Sociology at Warwick involves a diverse and lively range of teaching and research activities that utilise and develop new ways of learning, researching and communicating sociological knowledge. As part of our attempts to re-envision sociology, students and staff look to make, among other things, short films, picture essays and to experiment with digital communication. We are also looking to reach 'new' audiences with our ideas by publishing in different places and new formats.
'Sociology shorts' includes some recent examples.
Researching In the land of 'Nod'
One of Simon William's research interests is sleep. He was recently asked to write a short piece for the American Sociological Association's Context Magazine, which is aimed at bringing sociological research and ideas to a wider audience. You can read the piece here.
Informal Childhoods: Child Workers in an African City
Phil Mizen uses photography to research the lives of working children. In research projects exploring the working lives of street children and children who live in a slum in central Accra, Phil sees in pictures a means for children to communicate aspects of their lives to those separate from them by time and space. Here his one of his essays in pictures and words.
Using (auto-)ethnographic methods, Karen Throsby is researching English Channel swimming and the process of making an extreme sporting body. As part of the research, she swam the Channel in September 2010, and you can see a video of her swim here. Members of the swimming community use short films like these to memorialise their swims and they also constitute a valued resource for those in training – as information, as warnings, and as inspiration during the arduous training process. Having drawn extensively on other people’s films, both as a research and a swimmer, Karen made the film both to document her own swim (for herself and others), and to enable her to think through direct experience about how Channel swimming stories can be told. She has also documented the training, the swim itself and its aftermath on her “blog” (www.thelongswim.blogspot.com). Link to Karen's channel swimming website here.
Mimetic Factors in Individual Behaviour: When Sociologists Met the Robots
Steve Fuller has recently completed an ESRC-funded research project on mimetic factors and individual behaviour and, as part of this, took a team of researchers to the Bristol Robotics Lab, where they examined first-hand how robots imitate each other's behaviour. There is a short film of the trip.