The Culture Project: New Approaches to the Study of Cultural Practices

13 March 2009 - 15 March 2009

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane

Richard Sennett (New York University/Visiting Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge)
Craig Calhoun (New York University/President, Social Science Research Council)
Vic Seidler (Goldsmiths, University of London/Professor of Sociology)
Nick Couldry (
Goldsmiths, University of London/Professor of Media and Communications)


NYLON was created in 2001 by Craig Calhoun and Richard Sennett of New York University. It began as a network of young scholars within the two institutions and collaboration between them. Today, NYLON has expanded beyond its original boundaries; it now includes members from Cambridge and Oxford in the U.K.; from Chicago and Los Angeles in the U.S.; and on the Continent from Paris, Budapest and Frankfurt. NYLON researchers share a broad interest in culture and qualitative research methods; more, with ways that social processes turn into concrete cultural forms through practical activity. We are thus exploring informal, improvised social practices, as well as the bones of institutions; again, we try to integrate cultural analysis with an understanding of politics and political economy.

NYLON hosts weekly workshops in London and New York, in which members present everything from raw ethnographic data to draft journal articles to book proposals. The group also convenes annually for a conference that brings together members from across the global network. These joint conferences provide an intensive working environment in which participants are encouraged to engage collectively in the constructive critique of members' works in progress. Participants have consistently found it illuminating to discover the differences in style, assumptions, and intellectual sensibilities across multiple social science disciplines and national intellectual traditions - even where broad orientations are similar.



For administrative enquiries contact




All participants meet at CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane
Late lunch is served


Introductions, an overview of the weekend and logistics


Modeling Practice in Medicine

Paper: Alton Phillips (New York)
Charting Antiretroviral Supply Chains in Uganda
Respondent: Michele Lamb (London)

Paper: John Macartney (London)
Listening to the guiding voice: a decision narrative in Complementary Healthcare
Respondent: Tey Meadow (New York)

Paper: Owen Whooley (New York)
The Birth of the American Medical Association An Organizational Solution to an Epistemological Problem    
Respondent: Thomas Hilder (London)


Dinner at Carluccios
One Fisher Square, Grand Arcade, Cambridge



Creating Images of Urban Space

Paper: Hannah Jones (London), Kaleidoscopic Hackney: Negotiating Multiple
Understandings of Place in the Governance of a London Borough
Respondent: Marion Wrenn (New York)

Paper: Laura Noren (New York)
Public Peeing: Policing Bodies in New York City           
Respondent: Adam Kaasa (London)

Paper: Olivia Muñoz-Rojas-Oscarsson (London)
Stone, granite and concrete: three images of the urban under Franco
Respondent: David Madden (New York)


Coffee Break


Identity through Practice

Paper: Jane Jones (New York)
Money is Green: Fundraising and the Whitewashing of Elite Philanthropy
Respondent: Hettie Malcomson (London)

Paper: Alex Rhys-Taylor (London)
Slime and Reason
Respondent: Ashley Mears (New York)

Paper: Amy LeClair (New York)
Anti-depressants in the Post-Prozac Era: SSRI consumption among young adults
Respondent: Suzi Hall (London 


Lunch at CRASSH 


Break: Historic walking tour with Jeanette Luckhurst, from 14.15 - 15.15 (optional)


Power and Theory of Economic Practices 

Paper: Will Davies (London)
Capitalism as Competitive Sport: Rules and the Neo-Liberal Game
Respondent: Ernesto Castañeda (New York)

Paper: Solon Barocas (New York)
Patterns of Knowledge and a Pattern of Failure: The Epistemology, Performativity, and Culpability of Predictive Models
Respondent: Jérôme Hansen (London)

Paper: Hans Steinmuller (London)
The Ironies of Work, Family and Fatherland in China
Respondent: Melissa Fernandez (LSE)


Wine reception and private view
Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street


Traditional Cambridge College Dinner at Pembroke College, Old Library



10.30 – 12.00  

Mapping Discourses and Behaviours 

Paper: Sarah Kaufman (New York)
Danger: The Making and Un-Making of Future Behavior in Death Penalty Trials       
Respondent: Torsten Schroeder (London)

Paper: Paolo Gerbaudo (London)
Navigating the Rebel Archipelago: Territorial communication, spatial orientation and involvement in autonomous scenes
Respondent: Harel Shapira (New York)

Paper: Ruth Braunstein (New York)
The law of unintended consequences: Judges’ participation in defining science in contests over evolution
Respondent: Frederik Lesage (London) 


Lunch at CRASSH