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Keynote Speakers 2017

We are pleased to announce Dr. David Altheide as keynote speaker for the 2017 Qualitatives.

David AltheideDavid L. Altheide, PhD, is Regents’ Professor Emeritus on the faculty of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, where he taught for 37 years. His work has focused on the role of mass media and information technology in social control. His most recent books are Terrorism and the Politics of Fear (2nd Edition, Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming), The Media Syndrome (Routledge,2016), Media Edge: Media Logic and Social Reality (Lang, 2014), Qualitative Media Analysis (2ndedition, Sage, 2012) and Terror Post 9/11 and the Media (Lang, 2009). Dr. Altheide received the Cooley Award three times, given to the outstanding book in symbolic interaction, from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction: In 2007 for Terrorism and the Politics of Fear (2006); in 2004 for Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis (2002); and in 1986 for Media Power (1985). Dr. Altheide received the 2005 George Herbert Mead Award for lifetime contributions from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, and the society’s Mentor Achievement Award in 2007. In fall 2012 he was a Fulbright Specialist in Germany (Zeppelin University) and a Distinguished Research Professor in Australia (Law Faculty, University of New South Wales).


Keynote Lecture: After Terrorism
The mediated symbolic order was shaken by terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. Massive propaganda campaigns promoted the politics of fear that helped redefine peace, power, and safety. It is appropriate to assess the future that has been laid in new symbolic netscapes, and to identify the social construction process that is now underway as media have become more personal, instantaneous, and visual through new information technologies and communication formats. Interpersonal communication has been influenced as more public reliance on limited social networks provided self-supporting and reinforcing information, on the one hand, while fragmenting critical analysis and disregard of basic facts in favor of ideologically supported opinions, on the other hand. The surging discourse of fear has been institutionalized through everyday language, policy changes, and symbolic futures as massive immigration and fear of the ‘terrorist other’ reinforced borders, helped remove England from the European Union, and emboldened Donald Trump’s followers’ beliefs in the patriotic value of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. Other impacts on dominant social meanings will be suggested.

We are pleased to announce Dr. Sam Hillyard as featured speaker for the 2017 Qualitatives.

Sam is a Reader in Sociology at Durham University, UK, where she teaches and publishes in the fields of ethnography, micro theory, rural sociology and the Sociology of Education. 

Recent publications include Doing Fieldwork (with Chris Pole) and articles in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Ethnography and Education and Social and Cultural Geography.  She is editor of the series Studies in Qualitative Methodology, a member of the editorial board for Qualitative Research
and a director of Durham's leading inter-disciplinary Institute of Advanced Study.


Featured Presentation: Through Thick and Thin: On Ethnographic Explanatory Critique

The paper looks to see how theory and method can more fruitfully be combined.  It discusses recent moves to look back at the origins of a broadly interactionist and ethnographic research tradition (Atkinson 2015, forthcoming; Hammersley 2016).  Specifically, it supports Hammersley’s (2016) model of a ‘thin’ ethnography that both notes the founding assumptions (and implications) of an ethnographic approach, but permits theoretical variety.  The paper then moves to discuss two possible formations for theoretical building and future development through an interactionist and ethnographic approach.

The first of these is meta-ethnography.  Rather than via synthesis or a reactive response to neo-liberal regimes (cf. PISA-shock), it suggests considerable theoretical advancement has been achieved via the ‘backdoor’ of informal intellectual citation and influence (examples discussed here will include Simmel and Goffman).

The second, bolder claim is one towards an interactionism more attuned towards the enduring inequalities fostered by 21st century capitalism.  Notably, the positioning of agents for a future of precarity (Dovemark and Beach 2016).  By implication, this entails adopting a clear, critical theoretical stance prior to ethnographic work, but the argument is made is that it too can celebrate the ‘thinking ethnographically’ that all fieldwork participation entails.  Increasingly, this includes looking to domains beyond immediate co-location (Beaulieu 2010) and, too, a recognition that the past informs the ethnographic present (Atkinson forthcoming).  The conclusion therefore sits towards a less pessimistic reading of the future of ethnography and interactionism than Hammersley’s (2016), but argues a re-appraisal is warranted. This is in line with assertions that the definition of the situation should include both consent and alienation.