Social Beings, Future Belongings is a collection of sociological essays that address an increasingly relevant matter: what does belonging look like in the twenty-first century? The book critically explores the concept of belonging and how it can respond to contemporary problems in not only the traditional domains of citizenship and migration, but also in detention practices, queer and feminist politics, Australian literature and fashion, technology, housing and rituals.
Drawing on examples from Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States, each topic is examined as a different kind of problem for the future – as a toil, an intensity or a promise. Ultimately, the collection argues that creating new ways to belong in contemporary times means reimagining the traditional terms on which belonging can happen, as well as the social itself. Read on their own, each chapter presents a compelling case study and develops a set of critical tools for encountering the empirical, epistemological and ontological challenges we face today. Read together, they present a diverse imagination that is capable of answering the question of belonging in, to and with the future.
Social Beings, Future Belongings shows how belonging is not a static and universal state, but a contingent, emergent and ongoing future-oriented set of practices. Balancing empirical and theoretical work, this book will appeal to researchers, students and practitioners alike.
"This compelling collection reimagines belonging, the social and our futures together, adding layers of complexity while providing rare clarity. It succeeds in rethinking belonging in the context of the pressing challenges for living together that currently face us. Few sociological tasks are as important."
- Dan Woodman, President of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA), University of Melbourne
"In a markedly divisive historical moment, this collection of essays on belonging is a welcome intellectual project. Together and independently, the chapters clarify how belonging, a basic element of social life, takes surprisingly complex and multiple forms. From the minds of emergent scholars, this work is both engaging and theoretically sharp."
- Dr Jenny Davis, editor of Cyborgology
"This timely and exciting collection critically and creatively reframes the nature, discourse, practice and experience of belonging in a time of unprecedented social and material flux. It beautifully and artfully draws on nuanced theoretical insights and empirical case studies from different regions to make a persuasive case for why belonging has become a central social category and political framework in contemporary times. Asking questions of what belonging means, and how it is constantly being transformed by social relations, the book explicates the governance, situatedness and politics of belonging. This collection, authored by some of brightest lights in the discipline of sociology and science and technology studies, is sure to become an essential read for those interested in the human and non-human affects of an unfolding socio-material world that is characterised by explosive geo-physical, political economic and techno-cultural motions."
- Dr Gavin Smith, author of Opening the Black Box: The Work of Watching
David Bissell, Miranda Bruce, Helen Keane and Anna Tsalapatanis
Part I: Toils
1. Naming Belonging: When National Vocabularies Fail
2. ‘Their Time and Their Story’: Inscribing Belonging Through Life Narratives and Role Expectations in Wedding Videography
Matthew Wade and Michael J. Walsh
3. Academics Anonymous: Blogging and Feminist ‘Be/longings’ in the Neoliberal University
Part II: Intensities
4. Transforming Belongings in Guantanamo Bay
5. Belonging in the Future?
6. Costumes of Belonging: ‘Fitting in’ circus fabrics in the novels The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith by Peter Carey and The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott, and the costume-cum-body art of Leigh Bowery
Part III: Promises
7. Beyond Human (Un)Belonging: Intimacies and the Impersonal in Black Mirror
Clare Southerton and Miranda Bruce
8. Belonging, Place and Identity in the 21st Century
9. Femininity isn't Femme: Appearance and the Contradictory Space of Queer Femme Belonging
Hannah McCann and Gemma Killen
Sociological Futures aims to be a flagship for new and innovative theories, methods and approaches to sociological issues and debates and ‘the social’ in the 21st century. This series of monographs and edited collections was inspired by vibrant wealth of BSA symposia on a wide variety of sociological themes. Edited by a team of experienced sociological researchers, and supported by the BSA, it covers a wide range of topics related to sociology and sociological research and will feature contemporary work that is theoretically and methodologically innovative, has local or global reach, as well as work that engages or reengages with classic debates in sociology bringing new perspectives to important and relevant topics.
The BSA is the professional association for sociologists and sociological research in the United Kingdom, with its extensive network of members, study groups and forums, and its dynamic programme of events. The Association engages with topics ranging from auto/biography to youth, climate change to violence against women, alcohol to sport, and Bourdieu to Weber. This book series represents the fruits of sociological enquiry, reaching a global audience, and offering a publication outlet for sociologists at all career and publishing stages, from the well-established to emerging sociologists, BSA or non-BSA members, from all parts of the world.