Hidden Communities, Postgraduate Symposium (30th-31st October 2008)

Hidden Communities

University ofGlasgow


Postgraduate Symposium: 30th-31st October 2008
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences (SAASS)


For many in the early stages of their research careers, approaching the field can be a difficult and daunting task. Balancing issues of ethics, politics and method with practical constraints of time, expense and access can appear overwhelming. For those researching hidden communities—social groups whose backstage identities, by default or design, are ‘hidden’ from public view, and are therefore difficult to access for the purposes of social research— some of these problems are brought into sharper focus. As social researchers interested in exploring these communities, where do we begin? How do we make decisions on our methods? Where do we go for advice? The aim of this symposium is to open up these questions, exploring:


Access and Methods of Social Research Power, Politics and the Role of the Researcher Personal Challenges and Emotions Alternative Methodological PerspectivesOver these two days, we hope to create a forum for the exchange of ideas relating to research with hidden communities, involving postgraduate researchers and those with more experience in the field. Though sessions will be structured around papers by invited speakers, emphasis will be placed on student participation and discussion, through group workshops and question and answer sessions. The invited speakers, including ethnographers and statisticians, early-career researchers and established academics, represent a broad spectrum of knowledge, experience, and disciplinary background.

Confirmed speakers include:


Professor Kathleen Blee (Dept of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh) Dr Robert Ralphs (Dept of Law, University of Manchester) Dr Chris Kidd (Dept of SAASS, University of Glasgow) Dr Robert Gibb (Dept of SAASS, University of Glasgow) Dr John Love (School of App Social Studies, Robert Gordon University) Dr Laura Piacentini (School of Law, University of Strathclyde) Dr Jeffrey Murer (School of Int’l Relations, University of St Andrews) Jennifer Fleetwood (Dept of Sociology, University of Edinburgh) 

Please note, as attendance is free of charge, places are very limited.

If you wish to attend, please email hiddencommunities@hotmail.co.uk stating your name, institution, stage of study, and research interests/ experience with hidden communities. Both Masters and PhD students are welcome. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.


Conference Organisers: Stephen Ashe, Ali Fraser and Teresa Piacentini (Dept of SAASS, University of Glasgow)