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Professor Tim Dant
Degree: D.Phil, University of York; B.Soc.Sci., CNAA
SOCL309 Television Morality and Society - third year option
There are three themes to my current research interests: material culture; critical theory; and the moral impact of the media.
I have published two books on material culture arguing for the importance of human interaction with 'things' - material objects - in sustaining contemporary societies. Traditional sociology tends to play little regard to the material life of human beings although research on consumption, technology and design has brought it more into focus. My interest is in understanding how human beings use things in their ordinary lives without paying much attention to the way they shape their everyday practices and connect them with other people. I have used a video based study of car repair technicians to analyse a number of aspects of material interaction and find a phenomenological approach that draws on the work of Merleau-Ponty particularly useful in analysing embodied interaction with things. Recently I have written about the iPod and how using it links us to our society in a variety of ways, about the pragmatics of making sense of objects in material interaction and about the distinctive features of the work of repair as material interaction.
Currently, with Eric Laurier at Edinburgh University, I am working on a research proposal on 'freight' and how things are moved about in our society. I am also keen to explore the different ways in which people interact with bicycles - some fitting them easily into their mobile lives, others leaving them in the shed or in the shop. With colleagues in Lancaster I have been developing a research proposal on the relationship between virtual and embodied space. I continue to be interested in the place of the car in contemporary society as a much loved yet also hated object.
Dant, Tim (2009) 'Car Culture / Car Girls' in Jaqueline Hassink, Car Girls, New York: Aperture Foundation.
Dant, T. (2005) Materiality and Society, Maidenhead, Berks: Open University Press.
Dant, T. (1999) Material Culture in the Social World: Values, Activities, Lifestyles Buckingham: Open University Press.
I have a long standing interest in critical theory and its relationship to culture and ideology. I have published a book on the continuities between the Frankfurt School and the Francophile traditions of critical theory and a number of papers with Graeme Gilloch on how both traditions tackle a number of themes; photography, commodity culture and the typewriter.
Dant, T. (2003) Critical Social Theory: Culture, Society and Critique, London: Sage.
Gilloch G. and Dant, T. (2005) 'From "Passage" to "Parly 2": Commodity Culture in Benjamin and Baudrillard', New Formations, No. 54.
Dant, T. and Gilloch, G. (2002) 'Pictures of the Past: Benjamin and Barthes on photography', European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 5 (1): 5-25.
Morality and the small screen
My early interest in the sociology of knowledge and the critique of culture has led me to explore how television fits in to late modern society. As a means of mass communication, the small screen shows us what is going on in the culture and in particular it shows us what the mores of our society are. There has been an interesting debate in recent years about the morality of television as a witness to suffering in societies that are distant both culturally and geographically. But I am more interested in how television acts as an agent of socialisation for the adults in contemporary industrialised cultures. The small screen shows social action - both fictional and real - that the viewer can relate to his or her own life and experiences. As well as providing the basis for a number of conference papers, I am enjoying thinking through the implications of these ideas with students in my third year option on 'Television, Morality and Society'. I am currently working on a book for Palgrave that uses a phenomenological approach to analysing how moving images on the small screen make sense to their viewers and helps shape the moral order of society.
'Consuming morality: television and postmodern ethics' Sociology of Consumption Network, European Sociological Association Conference, Torun, Poland 9-12th September 2005
'Getting morality off the TV' Sociology Department, University of Essex, November 3rd 2005
Potential Doctoral Proposals
I am interested in supervising doctoral students in all aspects of the sociology of material life but in particular: material interaction, material civilization, consumption, everyday technology andembodied practices with objects including cars and bicycles. I also have a continuing interest in critical social theory and modern French social theory including the work of Henri Lefebvre, Jean Baudrillard and Pierre Bourdieu. More recently I have been researching the theme of the morality of ordinary life in relation to television and the broadcast media. I would welcome applications from potential doctoral students in all of these areas.
Eprints Publications Repository and Bibliographic Database
Tim Dant has 25 selected publication records listed on this webpage. Use links to access abstracts and full text where available. View all records to sort by date, type and title. For all ePrints records go to http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk
Dant, Tim (2010) Morality and the phenomenology of television. In: Visuality and Materiality, 2009-07-10, London. (Unpublished)
Dant, Tim (2009) The work of repair:gesture, emotion and sensual knowledge. Working Paper. Lancaster University.
Dant, Tim (2008) Car culture / car girls. In: Car Girls. Aperture Foundation, New York. ISBN ISBN: 978-1-59711-106-5 / 978-1-5711-097-6
Dant, Tim (2008) The 'Pragmatics' of Material Interaction. Journal of Consumer Culture, 8 (1). pp. 11-33.
Dant, Tim (2008) iPod... iCon. Studi Culturali, 5 (3). pp. 355-374. ISSN 1824-369X
Dant, Tim and Wheaton, Belinda (2007) Windsurfing : an extreme form of material and embodied interaction? Anthropology Today, 23 (6). pp. 8-12. ISSN 1467-8322
Dant, Tim (2006) Materiality and civilization : things and society. The British Journal of Sociology, 57 (2). pp. 289-308.
Gilloch, Graeme and Dant, Tim (2005) From passage to parly 2 : commodity culture in Benjamin and Baudrilard. New Formations, No 54. pp. 139-153.
Dant, T (2005) Materiality and Society. Buckingham: Open University Press. ISBN 033520855X
Dant, Tim (2004) Recording the Habitus. In: Seeing is Believing? Approaches to visual methodology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 43-63. ISBN 0-7623-1021-9
Other Interests and Hobbies
I like to slob about watching TV but with a little encouragement I can be persuaded to wander up and down hills, often carrying a camera.
View all research activities, ePrints, news and events associated with Tim Dant.
Tel: +44 (0)1524 594183
Room: Bowland North, B142
Office Hour: By appointment
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