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Thinking sociologically about kindness: Puncturing the blasé in the ordinary city

Julie Brownlie - be kind

Wednesday 15 November 2017, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Julie Brownlie, University of Edinburgh and Dr Simon Anderson, Simon Anderson Consulting

CURB Seminar

Julie and Simon recently made the case for a sociological engagement with kindness (Brownlie and Anderson, 2016). Despite academic interest in related ideas (such as solidarity, community, neighbouring and reciprocity) kindness has been the focus of little serious theoretical or empirical scrutiny.

Drawing on a recent study of everyday help and support in Glasgow, they speculate about why that might be the case, and highlight features of ‘ordinary’ kindness which might render it sociologically relevant. As such, they argue that – as much as Simmel’s blasé outlook – small acts of kindness are part of how we can understand city living. At the same time, they caution against public discourses that reduce kindness to a matter of ‘randomness’ or individual morality, psychology or decision-making, arguing instead for a radical re-envisioning of the concept – one that revisits its etymological roots and embeds it in the realm of the social.

Location: Room W/222, Wentworth College

Admission: is by free ticket only. Please book below.

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