As 2014 begins, we thought we’d borrow an idea from Sociological Imagination and look back on our top posts of 2013. There are many possible ways to measure this – most tweeted, shared on facebook, viewed, commented upon, etc., or some hybrid of these But we’ve kept it simple using the number of unique visitors as supplied by Google Analytics. The top 10 below, captures the CelebYouth mix of our own blogs and guest posts, covering the findings of the project, reflections on our methodology and on the experience of doing a research project more broadly, and discussions of education policy and celebrity culture.
In 10th place we have… From Ladette to Lady: Kerry Katona vs Cheryl Cole, a guest blog by Lancaster University’s Laura Clancy. Laura uses the contrasts in the representations of these two celebrities to ask: Why is fame and success measured by distance from working-class-ness?
In 9th place we have ‘Aspirational’ youth, the craft of interviewing, and enforced narratives, in which Kim explores some of the methodological issues arising from our use of group and individual interviews to explore young people’s aspirations.
In 8th place we have Tampon Girl: disgust, female bodies and the ‘wrong’ sort of fame. We’ve learnt much about youth culture from this project, from fangirling to bronies, but Tampon Girl was the phenomenon that provoked most team discussion. In this post Heather reflects on what Giovanni Plowman’s video of herself ‘eating a condom’ tells us about attitudes to women’s bodies.
In 7th place is Final Top 12 Celebrities from the Group Interviews. This is the first of two posts directly about our findings in the top 10. In this one Heather explains how we chose the 12 celebrity case studies from the group interview data.
In 6th place, in From Kardashian e-bile to Will Smith Fever: Case study data collection and a Sociologist on the move Kim discusses the early stages of her case study data collection as she tracks the publicly derided Reality TV Star Kim Kardashian and widely adored actor and musician Will Smith.
In 5th place is What Do Young People Think about Bill Gates? In this post, Heather outlines what young people in the group interviews had to say about Bill Gates who often came up in discussions of ideal celebrities.
In 4th place is another guest blog, Gemma Ahearne’s Snog Marry Avoid: The moral economies of whiteness. In this Gemma, from Liverpool John Moores University, looks at the regulation of class and gender in UK TV programme Snog Marry Avoid in which ‘ordinary’ women can get their 15 minutes of fame by transforming from ‘bad girls’ to ‘good girls’.
In 3rd place is On Being Rejected, in which Heather discusses our experience of having our symposium rejected by the American Educational Research Association. Rejection is a frequently occurring but infrequently talked about part of academic life. What can we learn from it?
In 2nd place we have a joint post by Kim and guest blogger Sarah Burton, Gender and the Great British Bake Off, discussing the widespread misogynistic reactions to the all-female finalists of this year’s round of the BBC’s popular cooking competition.
And taking the top spot is Mr Sneery strikes again: Gove’s Canon, ‘policy-based evidence making’ and the screen discourse of ‘low aspirations’. This was one of a series of posts dissecting UK Education Minister, Michael Gove’s, speeches. In it, Kim and Laura take apart key aspects of Gove’s vision: the idea of a Great Canon, his selective approach to evidence and his talk about youth aspirations.
Although the project ends in July we’re loving blogging and hoping to bring you many more before then – and maybe even after. As last year, we’d be delighted to get offers of guest posts – see the Write for Us page for guidance.
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