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New to the ASEN Conference - Interactive Workshops!

In addition to the paper presentations the 2012 ASEN conference programme will feature three workshops aiming to be highly interactive, thus offering the opportunity for active participation and informed discussion between participants around a specific theme.

The workshops will be chaired by

The chairs for each workshop will send in advance two or three papers to be discussed among all the participants during the course of 60 to 90 minutes. Participants are expected to come prepared for informed discussion and active participation.

Attendance to the workshops is limited to 15 participants so early registration is required. In order to give as many conference participants as possible the opportunity to participate, registration is limited to one workshop per person.

Registration for the workshop will happen in conjunction with registration for the conference itself which will open later this month on our website. Make sure to register early for the conference and the workshops to avoid disappointment! More details concerning the exact date of registration will follow in the coming days.

Once accepted in a workshop, participants will receive the papers to be discussed approximately four weeks before the conference.

Workshop details

  1. "Avoiding ethnicity through boundaries and categories"
    Prof. Michael Banton and Dr. Jon Fox (University of Bristol)
    In recent years, ethnicity has come under attack as a social scientific concept.  We are admonished for letting essentialised notions of ethnicity to creep into our analyses; we are asked to doff our 'ethnic lenses' and 'ethnic biases'; and we are reprimanded for methodological nationalism, primordialism, and essentialism.  But for all this negative attention, scrutiny, and criticism ethnicity has received, it remains an important fixture of much of the world in which we live.  It is a preferred language of claims making, multiculturalism, and collective action; it is inscribed in the institutions we encounter, the products we consume, and rituals and traditions we perform; and is taken for granted as an innate feature of human existence.  How, then, do we study ethnicity without contributing to its reproduction?  How can we explore its essentialisation without essentialising it in the process?  The aim of this workshop is to think about how we can capture the variation in ethnicity we find in the empirical world without imposing it where it is not.  We consider two fruitful approaches:  one premised on ethnic boundaries, and the other on ethnic categories.  The first focuses on processes of boundary maintenance that produce and reproduce ethnicity; the second on cognitive habits and practices that invoke and confirm an ethnic view of the world.  Despite their differences, these approaches share much in common:  they keep ethnicity squarely on the explanandum side of the equation.  We will use the workshop to compare and evaluate the utility of these perspectives in avoiding the ethnic bias.
    Papers will be pre-circulated to participants.
  2. "'Ethnic' boundaries in complex conflicts: assessing concepts and theories in practical research. Northern Ireland and beyond"
    Professor Jennifer Todd (UCD), Dr. Andrew Finlay (TCD) and Dr. Duncan Morrow (University of Ulster)
    The workshop is intended to show how quite different theoretical perspectives on boundaries and identity play out in detailed analysis, in particular in the participants' convergent interest and expertise on Northern Ireland.
    Papers will be pre-circulated to participants.
  3. State borders and nationalism - difficulties analysing national borders: the Irish border as a case study
    Professor Liam O'Dowd and Professor James Anderson
    There are, at least, two main approaches to issues of state borders and ethnic and national belongings. The first, more common, approach concentrates on a particular border, such as the Irish Border, and its relations with particular ethnicities or nationalities, typically adopting an ideographic case study approach to questions of identity, sometimes expanded to a comparative dimension taking in other cases. The second, less common, approach focuses primarily on the general nature of state borders, their historical development and specificity, and their structural relations with wider questions of socio- economic development and democracy. Both approaches are essential for understanding the continuing importance of borders. But here there are, at least, two problems. Firstly, the more generalising approach to borders is less developed and underutilized than the more ideographic 'case-study' one; and, secondly, there are real difficulties in integrating the two approaches. This has lead to a disparity in research between theoretical and ideographic approaches to border studies.
    This workshop will attempt to address these issues by looking at some general historical and theoretical questions about borders; at some of the particulars of the border separating Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic; and at possible connections between these two realms of enquiry. Professor Anderson and O'Dowd will utilize the example of the Irish border to highlight the need to synchronize approaches to border studies in order to strengthen the discipline.