Conference Esarn16 - Keynote speakers

Prof Anna Durnová (University of Vienna)

Anna P. Durnová


Enhancing Emotional Awareness in Sociological Expertise

Amid the current multiple crises, emotions play a crucial role in related societal debates. As expressions of our feelings, emotions are essential to our cognitive perception of the world. However, the structural dimension of emotions is often overlooked, which can be grasped through public framing and cultural representations. Certain emotions are accepted as understandable, while they can be seen as disqualifying or against the cause when expressed in other contexts. This is particularly true in debates around expertise, where emotions may be perceived as irrelevant or too subjective to include. However, it is crucial to understand the context in which emotions are presented because they shape and reshape values and beliefs through the meanings they convey. The meaning-making capacity of emotions also affects who has a voice in debates and how powerful that voice is. Therefore, analyzing emotions helps to identify where and by whom emotions are legitimized as part of expertise, and where they are not. These developments call for new formats of data collection and analysis that can reflect emotions in the field. Furthermore, they shed new light on the role of sociological expertise in dealing with the emotional societies in which we live, both as citizens and experts. Recognizing the structural dimension of emotions is key to enhancing emotional awareness in sociological expertise and its impact on the public presentation of such expertise. To illustrate the main stakes of such emotional awareness, the talk draws on insights from research on home birth and obstetric violence.

Bio: Anna Durnová is Professor of Political Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna. She is also a Faculty Fellow at the Yale University Center for Cultural Sociology. She serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Policy & Politics and vice president of the International Public Policy Association. Previously, she was a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna (Elise Richter Fellow), as well as at Charles University in Prague and the University of Lyon. Numerous international stays, including Visiting Research Fellow at Concordia University in Montreal (2019) or Essex University in the UK (2012).

Research interests: political sociology, sociology of emotions, public policy, feminist sociology, women's health and sociology of the body, interpretive social research.

Prof Dan Goodley (University of Sheffield)

Dan G


Being Human as Praxis: Activists with intellectual disabilities as public intellectuals and theoretical provocateurs

The paper posits that being human as praxis - in relation to the lives of People with Learning Disabilities  - offers a significant and original insight into critical and social theory across the social sciences and humanities. Drawing on postcolonial and critical disability theory I suggest that being human as praxis of People with Learning Disabilities is sophisticated and generative but is always enacted in a deeply disablist and ableist world. Drawing on experiences collated during the pandemic and beyond I explore being human as praxis in (i) a culture of disposability; (ii) the midst of absolute otherness and (iii) the confines of a neoliberal-ableist society. For each theme I start with a provocation, follow up with an exploration and end with a celebration (with the latter referencing the activism of people with learning disabilities). I conclude with some thoughts on simultaneously decolonising and depathologising knowledge production, the importance of recognition and writing for rather than with People with Learning Disabilities. This paper draws on a current research project entitled Humanising the Healthcare Experiences of People with Learning Disabilities.


References and links

Goodley, D. (in press). Being Human as Praxis: For People with Learning Disabilities, Subjectivity.

Goodley D, Lawthom R, Liddiard K & Runswick-Cole K (2022) Affect, dis/ability and the pandemic. Sociology of Health and Illness.

Goodley D (2020) Disability and Other Human Questions. Emerald Publishing Limited


Bio: Dan Goodley is Professor of Disability Studies and co-director of iHuman: the interdisciplinary institute for the study of the human at the University of Sheffield. Dan is interested in theorising and challenging the conditions of disablism (the social, political, cultural and psycho-emotional exclusion of people with physical, sensory and/or cognitive impairments) and ableism (the contemporary ideals on which the able, autonomous, productive citizen is based). He draws on ideas from critical psychology, medical sociology, medical humanities, philosophy, sociology and education. All Dan's research projects work with disabled people and their representative organisations to ensure that disability as human praxis informs knowledge production.