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Sociology Departmental Seminar with: Rebecca Coleman (Sociology, Lancaster University)

Date: 17 May 2011 Time: 16.15 - 18.00

Venue: FASS Meeting Room 2/3

"Change For Life: Transformation, Affect and Futures"

Contemporary society and culture is increasingly described as 'mobile' (Urry 2007, Elliott and Urry 2010), 'alive' and 'intense' (Lash and Lury 2007), and 'vital' (Fraser, Kember and Lury 2005), and emphasis is placed on socio-cultural life as a transformative process where the body is central (Featherstone 2010, Thrift 2005). A key aspect of this transformative logic is an orientation towards a future which, while anticipated, expected and planned for, also functions as potential (Adkins 2008) in seeming to suggest a 'not-yet' that is materially different. This paper examines the crucial role of images in the materialisation of the future and argues that images are not so much 'read' as 'texts' from a distance but are affectively felt and lived out. Drawing on recent work which demonstrates the centrality of screens to everyday life (Manovich 2001, Friedberg 1994, 2006, Wood 2007), it explores this claim through a focus on the different screens through which images of self-transformation appear and are organised. Taking as its starting point the recent British government health and fitness campaign to 'Change for Life', the paper is interested in how images of self-transformation bring the future into the present and affectively 'draw in' some bodies more than others. It poses and begins to deal with questions such as: which bodies are affectively caught up in images of self-transformation and how does this tap into and reproduce wider social and cultural processes of inequality? How are images of self-transformation involved in both the appeal to and production of bodies? Which futures are seen as desirable or necessary and in what ways are they materialised? How do screens arrange the materialisation of images?

Rebecca Coleman

Department of Sociology

Lancaster University


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Sociology


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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