Monday, 23 July 2012

Manchester Uni workshop: (How) do we understand Capitalism? Reflections on critical methods

September 12-13, 2012 | University of Manchester

There is no consensus on what critical social science is, exactly. Largely it is defined as not orthodox economics or positivist social science. Rather than attempting to define what critical research is, this workshop investigates how we do critical research.

Using methods as a framework for critical analysis allow us to consider how we understand capitalism an alternative way of differentiating between forms of critical inquiry. Methods can be approached as a tool box: a series of techniques that reveal capitalism. In this case, capitalism is explored and understood using different tools of analysis that demonstrate how it emerged historically, how it changes over time, creates periods of stability and how it impacts people’s lives. Methods are also a way to format the world that make realities appear or disappear. In this case capitalism is performative, it is always engaged in experiment, a perpetually unfinished project; therefore, it is a highly adaptive and constantly mutating formation.

In short, methods are not neutral tools of analysis; they (re)create a particular view of capitalism.

This workshop seeks to be innovative in its content and format. Participants will discuss and debate how they ‘do’ research—either for their present project or life’s work—rather than give methods papers as such. The two days will cover different methods like participant observation, ethnography, archival, textual and discourse analysis, interviews (elite, semi-structured and random); as well as methodological approaches like: actor-network theory, reflexivity, critical empirical research, feminist methods, historical materialism, everyday and cultural economy.

Confirmed Participants: Yuval Millo (LSE), Nicola Smith (Birmingham), Chris May (Lancaster), Ben Rosamond (Copenhagen), Samuel Knafo (Sussex), Chris Rogers (York), Claes Belfrage (Liverpool), Dani Tepe (Sheffield)

Above all this event seeks to be a creative space to reflect, discuss and debate the role of methods or methodology in (your) critical research. If you are interested in attending please

Note: any UK PhD student (without institutional support) interested in attending please indicate this in your email and I will TRY to secure funds to cover your travel expenses.

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