Call for Articles – Thematic Section of Culture Unbound

Call for Articles – Thematic section in Culture Unbound

“Communicating Culture in Practice”
– thematic section edited by Samantha Hyler

Insights and knowledge derived from applied research has the ability to make concrete developments and changes to some of the toughest cultural questions. Controversial topics and vaguely defined phenomena, such as multicultural societies, consumption, equality, and sustainable practices pervade societies on a global scale. These kinds of questions are increasingly difficult to broach without a cultural perspective. Thus, practitioners of applied cultural research are being sought for their specialized knowledge and insights. Communicating Culture in Practice is a thematic section designed to address the multifaceted nature of cultural research, its wide-ranging application, and the tangible results produced. The principle aim of this section is to strengthen the connection between academia and applied research projects outside of the academy, emphasizing the elements of mediation and translation that strengthens cultural researchers and the practical use of their research and work. Illuminating the use of highly trained cultural mediators in the work force, this section aims to also debate the ethics and challenges inherent in applied cultural research. How will current and upcoming practitioners shape the future of applied cultural research?

It is important to contemplate the agendas behind cultural research and question the practical challenges of how culture is used in applied research. To work directly as an applied researcher with the full ability to control research and results is rare, if found at all. In a political sense, practitioners must be wary of, for example, the colonial past upon which anthropology sits, and the potential danger of becoming accomplices to new kinds of manipulation or deceitful practices possible in how applied cultural research results are used. Working for clients can often place control of the use of research results and ethical decisions into their hands, as many clients are seeking targeted results for commercial or other interests. In a broad sense, this kind of applied work may be in opposition to the interests and needs of research participants. Will there be a time when applied cultural research becomes a fully recognized profession in its own right, with the full ability to determine its own ethical standards?

This thematic section is seeking research articles that address culture and society in the context of applied social scientific and humanities research, particularly emphasizing cooperation between academic and non-academic actors. Topics may include (but are not limited to): explorations of innovative methods and techniques for applied research; ethics in applied practice; how theory is translated and becomes useful in applied practices; ethnographic case studies in urban planning, environment and sustainability, technology, food, diversity and cross-cultural communication, management consultancy, or design research, among other topics. The aim is to underscore the role of mediating, translating, and innovating in applied cultural research for practical and strategic results regarding social questions in a range of non-academic settings.

Articles will be published together as a thematic section in Culture Unbound. Further information regarding the journal, check here Culture Unbound

Please send any questions and abstracts of approximately 250 words to Samantha Hyler samanthahyler at gmail dot com by April 30, 2012.

Samantha Hyler is a cultural analyst and ethnographer with a focus on places and spaces, urban communities and everyday life, social and environmental sustainability, and ethnographic techniques and methodology. Samantha graduated from the master’s in applied cultural analysis program (MACA) at Lund University in 2011, and has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Butler University (Indianapolis, USA). As an applied practitioner, Samantha has previously collaborated with the city of Helsingborg and the long-term urban renewal project, H+. Here, she conducted ethnographic research and collaboratively developed three projects regarding social sustainability, strategic communication and participatory planning, and qualitative methods for understanding places and meeting points. Samantha has written a master’s thesis and an article based from her research with the H+ project, and coauthored an article with Paul Sherfey regarding climate politics during COP15 in Copenhagen. By organizing the thematic section for Culture Unbound, announced above, Samantha Hyler hopes to increase awareness, and importantly, the value, of applied cultural work among both academics and non-academics. The aim is to create a discussion about the ways in which cultural research is practiced, and emphasize the concrete results it has already provided to a variety of socially themed projects. The publication should bridge academically derived knowledge with problem solving for current global social issues, and provide insight into how cultural research, ethnography, and qualitative skills are solving issues faced both inside and outside academia. Samantha Hyler welcomes new opportunities to engage in social projects. She can be contacted at: samanthahyler at gmail dot com

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