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Seminar 1: Sleep, wakefulness and everyday/night life: social, cultural and historical perspectives

This first seminar sets the scene for those that follow through a preliminary exploration of the relationship between sleep, wakefulness and everyday/night life. Social, cultural and historical perspectives are drawn upon in order to illuminate and elucidate this relationship in a changing social world, both past and present. The seminar also provides an opportunity to reflect on the predominant (waking) assumptions, concerns and preoccupations of social research to date, with a view to broadening the research agenda to include the social dimensions of sleep.

Key seminar questions, in this respect, include the following:

Why should sociologists and social scientists study sleep?

What light does sleep shed on embodiment and the lifeworld?

What is the relationship between night-time, day-time and the world of sleep?

How, when, where, and with whom, have people slept in the past?

Is it time to reconsider or rethink our existing concepts and research agendas in addressing these issues?

The provisional programme for the day is as follows:



11:00-11:05 Welcome, seminar series co-organisers
11:05-11:35 Paper 1: Dr. Simon Williams, University of Warwick, '(Why) should sociologists study sleep? Click here for Abstract

Chair: Professor Sara Arber

11:35-11:50 Discussant, paper 1: Dr Paul Higgs
11:50-12:20 Paper 2: Dr. Nick Crossley, University of Manchester, 'Sleep, embodiment and the lifeworld'. Click here for Abstract
12:20-12:35 Discussant, Paper 2: Professor Chris Shilling
12:35-13:00 Open discussion (from the floor): Papers 1 & 2.

Buffet lunch

14:00-14:30 Paper 3: Professor Lodewijk Brunt, University of Amsterdam, 'Night-time, day-time and the world of sleep'. Click here for Abstract

Chair: Dr. Simon Williams

14:30-14:45 Discussant, Paper 3: Dr Paul Higgs
14:45-15:15 Paper 4: Tom Crook, University of Manchester, 'The privatising of sleep: bodies, beds and discipline in Victorian England'. Click here for Abstract
15:15-15:30 Discussant, Paper 4: Professor Chris Shilling
15:30-16:00 Tea
16:00-16:30 Open discussion (from the floor): Papers 3 & 4

Sleep, wakefulness and everyday/night life: Concluding comments (speakers/discussants/co-organisers), Close.

Venue: Room S0.08, Social Studies Building, University of Warwick

Suggested background reading for Seminar 1

Aubert, V. and White, H (1959a) Sleep: a sociological interpretation I. Acta Sociologica. 4, 2: 46-54

Aubert, V. and White, H (1959a) Sleep: a sociological interpretation II. Acta Sociologica. 4, 3: 1-16.

Ekirch, R. (2001) The sleep we have lost: pre-industrial slumber in the British Isles. American Historical Review. April: 343-86.

Elias, N. (1978/1939) The Civlizing Process (Vol I). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. (Section on behaviour in the bedroom).

Leder, D. (1990) The Absent Body. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (pp 53-59.).

Schutz, A. (with T. Luckman) (1973/4) The Structures of the Lifeworld (Transl. by R. Zaner and H. Tristram Englehardt Jnr.). London: Heinemann.

Schwartz, B (1970) Notes on the sociology of sleep. Sociological Quarterly. 11, Fall: 485-99.

Steger, B. and Brunt, L. (eds.) (2003) Sleep and Night-time in Asia and the West: Reflections on the Dark Side of Life. London: Routledge.

Taylor, B. (1993) Unconsciousness and society: the sociology of sleep. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society. 6, 3: 463-71.

Williams, S.J. and Bendelow, G. (1998) The Lived Body. London: Routledge (Chapter 9).

Williams, S.J. (2002) Sleep and health: sociological reflections on the dormant society. Health. 6, 2: 173-200.

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For further details on how to book for this or other seminars go to booking details

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