Synopsis

New ways of thinking about social structure

Episodes

  • Episode 40: Discipline and Punish, part 1

    Episode 40: Discipline and Punish, part 1

    15/04/2016

    The first few pages of Michel Foucault’s book, Discipline and Punish, describe (in gory detail) a ritual execution from pre-Revolutionary France. I tend to be very squeamish about these things, so it’s a miracle I kept reading. Somehow I did, and in this episode I describe what it is in this book that inspires me. … Continue reading Episode 40: Discipline and Punish, part 1

  • Episode 39: The path of least relevance

    Episode 39: The path of least relevance

    08/04/2016

    Tumble dryers, the musical beat, computers, bodies, black holes, hairy black holes, information, desire, French laundromats, homeless soothsayers and Maya Angelou. Welcoming, adapting, embodied social structures. What more could you want from a Structured Visions podcast? Download Episode 39: The path of least relevance

  • Episode 38: You’re outta the game!

    Episode 38: You’re outta the game!

    01/04/2016

    Picture the scene: my nephew, Lane, at four years old, at Christmas, playing with his new racetrack, shouting ‘You’re outta the game!’ to anyone whose car comes off the track. Now let’s imagine that Lane is the personification of a social structure. He is, in fact, doing what social structures seem to do – classifying … Continue reading Episode 38: You’re outta the game!

  • Episode 37: Sand in my teeth

    Episode 37: Sand in my teeth

    25/03/2016

    I’m still dreaming, in this episode, of a society in which unique selves are possible. Such a dream goes beyond ideas about social inclusion. Inclusion is about fitting in to a pre-existing system – with all the rules and prescriptions such a system holds. My vision is of a social structure that welcomes uniqueness, indeed, … Continue reading Episode 37: Sand in my teeth

  • Episode 36: Anybody else know her?

    Episode 36: Anybody else know her?

    18/03/2016

    More about how social structures close down any notion of the unique, transformative individual. When openings occur, they show up as disruptions, problems or embarrassments, as I explain in my analysis of two accounts of walking into a lecture room. Here’s the transcript: My analysis of this extract comes from my forthcoming book with Palgrave: … Continue reading Episode 36: Anybody else know her?

  • Episode 35: Language and the gendered body

    Episode 35: Language and the gendered body

    11/03/2016

    In this week’s podcast I’m sharing a talk I gave as part of the English seminar series at the University of Liverpool. Here are the slides if you’d like to follow along! (Slides 17 and 18 were missing from the original presentation, so you’ll hear me stumbling a little as I try to sort that … Continue reading Episode 35: Language and the gendered body

  • Episode 34: Choose Your Own Adventure

    Episode 34: Choose Your Own Adventure

    04/03/2016

    I move from computer programmes to choose-your-own-adventure novels this week: metaphors abound to explore the idea of language/grammar as a system. Systems can be understood as complex matrices of choices at various levels of complexity. At the phonological level of a language, you can understand the difference between the words pat and bat in terms … Continue reading Episode 34: Choose Your Own Adventure

  • Episode 33: The Grammar Matrix

    Episode 33: The Grammar Matrix

    26/02/2016

    M.A.K. Halliday has this (and a whole lot more) to say about grammar: Grammar is the central processing processing unit of language, the powerhouse where meanings are created. (2014, p. 22). In this episode I take the CPU metaphor to new extremes. I claim I’m able to converse with society because I’m just like one … Continue reading Episode 33: The Grammar Matrix

  • Episode 32: A Thought That Thinks More Than It Thinks

    Episode 32: A Thought That Thinks More Than It Thinks

    19/02/2016

    Last week I staged a tug-of-war between Society and The Individual, and I let Society win. This week I explain why with reference to a friend’s response to my first book. As I said to my friend, the book analyses homophobic attitudes in a women’s university field hockey club. I told him one of the … Continue reading Episode 32: A Thought That Thinks More Than It Thinks

  • Episode 31: Figments of Society’s Imagination

    Episode 31: Figments of Society’s Imagination

    12/02/2016

    The conceptual tug-of-war between Society and Individual ends in this week’s podcast! The Individual surrenders, leaving Society to dream up and personify possibilities for a world in which individual might be possible. Watch what happens when Society dreams up a Hollie Phillips: Download Episode 31: Figments of Society’s Imagination.

  • Episode 30: Plastic Automatons… and Other Personifications of Social Structure

    Episode 30: Plastic Automatons… and Other Personifications of Social Structure

    05/02/2016

    More this week on the idea that social structure might be personified – and embodied. I analyse a conversation between three students whose identities have been challenged in the classroom setting. Their discussion with me reveals that the relationship between individual and society might be seen in a new way. Specifically, how easy does a … Continue reading Episode 30: Plastic Automatons… and Other Personifications of Social Structure

  • Episode 29: Class(room) struggle

    Episode 29: Class(room) struggle

    29/01/2016

    Is the individual determined by society? Or is the individual an autonomous actor, making the most of structural resources to navigate through society? These questions are familiar to Structured Visions listeners, but this week I attempt to make the debate a little less abstract. I replace the notion of ‘society’ with the image of the classroom, and … Continue reading Episode 29: Class(room) struggle

  • Episode 28: Architects, Astronomers and Grammarians

    Episode 28: Architects, Astronomers and Grammarians

    22/01/2016

    In this episode I discuss… yup, you guessed it! Structure. I’ve been bandying that word around for quite some time without offering a clear definition. I don’t offer any clear definitions here, either, but I do make some associations. Does the word ‘structure’ conjure up ideas about stability, regularity, consistency permanence? I suggest today that … Continue reading Episode 28: Architects, Astronomers and Grammarians

  • Episode 27: The battleground, the dojo and the lab

    Episode 27: The battleground, the dojo and the lab

    15/01/2016

    Why am I so fascinated by social structure? Perhaps because it helps me to articulate my experience of the world. In this episode I share some of my experiences from my career in higher education in France and Britain. I discuss some students’ responses to Mary Bucholtz’s sociolinguistic research on nerds. Download Episode 27: The … Continue reading Episode 27: The battleground, the dojo and the lab

  • Bodies and selves and structures, oh my!

    Bodies and selves and structures, oh my!

    08/01/2016

    In this episode I explore the relationship between these sets of concepts: bodies/selves, bodies/souls, selves/individuals, individuals/society. Do we need to understand the self as separate from society – as autonomous – in order to be imagine social change? I review the work of two different theorists’ perspectives on these concepts: Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. Often the individual is … Continue reading Bodies and selves and structures, oh my!

  • Episode 25: It makes my skin crawl

    Episode 25: It makes my skin crawl

    01/01/2016

    Happy New Year from Structured Visions! Today I discuss a grammar meme that my brother pointed out to me – an illustration of a stern old man saying: When you say ‘I seen,’ I assume you won’t finish that sentence with ‘the inside of a book.’ I draw once more upon Pierre Bourdieu’s work, this … Continue reading Episode 25: It makes my skin crawl

  • Episode 24: The Gift

    Episode 24: The Gift

    25/12/2015

    A story of a Christmas miracle involving a pink Huffy Sweet Thunder bicycle leads to a discussion of whether Santa Claus is a social fact. According to French anthropologists Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, ‘social facts’ are those forces that maintain the integrity of societies – forces that transcend the needs and desires of the … Continue reading Episode 24: The Gift

  • Episode 23: I just don’t enjoy the taste

    Episode 23: I just don’t enjoy the taste

    18/12/2015

    Last week I promised I’d explore a paradox in Ally’s comments about the ‘brazen’ women in her halls. To do so, we need the continuation of the transcript of the conversation I discussed in Episode 22: (Clark 2011, p. 129-30) Here’s the contradiction: at one point, Ally says drinking pints is wrong because you’d never … Continue reading Episode 23: I just don’t enjoy the taste

  • Episode 22: You’d never catch anyone

    Episode 22: You’d never catch anyone

    11/12/2015

    This week I give some advice about how to control someone: give them an impossible task to do – like keeping an ice cube from melting on a hot, sunny beach. Then make them think it’s actually possible to do that task, and make sure they’re invested in doing it. The ‘impossible task’ I’m talking … Continue reading Episode 22: You’d never catch anyone

  • Episode 21: Where are you? Who are you?

    Episode 21: Where are you? Who are you?

    04/12/2015

    This week I question whether the notion of the ‘self’ is as stable as people seem to want it to be. The instability of the self might be explored in terms of how it is situated within the language system. What words do you use to refer to your self? You might use a pronoun, … Continue reading Episode 21: Where are you? Who are you?

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