Introducing December’s theme: Postgraduate Research

Above: photograph by Hannah Ayres

Our theme on our digital platforms this month is a little different than is typical, as it is not characterised by a particular topical focus, or methodological or theoretical approach, but by submission we received from those currently pursuing PhD study.

At The Sociological Review we are always very keen to find ways to open spaces for new and emerging research. As is made evident through our manifesto, interventions from PhD researchers are often the ones that push the boundaries of the discipline, that illuminate sets of pressing issues in novel ways that enliven the sociological imagination. Against this backdrop, this month we wanted to open up our platforms to shine a light on new intellectual currents being pursued by the next generation of sociological thinkers.

We were certainly not disappointed by the submissions we received in response to our call. Quite the opposite in fact: we are absolutely delighted with the breadth and depth of the research that we are able to share with you this month. 

Madeleine Rungius writes for us about the sociology of emotions in the context of a study on prison. Rituparna Patgiri weaves theory and personal experience into her engaging account of food and academic networking, while Lily Quarton-Parsons explores how the space of ‘the outdoors’ is undergoing symbolic and material transformation in a time of COVID-19.  Rachel Fishberg turns the sociological gaze onto the production of knowledge in her ethnographic account of EU-funded research networks, whereas Romain Chenet’s discourse analysis-inspired piece provides some important lessons for those seeking to study the linguistics of policy documents. Spatialising class, and addressing the place-dynamics in a way that recalls some classic sociological attempts but with a new set of conceptualisations, Sophie Wootton reflects on fieldwork, empirical study, and ‘layers’. 

Nav Kaur uses the innovative conceptual category of abduction in unpacking masculinity, caste, and the body (as situated in local and transnational spaces).  Georgia Clancy – no relation to Laura it turns out – interrogates practices and perceptions of conformity with the maternity professionals, while Rebecca Porter turns our attention to the ongoing welfare reforms and the interventions made by disability rights groups in the context. Juan Pablo Gonzalez reports on research analysing intersectional resistance expressions in a region of Chile. A thought-provoking study engaged with decolonised futures, Vanessa Wintoneak tells us of the reflections away from human exceptionalism inspired by research walking with Derbarl Yerrigan, a river in South Western Australia.

This brief summary of what to expect this month only hints at the depth of research engagement underpinning these contributions. If you get the chance, we are sure that the blog authors would love to hear from you with reflections on their work.  

In addition to the blogs, for every monthly theme we select papers from our archive that fit our theme and make them free to access for the whole month. This month we wanted to show what PhD research looks like when it is published as a standalone article, and to highlight exciting work by ECRs recently post-PhD in the pages of the journal. We have chosen Laura Clancy’s 2020 paper ‘The corporate power of the British monarchy: Capital(ism), wealth and power in contemporary Britain’, and Bolaji Balogun’s ‘Race and racism in Poland: Theorising and contextualising ‘Polish-centrism’’. Both of these papers were based on the respective author’s PhD research. Laura Clancy also spoke with us about the process of transforming a thesis chapter into a publication; we launch the month’s blog with this interview, which contains invaluable hints and tips to those that would do.

And, further to the blogs, and these papers, we are also delighted to announce our Instagrammer-in-Residence this month, Hannah Ayres. Through our Instagram account, for the Hannah will be sharing her research that explores queer re/presentations in museums. Without wanting to pre-empt the material that is to go up elsewhere about the residency, Hannah has deployed visual methods – particularly photovoice/autophotography – to investigate her participants’ responses to the positioning of queer re/presentations in museums.

To say we’re excited about this month’s content is a bit of an understatement.

Throughout January, we’ll be taking our Annual Break from social media, publishing blogs. We’ll be back on February 1st with some news about the exciting ways in which we’re going to be doing sociology digitally in 2021. Look out for our call for submissions for the next year too. This’ll be published on Twitter soon – please do watch that space!

– The Digital Team

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