Month: May 2013

Beckham and Ferguson: A Tale of Two Masculinities

By David Rowe
reblogged from the Institute of Culture and Society Blog

David and Victoria Beckham at an event Two of the most recognisable figures of the global game, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham, OBE, announced their retirements within the space of a week. The former’s was major news only for the legions of association football (soccer) fans around the world, and especially for supporters of its most glamorous club, Manchester United. The latter’s was registered even by those with little or no interest in football.

Their contrasting careers and personalities tell us something of import about the profound changes to sport, celebrity and masculinity that occurred over the decades spanning these two notable football lives.

Those changes are inscribed in the very faces of ‘Fergie’ and ‘Becks’. The redoubtable Ferguson’s visage bears all the marks of ‘old school’ footballing men. A craggy Scot in the mould of the legendary Bill Shankly of Liverpool FC, he was normally seen during matches scowling through slanted eyes, furiously masticating a strip of gum, bibulous features becoming ruddier, constantly infuriated by a hostile, vindictive world.

Ferguson’s dealings with the media were grand projections of this uncompromising demeanour – when he spoke to them at all, and caught reluctantly in the TV camera’s glare, he was wary and curt, and often acerbic and contemptuous. It was characteristic that he did not hold a media conference to announce his impending retirement. Even when he celebrated victory, Sir Alex seemed still to be settling nameless scores, relishing his ‘alpha’ triumph over inferior pretenders.

Ferguson was an old time football insider, keeping a generally low profile outside the game apart from a predictably fractious share of some horseflesh. He was disdainful of outside distractions, and especially of ‘new’ football men whose attention to style contrasted so obviously with his own determinedly gruff presentation of traditional masculinity. Which is where David Beckham comes in.

Tutored by Ferguson from his teenage years onwards, Beckham was not to acquire his mentor’s aggressive mannerisms. Blessed with androgynous boy band good looks, his halting high voice set him apart from the machismo displayed by many of male football’s managers, players, owners, board members and fans of the early nineties and preceding decades.

Beckham’s shyness and infamous initial inarticulacy came across as vulnerability. He was never to be the kind of meat-and-potatoes British footballer with whom Ferguson was instinctively more familiar and comfortable. The founding of the English Premier League in 1992 corresponded with Beckham’s senior professional debut.

The flood of BSkyB subscription television money that followed transformed English football’s labour force – within a few years, the majority of managers and players were from overseas, especially continental Europe, the prior object of much Little Englander footballing antagonism. Sir Alex was now able – indeed, required – to recruit the best multinational football talent available.

The British tabloids were wrong-footed by this new cohort of multi-lingual footballers in better suits, several of them suspiciously lacking interest in the heavy drinking teammate bonding rituals of yore. Beckham began to resemble and, indeed, to symbolise the new footballer look, improving his speech and running through an extensive repertoire of designer styles. The term ‘metrosexual’, coined in 1994 by the English journalist Mark Simpson, appeared to be made for him.

When Beckham dated and then married Spice Girls singer Victoria Adams, and the ‘Posh’n’Becks’ brand was formed, football, though still important, became only one component of what was now Beckham’s full-blown celebrity. He, his personal management and spouse understood that 21st century sport could not be confined to training ground routines and big match days, becoming the springboard for much more beyond.

Although also a major beneficiary of the inflated capital and media attention – and top end players – flowing from the intensive commodification of football, its attendant frippery and foppery sat ill with the dour intensity of Sir Alex. This resentment helped propel the loose football boot that accidentally cut Beckham’s eyebrow in one of Ferguson’s notorious ‘hair dryer’ displays of player abuse.

The incident comprehensively captured the gap between their iterations of masculinity as Beckham publicly bore the scars, assisted by an Alice band for maximum visibility. Soon he had left Manchester for Madrid, then Los Angeles, and finally Paris, and a very different global celebrity and sometime footballer existence unfolded.

Ellis Cashmore, in his academic profile Beckham, argues that “Masculinity will never be the same after David Beckham”. This does not mean that he introduced compulsory metrosexuality to football but, like David Bowie in popular music before him, he helped open up new, less constricting possibilities for the appearance and performance of being a man. Crucially, he did it in the most popular male contact sport in the world.

When Beckham announced his impending retirement, he did it in controlled media space, with scrupulously sculpted hair and beard, tattoos hidden beneath immaculate suit and tie. Ferguson sent out a message and was soon sighted in his conventional match-day overcoat, gesticulating and barking orders in the dying days of his manager role as if nothing had changed. For the Sir Alex persona nothing would or could. Beckham, by contrast, had already wrung enough changes of look for several life times. Separated by a generation, the very different figures cut by Fergie and Becks provide, from the world of football, a glimpse of a much wider process of masculinity in transition.

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Digital Culture Events

Those interested in digital cultures and the integration of technology into social interactions, you may be interested in the following two events:

1. DIGITAL INTERVENTIONS SYMPOSIUM
When:
Tuesday, 3 December, 2013
Where:
Spectrum Gallery, Building 3, ECU Mount Lawley Campus, Perth, WA

This symposium examines how digital media are implicated in processes of change. It interrogates how people engage digital media in creative practices that intervene in their own and others’ lives, the intentionalities through which they do this, and the processes and experiences involved.
See DRI_DIGINT_SYMPOSIUM_D4 for further details

Submission deadline 14 July to: Jude Elund j.elund@ecu.edu.au on behalf of Lelia Green and Sarah Pink

2. THE FIRST BSA DIGITAL SOCIOLOGY EVENT
When: Tuesday 16th July 2013
Where: BSA Meeting Room, Suite 2, 2 Station Court
Imperial Wharf, Fulham, London SW6 2PY

This inaugural event for the BSA’s Digital Sociology group brings together a diverse range of speakers who, in a variety of ways, work within the nascent field of digital sociology. Rather than proceed from a substantive account of what digital sociology is or could be, this event seeks to address the question ‘what is digital sociology?’ through an open and informal exploration of a broad range of exciting work being undertaken by sociologists in the UK which could, in the broadest sense of the term, be characterised as ‘digital’. In casting a spotlight on these projects in such a way the event aims to initiate an ongoing dialogue about the continuities and discontinuities between these emergent strands of digital activity, as well as the broader methodological and disciplinary questions which they pose.
See here for more information on the BSA’s Digital Sociology Study Group.

Speakers:
Kim Allen, Manchester Metropolitan Universitys
Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London
Ben Baumberg, University of Kent
Laura Harvey, Brunel University
Noortje Marres, Goldsmiths, University of London
Heather Mendick, Brunel University
Mark Murphy, University of Glasgow
Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths, University of London
Helene Snee, The University of Manchester

Delegate rates:
BSA Concessionary Member (student/unwaged/retired) £10
BSA Member £15
Non-member (student/unwaged/retired) £20
Non-member £25

Register at: http://portal.britsoc.co.uk/public/event/eventBooking.aspx?id=EVT10285

For administrative assistance contact: BSA Events Team events@britsoc.org.uk Telephone: +44 (0) 191 383 0839
Academic inquiries: Dr Emma Head e.l.head@keele.ac.uk

Sociology Associate Board: Call for Peer Reviewers

Sociology Associate Board Recruitment
Deadline: Friday 24 May 2013

Sociology is seeking 24 new members of the Sociology Associate Board to serve for three years from June 2013.

Sociology relies on its peer reviewers to maintain high quality scholarship. Alongside the work of members of the Editorial Board, members of the Associate Board help to ensure that the journal makes an expeditious and constructive response to journal submissions.

The Associate Board is a flexible way for individuals to become involved in the on-going success of the journal and also to engage in regular peer reviewing. It is made up of a wide variety of scholars based around the world with a broad range of areas of interest. Early career researchers are welcome to apply.

Members of the Associate Board must possess either a PhD in sociology (or a cognate social science discipline), or at least two years’ research and/or teaching experience of sociology (or a cognate subject). All candidates must have authored peer reviewed publications.

Full details, as well as the application form, are available on the BSA website.

If you would like to nominate yourself for membership of the Associate Board, please email a completed form to Chris Grieves (sociology.journal@britsoc.org.uk) by Friday 24 May 2013.

Invitation to contribute to the CelebYouth project website

celeb youth

The role of celebrity in young people’s classed and gendered aspirations’ is an ESRC funded research project which examines the relationship between celebrity culture, inequalities of class and gender and young people’s educational experiences, identities and transitions.

The project has an active website and Twitter account (@CelebYouthUK) and the team regularly post blogs about the project and related issues – past posts have included an analysis of David Cameron’s ‘Aspiration Nation’ speech, a piece on Post-feminism and Olympic Role Models, and several on methodological dilemmas in youth research.

The research team are now welcoming guest contributions to the website from other people who are interested or working on topics related to the project. This could be work on celebrity and popular culture; young people’s aspirations and educational transitions; inequalities of class and gender; education policy; and/or the links between these.

They welcome guest contributions on these topics from anyone – from students, doctoral researchers, teachers, and academics – the only condition is that they are original and that what you write needs to fit with the broadly sociological, feminist and critical approach of the website.

If you would like to write for the CelebYouth project please go to their website for further details and get in touch with Heather Mendick  (heathermendick@yahoo.co.uk) to discuss your ideas.

CfP: Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium

The call for papers for this years Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium is now open, see detail below and a flyer attached.</p><p>11th Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium<br />University of Western Sydney, Parramatta Campus<br />12 & 13 December, 2013</p><p>The dangerous consumptions colloquium is a forum drawing on social and critical theory for the presentation and discussion of research on the myriad forms of contemporary consumption. In past years presentations have explored alcohol, illicit drugs, gambling, sex, food, blood, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, public health policy, celebrity magazines and pleasure from a social research perspective. Presentations on these or other forms of ‘dangerous consumption’ are welcome. The colloquium is run over two days with only a single stream of papers (there are no concurrent sessions). This gives participants the opportunity to share ideas and understandings from research into forms of dangerous consumptions and from a range of theoretical perspectives. This year’s colloquium is being held at the University of Western Sydney, hosted by the Institute for Culture & Society and the School of Social Sciences & Psychology. The conference conveners are Professor Stephen Tomsen and George (Kev) Dertadian from the University of Western Sydney. A conference organising committee, comprised of key researchers in the field of dangerous consumptions, will assist with the organisation of the event.</p><p>Call for Papers closes October 1 2013</p><p>The convenors invite abstracts of up to 250 words proposing papers for the colloquium. Abstracts should include the title of the proposed paper, the name and email address of author(s), and if applicable any institutional affiliation. Abstracts can address any aspect of dangerous consumption, with preference given to papers informed by a social or critical theory perspective.</p><p>The call for abstracts closes on Tuesday October 1. The organising committee will review the suitability of the paper, with authors advised of the status of their paper by the 15th of October.</p><p>After the event the conveners intend to invite speakers to submit a written version of their papers for a proposed refereed conference proceedings.</p><p>Send us your abstract!!</p><p>Abstracts should be sent in the body of an email to George (Kev) Dertadian –<br />g.dertadian@uws.edu.au</p><p>Please use DC 11 in the subject line.</p><p>Registration!!</p><p>The cost for attendees with fulltime employment is $120 (inclusive of 2 days registration, lunch & refreshments). An online payment system will be available shortly.

11th Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium

University of Western Sydney, Parramatta Campus

12 & 13 December, 2013

The Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium is a forum drawing on social and critical theory for the presentation and discussion of research on the myriad forms of contemporary consumption.

In past years presentations have explored alcohol, illicit drugs, gambling, sex, food, blood, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, public health policy, celebrity magazines and pleasure from a social research perspective. Presentations on these or other forms of ‘dangerous consumption’ are welcome.

The colloquium is run over two days with only a single stream of papers (there are no concurrent sessions). This gives participants the opportunity to share ideas and understandings from research into forms of dangerous consumptions and from a range of theoretical perspectives.

This year’s colloquium is being held at the University of Western Sydney, hosted by the Institute for Culture & Society and the School of Social Sciences & Psychology. The conference conveners are Professor Stephen Tomsen and George (Kev) Dertadian from the University of Western Sydney. A conference organising committee, comprised of key researchers in the field of dangerous consumptions, will assist with the organisation of the event.

Call for Papers closes October 1, 2013

The conveners invite abstracts of up to 250 words proposing papers for the colloquium. Abstracts should include the title of the proposed paper, the name and email address of author(s), and if applicable any institutional affiliation. Abstracts can address any aspect of dangerous consumption, with preference given to papers informed by a social or critical theory perspective. The organising committee will review the suitability of the paper, with authors advised of the status of their paper by the 15th of October.

After the event the conveners intend to invite speakers to submit a written version of their papers for a proposed refereed conference proceedings.

Abstracts should be sent in the body of an email to George (Kev) Dertadian –
g.dertadian@uws.edu.au

Please use DC 11 in the subject line.

Registration
The cost for attendees with full-time employment is $120 (inclusive of 2 days registration, lunch & refreshments). An online payment system will be available shortly.

TASA conference 2013 – themed CS streams

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The date is set and paper submissions are now open for this year’s annual TASA conference. This year is very special as we are celebrating 50 years of Australian Sociology under the theme Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations.

You have until June 22 to submit your 3000 word papers for peer review. Head to the conference website for more information.

In recent years the Cultural Sociology stream at the annual TASA conferences has been one of the most popular and well attended streams; something we are very proud of as leaders of this group. We want to do everything we can to continue to make the Cultural Sociology stream as relevant to your interests as possible. Therefore, this year, we will theme our sessions in advance. And, we want to give you the chance to have a say in deciding on the topics for the themed streams.

Please let us know what topics and themes you would like to present on, and would be interested in hearing others speak about. You could also suggest a group of presenters for your theme. Talk to your colleagues and get them involved! Please let us know in the comments below or send an email to Theresa at t.sauter@qut.edu.au with your ideas and suggestions.

After we have collected some ideas we will do a mini CfP within our stream which will give you the option to submit your papers to a targeted theme that will be represented in the CS stream at the conference. Note: of course we welcome any CS related papers. We will equally consider submissions that do not explicitly state a theme and fit them into the conference schedule.

This new initiative will enable you to have more of an input and shape your conference experience. Please also share this idea with your colleagues and invite them to submit their ideas for streams and papers to attend the TASA conference.

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Publications on knowledge work and policy discourses

Some interesting recent publications co-authored by CS group members:

Singh, P., Märtsin, M., Glasswell, K. (2013). Knowledge Work at the Boundary: Making a Difference to Educational Disadvantage. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 15 March 2013

Abstract
This paper aims to contribute to the literature about boundary crossing and explicate how boundaries carry learning potential. We aim to do this by theorising the work of school-based researchers (SBRs) in a school–university partnership project aimed at addressing issues of educational disadvantage. We conceptualise the worlds of teaching and research as characterised by different types of knowledge work and ways of knowing, and by different interaction rituals and emotional investments for engaging with that knowledge. Yet we also contend that the practice boundary that separates also connects and intertwines, as people, objects and knowledge move back and forth across it and become transformed in the process. We suggest that the kind of transformative knowledge work discussed in this paper entails understanding the power and control relations involved in recontextualising knowledge as it moves across the research–practice gap. This process necessitates recognising and acknowledging the emotional investments, energies and interaction rituals attached to local, domain specific knowledge and ways of knowing. By discussing the work of school-based researchers we aim to show how processes of recontextualisation at the boundary between researcher and practitioner knowledge can hold the potential to make a difference to issues of seemingly entrenched educational disadvantage.

Singh, P.,Thomas, S. & Harris, J. (2013) Recontextualising policy discourses: a Bernsteinian perspective on policy interpretation, translation, enactment, Journal of Education Policy, DOI:10.1080/02680939.2013.770554

Abstract
This paper contributes to critical policy research by theorising one aspect of policy enactment, the meaning making work of a cohort of mid-level policy actors. Specifically, we propose that Basil Bernstein’s work on the structuring of pedagogic discourse, in particular, the concept of recontextualisation, may add to understandings of the policy work of interpretation and translation. Recontextualisation refers to the relational processes of selecting and moving knowledge from one context to another, as well as to the distinctive re-organisation of knowledge as an instructional and regulative or moral discourse. Processes of recontextualisation necessitate an analysis of power and control relations, and therefore add to the Foucauldian theorisations of power that currently dominate the critical policy literature. A process of code elaboration (decoding and recoding) takes place in various recontextualising agencies, responsible for the production of professional development materials, teaching guidelines and curriculum resources. We propose that mid-level policy actors are crucial to the work of policy interpretation and translation because they are engaged in elaborating the condensed codes of policy texts to an imagined logic of teachers’ practical work. To illustrate our theoretical points we draw on data; collected for an Australian research project on the accounts of mid-level policy actors responsible for the interpretation of child protection and safety policies for staff in Queensland schools.