Everyday Relations with/in Economic Insecurities
Roundtable and workshop sessions at the Emotional Geographies Conference, Edinburgh 10-12 June 2015
Convenors Alison Stenning (Newcastle University, UK) and Kye Askins (University of Glasgow, UK)
The impacts of cuts, freezes and squeezes have attracted considerable attention across the UK, Europe and in other parts of the west in recent years, echoing longstanding concerns in parts of the global south (Oxfam 2013). Economic crisis and the austerity policies designed to respond to crisis have ushered in widespread experiences of economic insecurity. This sense of insecurity has spread to include marginalised communities and those who, until recently, lived with relative stability in their everyday economic lives.
This session seeks to explore what everyday economic insecurity feels like. What kinds of emotions and emotional relations are produced by the material realities of economic insecurity? What does a focus on the emotional offer to understanding everyday relations – with family, friends, neighbours, communities and strangers, as well as with institutions, organisations and the state – as they develop, shift and emerge through old and new economic insecurities? What roles might blame, stigma, embarrassment, anger and fear play in these relations and geographies of insecurity? How do care, concern and love factor into lives marked by insecurity? And what kinds of relations nudge struggling and coping with economic insecurity into escaping it – and vice versa?
Further, given feminist, postcolonial and other calls to pay attention to voice, agency and resistance, how might the lens of everyday emotions speak back to policy and practice? Can taking a critical approach to mundane, embodied emotions and relations facilitate knowledges and ways of knowing that may translate into governmental policy and/or institutional practices?
We are also keen to explore what the ethical and emotional demands of working on these issues and with people in precarious positions are. In the widest sense, ethics themselves are relations: as academics we are ourselves interwoven in webs of relations through our (often more than) research. We hope to tease out discussion on methodological approaches and personal reflections, in which paying attention to our own and others’ emotions is central.
We are particularly interested in work/research/practice that considers such questions in the context of:
- housing and notions of home
- unpaid labour – emotional labour – caring activity
- food, food poverty and foodbanks
- health, ill health, disability
- welfare … and its relation to wellbeing
- debt and wider notions of indebtedness (financial and otherwise)
- money and alternative economies
We wish to convene two sessions on these issues. First, a Roundtable discussion, in which ‘key participants’ briefly outline their thoughts and raise questions for 5 minutes each, before opening out to round the room debate. Second, and building on central themes emerging from the Roundtable, we hope to facilitate a workshop session to further explore conceptual, methodological and ethical issues in smaller groups.
If you would like to offer comments as a key participant, please get in touch with us by Nov. 10th (details below), with a brief outline of your interest. We are especially keen to encourage postgraduate, early career researchers and people who are just beginning to work on these themes to take part, with an emphasis on learning and sharing experiences and ideas. We also wish to support non-academic involvement, and are talking with conference organisers to see how best to facilitate this. We intend the second session to be developed with all who wish to participate, and if you have specific ideas/thoughts on this, please email us.