I’m feeling amazingly proud of myself because I’ve managed to post an event BEFORE it occurs rather than several weeks afterwards, which is my typical blogging practice. Maybe I’m a new me: reborn, more organized, purposeful, a blogging extrovert. Maybe not.
I’ll be presenting at a seminar at the Center for Work, Organisation, and Society of the University of Essex on film as a political research tool. I’ll be presenting in 5 days, yet, I know very little about this Center and what I will actually be presenting. I was invited by Stevphen Shukakitis, who is a lecturer at the Center. He’s also a member of SQEK, the SQuatting Europe Kollective and I know him from years ago when I was doing my PhD at Yale. He was in David Graeber’s circle of friends and I met up with him once during pre-dissertation fieldwork in Amsterdam.
Its hard to articulate how this event will go since I know so little about it. I’m curious about the title, specifically, “political research.” What does that mean? Is my research considered political? If so, how and why?
I guess this brings up larger questions of what it means to be an activist, a researcher, and an activist/researcher. My views are quite extreme on this point. I disagree with the idea that conducting academic research is a political act. Especially given the exploitative labour conditions in academic life, I differ with the idea that by conducting research, one enacts social change. Social change occurs when people organise collectively against exploitative conditions, not by publishing in a peer reviewed journal.