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ChesterRep is the University of Chester's institutional repository and an online platform designed to collate, store, and aid discoverability of research carried out at the university to the wider research community
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Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest Songs(Rowman and Littlefield, 2018-02-01)Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest songs is a book length analysis of Elvis Presley's recorded music. It includes discussion of celebrity image, song history, prior versions, music genre, critical evaluation and occasional contextualizing cultural history (1950s to 1970s). The academic popular music historian B. Lee Cooper has reviewed the book for a peer-reviewed academic journal. This is a 'remixed' version of the manuscript in chronological rather than count down order.
Pragmatics of Attachment and Detachment: a Constellatory Re-inscription of Textile.(Wiley Blackwell, 2019)Like no other field of cultural studies, the study of textiles renders the boundaries of academic discipline elastic, and defies geographic and chronological borders. Previously dominated by empirical methods and writing, it has come of age as a field of interdisciplinary research during the past decade. 'A Companion to Textile Culture' aims to be an innovative, lively and authoritative collection of new writing that will embrace the historical, contemporary and cultural dimensions of textiles. While anchored in the history of art and visual studies, it will bring together approaches from many different fields of scholarly research, including anthropology, archaeology, literary studies, world histories and art and design, to reflect this new, expanded field of writing about textiles and the multiple viewpoints of its specialist contributors. Essays by leading experts in this broad interdisciplinary field of study will address the current state of scholarship and point to emerging issues. (Jennifer Harris volume editor: A Companion to Textile Culture) ‘Pragmatics of Attachment and Detachment: a Constellatory Re-inscription of Textile’ sits within a section of 'A Companion to Textile Culture' entitled ‘Contemporary Textiles: Conceptual Boundaries’ which explores some of the reasons why textiles have traditionally been undervalued in histories of 20th century visual culture and the shift in cultural values that moved them from the margins to an increasingly central role. My contribution provides an artist’s perspective that draws on a body of work that emerged out of a period of practice based doctoral research entitled ‘Pragmatics of Attachment and Detachment: medium (Un)Specificity as Material Agency in Contemporary Art’. It takes as its point of departure the creative challenge of how to acknowledge situated experience and communicate the particular richness and complexity of textile’s material and semantic conventions, whilst embracing the heterogeneity and creative freedom afforded by the post-medium condition of contemporary art. In the chapter I outline a conceptual framework and series of practice strategies that revolve around a dynamic process of assimilation and differentiation. Through a new body of sculptural and installational practice, I propose a constellatory opening up of textile where medium specificity is re-inscribed in terms of material agency and the cultural ambivalence of textile is re-envisioned as a productive indeterminacy. Within this (inter)relational re-mapping of textile’s complex somatic and semantic codes and conventions, textile is seen to be a medium of convergence and divergence where hierarchical disciplinary distinctions become untenable, meaning is suggested but unable to settle and categorical divisions between subject and object are destabilised.
Social practices and the importance of context(German Environment Agency / European Cyclists' Federation, 2018-11)Social practice theory provides insight not only for analysis of existing social habits but also into their formation. Better understanding of the complexity of practices also allows insight into their relative degrees of obduracy: the potential for change or resistance to change. Characteristic of much work in recent analysis of cycling promotion is a tendency towards abstract generalization that ignores the specificities of practices as they occur in given locations. Cycling practices are not only located in space but also in time, and meanings, competencies and technologies are all inheritors of particular histories. This paper argues that much current promotional activity and research into changing behaviour is problematic inasmuch as it is ahistorical, lacking in analysis of the social and political forces that are responsible for the sedimentation of current practices. Following Oosterhuis’ (2016) argument, the paper argues that without embedding analysis of transport processes in a much broader context, that pays heed to forms of governance, citizenship, the relative competencies of different levels of polity and the ways in which these forces are historically constructed, interventions aimed at behavioural change have little chance of success. Developing the work of Aldred (2010) on cycling and citizenship and Shove (2015) on social practice and policy, the paper links these to the field of comparative environmental politics (Steinberg & Van Deever 2012) through a lens of historical analysis. Drawing on a survey of over 100 recent papers analysing problems and interventions designed to promote modal shift in general and toward cycling in particular, the paper considers the degree to which these are sensitive to the social political and historical forces against which they operate. It then uses a comparison between historic campaigns for change in the UK and Germany to argue that the impact of interventions is less to do with their design than with the political context into which they are introduced.