Diagramming the Social: Towards an Ethics of Rupture

1 October 2020 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Diagramming the Social: Towards an Ethics of Rupture @ Online

This seminar will introduce my new book Diagramming the Social: Relational Method in Research (with Russell-Dudley Smith, Routledge, 2020). Written as a response to the hyper-production of concepts within academic research, the book considers how the break with essentialism – something that is often claimed by scholars, but not always achieved in practice – might be sustained through the process of analysis. The book does this by focusing attention onto of one of the most underappreciated yet widely deployed conventions for the analysis of social processes: the creation of diagrammatic relational spaces. The seminar examines one aspect of the analytic productivity of such spaces: their ability to encourage an estranging move from a priori theorisation and common-sense understandings of the world, which, inspired by the work of Bachelard and Bourdieu, we term an ethics of rupture. This will be introduced by contrasting relational spaces to other types of explicit and implicit diagrams that permeate academic writing. The seminar will consider the implications of an ethics of rupture for the practice of media studies via reference to recent work on technology and gender.


Dr Natasha Whiteman (@newhiteman) is a Reader in Media and Communication and Assistant Head of the School of Media and Communication at the University of Westminster. Her research focuses on ethics, qualitative research method, and the study of media audiences and online fan communities. She is the author of Diagramming the Social: Relational Method in Research (with Russell Dudley-Smith, Routledge, 2020) and Undoing Ethics: Rethinking Practice in Online Research (Springer, 2012).

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