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SPA Speaker Series: Professor Susie Scott (University of Sussex) and Professor John Scott

SPA Seminar series

Professor Susie Scott (Sussex): Narratives of nothing: storying the unlived life

Event details

: Abstract:
Social identities are shaped not only by what we do in life, but also by what we do not do, have or become. Experiences of absence, invisibility, silence and emptiness play an important role in the stories we tell of our personal lives, evoking feelings of regret, nostalgia, loss or relief. Analysing the narrative accounts of 25 participants, I explore the meanings of negative symbolic objects (no-things and no-bodies) that have a haunting presence in biographical memory. Lost opportunities, missing people, roads not taken and unspoken truths are produced through social action: either acts of commission (doing nothing) or acts of omission (non-doing). When reflecting upon these experiences, I argue that we perform reverse identity work, constructing alternate visions of the self as a negative mirror image.
And: Professor John Scott: The absence of social theory in Britain: a Historical misunderstanding.
The paper will look at the claim that there was no significant body of social theory in Britain before the work of Giddens. It will argue that here were, in fact, a number of powerful theoretical traditions and classical statements that have now been largely forgotten, despite their continuing relevance.


Amory B106