Forthcoming events: Public Lecture by Prof. Linden West

Tuesday 5th December, 7pm Involve Centre, Mint Lane

Distress in a city: racism, fundamentalism and a psychosocial imagination

Professor Linden West, Canterbury Christ Church University

The lecture draws on my recent book to explore the diverse problems of a post-industrial city – Stoke, where I was born – taken as representative of many similar communities across the Western world (West, 2016). Using auto/biographical narrative research, I have chronicled the diverse stories people tell, in different ethnic communities, including the stories of those attracted to racist organisations and religious fundamentalism, and even to Jihad. There is also widespread resentment among the white working class at the failures and judgementalism of political, economic and cultural elites, which found expression in support for the BNP, EDL, UKIP, and the vote for Brexit.

The rise of racism in white working class communities, and of Islamophobia, is mirrored by pockets of Islamic fundamentalism in predominantly Muslim communities. Processes of social, cultural and intergenerational fragmentation, and the crisis of multiculturalism, connect with rapid economic decline, a malfunctioning representative democracy, an epidemic of mental illness and the decline of public space, all located within a more individualised, social Darwinist culture. To understand these dynamics requires, I suggest, an interdisciplinary psychosocial imagination, reaching back to the Chicago School of Sociology and forward to a more holistic appreciation of the importance of recognition in human well-being, encompassing intimate, psychological and socio-cultural worlds, and drawing on the insights of psychoanalysis and critical theory.
I will also refer to historical as well as contemporary research (West, 2017) to illuminate where resources of hope lie, which includes the past and potential role of universities in building a more democratised, inclusive and cooperative learning culture.

Readings
West L (2016) Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and democratic education.
London: Trentham
West, L. (2017) Resisting the enormous condescension of posterity: Richard Henry Tawney, Raymond Williams and the long struggle for a democratic education. International Journal of Lifelong Education. Special issue, The Learning Adult. 36, 1 &2, 129-144.

Other references
Honneth, A. (2009) Pathologies of reason: on the legacy of critical theory. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rose, J. (2010) The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. 2nd Edn. New York: Yale University Press.

Professor Linden West works at Canterbury Christ Church University, and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca. He is the author of many books and articles, derived from auto/biographical narrative enquiry, and using an interdisciplinary psychosocial theoretical framing. The books include Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and a democratic education; Doctors on the edge: healing and learning in the inner city; and Beyond Fragments, adults, motivation and higher education, a biographical analysis. He co-authored Using biographical methods in social research with Barbara Merrill and co-edited Psychoanalysis and Education, Minding a Gap, with Alan Bainbridge. He jointly co-ordinates a European Life History and Biography Research Network and is a registered psychoanalytical psychotherapist.

Reading: Community Perception

OBrien-Wilson-2011-Community-Perception-The-ability-to-assess-the-safety-of-unfamiliar-neighborhoods-and-respond-adaptively

Here’s the reading for our next session in our new course on Housing & the Built Environment: Building Pro-sociality, with David McAleavey and Karolina Szynalska. 7pm at Mint Lane.

Dr David Hughes: War & the Media

Prof. Nigel Curry has had to postpone his lecture on the Growth Economy due to family reasons.  We are super glad to announce this excellent late replacement:

Public lecture 7pm, Tuesday 3rd September 2017

How independent is the “free media”? To what extent does it serve to hold government to account, and to what extent does it act as an instrument of propaganda? This lecture will explore those questions in relation to war by analysing a series of wars from World War II through Vietnam and the Falklands to the Gulf War, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Participants will be encouraged to think critically about the news channels they follow and the kinds of messages they are being exposed to.

Everyone welcome.  Free of charge.

Involve Centre, Mint Lane, Lincoln

History tour of St Giles

In a time when Lincoln is about to expand yet again this tour will concentrate of the very first attempt to build a large-scale social housing project in the City, starting with the purchase of 60 acres of prime land by the City of Lincoln before the start of the WW1, and a fiery meeting of the Lincoln Trades & Labour Council in which its members vowed to prevail against all opposition and get every working family a home “with a bathtub” and out of the squalor of Lincoln’s old slums. 

We will talk about how this movement swept up the local establishment and combined perfectly with the influential garden-city movement to create the green spaces and decent homes on a scale and with such attention to detail rarely seen today.

We will also touch of the eponymous church, and the remarkable story of transformation from an empty white elephant near the Stonebow to being moved brick-by-brick to the serve the needs of this new community, the struggles of local planners to deal with the problem of hundreds of newly-arrive children swamping the local schools and how the estate changed the face of Lincoln, both up-hill and down-hill forever.

Meet 1pm Saturday, 2nd September (following monthly meeting at 12noon), Jubilee Hall, adjacent to St Giles Parish Church