29,275 research outputs found

    Consent and the Construction of the Volunteer: Institutional Settings of Experimental Research on Human Beings in Britain during the Cold War

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    This study challenges the primacy of consent in the history of human experimentation and argues that privileging the cultural frameworks adds nuance to our understanding of the construction of the volunteer in the period 1945 to 1970. Historians and bio-ethicists have argued that medical ethics codes have marked out the parameters of using people as subjects in medical scientific research and that the consent of the subjects was fundamental to their status as volunteers. However, the temporality of the creation of medical ethics codes means that they need to be understood within their historical context. That medical ethics codes arose from a specific historical context rather than a concerted and conscious determination to safeguard the well-being of subjects needs to be acknowledged. The British context of human experimentation is under-researched and there has been even less focus on the cultural frameworks within which experiments took place. This study demonstrates, through a close analysis of the Medical Research Council's Common Cold Research Unit (CCRU) and the government's military research facility, the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment, Porton Down (Porton), that the `volunteer' in human experiments was a subjective entity whose identity was specific to the institution which recruited and made use of the subject. By examining representations of volunteers in the British press, the rhetoric of the government's collectivist agenda becomes evident and this fed into the institutional construction of the volunteer at the CCRU. In contrast, discussions between Porton scientists, staff members, and government officials demonstrate that the use of military personnel in secret chemical warfare experiments was far more complex. Conflicting interests of the military, the government and the scientific imperative affected how the military volunteer was perceived

    Elite perceptions of the Victorian and Edwardian past in inter-war England

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    It is often argued by historians that members of the cultivated Elite after 1918 rejected the pre-war past. or at least subjected it to severe denigration. This thesis sets out to challenge such a view. Above all, it argues that inter-war critics of the Victorian and Edwardian past were unable to reject it even if that was what they felt inclined to do. This was because they were tied to those periods by the affective links of memory, family, and the continually unfolding consequences of the past in the present. Even the severest critics of the pre-war world, such as Lytton Strachey, were less frequently dismissive of history than ambivalent towards it. This ambivalence, it is argued, helped to keep the past alive and often to humanise it. The thesis also explores more positive estimation of Victorian and Edwardian history between the wars. It examines nostalgia for the past, as well as instances of continuity of practice and attitude. It explores the way in which inter-war society drew upon aspects of Victorian and Edwardian history both as illuminating parallels to contemporary affairs and to understand directly why the present was shaped as it was. Again, this testifies to the enduring power of the past after 1918. There are three parts to this thesis. Part One outlines the cultural context in which writers contemplated the Victorian and Edwardian past. Part Two explores some of the ways in which history was written about and used by inter-war society. Part Three examines the ways in which biographical depictions of eminent Victorians after 1918 encouraged emotional negotiation with the pas

    Metaphors of London fog, smoke and mist in Victorian and Edwardian Art and Literature

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    Julian Wolfreys has argued that after 1850 writers employed stock images of the city without allowing them to transform their texts. This thesis argues, on the contrary, that metaphorical uses of London fog were complex and subtle during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, at least until 1914. Fog represented, in particular, formlessness and the dissolution of boundaries. Examining the idea of fog in literature, verse, newspaper accounts and journal articles, as well as in the visual arts, as part of a common discourse about London and the state of its inhabitants, this thesis charts how the metaphorical appropriation of this idea changed over time. Four of Dickens's novels are used to track his use of fog as part of a discourse of the natural and unnatural in individual and society, identifying it with London in progressively more negative terms. Visual representations of fog by Constable, Turner, Whistler, Monet, Markino, O'Connor, Roberts and Wyllie and Coburn showed an increasing readiness to engage with this discourse. Social tensions in the city in the 1880s were articulated in art as well as in fiction. Authors like Hay and Barr showed the destruction of London by its fog because of its inhabitants' supposed degeneracy. As the social threat receded, apocalyptic scenarios gave way to a more optimistic view in the work of Owen and others. Henry James used fog as a metaphorical representation of the boundaries of gendered behaviour in public, and the problems faced by women who crossed them. The dissertation also examines fog and individual transgression, in novels and short stories by Lowndes, Stevenson, Conan Doyle and Joseph Conrad. After 1914, fog was no more than a crude signifier of Victorian London in literature, film and, later, television, deployed as a cliche instead of the subtle metaphorical idea discussed in this thesis

    Building body identities - exploring the world of female bodybuilders

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    This thesis explores how female bodybuilders seek to develop and maintain a viable sense of self despite being stigmatized by the gendered foundations of what Erving Goffman (1983) refers to as the 'interaction order'; the unavoidable presentational context in which identities are forged during the course of social life. Placed in the context of an overview of the historical treatment of women's bodies, and a concern with the development of bodybuilding as a specific form of body modification, the research draws upon a unique two year ethnographic study based in the South of England, complemented by interviews with twenty-six female bodybuilders, all of whom live in the U.K. By mapping these extraordinary women's lives, the research illuminates the pivotal spaces and essential lived experiences that make up the female bodybuilder. Whilst the women appear to be embarking on an 'empowering' radical body project for themselves, the consequences of their activity remains culturally ambivalent. This research exposes the 'Janus-faced' nature of female bodybuilding, exploring the ways in which the women negotiate, accommodate and resist pressures to engage in more orthodox and feminine activities and appearances

    Towards a sociology of conspiracy theories: An investigation into conspiratorial thinking on Dönmes

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    This thesis investigates the social and political significance of conspiracy theories, which has been an academically neglected topic despite its historical relevance. The academic literature focuses on the methodology, social significance and political impacts of these theories in a secluded manner and lacks empirical analyses. In response, this research provides a comprehensive theoretical framework for conspiracy theories by considering their methodology, political impacts and social significance in the light of empirical data. Theoretically, the thesis uses Adorno's semi-erudition theory along with Girardian approach. It proposes that conspiracy theories are methodologically semi-erudite narratives, i.e. they are biased in favour of a belief and use reason only to prove it. It suggests that conspiracy theories appear in times of power vacuum and provide semi-erudite cognitive maps that relieve alienation and ontological insecurities of people and groups. In so doing, they enforce social control over their audience due to their essentialist, closed-to-interpretation narratives. In order to verify the theory, the study analyses empirically the social and political significance of conspiracy theories about the Dönme community in Turkey. The analysis comprises interviews with conspiracy theorists, conspiracy theory readers and political parties, alongside a frame analysis of the popular conspiracy theory books on Dönmes. These confirm the theoretical framework by showing that the conspiracy theories are fed by the ontological insecurities of Turkish society. Hence, conspiracy theorists, most readers and some political parties respond to their own ontological insecurities and political frustrations through scapegoating Dönmes. Consequently, this work shows that conspiracy theories are important symptoms of society, which, while relieving ontological insecurities, do not provide politically prolific narratives

    The Professional Identity of Doctors who Provide Abortions: A Sociological Investigation

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    Abortion is a medicalised problem in England and Wales, where the law places doctors at the centre of legal provision and puts doctors in control of who has an abortion. However, the sex-selection abortion scandal of 2012 presented a very real threat to 'abortion doctors', when the medical profession's values and practices were questioned in the media, society and by Members of Parliament. Doctors found themselves at the centre of a series of claims that stated doctors were acting both illegally and unethically, driven by profit rather than patient needs. Yet, the perspectives of those doctors who provide abortions has been under-researched; this thesis aims to fill that gap by examining the beliefs and values of this group of doctors. Early chapters highlight the ambiguous position of the abortion provider in Britain, where doctors are seen as a collective group of professionals motivated by medical dominance and medical autonomy. They outline how this position is then questioned and contested, with doctors being presented as unethical. By studying abortion at the macro-, meso- and micro-levels, this thesis seeks to better understand the values of the 'abortion doctor', and how these levels shape the work and experiences of abortion providers in England and Wales. This thesis thus addresses the question: 'What do abortion doctors' accounts of their professional work suggest about the contemporary dynamics of the medicalisation of abortion in Britain?'. It investigates the research question using a qualitative methodological approach: face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with 47 doctors who provide abortions in England and Wales. The findings from this empirical study show how doctors' values are linked to how they view the 'normalisation of abortion'. At the macro-level doctors, openly resisted the medicalisation of abortion through the position ascribed to them by the legal framework, yet at the meso-level doctors construct an identity where normalising abortion is based on further medicalising services. Finally, at the micro-level, the ambiguous position of the abortion provider is further identified in terms of being both a proud provider and a stigmatised individual. This thesis shows that while the existing medicalisation literature has some utility, it has limited explanatory power when investigating the problem of abortion. The thesis thus provides some innovative insights into the relevance and value of medicalisation through a comprehensive study on doctors' values, beliefs and practices

    The temporality of rhetoric: the spatialization of time in modern criticism

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    Every conception of criticism conceals a notion of time which informs the manner in which the critic conceives of history, representation and criticism itself. This thesis reveals the philosophies of time inherent in certain key modern critical concepts: allegory, irony and the sublime. Each concept opens a breach in time, a disruption of chronology. In each case this gap or aporia is emphatically closed, elided or denied. Taking the philosophy of time elaborated by Giorgio Agamben as an introductory proposition, my argument turns in Chapter One to the allegorical temporality which Walter Benjamin sees as the time of photography. The second chapter examines the aesthetics of the sublime as melancholic or mournful untimeliness. In Chapter Three, Paul de Man's conception of irony provides an exemplary instance of the denial of this troubling temporal predicament. In opposition to the foreclosure of the disturbing temporalities of criticism, history and representation, the thesis proposes a fundamental rethinking of the philosophy of time as it relates to these categories of reflection. In a reading of an inaugural meditation on the nature of time, and in examining certain key contemporary philosophical and critical texts, I argue for a critical attendance to that which eludes those modes of thought that attempt to map time as a recognizable and essentially spatial field. The Confessions of Augustine provide, in the fourth chapter, a model for thinking through the problems set up earlier: Augustine affords us, precisely, a means of conceiving of the gap or the interim. In the final chapter, this concept is developed with reference to the criticism of Arnold and Eliot, the fiction of Virginia Woolf and the philosophy of cinema derived from Deleuze and Lyotard. In conclusion, the philosophical implications of the thesis are placed in relation to a conception of the untimeliness of death

    The crisis of cultural authority in museums : contesting human remains in the collections of Britain

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    Museums in Britain have displayed and researched human remains since the eighteenth century. However, in the last two decades human remains in collections have become subject to claims and controversies. Firstly, human remains associated with acquisition during the colonial period have become increasingly difficult to retain and have been transfered to culturally affiliated overseas indigenous groups. Secondly, a group of British Pagans have formed to make claims on ancient human remains in collections. Thirdly, human remains that are not requested by any community group, and of all ages, have become the focus of concerns expressed about their treatment by members of the profession. A discourse arguing for 'respect' has emerged, which argues that all human remains should be treated with new care. The claims made on human remains have been vigourously but differentially contested by members of the sector, who consider the human remains to be unique research objects. This thesis charts the influences at play on the contestation over human remains and examines its construction. The academic literature tends to understand changes to museums as a result of external factors. This thesis argues that this problem is influenced by a crisis of legitimacy and establishes that there are strong internal influences. Through a weak social constructionist approach I demonstrate that the issue has been promoted by influential members of the sector as part of a broader attempt to distance themselves from their foundational role, as a consequence of a crisis of cultural authority stimulated by external and internal factors. The symbolic character of human remains in locating this problem is informed by the unique properties of dead bodies and is influenced by the significance of the body as a scientific object; its association with identity work and as a site of political struggle, in the high modem period

    Political Islam and grassroots activism in Turkey : a study of the pro-Islamist Virtue Party's grassroots activists and their affects on the electoral outcomes

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    This thesis presents an analysis of the spectacular rise of political Islam in Turkey. It has two aims: first to understand the underlying causes of the rise of the Welfare Party which -later became the Virtue Party- throughout the 1990s, and second to analyse how grassroots activism influenced this process. The thesis reviews the previous literature on the Islamic fundamentalist movements, political parties, political party systems and concentrates on the local party organisations and their effects on the party's electoral performance. It questions the categorisation of Islamic fundamentalism as an appropriate label for this movement. An exploration of such movements is particularly important in light of the event of 11`x' September. After exploring existing theoretical and case studies into political Islam and party activism, I present my qualitative case study. I have used ethnographic methodology and done participatory observations among grassroots activists in Ankara's two sub-districts covering 105 neighbourhoods. I examined the Turkish party system and the reasons for its collapse. It was observed that as a result of party fragmentation, electoral volatility and organisational decline and decline in the party identification among the citizens the Turkish party system has declined. However, the WP/VP profited from this trend enormously and emerged as the main beneficiary of this process. Empirical data is analysed in four chapters, dealing with the different aspects of the Virtue Party's local organisations and grassroots activists. They deal with change and continuity in the party, the patterns of participation, the routes and motives for becoming a party activist, the profile of party activists and the local party organisations. I explore what they do and how they do it. The analysis reveals that the categorisation of Islamic fundamentalism is misplaced and the rise of political Islam in Turkey cannot be explained as religious revivalism or the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. It is a political force that drives its strength from the urban poor which has been harshly affected by the IMF directed neoliberal economy policies. In conclusion, it is shown that the WP/VP's electoral chances were significantly improved by its very efficient and effective party organisations and highly committed grassroots activists

    A Cornish palimpsest : Peter Lanyon and the construction of a new landscape, 1938-1964

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    The thesis examines the emergence of Peter Lanyon as one of the few truly innovative British landscape painters this century. In the Introduction I discuss the problematic nature of landscape art and consider the significance of Lanyon's discovery that direct description and linear perspective can be replaced with allusive representational elements by fusing the emotional and imaginative life of the artist with the physical activity of painting. Chapter One concentrates on the period 1936-8 when Lanyon was taught by Borlase Smart, a key figure in the St Ives art colony between the wars. Chapter Two examines the influence of Adrian Stokes and the links between Lanyon's painting and the theories developed in books such as Colour and Form and The Quattro Cento. Chapter Three analyses the period 1940-45 when Lanyon was directly influenced by the constructivism of Nicholson, Hepworth and Gabo. I look closely at their approaches to abstraction and assess Lanyon's relative position to them. The importance of Neo-Romanticism and the status of St Ives as a perceived avant-garde community is also addressed. In Chapter Four I discuss how Lanyon resolved to achieve a new orientation in his art on his return from wartime service with the RAF by synthesising constructivism, and traditional landscape. The Generation and Surfacing Series demonstrate his preoccupation with a sense of place, a fascination with the relationships between the human body and landscape and his struggle to find a technique and style that was entirely his own. His sense of existential insideness is discussed in Chapter Five through an examination of the work derived from Portreath, St. Just and Porthleven - key places in Lanyon's psychological attachment to the landscape of West Penwith. In Chapter Six I examine Lanyon's attachment to myths and archetypal forms, tracing the influence of Bergson's vitalist philosophy as well as his use of Celtic and classical motifs. Chapter Seven is a discussion of the malaise evident in Lanyon's work by 1955 and the impact of American Abstract Expressionism at the Tate Gallery a year later. In the summer of 1959 Lanyon joined the Cornish Gliding Club and Chapter Eight looks at how this necessitated a dynamic, expanded conception of the landscape and a re-thinking of relations within the picture field. The ability to dissolve boundaries encouraged him to break down distinctions between painting and construction so that abstract sculptural elements were now assembled into independent works of art. Finally, Chapter Nine assesses Lanyon's overall position in relation to his early influences and to St Ives art as a whole, his response to new directions in art coming out of London and NewYork in the early 1960s and the importance of travel as a stimulus for further realignment in his artistic and topographical horizons. His pictorial inventiveness and vitality remained unabated at the time of his death and would undoubtedly have continued to be enriched by travel abroad and contact with new movements in modem art on both sides of the Atlanti
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