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The theme for the conference is: ‘Criminology: Voyages of Critical Discovery’. This reflects the spirit of Plymouth as a point of departure for numerous voyages of discovery.

Plymouth has a history of discovery, given that the Pilgrim Fathers set off for the ‘new world’ from what is now known as the ‘Mayflower Steps’ on Plymouth’s Barbican. Those voyages of imperial conquest are now viewed with ambivalence: the source of heroic myth and pride for some, a prelude to genocide and enslavement for others. Other journeys (such as the transportation of the Tolpuddle martyrs) were made unwillingly, in a context of mass repression. The British Society of Criminology (BSC) annual conference 2015 aims to take criminology on a reflexive and critical voyage that explores our ambivalence over the past, the present and the future.

With the spirit of adventure comes the necessity of critical reflection, debate and contestation. With this in mind the BSC 2015 conference is organised around a set of plenary panel discussions that provide keynote speakers with the opportunity to present their ideas and discuss them in the round. This exciting format for the conference is intended to encourage and motivate discussion and debate in subsequent panel and paper sessions. This will provide an excellent forum for an inclusionary dialogue and therefore promote a dynamic conference environment from which numerous voyages of critical discovery may be made.

Conference deadlines:
Call for abstracts opens – Friday 30 January 2015
Call for abstracts closes – Monday 25 May 2015
Conference registration opens – Friday 30 January 2015
Early Bird registration closes – Friday 15 May 2015
Notification to authors (no later than) – 1 month of receipt of abstract
Conference registration closes – Monday 22 June 2015

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WVU Research Center on Violence announces Mary L. Thomas Lecture Series



PhD Studentship: Plymouth University, UK

Title of proposed project: Social Networks, Social Drinking?: Alcohol, social media and the internet.

Project Outline: While government and the alcohol industry are keen to emphasise year on year decreases in alcohol consumption since the early 2000s, consistently high levels of alcohol related harm suggests that this decrease is far from universal (See Nicholls 2013; Sumnall 2014). These drinkers are likely to be young, and overwhelmingly they tend to document their drinking behaviours through the Internet, an endeavour that is lauded as creative and inclusive by marketing agencies, but one that ought to be interrogated by critical social scientists. Social media sites such as Facebook, reflect changing social processes with respect to relationships, sociability, work and leisure, and are becoming increasingly important to the alcohol industry as a mode of marketing and brand attachment. While we can be confident that we are witnessing an epochal shift in the relationship between alcohol, leisure and identity, a number of questions remain unanswered within a literature that has so far only tentatively addressed these issues. Does the use of social media impact upon alcohol behaviours? Does the filtering of experiences through social media affect our relationship with alcohol and each other? What does the emergence of new forms of alcohol consumption mediated through the Internet mean for our understandings of identity construction, and what it means to be social or sociable? The successful candidate should expect to engage and answer questions such as these through a careful and theoretically informed exploration of alcohol, identity and social media.

The research is likely to utilise ethnographic research methods to determine the lived experiences of young people existing at the nexus of consumerism and user-generated content. While the title suggests alcohol alone, it is likely that the project will encounter a swathe of deviance and criminality such as the use of legal highs and illegal drugs, and a range of harms and crimes associated with these forms of deviant leisure such as interpersonal violence, crimes against property, health and injury.

To express an interest, or for more information email Oliver Smith

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