Landscapes of authority, affect and public memory
Lead researcher: Leila Dawney
This project addresses both the experience of authority or the specific spatialities of authoritative relations through an empirical analysis of spaces of authority. My own personal contribution to these debates concerns their relation to concepts of affect and public memory, building on my previous work on affect, politics and subjectivity. The two empirical spaces that make up this project have been chosen to specifically address these concerns, and to produce research that will contribute towards a long-term research plan to investigate and chart the affective and experiential dimensions of neoliberal landscapes. The two spaces are:
Chatham Docks and the landscapes of post-industrial loss
This involves an exploration of heritage and popular memory in relation the post-industrial landscape of Chatham dockyard. It will involve a mixed-method ethnographic research strategy, incorporating interviews with former dockers and their families, document analysis and participant observation in order to consider the spatial modalities of experience that emerge from engagement with living memory (both individual and collective) of the docks and provide a means of investigating the role of labour, masculinity, community and loss in the production of post-industrial authority and experience.
Landscapes of commemoration and military authority
This builds on my research on the figure of First World War veteran Harry Patch (Dawney, 2013) through a “new materialist” analysis of processions of the bodies of repatriated soldiers at Carterton, Oxon and (until recently) Wootton Bassett, Wilts. This is supplemented by an investigation into the practices of public memory at the national memorial arboretum in Staffordshire, in order to interrogate the complex articulations of life, nation and biopolitics that shape our affective responses to such events.