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'Why Culture Matters' Public Lecture Series

Starts: 7 February 2013

Co-organised as part of the work of the Culture Transformation and Subjectivity Theme and the Ethnography, Culture and Interpretive Analysis Group at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, 'Why Culture Matters' will run as a series of three lectures in early 2013.

Each of the Why Culture Matters lectures will take place in Committee Room 1& 2, Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University.

Forthcoming lectures:

Lecture 2: 'Policy as culture-making'

Dr Christian Bröer (University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology and Anthropology)
Thursday 18th April 2013

Eventbrite - Why Culture Matters Lecture Series: 'Policy as culture-making'

While human life is de-traditionalizing, this does not always lead to individualization. Therefore, we can 
ask where patterns in conduct, be it cooperative or conflictual, emanate from. Often, media, education, 
market, technology or biological make-up are invoked to understand those patterns. In this lecture, I 
am pointing to policy-making and policy implementation as a process in which shared perception and 
collective practices of engaging with social problems are formed.  In this sense, culture is re-made 
around a specific object. I am demonstrating how aircraft noise policy shapes people's everyday 
understanding of aircraft sound and the conflicts about airport operations in two European countries. 
I am also showing how the specific way mental health care is organized in the Netherlands relates to 
patients' identifications and illness experience. As a counter example, where specific policy is lacking, 
I will briefly discuss either ADHD in Ghana or male breast cancer. The lecture concludes by pointing 
to the political relevance of this theory, arguing against populist reasoning.

Biographical Details
Christian Bröer is associate professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam and co-director 
of the Dynamics of Citizenship and Culture group in the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science 
Research (AISSR). Using divergent methods he studies a wide range of topics– health, risk, 
mobilization – to get at the relation between public issues and private troubles. He published, 
for example, in Health Risk and Society, Sociology of Health and Illness (with M. Heerings) and 
Mobilization (with J.W. Duyvendak).

5.30pm drinks reception for 6:00pm lecture

There will be a buffet after the lecture

Open to all


Lecture 3: 'Risk, localities and environmental values: Cultural perspectives'

Professor Terre Satterfield (University of British Columbia)
Thursday 25th April 2013

Previous lecture:

Lecture 1: 'The future of relationships - Why culture matters'

Professor Lynn Jamieson (Edinburgh University)
Thursday 7th February 2013


At its simplest, a relationship is some form of consequential connection. The term is often used to refer to important interpersonal connections such as friends and family. In an increasingly digitally connected world, there are masses of data about connections between people (on Facebook, and Twitter for example) and people and things (through loyalty cards, travel cards and the like). We are often aware of connection to and sometimes surveillance by people we’ve never known and with whom we have no direct ‘relationship’. Sometimes claims are made about the waning significance of face-to-face personal relationships in our lives, in the world, and as interesting data.  In the major challenges of the twenty-first century, climate change, global recession and the like, personal relationships seem to be at the receiving end rather than key agents of change. Yet in some understandings of selves and human cultures, personal relationships remain the bedrock. What is the likely future of face-to-face personal relationships? How do they feature in everyday thinking about the future? What are they likely to contribute to the future of our cultural life, our social fabric and the wellbeing of our planet? What can we know about this with and without researchers walking alongside people and getting up close and personal?

Biographical Details
Lynn Jamieson is a professor at the University of Edinburgh and co-director of the university’s centre for research on families and relationships (CRFR).  Lynn’s research interests include: intimacy, personal life, families and relationships, identity, and environment and sustainable lifestyles. Her recent work has explored people living alone at ages more conventionally associated with living with a partner and/or children (with Fran Wasoff and Roona Simpson), children’s experience of family change (with Gill Highet) and young people’s migration from rural areas. Lynn has been involved with longitudinal research through the Timescapes and Growing Up in Scotland studies. Lynn has recently co-edited a book on ‘Researching Families and Relationships’ (2011: London: Palgrave) and is best known for her writing on intimacy, particularly the book Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies (1998: Cambridge & Malden, MA: Polity Press).


Other information

Open To: Public