[csaa-forum] CFP on scenes perspective and cultural research

Benjamin Woo bmw3 at sfu.ca
Fri Sep 28 06:34:31 CST 2012

Dear colleagues,

Please find below a CFP for a special issue to be submitted to *Cultural
Studies*. Abstracts should be directed to Stuart Poyntz (spoyntz at sfu.ca).
Questions and inquiries may be directed to Stuart or myself.

Benjamin Woo, PhD
http://benjaminwoo.net | @wooesque <https://twitter.com/wooesque>


*Call for Papers*

*Scene Again: Social Life, Research, and Cultural Studies* – Special Issue
intended for *Cultural Studies*

Scenes are bounded worlds set within the fabric of everyday life.
Participating in scenes produces shared experiences, affects, and
identities. They are places to see and to be seen, but they hide behind the
everyday – to find them you have to know where to look. The concept as we
use it here was introduced by Will Straw in a *Cultural Studies* article
just over twenty years ago (Straw 1991) as a way to characterize the
cross-fertilization and transformation of popular-music practices in
specific locales and communities. Straw has since revisited the concept and
extended  its reach to embrace other kinds of cultural life, “particular
clusters of social and cultural activity” that do not always have secure
“boundaries which circumscribe them” (Straw 2004, p. 412).

It is in this spirit that we contend “scene” was a concept ahead of its
time, a resource for a robust, empirically oriented cultural studies or
sociology of culture. Rather than simply studying scenes as cultural
objects, however, we believe the term is most generative for cultural
studies research when employed as a structuring tool for analysis – a
“sensitizing concept.” Learning to see “circulatory matrices” (Gaonkar &
Povinelli, 2003) of people, practices and objects as scenes enables us to
pick out objects of analysis from the flux and flow of everyday life. In
our Internet era, terms such as “network” are also available, but we
believe that “scene” is a more materially oriented and inclusive
methodological resource that forces us to consider the shared spatial and
affective dimensions of social life. Using “scene” in a broader range of
research areas, beyond music scenes and art scenes, allows us to identify
the prevailing conditions and structures of feeling that bind people
together in education scenes, healthcare scenes, activism scenes, and so on.

As a concept and metaphor, “scene” is provocative and flexible, but what
difference might it make to the way that we approach and report on cultural
life? We wish to showcase the usefulness of “scene” as a research concept
in cultural studies by collecting together new scholarship in critical
dialogue with Straw and the scenes perspective. We invite contributions
that work with and test the limits of the scenes perspective through rich,
historical and material analyses of empirical case studies across a range
of cultural spaces and practices. Some potential topics include but are not
limited to:

   - Histories of scenes, including those which explore the dissolution or
   dispersion of a scene.
   - Comparative analyses of scenes across geographical or historical
   - Analyses of hierarchy and power within and between scenes
   (particularly those which deal with race, gender, sexuality, and/or class).
   - The intersection of online and offline practices which co-constitute a
   particular scene.
   - Institutions and intermediaries central to the growth and reproduction
   of a scene.
   - Nodal places where multiple scenes intersect (libraries, cafes,
   community centres, etc.)
   - Scenes produced in suburban, exurban, or virtual environments.
   - Efforts to map or visualize the materiality of scenes as they develop
   over time.

Please submit an 800-word abstract by *December 15th, 2012* to *
spoyntz at sfu.ca* <spoyntz at sfu.ca>.


Stuart Poyntz
School of Communication, Simon Fraser University

Jamie Rennie
Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education, OISE at the
University of Toronto

Benjamin Woo
Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities, Simon Fraser
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