May 21, 2011

Researcher of the Day #5 – Charlotte Woodhead, School of Law

Charlotte Woodhead

Charlotte Woodhead's research focuses on cultural heritage law and in particular the recognition and enforcement of property rights in respect of objects of cultural heritage which are of importance to nations or particular communities. She has written articles on the restitution and repatriation of objects from museum collections. Currently she is researching the legal and self-imposed moral obligations under which museums act in their dealings with their collections and with the people they serve. She also has an interest in the concept of unfair terms and exclusion clauses within contract law.

Visit Charlotte's webpage to find out more.

Podcast: Alternative Forms of Learning

In this podcast I talk to Kate Arnold, a 1st year student in Sociology, about Left Overs, a project setup by undergraduates across a range of departments which is trying to break down the boundaries between speaker and audience, between organisers and attendees, so as to create a new space for intellectual dailogue and discussion outside of the pressures and pitfalls of formal institutional structures. As well as being fascinating and worthwhile in its own right, projects like this represent an opportunity for academics to practice public engagement within the university.

May 20, 2011

Book of the Day #5 – Alternative Business: Outlaws, Crime and Culture

Martin Parker (Warwick Business School), Alternative Business: Outlaws, Crime and Culture. London: Routledge (forthcoming).

From Robin Hood to Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, outlaws have been a central part of 800 years of culture. These are characters that criticise the power of those in the castle or the skyscraper, and earn their keep by breaking the law. Outlaws break categories too. They are fact and fiction, opposition and product, culture and economy, natural justice and organized crime.

Beginning with Robin Hood stealing from the rich, and covering along the way pirates, smugglers, highwaymen, the Wild West, the Mafia and many others – Martin Parker offers a fresh and exciting insight into the counter culture of the outlaw – one that rebels against the more dominant and traditional forms of economy and organization and celebrates a life free from wage slavery.

Alternative Businessis a highly readable, entertaining book that will prove a helpful study tool for all students and lecturers working on organisations, cultural studies and criminology.

Visit Martin Parker's webpage

Alternative Business

Pre-order this book

Research Project of the Day #5

Richard Smith (Centre for Applied Linguistics), ‘Building an archive and a record of the history of British Council involvement with ELT, 1934­-2009’

Project duration: 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2011
Funded by The British Council

The Warwick ELT Archiveis a unique collection of materials relating to the history of applied linguistics and ELT (English Language Teaching for speakers of other languages), housed within the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick. In 2009 the British Council funded the project Building an archive and a record of UK-funded ELT projects, 1950 onwards (1 December 2008-31 December 2009). This contributed to the Council’s own attempt to re-establish its ‘track record’ in the area of overseas development. The project established both a physical archive and an online database of UK-funded projects worldwide.

Description of current project
Since its foundation in 1934, the British Councilhas played an important role in the development of ELT, that is (as defined for the purposes of this project), the British tradition, industry and/or brand of English language teaching for speakers of other languages. The current project ties in with the Council’s 75thanniversary ‘Milestones in ELT’ initiative to place a number of its publications online.

The aim of the project is to develop a record of the overall history of British Council involvement with ELT, 1934-2009, by means of:

  • systematic review of both secondary and primary sources in our collection
  • recording, transcription and analysis of interviews with selected informants
  • continued updating of the UK-funded ELT Projects database
  • consultation of materials in other archives and libraries

One outcome of the project will be a book to be published in 2012 which will contain a comprehensive bibliography of ELT-related British Council publications. In the meantime, research notes and copies of key primary sources are being added to the project website. We are also advising on the uploading of past publications to the Council’s own ‘Milestones in ELT’ web-page.

Visit the project website


PhD Student(s) of the Day #5 – Peter Backus and Francesco Porcelli (Economics)

Peter Backusis a fifth year PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics and a Senior Research Officer at the Third Sector Research Centre.

His research interests are Public Economics, Philanthropy and Fundraising, Empirical Microeconometrics, Behavioral Economics, Non-Profit Maximising Institutions.

Read more about Peter and his work.

Peter Backus

Francesco Porcelli started his PhD studies in 2007 and his research interests are

  • Public Economics
  • Public Finance
  • Applied Econometrics

Visit Francesco's web pageto find out more about his research


May 19, 2011

Book of the Day #4 – Exploring and Rethinking Subcultural Lives

Russia’s Skinheads: Exploring and Rethinking Subcultural Lives by Hilary Pilkington (Sociology), Elena Omel’chenko, Al’bina Garifzianova, Routledge 2010.

Russia’s Skinheads: Exploring and Rethinking Subcultural Livesprovides a thorough examination of the phenomenon of skinheads, explaining its nature and its significance, and assessing how far Russian skinhead subculture is the ‘lumpen’ end of the extreme nationalist ideological spectrum. There are large numbers of skinheads in Russia, responsible for a significant number of xenophobic attacks, including 97 deaths in 2008 alone, making this book relevant to Russian specialists as well as to sociologists of youth subculture. It provides a practical example of how to investigate youth subculture in depth over an extended period – in this case through empirical research following a specific group over six years – and goes on to argue that Russian skinhead subculture is not a direct import from the West, and that youth cultural practices should not be reduced to expressions of consumer choice. It presents an understanding of the Russian skinhead as a product of individuals’ whole, and evolving, lives, and thereby compels sociologists to rethink how they conceive the nature of subcultures.

Elena Omel’chenkois Professor of Sociology and Head of Department of Sociology at the Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg, and Director of the Scientific Research Centre Region, Ul’ianovsk.

Al’bina Garifzianovais a Senior Research Fellow at the Scientific Research Centre Region, Ul’ianovsk


Interested in buying this book?

Research Project of the Day #4

GR:EEN project logo

GR:EEN - Global Re-ordering: Evolution through European Networks (CSGR, Politics and International Studies)

GR:EEN (Global Re-ordering: Evolution through European Networks) will study the current and future role of the EU in an emerging multi-polar world through a programme of stock-taking, multi-disciplinary research and complementary activities.

GR:EEN aims at an understanding of the prospective directions of the emerging global governance structures and Europe’s place in them. Analysis will focus on the extant actors from the 20th century, the 21st century rising powers, the increasingly influential non-state actors (from civil and non-civil society) and the new transnational regulatory networks of public and private policy makers and regional agencies. While multi-polarity, with Europe as a pole, is a possibility, alternative scenarios are also plausible. A shift from a trans-Atlantic to trans-Pacific locus of power, or the “depolarization” and fragmentation of authority are such alternatives; both could marginalize Europe. But these are questions to be researched; not assertions to be made.

The GR:EEN project will have 5 components: i) conceptual analyses of an emerging multi-polar world and the theory and practice of international organisation and networks in that world; ii) evolving EU policy and practice; iii) the effects of regional leadership from Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas; iv) projects on the EU and multi-polarity within the fields of human rights and security, energy, resources and environment, trade and finance; v) a foresight study detailing scenarios for EU policy towards the emerging world order. The research will be theoretical, policy-oriented and with an interactive dissemination strategy to assure feedback from its target-publics.

Visit the GR:EEN project website for further information.

Researcher of the Day #4 – Fabian Waldinger, Economics

Fabian Waldinger

Fabian Waldinger has been an Assistant Professor at Warwick since 2009. Prior to this he completed his PhD at London School of Economics.

He is currently working on projects in Labour Economics, Economics of Science and Innovation, Economic History, and Economics of Education.

These include:

German-Jewish Emigres and U.S. Invention (with Petra Moser and Alessandra Voena)

Bombs, Brains, and Science - The Role of Human and Physical Capital in the Creation of Scientific Knowledge

Visit Fabian Waldinger's web page

PhD Student of the Day #4 – Rumana Islam, School of Law

Rumana Islam

Rumana's doctorate thesis is titled as ‘Re-conceptualizing the ‘fair and equitable’ treatment in International Investment Treaties: Sustainable Development of Least Developed Countries in Context’. Here she outlines her research:

I started my PhD from October, 2010 in the School of Law. I did my LL.B (Hons) and LL.M from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Then I did LL.M (specializing on Commercial Law) from University of Cambridge, UK in 2005-2006. My research is funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. My PhD study is supervised by Tony Cole. Before starting my PhD I was teaching in the Department of Law, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Coming from a developing country like Bangladesh makes me much inclined and motivated with my research topic. My thesis is based on the proposition that the present state of ‘fair and equitable treatment’ (FET) standard in International Investment Agreements (IIAs) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) are inadequate to focus on the social differences of the developing countries and thus needs to be re-conceptualized. The FET standard has become a powerful and far-reaching tool in an investor’s BITs/IIAs armory. Indeed, it is currently a very one-sided concept, for the most part concerned with what is fair and equitable from the perspective of the investor only. To date, very few arbitral tribunals have considered the context of the investment and in particular the multiple relationships an investment creates to local governments, communities and environment. Moreover, only a small number of tribunals have paid regard to the conduct of the investor itself. For “fair and equitable” to be fair and equitable, it should be developed and applied in a manner that is fair and equitable for all stakeholders, not just one. To ignore the full context is thus to truncate its meaning and distort its application. Therefore this research also aims to point out the issues towards two ways that negotiators can bring more balance to the current one-sided nature of the standard. My research aims to contribute to the global jurisprudence on the on-going debate relating to balancing investment protection and sustainable development obligations. It further aims to bring out guidelines, standards and scope of the ‘fair and equitable’ treatment to be set out in the BITs and IIAs by the policy makers of the developing countries in order to formulate the investment treaty that would satisfy the needs of all the stake holders of the host country with a view to attain sustainable development, at present which is highly ignored.

I have not studied investment law before nor did I have carried out any research work on this area, but the fascinating issues of investment law made me interested in carrying out my PhD work on this area of law. At present the policy of the government in Bangladesh is pubic private partnership (PPP) for which international investment treaties have become an integral part. Recently there were so many divergent issues arising out of investment disputes related to Bangladesh, which also motivated me to undertake my research on this issue. After completion of my degree I would like to contribute in the field of investment law in Bangladesh. At the same time I aim to develop my academic career.

Research Interest: Investment law, investment arbitration, commercial arbitration, public international law, trade law.

Contact info:

May 18, 2011

Podcast: interview with Campaign for Social Science

The Campaign for Social Science was launched in January this year by the Academy of Social Sciences. It aims to raise the profile of social science with the public, media and parliament at a time of great crisis and uncertainty. In this podcast I talk to Stephen Anderson (executive director of the campaign) and Professor A D H Cook (former Pro-vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield) about the campaign, the context within which it has emerged and the issues it seeks to confront. The interview covers a wide range of topics including the status of social science vis-a-vis natural science, public misunderstanding of it and the need for public engagement, as well as popularisation, in order to increase its visibility in wider society. There is a post about the campaign on the festival blog. Find the Campaign online through its websiteor twitter feed.

To listen to the podcast click here

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