As part of our ongoing series giving an insight into your lecturers’ interests and aspirations we profile Dr Adam Eldridge, whose teaching centres around themes such as cultural consumption, globalisation, identity, leisure and the night-time economy.
What first interested you in sociology?
I came to sociology by accident. I didn’t start University until I was in my mid 20s and had absolutely no idea what it entailed or what to study. I was very interested in the media, power and social justice so chose sociology then, later, cultural studies. I’d been involved in various political groups since I was a teenager, mostly around LGBT issues, animal rights, nuclear disarmament, etc. Going to university and discussing power, politics and representation in a critical and supportive environment was an extraordinary opportunity and a real pleasure.
What areas of sociology most interest you today?
I was incredibly fortunate to be taught by some brilliant feminist and queer theorists. Their work continues to inspire my own research and areas of interest. I was also very fortunate in that, when I started my PhD, critical work on the body and emotions was expanding significantly and I’m still very interested in that field. ‘Pleasure’ is what really interests me right now – how it’s lived, managed, spatialised, experienced and represented. I’m also very interested in relations between humans and animals and I’m currently trying to make my way through a lot of dense theory on the post-human. Much of this means reading across a broad range of disciplines, especially cultural geography, cultural studies and urban sociology.
What makes for a good sociologist?
To be a sociologist you have to have a desire to engage with the world and be willing to question why things are as they are. Hopefully from there will come a desire to change it, but being nosy and intellectually curious are the starting points.
What challenges does sociology face in the twenty-first century?
I’m not sure if I could accurately summarise the challenges sociology faces. The intellectual and practical problems we deal with are much the same as always; social inequality for starters. That’s not to say the methods, tools and theories of the past are always helpful today, but many of the issues we look at continue to resonate.
Another way of answering this question is to say I would like to see a massive investment in education. The challenges sociology faces are much the same as many disciplines – we need more funding in education, teaching and research, and, fundamentally, in emerging scholars.