 1445 Argyle St, Glasgow, G3 8AW

This symposium starts from Mary Douglas’ dictum that dirt is matter out of place before moving out to explore material forms of ‘dirt’ in different societies, the multiple forms of marginalisation that follow in the wake of the dirty, and the productive powers of that which can be otherwise considered ‘dirty’.

This one day symposium draws together sociologists and anthropologists from across Europe working at the cutting edge of research into dirt and pollution. The day presents research from around the world examining dirt, pollution and recycling and reuse, as well an exploring innovative forms of data collection and analysis, such as group ethnography material culture, and novel forms of knowlege exchange, such as comedy. Bringing together social scientists, material culture and comedy creates a space to explore new ways of asking research questions and collecting data, new forms of analysis and novel ways of engaging the public with the sociology of dirt.

The symposium takes places at the multi-use Kelvinhall facility at the University of Glasgow, enabling creative engagement with the Hunterian Museum. The day will comprise sociological and anthropological talks on recent research into dirt, a photograph exhibition of the work of Christian, tactile engagement with ‘dirty’ material culture and stand up comedy on menstruation and the pelvic floor.

Altogether, the day creates a space to think about dirt sociologically, and think about ways to think about and present sociological research in this field.

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