The Social Performance Network is the final concept to have emerged from my teaching exposures and research in to individual positioning within social contexts. These aspects to my work can be clustered into the following areas of focus:
Education and Policy
Over the course of a fifteen year teaching career, I have encountered many stories. Stories of institutions, staff, and young people caught in a praxis of social policy percolation and enactment. To a large part, the narratives that I have encountered have often related to the relationship between factors such as race, class, gender, and a lack in access to educational and employment opportunities.
These observations initially brought me to my PhD research which specifically focused on a lack of individual agency and voice from the policymaking process, to explore the possibilities of social stratification and subconscious enactment of socialised identities. The study also explored whether young peoples educational and employment trajectories were pre-destined and representative of how they were expected to ‘perform’ in society, post-education.
As a media and film lecturer it is perhaps inevitable that my points of reference are largely from the cultural studies, sociology, post-structuralist, critical studies, and post colonial paradigms. Using these frameworks I have often interrogated the nature of media representations and how these connect to broader socialisation.
There is a notable omission in media representations that reflect the full breadth of British society. As Hall (1981) has argued, a hegemonic dynamic exists, through which fractions of society are purposefully omitted from mass media forms and/or negatively stereotyped. These explorations have led me to question what can we learn about socialisation and connected dominant ideologies by studying media representations?
Situating the Individual
Where is the individual in it all? When conducting my PhD research in to educational policy percolation and impact, across a nine-year qualitative longitudinal project, I traced educational practitioners, teachers, managers, and students to ascertain the impact of policy on the lived experience of individuals. During this time it became increasingly clear that there was a notable omission of individual voice in educational and policy research. My research in this area continues to inspire further work and I am currently working on a number of small scale research projects that use person centred methodologies devised during my doctoral studies to focus on the positioning of the individual within broader social frameworks. My work in this area is motivated by wanting to situate lived experience within the praxis of socialisation.
Bringing these strands of my work together have brought me to the conclusion that we often ‘perform’ socialisation in conscious and subconscious ways. Whether we are ‘performing race’, enacting policy in educational contexts, or responding to media representations, see; the mission of this network.
“Changing the world one person, through one conversation, at a time.”
This network aims to function as a platform where the counter narratives can be heard so that we may begin to develop conscious and holistic understandings into social performativity and to subsequently, make informed choices on how we engage with our social worlds and hence, potentially challenge societal poisonings that are stratifying, limiting, or biased and negatively impact on our everyday lives.
Hall, Stuart; P. Scraton (1981). “Law, Class and Control”. In: M. Fitzgerald, G. McLennan & J. Pawson (eds). Crime and Society, London: RKP.