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Sleep is crucial to society, recognised or not, with important implications for the health, well-being, productivity, performance and quality of life of each and every one of us. How we sleep, when we sleep, where we sleep, what we make of sleep, and who indeed we sleep with, are all important social issues. It is only recently, however, that social scientists have begun to broaden their terms of reference and accord sleep the proper attention it deserves, both as a rich and fascinating topic in its own right, and as new resource or window onto the social world. Building on these recent developments, this new Economic and Social Research Council funded seminar series - co-organised by sociologists at the University of Warwick and the University of Surrey - aims to:

(i) promote dialogue, debate and the sharing of expertise on the social world of sleep;

(ii) encourage social scientists to reflect on sleep as a new way of accessing/approaching social processes and social relations;

(iii) establish new research collaborations, within and beyond the social sciences, as a basis for future studies and policy making on sleep and society.

Six day long seminars will be held over two years: the first on 3rd December 2004.

Key themes addressed across the seminar series as a whole include the following:

sleep embodiment and everyday/night life;
sleep across the lifecourse, with particular reference to children, ageing, gender, intimacy and family life;
work, time and technology;
sleep, health and medicine;
sleep and the media, the legal, political and ethical aspects of sleep;
future research and policy making agendas.

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