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Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'Policy as culture-making'

Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 17:30 (BST)

Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'Policy as...

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Speaker: Dr Christian Bröer, University of Amsterdam (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, research group on “risk, culture & citizenship".)

Co-organised as part of the work of the Culture Transformation and Subjectivity Theme and the Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis Group at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences as the second lecture of three in the 'Why Culture Matters' series. 

While human life is de-traditionalizing, this does not always lead to individualization. Therefore, we can ask where patterns in conduct, be it cooperative or conflictual, emanate from. Often, media, education, market, technology or biological make-up are invoked to understand those patterns. In this lecture, I am pointing to policy-making and policy implementation as a process in which shared perception and collective practices of engaging with social problems are formed.  In this sense, culture is re-made around a specific object. I am demonstrating how aircraft noise policy shapes people's everyday understanding of aircraft sound and the conflicts about airport operations in two European countries. I am also showing how the specific way mental health care is organized in the Netherlands relates to patients' identifications and illness experience. As a counter example, where specific policy is lacking, I will briefly discuss either ADHD in Ghana or male breast cancer. The lecture concludes by pointing to the political relevance of this theory, arguing against populist reasoning.


Biographical Details
Christian Bröer is associate professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam and co-director of the Dynamics of Citizenship and Culture group in the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). Using divergent methods he studies a wide range of topics– health, risk, mobilization – to get at the relation between public issues and private troubles. He published, for example, in Health Risk and Society, Sociology of Health and Illness (with M. Heerings) and Mobilization (with J.W. Duyvendak). 



5.30pm Drinks reception for 6:00pm lecture

There will be a buffet afterwards

Open to all


Forthcoming events

April 25th Professor Terre Satterfield  (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability,

University of British Columbia) "Risk, localities and environmental values: Cultural perspectives


Why Culture Matters – A public lecture series, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
The study of cultural life takes many and varied forms within the social sciences. Thinking broadly, it spans a wide range of domains and topics including the study of groups and communities (at home and abroad, ancient and modern, local and global); large scale corporations and organisational life; diverse forms of media and communication; leisure and consumption; technology, gender and the home; artefacts, values and heritage; symbolism, imagination and the psyche; embodied practice and everyday meaning making.  

Since the 1980s cultural study has been a source of inspiration and innovation with regard to generating, representing and disseminating knowledge within the field of interpretive social science (and at its interface with humanities research).  The intersection with the arts/humanities is likely to become increasingly important in the near future as a vehicle for promoting knowledge sharing, community engagement, the co-production of knowledge, and research impact.  

Given this range and multiplicity, it is far from clear what an interest in cultural study brings to the forefront in terms of its intellectual, pedagogic, and research commitments. The Cardiff School of Social Sciences has adopted the theme of culture, transformation and subjectivity as one of its outward looking research themes. Moreover there is a cross disciplinary interest in this theme. Work could usefully be done to display and characterise what this theme means and the kind of work it fosters.

One way to go about this is through a series of public events involving lectures/seminars on the theme of ‘Why Culture Matters?’ The events are aimed at social researchers working in academia and other organisations outside the academy (Welsh Government Policy Departments, NGOs, community organisations). They will place the study of creative cultural engagements at centre stage, and feature the role played by different cultural logics in the production of awareness, sociality, identity and subjectivity.

The talks/seminars are being organised by Professor Karen Henwood – with Dr Bella Dicks and Dr William Housley - as part of the School’s engagement and innovation initiatives. The first event took place in early February 2013, and featured a public lecture given by Professor Lynn Jamieson (Edinburgh University). Lynn spoke about her interests in family relationships and policy research and also about the continuing cultural importance of personal relationships in a digital age. 

In the second lecture in the series, Christian Bröer considers how adopting a cultural lens has enabled him to study issues that are of contemporary relevance, and why policy-making – approached as a socially engaged process – can make a difference to people’s everyday experiences, identities and lives.

Do you have questions about Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'Policy as culture-making'? Contact Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

When & Where

Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University

CF10 3WT Cardiff
United Kingdom

Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 17:30 (BST)

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Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

Cardiff School of Social Sciences is a world leading centre for innovative and interdisciplinary social science research and training.

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Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'Policy as culture-making'
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