Posts Tagged gender

Remembering Mary McIntosh (1936-2013)

Mary McIntosh, who was at Essex for twenty years between 1976 and 1996, died in January. Ken Plummer wrote this on his blog at the time. You can also find his fuller obituary in The Guardian and under ‘Memories’: Mary McIntosh

Goodbye Mary : We Love You

Mary McIntosh was a popular and influential member of the department form 1976 to 1996

Mary McIntosh was a popular and influential member of the department from 1976 to 1996

It is with very great sadness I learnt of the death of Mary McIntosh – a very dear person to me and many others – and a great inspiration.  She had bounced back from very serious illness several times over the past few years; but finally it was another  stroke that took her on Saturday January 5th 2013. Sad news for the start of the new year. Condolences to all her close friends but especially Ange, her long time partner, and Duncan her ‘son’.

Mary was a pioneer: a second wave feminist, an active member of the lesbian and gay movement, one of the most quietly influential of sociologists of the 1960’s through 1990’s, and a wonderful person. She also remained a committed socialist.

She was one of the greatest influences on my life. Very early on, I wrote to her as an undergraduate when she was teaching at Leicester and she sent me several of her unpublished papers on the sociology of homosexuality. These were amazing pieces and a real eye opener for me. Very shortly afterwards, one of these papers was published as ‘The Homosexual Role’ in the journal Social Problems: the rest is history. It has become one of the classical foundational arguments of the sociology of homosexuality. It gave a historical and fully social meaning to the idea of same sex relations. I was to meet her personally just a few years later at the London School of Economics- first at a seminar on ‘deviance’ for graduate students ( when I was giving my first ever paper: Changing Conceptions of Homosexuality in 1968 She was very encouraging).  But later and more significantly we became friends in the very early meetings of the London Gay Liberation Front in 1970. She became a very prominent figure in this movement – with her partner of the time, Elizabeth Wilson.She was also becoming even more active in the then flourishing Women’s Movement .

Her activism bridged into a careful and thorough sociology. She had been well trained into the elements at Oxford and Berkeley, and adopted first functionalist ideas then Marxist ones ( there is really only a small (but major ideological) step between them). She became involved in  establishing the new and lively group of young academic Turks studying crime- the National Deviancy Conference. She was also engaged in setting up two journals Economy and Society (1978-1994) and Feminist Review (1972-1978) where she became part of the influential  first editorship and stewardship (both have gone on to become major world journals). She was also very active in the British Sociological Association.

Finally, I came to know her most of all when she arrived at Essex as a colleague at the University of Essex in 1976/7 – where she worked for the next twenty years. Academically, she straddled several fields: criminology, theory,social policy, the family, feminism, Marxism. She loved teaching and taught the first feminism and gender course in the department – hugely popular with students, but dropped when she retired. Here she was to become a key influence and the first woman ‘Head of Department’ of Sociology ( 1986-9). Sadly, and to the shame of the Essex Department, she was never promoted to the rank of full Professor.  She retired in 1996.

After her retirement, she worked a little at Birkbeck College, London; but she gradually  left ‘academia’ behind. She worked for some time at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and continued her  political activities. Her papers have been chronicled at the London School of Economics

Even though she did not like writing and suffered writer’s block, she published some influential works including:

  • co -editor with Paul Rock of Deviance and social control (Tavistock, London, 1974);
  • The organisation of crime (Macmillan, London, 1975);
  • co-writer with Michelle Barrett of The anti-social family (NLB, London, 1982);
  • co-writer with Lynne Segal : Sex exposed: sexuality and the pornography debate (Virago, London, 1992);
  • And a host of pathbreaking  articles on an array issues like of homosexuality, prostitution and family policy.

Mary was a serious intellectual and a passionate activist. A strong, caring, quiet presence – she also had a very joyful sense of fun and always ready for a dance and a laugh.  I missed her greatly when she left Essex; the department could never be quite the same for me. And now she leaves a gaping hole in the world. But she will be loved in remembrance.

For Mary: The Choir Invisible

Oh, may I join the choir invisible 
Of those immortal dead who live again 
In minds made better by their presence; live 
In pulses stirred to generosity, 
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn 
For miserable aims that end with self, 
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, 
And with their mild persistence urge men’s search 
To vaster issues.

So to live is heaven: 
To make undying music in the world, 
Breathing a beauteous order that controls 
With growing sway the growing life of man. 
So we inherit that sweet purity 
For which we struggled, failed, and agonized 
With widening retrospect that bred despair. 
Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued, 
A vicious parent shaming still its child, 
Poor anxious penitence, is quick dissolved; 
Its discords, quenched by meeting harmonies, 
Die in the large and charitable air, 
And all our rarer, better, truer self 
That sobbed religiously in yearning song, 
That watched to ease the burden of the world, 
Laboriously tracing what must be, 
And what may yet be better, — saw within 
A worthier image for the sanctuary, 
And shaped it forth before the multitude, 
Divinely human, raising worship so 
To higher reverence more mixed with love, – 
That better self shall live till human Time 
Shall fold its eyelids, and the human sky 
Be gathered like a scroll within the tomb 
Unread forever.

This is life to come, – 
Which martyred men have made more glorious 
For us who strive to follow. May I reach 
That purest heaven, — be to other souls 
The cup of strength in some great agony, 
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love, 
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty, 
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused, 
And in diffusion ever more intense! 
So shall I join the choir invisible 
Whose music is the gladness of the world. 

George Eliot

Some former students

After  Mary’s death old students started to write  these remembrances. The first few are here: others are on the page Remembering Mary. If you have one to add please send it to Ken Plummer at plumk@essex.ac.uk
6th January
Dear Ken
 I’m so shocked, so sad
Annabel Faraday
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9th January

Dear Ken

Saw a notice in The Guardian this morning re Mary’s passing – very saddening – just felt the need to let folk in the Department know how much I appreciated her teaching – I recall she gave all the Lectures for the 1st year core course 1981-82 – Thursday mornings if I recall correctly. Like all her students I really respected her and held her in high regard.

Steve Willis (Sociology and History 1981-84)

_____________
9th January
Dear KenHappy New Year and all that, although it doesn’t seem so after I heard the sad news today about the passing of Stan Cohen and Mary McIntosh. My condolences to the people in the Department who know them much better, although I do hold both in high regard. I last chatted with Stan quite a few years back at a conference in Melbourne, and I remember Mary as my stand-in supervisor (‘it’s not my area, but it looks good to me!’) after Mike Lane left academe…..
David Rowe
______________
9th January
Thanks Ken.A wonderful and fitting memorial. I met Mary briefly, first at Essex, but knew her work well and she was so influential … This is a sad time but you have celebrated Mary beautifully.Phil
10th January
My dear Ken,I was so very sorry to hear about Mary’s death and read your beautiful tribute that was circulated around the European Group (Study of Deviance and Social Control).As I said in my previous email – you and she were inspirational teachers. Her feminist teaching really impacted on me and introduced me to a world that I have never left and inspired me to a professional life as a socialist, feminist and activist. I remember the impact of reading the Anti Social Family and the excitement of receiving my copies of feminist review in the post! A wonderful woman with a wonderful legacy.I have been reading the many tributes to Stan Cohen and I recall you introducing me to his work and its ongoing significance to my work around state violence.Sad times.
Deborah Coles
The messages continued and you can find them by clicking here: Remembering Mary

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Nirmal Puwar, Research Officer 1994-1997

Nirmal is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmith's

Nirmal is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmith’s

I  came to the Sociology Department at Essex in 1994, as a Research Officer on an ESRC project with Prof. John Scott, titled ‘New and Established Elites’.

Essex left an enduring and informative influence on my life.  I was part of a very vibrant department of staff and students. Travis Kong, Lyndsey Moon, Ayesha Gill, Junko Sakia, Miriam Glucksman, Catherine Hall, Vicky Randall, John Scott, Ken Plummer, Ted Benton, Mike Roper, Sean Nixon & Ian Craib made it a lively, heterodox, supportive learning environment. I still remember the shared Sociology common room, coffee trolley and the intellectually charged jolly away weekends  with staff and PG students in Great Yarmouth. The coming together of Judith Butler with Mary McIntosh was a moment full of suspense. So much so that I did not take off my red leather coat while I Chaired this event organised by the student led Gender and Ethnicity Group.

Today I am a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths and Director of the Methods Lab, co-founded with Les Back.  To foreground this approach we have co-edited the book‘Live Methods’ (2012, Sociological Review monograph).  Both Ken Plummer and John Scott have delivered the Annual Methods Lab Lecture here (see http://www.gold.ac.uk/methods-lab/

When I came to Essex it was to work on an ESRC project with Prof. John Scott, titled ‘New and Established Elites’.  My fieldwork was conducted in Westminster and Whitehall, where I interviewed over a 100 MPs and senior civil servants. In my analysis, I widened the scope and pushed the boundaries of  political sociology by bringing insights from gender studies, post-colonial theory and cultural geography. From this research  I gained my PhD  – examined by Prof. Miriam Glucksman & Prof. Anne Phillips; and published as the book Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place’ (2004). The Australian political philospher Moira Gatens endorsed the book by saying::

Space Invaders is the book we’ve all been waiting for! Puwar masterfully shows how neither bodies nor the spaces they occupy can be neutral…Her insights are original, her analysis clear and forceful, and the overall result is surprising, convincing and breathtakingly illuminating. Absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in power and politics.”

(For a fuller review by Gatens see Feminist Review :http://www.palgrave-journals.com/fr/journal/v87/n1/abs/9400370a.html)

Different sectors, ranging from science to art, politics and academia have made productive use of the processes highlighted  in my book  – using the concept ‘Space Invaders’ for understanding the co-existence of bodies in spaces which have not been historically or conceptually reserved for them. Perhaps the most well known contemporary globally known figure of the ‘space invader’, has been the arrival of Barack Hussein Obama in the White House in 2008.

As Director of the Methods Lab  I have been working across disciplinary fields towards a creative public sociology that speaks to both academic and non-academic environments.   Developing the notion of ‘curating sociology’  I have  worked with different situations to expand understandings and practices of space invading. The co-edited book with Les Back on ‘Live Methods’ (2012, Sociological Review monograph) foregrounds this approach.

I have also led a number of creative projects activating a sociological imagination in the sense of C W Mills. The most high profile of these has been the AHRC funded Noise of the Past, which involved a public event curated in Coventry Cathedral http://www.gold.ac.uk/methods-lab/pastevents/noiseofthepast/ The attempt to re-route militaristic nationalistic notions of war and memory through the insertion of post-colonial bodies has been central to this project. Noise of the Past launched the award winning film Unravelling, directed by Kuldip Powar with a new score by Nitin Sawhney and, the music performance ‘Post-colonial War Requiem’ composed in spatial dialogue with the live architecture of Coventry Cathedral, a site of both the trauma and memory of war.  The evening screening and performance was compered by the historian Carolyn Steedman and opened by the war correspondent Martin Bell. This public event was proceeded by a conference in the Guildhall, located next to the cathedral, with a key note by the oral historian Alessandro Portelli from Rome.  We now hope to take the project to Dresden,  the city that was blitzed to bits soon ater Coventry Cathedral. To read more, see the Special Issue of The Senses & Society (2011) edited with S. Sharma: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berg/tsas/2011/00000006/00000003

Other projects have included the installation at Goldsmiths of the photographic exhibition ‘Pierre Bourdieu in Algeria: testimonies of uprooted’, which ran alongside a series of seminars and produced the Special Issue on ‘Post-colonial Bourdieu’ for Sociological Review (2009, co-edited with Les Back & Azzedine Haddour). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sore.2009.57.issue-3/issuetoc

The theme of space, public sphere & cinema have been articulated around what I have termed as ‘Social Cinema Scenes’ – http://sac.sagepub.com/content/10/2/253.abstract . This arose after she worked on an exhibition with the Herbert Art Gallery and co-directed the film, with Kuldip Powar, Khabi Ritz, Khabie Palladium, see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DzEknpeceQ

This was followed by two further short films, Coventry Ritz (funded by the BFI) and Cinema III, directed with S.Sharma (funded by the British Academy). http://www.bbc.co.uk/coventry/content/articles/2006/12/05/video_ritz_feature.shtml

She has also edited ‘Intimacy in Research’ in The History of the Human Sciences (2008) with M. Fraser; South Asian Women in the Diaspora (2003) with P.Raghuram; ‘Orientalism’ for Fashion Theory (2003, English & Brazilian Portuguese) with N. Bhatia; as well as ten issues of the international journal Feminist Review, including celebration Issue 100. She has published on the space of the ‘migrant’ as a figure of fantasy and attachment in the activist journals including Multitudes (2004, in French) and Derrive Approdi (2004, in Italian) http://multitudes.samizdat.net/Speaking-Positions-in-Global

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Constantinos N. Phellas, PhD 1998

Constantinos N. Phellas, PhD 1998I am currently Vice Rector for Research and Faculty at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. My research interests are in the Sociology of Health, the Sociology of Ageing, Gender and Sexualities.

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Sad News: The deaths of Stan Cohen and Mary McIntosh

Mary McIntosh c.1971We have sadly learned over the past few days of the death of two former members of staff who played a significant role in the life of the department.

Stan Cohen and Mary McIntosh

Stan Cohen was the fourth appointed Professor in the department and was chair in the mid 1970’s.

Mary McIntosh came to the department in the mid 1970’s and retired in the mid 1990’s. She was the first woman Chair of the department between 1996-1999.

They have both played a major role in their fields and will be much missed. We will honour them in detail on these pages in a little while.

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Professor Wapula Nelly Raditloaneng, MA 1989

Image of Professor Wapula Nelly Raditloaneng, MA 1989I graduated with MA Sociology of Development, Essex University, July 1989.  After completing my studies at Essex, I came back to Botswana to continue my work as A Rural Sociologist in the applied Research Unit of the Botswana Ministry of Local Government. I consider my experience at Essex to have been useful in grounding my work as a Social Scientist.  I am an interdisciplinary Sociologist, an  Adult and health educator with a wealth of more than  twenty eight years of professional experience from different workplaces:  first worked as a Rural Sociologist (Sanitation) for the Ministry of Local Government (six years), Training Officer for De Beers Botswana Diamond Mining Company (DEBSWANA), Jwaneng mine, (one year) Program officer, Social Mobilization, for UNICEF Gaborone, (two  years), an independent consultant (one year) and finally as a Lecturer, (twelve  years),  a Lecturer in Adult Education, (four years) University of Botswana, from January 1994; Senior lecturer (four years) from April 2006; and Associate Professor from January 25th 2011 to- date.

I have a passion for research work and use my experience in Qualitative Methodology from Essex to do part time consultancy work when given the opportunity to do so. Essex has given me the chance to grow to be a seasoned senior researcher and scholar. Since 1991,  I have done total of 19 part- time research- based consultancy projects for the Government of Botswana and international development partners. Regionally,  I have also served as principal investigator on the Botswana side for a collaborative research project on Non- Formal Education and poverty reduction with four other universities under the auspices of British Academy African Partnership Initiative (BAAP) from March 2006 to March 2009. I visited the University of Glasgow annually for meetings with my research partners while the partnership lasted.

I served as a coordinator  (Jan 2010-August  2011)  for  the Botswana Chapter  on  an 18 months collaborative research project on Implementing the Third Mission of Universities in Africa (ITMUA) regional collaborative research  since January 2010 to August 2011. The project, sponsored by AAU/DIFD,  involved  three other universities: Calabar, Malawi, and the National University of Lesotho. A book on Community Engagement in Four African Universities has been published from the research case studies.  I am presently on sabattical leave from June 2012 till May 2013 to write a 16 chapter book on Lifelong learning, poverty, community development and engagement.

My areas of research,  publications and activism  include environmental education, gender issues; the social context of health, Adult and Continuing Education, entrepreneurship skills development, instructional media and materials development, the global impacts of HIV/AIDs, gender-based poverty and poverty identity formation, literacy and post -literacy. I would welcome any opportunity to reconnect with Essex Sociology Department in any ways in which I can be helpful to pay back part of the price.

Contact: Raditloa@mopipi.ub.bw

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Karen Waddy, BA (Hons) 2008

Karen Waddy, BA 2008I’m currently working as a Marketing Administrator at LIFE-FORCE Counselling Service, Colchester, and volunteering with the British Heart Foundation, as a shop worker for 2 hours each week. In addition Im always looking for ad hoc work locally.

After I graduated I couldn’t get a job as employers didn’t seem interested in a degree, they all wanted you to have ‘work experience’ (typical) but eventually I offered to work a few hours a week for free at a local counselling service, in the office (I didn’t want a big gap on my cv) and eventually I was offered a paid position (part time).

I actually got frustrated at the lack of office jobs around (all stuff for shop workers…and I’d never worked in a shop in my life!) so I also volunteered at The British Heart Foundation shop in town (my dad died of heart woes during my 2nd year at uni). I’ve gained a ton of work experience and am still volunteering every week as I love it in there!

The olympic focus on volunteers has gone some way to promoting volunteering but there’s always a danger of companies hoping for free labour. I’d given myself a deadline of 12 months ‘free work’ at 2 hours a week (so as not to put anyone else out of a job) so I was fortunate to have been offered a paid position before the year was up! It did mean I had to become self-employed though (which I wasn’t keen to do) but since then I’ve set up my own webpage (see ‘My Links’ below) offering ad-hoc paid work locally (I don’t drive) to fit around my current hours. I haven’t had much response as yet but you never know….!!

Sociologically I’m interested in women’s issues, health (including mental health), disability and gender issues, while my non-academic interests are family history, gardening, writing satire and holidays!

My Links:

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