Beyond the Field: Conference Coming Soon

Beyond the Field: Opportunities and Challenges for Contemporary Social Science Research

The conference will be held at Aberystwyth University on the 9th and 10th of November 2012. It aims to provide a friendly, supportive, yet nonetheless critical environment for postgraduate students to reflect on the use of post-positivist research methods in the social sciences. From the reading of texts, music, art, and films as symptomatic of wider social realities, to the imagination and writing as practices of social research, this conference plans to open a space to discuss the relevance, impact and application of such unorthodox research methods.

It invites postgraduate research students working on ‘post-positivist’ research projects within International Studies and beyond, to reflect on the research practices they employ and the implications of these methods for their research. While these methods are sometimes dismissed as simply not being ‘social scientific,’ for those employing them, they offer new avenues for research and allow for productive engagements with social theory, and resonate widely beyond the social sciences.

Despite these benefits, social science Research Training rarely deals with these subjects, and we anticipate that this conference will complement existing RT provision for young researchers. In bringing together postgraduate research students- both within and beyond the field of International Studies- we aim to allow research students to share their experiences and thoughts about these methods, as well as to generate ideas about how research training programs might better support students whose research goes beyond conventional qualitative and quantitative analysis.

We invite submission of papers reflecting on the following issues:

  • The methods and practice of research outside and beyond the empirical and the quantifiable.
  • The implications of studying memory, technology, literature, visual imagery and the imagination for the social sciences.
  • The significance of new research practices for the philosophy of social science.
  • How this research can be best supported by research training programs.
There will be up to 7 scholarships available for PhD candidates, which cover one night’s accommodation in Aberystwyth and a travel grant of up to £50. More details of this will be made available with the call for papers which will be issued shortly.
This conference has been made possible by the kind financial and administrative assistance of Aberystwyth University’s Department of International Politics, and the BISA-Postgraduate Network, as well as support from the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre.
For more details, please email the convenors: Carolin Kaltofen ( or Tom Marshall (