Conference as Home

Post by Pat Thomson

I was speaking with one of my colleagues over dinner last night. We both work in education, a field where there are a number of cognate disciplines. Sociology is just one of them.

We both see ourselves as “doing” sociology in education. We are in fact in a conversation about whether we are sociologists, or people who think sociologically, revisiting the opening session on Wednesday.

Both of us have experienced the conference as being with “family”. Here, conversations about class, race and gender are the norm. The terms colonialism and imperialism are said without being defined – we all “know” what they mean. Here we don’t hesitate before making a comment, we don’t consider our lexicon or how to phrase a view to avoid a counter-productive response.

Our dinner time chat suggests that maybe we need to come to sociological conferences in order to have our disciplinary sense of “being” affirmed. There’s a sense of comfort in this conference, we are fish in water so to speak, being here. Even if we don’t know a lot of people, in disciplinary terms, we know everyone.

And we begin to plot an event back at work….

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