Really good idea for fieldnotes.
For anyone interested in marginalia the secondhand/used book market has to be an untapped source of material. The joy of buying used books is often more than just being able to get hold of an obscure text, a now deleted classic or whatever, its about the annotations, markings and notes that others add to the text that make those books interesting. For our research on Pearl Jephcott we, like others, have had to scour the secondhand book sellers to obtain copies of her works and we now have a fairly complete set of her books. Remarkably these books are quite ‘clean’ in terms of marginalia – with two surprising exceptions. The version of the book A Troubled Area we have appears to be the version Pearl herself donated to the University of Glasgow library in 1964. We can tell this given her signature, date plus the GUL book plate on the inside cover. We also – quite by chance – purchased a copy of Girls Growing Up that Jephcott had autographed in 1942. A form of fateful(?) marginalia we are more than pleased to have.
Inside the front cover of A Troubled Area.
We have a longstanding interest in Elias’s sociology of community. Here are a couple of links to papers that we have contribution to/written on this subject. The first is Angela Perulli’s Italian translation of Towards a Theory of Communities (1974) that contains some introductory notes on the original essay by John Goodwin. The second is paper by Henrietta O’Connor and John Goodwin exploring the ‘community restudies’ they are involved in.
Verso una teoria delle comunità (2013)
Revisiting Norbert Elias’s Sociology of Community: Learning from the Leicester Re-Studies (2012) – O’Connor and Goodwin
Abstract: Since 2001 we have been engaged in a re-study of three linked Leicester projects: The Employment of Married Women in a Leicester Factory (1959–1962), The Adjustment of Young Workers to Work Situations and Adult Roles (1962–1964) and The Established and the Outsiders (1965). The three projects contain a number of striking overlaps, not least Elias’s formulation of communities as figurations through which communal behavioural standards are established, learned and maintained. Whether in the different Zones of Winston Parva, or in the large hosiery factories of Leicester, people learned the self-control of drives and affects ‘according to the pattern and extent of socially given drive and affect regulation’ of that time and that community. In this paper we outline the background to the three re-studies and link them to Elias’s work on community and the broader canon of community studies. We then consider methodological lessons learnt from our re-studies – in particular, the practical process of re-studies, the definitional problems of what constitutes a re-study, and the value of visual images and walking the field. We conclude by reflecting upon the analytical promise of community re-studies.
This postcard was developed for the conference ‘From the Past to the Present and towards Possible Futures: the collected Works of Norbert Elias‘ a conference, organized by Jason Hughes and John Goodwin, to celebrate the complete publication of Elias’s works. To help structure the conference the streams were arranged around key books – such as The Established and The Outsiders – but we also used this postcard as a prompt to generate discussion and to encourage further engagement with Elias’s work. For anyone engaging with Elias – from experienced Eliasian scholars to those reading Elias for the first time – these questions are useful starting points. The retreat of the sociologists, the debate between partisan and public sociology as well as the linkage between sociology, history and psychology are crucial debates that need further consideration by all. For a report on the conference itself then please read Issue 41 of the Figurations newsletter that can be found here : http://www.norberteliasfoundation.nl/docs/pdf/Figs/41.pdf
This blog post is inspired by some reflexivity of some field research I conducted for another research project early on in my research career. This research was on a topic aligned with ‘The making of the precariat’, but the research methods are superficially different. My research is qualitative; ‘The making of the precariat’ is quantitative, making use of 1980s historical questionnaire data. From my own qualitative data collection experiences, I have found that ethical issues and the realities of field research in both projects have similarities although conducted in different times for different purposes.
As presented in the literature, the process of data collection, ethical issues and what is needed for preparation is not too far removed from the reality. However, for myself, what was, was the reality of the anxieties that came after the interviews had ended. This is because seemingly simple questions can…
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Our paper on the legacy of Pearl Jephcott is available online first:
While the lives and works of many sociologists have now been well documented, numerous sociologists at the ‘coal face’ of social research remain ignored. Consequently, beyond the contributions of those more ‘well-known’ scholars, considerably more needs to be done to examine the history of our discipline and reassess the significant contributions made by ‘other’ researchers so that we may reappraise what can be learnt from these ‘pioneer scholars’. In this article we focus on Pearl Jephcott (1900–1980), who in a research career spanning 40 years, but now largely forgotten, was at the forefront of methodological innovation in the 1960s. We offer an introduction to her work, focusing on questions such as why were her methods innovative and why is she now ignored within sociology?
In our research we have found archives to be an essential source of data and material. Indeed, for our restudy of Elias’s Young Worker Project and for our on going work on Pearl Jephcott, archival research has been central to all we have done. Archives, although used by some social scientists, could be used to greater effect – especially in times of reduced research funding where making best use of data and material that already exists seems to be the order of the day. Our Jephcott research featured, in the University of Glasgow’s contribution to the UK Explore Your Archive awareness campaign.
“Our discovery of the illustrations from the Time of One’s Own project, hidden amongst other papers, was one of those truly eureka moments that is only possible when working in archives. As crisp and as clear as the day they were created, the images of young people at work and leisure revealed Pearl Jepchott’s rich legacy of immaculately detailed social science research. The life and work of this once forgotten social researcher, a true pioneer and innovator, at once became available for all to explore and celebrate” – John Goodwin
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