ResearchSPace - Bath Spa University

    Towards ecological science for all by all

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    Editorial for the special issue on Citizen Science

    Unwritten theology: notes towards a natural theology of music

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    This chapter engages with Tillich’s theology of culture and George Steiner’s powerfully suggestive characterisation of music as ‘unwritten theology’ to suggest ways in which the possibility of a natural theology of music might be theorised. Steiner’s claim exposes a central dilemma for work that seeks to explore the ways in which music relates to transcendence. On the one hand, for those such as Jeremy Begbie, ‘music can serve to enrich and advance theology’ in its ongoing quest, in his words, ‘to extend our wisdom about God, God’s relation to us, and to the world at large’. Music, in this case, serves as an aid to reflection, further equipping the theologian in her inescapably writerly enterprise. On the other hand, as Frank Burch Brown suggests: what if the theologian of art allows that art not only assist theology but further ‘reshape, somehow, the image and sound, the look and feel, of the substance of faith’? For such an approach, music itself becomes theology and hence the theologian’s task is radically transformed. No longer able to make use of music to enrich her writing, the theologian is thus displaced and the linguistic hegemony of theology is challenged in favour of a ‘theology without writing’. This chapter explores the possibilities for theorising a ‘theology after writing’ capable of ‘reshaping, somehow’ not simply the form but also the substance of faith by drawing on resources from Paul Tillich’s cultural-theological analyses of what he characterises as art with ‘religious style, but non-religious content’, as well as Jean-Luc Marion’s notion of iconic distance (particularly as developed by James Herbert. Taking seriously the challenge of thinking of music as ‘un-writing theology’, the chapter suggests that a framework of a natural theology of music might provide the necessary openness to discovery that Steiner’s description requires

    Bearing witness: the writing of domestic abuse in a work of fiction [and] What men do

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    My aim in this thesis is to show how the portrayal of abuse in fiction differs from the writing of other fictional forms. And to examine the tools and methods the writer of such material needs to bring to bear on their work as a consequence. The thesis is composed of two parts – a creative manuscript and a piece of contextualising research. The manuscript is in the form of a novel, entitled 'What Men Do', about a woman who physically abuses her husband. The woman at the centre of the novel, Connie Williams, a primary school teacher, faces difficulties at school and in her marriage in the wake of a recent miscarriage. The novel charts her descent into violence and mental turmoil, while at the same time presenting a concurrent narrative involving a police investigation into her actions. The contextualising research, 'Bearing witness: the writing of domestic abuse in a work of fiction', investigates the writing of a work of fiction involving domestic abuse, by means of close analysis of two novels addressing the subject, as well as my own. I take Anne Enright’s Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Gathering' and examine how Enright depicts the topic of domestic (sexual) abuse in it. I also explore how Roddy Doyle approaches the subject of domestic violence in 'The Woman Who Walked into Doors'. I compare and contrast my own novel and my experience of writing about domestic abuse with these authors’ works. For ease, this part is divided into six contextualising areas: Family, Society, Sex, Patriarchy, Religion, Mental Illness. I then turn to the idea of ‘bearing witness’ in these novels, as well as in my own, and investigate how and why Doyle and Enright bear witness in this form, and what implications it has for the success of their writing and the public reception of their work. This chapter is divided into three parts: firstly A Call to Arms which examines initial ideas of bearing witness in works of fiction; the next part The Novel as Investigation concerns the investigative elements of bearing witness in a novel, using a quasi-legal context or other form of investigative framework; the third part, entitled Fact vs Fiction deals with testimony in fiction, contrasted with other forms of writing such as poetry and memoir. Thus, through fictionalising and examining domestic abuse in my own and others’ work, I hope that I can bear witness not just to those close to me who have experienced abuse but to those others who have not (yet), to adopt the language of Time magazine, broken their silence

    A cockroach preserved in amber: the significance of class in critics' representations of heavy metal music and its fans

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    In this paper we engage with new cultural theories of class that have identified media representations of ‘excessive’ white heterosexual working class femininity as a ‘constitutive limit’ of incorporation into dominant (middle class) modes of neo-liberal subjectivity (Skeggs, 2007), and Bourdieu’s thesis that classification is a form of symbolic violence that constitutes both the classifier and the classified (Bourdieu, 1986). We explore the implications of such arguments for those modes of white working class masculinity that are critically disparaged but continue to reproduce themselves in forms of overtly-masculinist popular culture. Our focus is on the constitution of white working class heterosexual masculinity as a reviled Other in contemporary music criticism that focuses on the genre of Heavy Metal music. We present a systematic discourse analysis of over 1000 items of commentary and review, featured in the pages of the New Musical Express (1999 –2007), a paper historically identified with the ideals of the counter culture and erstwhile champion of punk, which now offers leadership of musical tastes in an increasingly segmented, niche oriented marketplace. We examine representations of Heavy Metal music, fans and bands, exploring how attributes and forms of personhood are attached to working class male bodies, tastes and practices that allow a distinction to be drawn between a middle class liberal intelligentsia who possess taste and an animalistic mass who appear to lack it

    Alcohol, young people and the media: a study of radio output in six radio stations in England

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    Background: This research investigated the representation of alcohol in radio output. The study was prompted by concerns that media output might be part of a developing culture of excessive drinking among young people. Methods: Alcohol comments were examined across six radio stations in England. 1200 h of weekend output was screened and the sampling frame included periods when references to alcohol would be expected, such as the Christmas period. Statistical analysis identified the volume and proportion of comments, whereas qualitative analysis explored these in more depth, focusing on the themes and discourses surrounding alcohol talk. Results: Of 703 alcohol comments identified, 244 involved presenters. The volume of comments about alcohol varied between stations, being lower on BBC than on commercial stations and being influenced by music genre. Seventy-three percent of comments initiated by presenters, compared with 45% of comments from all sources, encouraged drinking. The majority of comments by presenters support drinking in relation to partying and socializing. Alcohol comments seem to create identity for programmes and forge connections between presenters and audiences, although some presenters achieve this without mentioning drinking. The assumption that alcohol is necessary to have a good time is seldom directly challenged. Conclusions: While it may be unsurprising that much of this content reflected themes of weekend drinking and partying, the study suggests that alcohol comments play a particular role in marketing and branding of radio output. Comments about alcohol are shaped by broadcasting conventions that make it difficult to challenge discourses surrounding excessive drinking. Further research is needed on the influence that radio output may have on drinking behaviour among young people

    The Development of French Lute Style 1600-1650

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    Food addiction: implications for the diagnosis and treatment of overeating

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    With the obesity epidemic being largely attributed to overeating, much research has been aimed at understanding the psychological causes of overeating and using this knowledge to develop targeted interventions. Here, we review this literature under a model of food addiction and present evidence according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) criteria for substance use disorders. We review several innovative treatments related to a food addiction model ranging from cognitive intervention tasks to neuromodulation techniques. We conclude that there is evidence to suggest that, for some individuals, food can induce addictive-type behaviours similar to those seen with other addictive substances. However, with several DSM-5 criteria having limited application to overeating, the term ‘food addiction’ is likely to apply only in a minority of cases. Nevertheless, research investigating the underlying psychological causes of overeating within the context of food addiction has led to some novel and potentially effective interventions. Understanding the similarities and differences between the addictive characteristics of food and illicit substances should prove fruitful in further developing these interventions

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