Dear ACDC friends,
This is to announce our next ACDC meeting to be held on 23 October, lunchtime. This month we are happy to welcome Jan Blommaert and Fons van de Vijver from Tilburg University to discuss the demands of rapid social change on academic plasticity. They will challenge structuralist imaginations of social processes, linearity and stable concepts of systems to face the actual complexities of social life. The discussion will not only address the function of critical investigations but the presenters will also introduce new ways of ‘doing’ critical discourse analysis, proposing interaction between research frameworks in the context of Ethnography and Identity (see their description below).
This meeting is bound to also address the organisation and identity of the ‘new university’ in which we find ourselves. The working paper is a preliminary reading to warm up for the discussion (pdf available in the Archive section of our website).
You are cordially invited to join the lunch meeting and feel free to distribute this invitation. Please reply to this mail if you intend to come, so that we can arrange some snacks and drinks for all.
Investigating rapid social change: perspectives and challenges
Jan Blommaert & Fons Van de Vijver (Tilburg University)
DATE: 23 October
Rapid social change is the key to contemporary self-imaginations worldwide. Experiences of such rapid changes often trigger knee-jerk reactions of political and cultural conservatism, as well as cultural and ideological ‘anachronisms’: older forms of problem definitions, of self- and other-identification that are at odds with the experienced complexity of social life.
Research in the humanities and social sciences has for years attempted to come to terms with phenomena of rapid social change; currently available analytical and theoretical frameworks, however, appear to have their limits. New ones, such as Big Data research, equally appear to suffer from fundamental weaknesses.
Such weaknesses seem to have their feet in histories of structuralist imaginations of social phenomena and processes, emphasizing categorial clarity, linearity of meanings, and stable (abstract) notions of systems. Images of complexity, emphasizing multiple historicities and ‘multifiliar’ development, low of fragmentary predictability and nonlinear processes and outcomes, are as yet rare.
Blommaert and Van de Vijver, both active in Tilburg University’s Babylon center, have been exploring these weaknesses in an intense cross-framework dialogue, combining approaches traditionally qualified as ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’. In this workshop, in which current developments in the field of identity research will be central, they will offer a state-of-affairs on their work in process, raising questions rather than providing conclusive answers. They will sketch a platform in which a sequential ordering and dialectic interaction between frameworks is proposed, tied together by a joint description of an object of inquiry driven by complexity.
We look forward to seeing you,
Bertie Kaal, Alan Cienki, Joyce Lamerichs, Karen Verduyn, Ida Sabelis, Nicolina Montesano Montessori, and Steve Oswald
The ACDC conveners