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This seminar looks back on 14 years of practising and adapting Live Methods for ethnographic research with young migrants to London. Specifically, one: Mardoche Yembi. A series of connected points are made about Live Methods, and what questions using them with him raise for its existence and future. He will argue that sharing space and time with a limited number of participants can open up a depth of understanding fundamentally at odds with dominant sociological truth-claims, about how only quantitative samples can reveal wider truth.

Through working with Mardoche, he will explore how sharing time and space with a person can reveal layers of understanding. Horizons of space and time at different points in his life open and close. These reveal moments of tension where he feels he is trapped and cannot go forward with his life. This is as well as when those spatial and temporal horizons open for him and a liveable future is seen. He will argue these horizons function as a prism through which the truths of Mardoche's life stretch beyond him and connect with us. These are productive for intersubjectivity and intersectionality but contradict sociology’s truth-claims and raise tensions for Live Methods and its location within sociology. These tensions are placed within a wider political context both on and off campus, and are used to highlight possible future, as well as problems.


Speaker: Shamser Sinha

Shamser Sinha is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Youth Studies at the University of Suffolk. His research and teaching interests circle around ‘race’ and racism; youth; and different ways of doing ethnography. He has done lots of work with unaccompanied and separated young people seeking asylum.

His epistemological and methodological work explores how researchers can widen their insight beyond the questions we think of asking participants by inviting them in to the collection, analysis and production of outputs. Shamser is now under contract to Routledge for a paperback research monograph currently titled: 'Decolonising Social Enquiry: beyond mind/body'.

This event was part of the CPPR Lunchtime Seminar series.