Sociology Seminar: Laura Fenton and Feng Zhu
|Starts:||13:45 11 Feb 2015|
|Ends:||15:00 11 Feb 2015|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Current University students|
|Speaker:||Laura Fenton, Feng Zhu|
Our first seminar of 2015 showcases the work of two of our PhD students. All staff and students welcome. Tea, coffee and biscuits from 1.45pm.
'Earning a drink? The Alcohol-Work Connection in Women's Drinking Biographies' - Laura Fenton, PhD student, University of Manchester
In both popular culture and the social science literature on the topic, the connection between alcohol and work is conventionally understood through the lens of ‘stress.’ In other words, drinking alcohol is conceptualised as a response to the stresses of work life. Whilst not disputing that such a connection exists, this paper develops a notably different lens on the relationship between alcohol and work life. Drawing on my thesis research, namely life history interviews with women about their relationships to using alcohol, the paper explores how the connections between drinking practices and work life are considerably more multi-faceted and nuanced than the ‘stress thesis’ suggests. On a symbolic level, ‘work’ and drink are linked through an imperative, expressed as ‘earning’ a drink by several participants in this study, and explored elsewhere in the literature (Langhamer, 2003). This paper investigates the logic and limits of alcohol as a reward for work: what counts as ‘work’? Is unpaid work part of this economy of effort rewarded with pleasure? What happens when alcohol is not earned but consumed anyway? After addressing the alcohol-work connection as an imagined economy of toil and pleasure, the paper turns to the place of paid work in the drinking biographies of the women interviewed for this study, offering some initial reflections on the role of workplace cultures in shaping rituals of post-work drinking.
'The Implied Player: Games Playing Players' Feng Zhu, PhD student, University of Manchester
This paper takes, as its point of departure, the concept of the ‘implied player’, as set out by Aarseth in Transgressive Play and the Implied Player (2007). His view that there had been an inordinate focus upon ‘transgressive players’ and ‘unpredictable play’ within game studies, which had obscured the subjection of the player, will be considered in relation to not only the particular discourses within the field that have concerned computer games’ ontological particularity, but also to arguments that the fragmentary and the perspectival hinder the political project of grasping cultural and historical dominants. Turning to reader-response theory and the origins of the ‘implied reader’, this paper asks whether a coherent concept of the ‘implied player’ can be formulated that can negotiate a satisfactory point between the tendencies towards homogeneity and heterogeneity, and which will assist in our dialectically thinking the structural and fragmentary.
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