HSMC doctoral researchers at Festival of Social Science

Emilie Whitaker and Jenni Lynch doctoral research students at HSMC presented at the ESRC Festival of Social Science on 9th November in the new Birmingham Library.

Emilie spoke of the need to revive the concept of the sociological imagination in order to tackle 21st century policy problems. She outlined the current unstable landscape for the social sciences and emphasised how its relevancy can only be assured by engaging in cross disciplinary dialogue, particularly by building networks with those operating at the cutting edge of nano and bio technologies. She explored the vitality of the sociological imagination and spoke of its curiosity, flexibility and resilience to dogma. Emilie concluded that these attributes are likely to become more important as the very core of sociology and social policy - the human subject, is an increasingly contested and unstable entity.

Jenni spoke about her personal journey from commissioning professional working in adult social care to researcher helping to mark out the future of technology within the sector. Jenni’s research explores how older people experience and use technologies like telecare within their daily lives. She described how her experiential and agent-focused approach to technology as lived-experience enables a critique of discourses surrounding technology. She concluded by exploring the social service researchers can provide - the need to step up to interrogate dominant approaches in policy as part of our academic roles.