7 Nov 2012: Sociology Seminar

Issued: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 17:42:00 BST

On the Outside Looking In: Mass Observation Project Accounts of Non-Belonging

Dr Vanessa May (University of Manchester)

4.00-5.30pm, Room 916, Adam Smith Building

Belonging is a fundamental part of being human (some even speak of a need to belong), which is based on the ability to successfully claim the right to belong (to a nation for example). Dominant groups in society, such as the white middle-classes in the UK, tend to exercise most power in defining the boundaries of collective belonging, while minority groups find their right to belong to be under scrutiny or contested. It is therefore not surprising that the difficulties experienced by minority groups in claiming belonging has been the focus of much research, while the experiences of non-belonging among people who belong to the majority have remained under-theorised. Therefore, this paper explores accounts of non-belonging written by white, mainly middle-class individuals for the Mass Observation Project, focusing on what these can tell us sociologically about the nature of belonging and non-belonging, about power and privilege, and indeed about self and society.

All welcome.


The Sociology Seminar Series is supported by the MacFie Bequest, named after Professor Alec MacFie, Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy at the University from 1945 to 1958. 

Any enquiries about the seminar series can be addressed to: Andrew.Smith.2@glasgow.ac.uk