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Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'The future of relationships - Why culture matters'

Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

Thursday, 7 February 2013 at 18:00 (GMT)

Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'The future of...

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Speaker: Professor Lynn Jamieson (Edinburgh University)

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, 'Why Culture Matters' will run as a series of three lectures in early 2013.




At its simplest, a relationship is some form of consequential connection. The term is often used to refer to important interpersonal connections such as friends and family. In an increasingly digitally connected world, there are masses of data about connections between people (on Facebook, and twitter for example) and people and things (through loyalty cards, travel cards and the like). We are often aware of connection to and sometimes surveillance by people we’ve never known and with whom we have no direct ‘relationship’. Sometimes claims are made about the waning significance of face-to-face personal relationships in our lives, in the world, and as interesting data.  In the major challenges of the twenty-first century, climate change, global recession and the like, personal relationships seem to be at the receiving end rather than key agents of change. Yet in some understandings of selves and human cultures, personal relationships remain the bedrock. What is the likely future of face-to-face personal relationships? How do they feature in everyday thinking about the future? What are they likely to contribute to the future of our cultural life, our social fabric and the wellbeing of our planet? What can we know about this with and without researchers walking alongside people and getting up close and personal?


Biographical Details

Lynn Jamieson is a professor at the University of Edinburgh and co-director of the university’s centre for research on families and relationships (CRFR).  Lynn’s research interests include: intimacy, personal life, families and relationships, identity, and environment and sustainable lifestyles. Her recent work has explored people living alone at ages more conventionally associated with living with a partner and/or children (with Fran Wasoff and Roona Simpson), children’s experience of family change (with Gill Highet) and young people’s migration from rural areas. Lynn has been involved with longitudinal research through the Timescapes and Growing Up in Scotland studies. Lynn has recently co-edited a book on ‘Researching Families and Relationships’ (2011: London: Palgrave) and is best known for her writing on intimacy, particularly the book Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies (1998: Cambridge & Malden, MA: Polity Press).


Following events

April 18th Dr Christian Bröer, University of Amsterdam (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, research group on “risk, culture & citizenship".) “Policy as culture-making” 


April 25th Professor Terre Satterfield  (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia) "Risk, localities and environmental values: Cultural perspectives

6pm Drinks reception for 6:30pm lecture

Open to all


Why Culture Matters – A public lecture series, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, 2013

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 qualitative 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 will take place in early February 2013, and will feature a public lecture given by Professor Lynn Jamieson (Edinburgh University). Lynn is a world leading researcher in family relationships and policy research. She is interested in families as part of wider social relationships and, increasingly, in the significance for families of living in times of major environmental change (for further information see her biographical details above). Lynn’s lecture will help us to launch the efforts we need to make to understand the involvement of families in meeting the major challenges posed by environmental change and resource depletion, the importance we place on our local attachments and environments, and the sets of relations linking peoples, families and communities together as global citizens. 

Do you have questions about Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'The future of relationships - Why culture matters'? Contact Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

When & Where

Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University

CF10 3WT Cardiff
United Kingdom

Thursday, 7 February 2013 at 18:00 (GMT)

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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: 'The future of relationships - Why culture matters'
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