I am a sociologist based at the Institute of Public Health in Cambridge. My PhD, completed at Goldsmiths, London in 2009, was structured around an ethnographic study of community mental health professionals based in an inner-city borough. Here in Cambridge I am currently engaged in implementing a further small scale, effectively one-person qualitative research project. This takes as its focus a large ongoing population-based, scientific study around genetic and lifestyle factors associated with diabetes and obesity.
There are clearly great differences between these two research landscapes. Yet in each, notions of community and time have played a major role – both in terms of various actors’ explicit articulations of what they are about, and my doubtless often quixotic attempts to discern fresh patterns and insights from their interaction. Despite each concept being taken as the target of philosophical unpacking over recent decades, I have the sense that both time and community are often still too often take-for-granted as self-evident parameters of analysis within much contemporary social science. Whereas a consistent thread within my own thinking involves following the lead of writers like Whitehead and Bergson in probing and destabilising such assumptions, particularly in the case of time.
This is one reason why I’m excited by the coupling of the two notions in the title of the workshop and their problematisation as its theme. I’m intrigued by the formatting of the event and the opportunities presented for the cross-fertilisation of ideas. Manchester in June – who wouldn’t be up for it!
Paul's Lightning Talk