Event 5: New Publics and Practice Approaches

The fifth seminar, New Publics and Practice Approaches, considered the contribution of practice theory to thinking about civil society organisations’ work of campaigning, fundraising and advocacy. In these processes, civil society organisations often try to create particular notions of ‘publics’ as a focus for their activities, for different purposes and in different ways. Meanwhile, these groups increasingly operate in a ‘neoliberal’ context where the boundaries between private and public services are being redrawn, and the distinctive space of ‘civil society’ or even ‘community’ action is narrowed. The seminar explored what practice-based approaches can teach us about these activities and this context, considering where, if and when practice theories might bring new understanding for the sector.

We were very pleased to welcome two speakers – Judith Green and Bente Halkier.

Judith is currently Professor in the Sociology of Health at King’s College London and specializes in contributing sociological research to health services projects. Her recent research has focused on the public health impacts of environmental policies in areas such as transport, home energy, and street lighting. She is also interested in questions of how evidence ‘travels’ from one setting to another, and in methodological development, and edits the journal Critical Public Health. In this presentation, Finding and producing ‘the public’: reflections from a project on street lighting, she explored how different research practices generated different publics and different sorts of expertise, discussing how ‘publicness’ is performed and generated and the limits of practices of ‘consultation’.

Bente is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen. She has a diverse background in the political and social sciences, including sociology of consumption and sustainability, and has been an important advocate for practice theory approaches in Europe. Her talk was entitled Looking for and producing ‘public engagement’: citizens’ connections with public issue campaigning. She discussed a Danish research project on citizens’ relations with public issue campaigns, considering when and how different campaigns make connections with citizens and debating the contribution of practice theoretical perspectives to understanding the challenges of ‘civic engagement by invitation’.

Seminar 5: New Publics and Practice Approaches
Date: 31st January 2017 1.30 – 6pm
Venue: London School of Economics, Graham Wallas Room, OLD 5.25, Old Building


You can download Judith’s slides as a pdf here: GREEN data practices ESRC seminar v3-171gk3t

You can listen to an AV recording of Judith’s talk + her slides here:

you can listen to an AV recording of Bente’s talk + her slides here:

You can download Bente’s slides as a pdf here: Bente Halkier slides 310117-ws5m5l