Heather Mendick from the CelebYouth team will take part in The Age of Celebrity. A Panel Talk being held this Monday, 18th February, 2013 at 5pm in the Fifth Floor Function Room of the Southbank Centre (as part of the Imagine Childrens Festival). To get free tickets click here.
When Jade Goody manoeuvred her body through an elastic band in her 2002 UK Big Brother audition video, little can she have imagined that a mere 11 years later she would be cited alongside Italian neo-marxist Antonio Gramsci as the twin inspirations for government education policy. She was inscribed thus, within UK Minister Michael Gove’s speech this week to The Social Market Foundation. Gove’s speech is in this and other ways remarkable as he presents himself as standing up for equality and social mobility against the forces of educational progressivism. In this post I argue that he does this through a doublespeak in which he simultaneously reasserts elitism.
While on a recent trip to Liberia, David Cameron told young people there that “If you ask children in the UK, all they want to be is pop stars and footballers”. This recent quip by the Prime Minister reveals a dismissive attitude towards young people and a narrow vision of their aspirations. It seems that in Cameron’s view, there are only certain kinds of aspirations that really count. Starting a business, buying a house and professional careers in medicine and law, get full marks from Cameron, while dreams of success in music or sport cause concern. This all feels somewhat ironic given the summer of 2012 was all about celebrating the UK’s sporting (and musical) talent. Cameron’s comments are exactly what we’re trying to challenge in our research with young people in the UK, as part of an ESRC-funded project about celebrity culture and aspirations.
On Friday 25th January, the CelebYouth team attended a workshop organised by Tori Cann and Ester McGeeney for postgraduate researchers working in the areas of gender, media and generation. While not strictly postgraduates, we were keen to attend the event and hear presentations of new and emerging work from ‘young’ scholars working in the field, as well as the keynotes from Bev Skeggs and Yvonne Tasker. In this post we give our overall impressions of the day. In separate posts we explore two of the themes that came through for us: social class and femininity and masculinity and race as absent presences. In addition to these, we have written a short post about contempotary spaces for feminist scholarship and collective action – a theme which emerged from discussions at the end of the conference.
The last section of the Gender, Media and Generation conference was directed towards the discussion of methodologies. The workshop reflected longstanding feminist concerns to enable discussions of the personal dimensions of research, with senior academics offering mentoring and advice for the ‘next generation’ of scholars. There is much cause for concern within higher education: the increasing managerialisation and audit culture, the impact of the changes to university funding and tuition fees, rising unemployment and casualisation of contracts, and the threat of yet further hurdles and requirements for academics to ‘prove themselves’ (such as the proposal to shift to a ‘pay to say’ model of academic publishing).
Two key themes emerged for us from the Gender, Media and Generation conference. In another post we explore social class and femininity, and in a final short post reflect on working as feminist scholars in contemporary climate of academia. In this post we explore how race and masculinity were absent presences through the day and how this relates to our own research.
Two key themes emerged for us from the Gender, Media and Generation conference. In another post we explore how race and masculinity were absent presences throughout the day, and in a final short post reflect on working as feminist scholars in contemporary climate of academia. In this post we explore what speakers had to say about social class and femininity and how this relates to our own research.
X-Factor judge and singer Tulisa was in the press last month for her response to comments made by fellow judge Louis Walsh about her ‘WAG’ status. On a recent live show, Louis called Tulisa ‘Mrs WAG’, referring to media reports of her relationship with footballer Danny Simpson. In a quick and defensive riposte, Tulisa replied: ‘Excuse me? You mean I’m a WAF! It means: “Was Already Famous”’. In this post, Kim takes a look underneath the meanings of WAG and WAF and examines Tulisa’s position within wider debates about contemporary fame.