Louise Platt (Liverpool John Moore University) and Ian Lamond (Leeds Beckett University) have been approached by Edinburgh University Press to put forward a proposal for a collected edition on Research Methods for Critical Events Studies. The book, if approved, would form part of their Research Methods for the Arts and Humanities series, edited by Gabriele Griffin at the University of York. On the press’s website the series has the following description:
Designed to serve postgraduate students and academics teaching research methods, this series provides discipline-‐specific volumes which explore the possibilities and limitations of a range of research methods applicable to the subject in question.
We are looking to form a proposal for a book with twelve chapters, each chapter being approximately 7000 words including references. This call is for abstracts of between 250 and 350 words (excluding any indicative references), to be emailed to either Louise or Ian by 14th September 2014. As yet we are unable to offer a definitive date for the submission of completed chapters, that will depend on whether or not we gain approval for our proposal, however we are tentatively looking at pre-Easter 2015. For the proposal we are looking to include abstracts for 16 possible chapters, refining that to 12 post approval.
We are open to all approaches and research philosophies – from autoethonography to statistically-led positivistic interrogation of numerical data. While this is intended to be a book concerned with research methods the chapters should be case study and discussion focused, rather than being highly prescriptive over how a particular methodological perspective is to be applied. There are plenty of social science books out there that say – if you want to do interviews do this and use that form of assessment…we want this book to be an interesting, engaging and (at times) provocative read. The focus should be on the exploration of a method – or set of methods – as applied to a case study which, when considered together, work to challenge the way the reader thinks about possible research areas and approaches in conducting research within critical events studies.
In order to help you better understand the perspective on events we are trying to articulate in our proposal for a book of research methods, we thought it would be useful for you to have some idea of what we mean when we talk about critical events studies (CES). What we present here is a very partial sketch, presented as three key statements, which we currently see as at the heart of CES. We neither expect you to agree with all these statements, nor accept any of them completely – firstly because they are fundamentally incomplete; secondly because any truly critical approach must always be open to self‐critique, discussion and re-vision.
- CES takes the concept of “event”, within the field of events studies, to be essentially contested. It does not shy away from that contestation – nor does it see contestation as a problem to be resolved – instead it recognises this essential contestation as a creative dynamic that powers and enhances research, and understanding, at the forefront of our work as academics interested in events.
- CES challenges any form on hegemonic colonisation of “event”, in a Habermasian sense. In particular, in the context of most “western”/”developed” states, this takes the form of challenging a neo-liberal colonisation that articulates the event, and the ancillary activities around it, as part of an “events industry”.
- CES interprets the acquisition of knowledge, and the extension of understanding, pertinent to the study of events as a motivated by a desire to engage in an emancipatory and liberatory activity; not one steered solely by ideas of profit or employability.
Critical events studies is a very young and emerging development from events studies and events management; it is a symptom of their maturation as field of academic enquiry and moving away from purely focusing on the operational aspects of construing and delivering event.