Power can be a wonderful thing, as Terry Eagleton told the DPR conference in 2008: wonderful and essential for the achievement of our best and most generous purposes. But it can also be abused.
A widespread abuse of power is to organise the social world into groups that are included and others that are excluded, using the discourse of the powerful group, like subtly barbed wire, to distinguish the insiders from the outsiders on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, age, wealth, sexuality, class and other grouping. Communities may then disintegrate. The excluded members may seek to be admitted to the privileged group by learning and adopting its discourse; or they may resist this assimilation and celebrate their difference in defiant counter-cultures of their own.
What is the scope of research, learning and teaching in this contested space? What knowledges and methodologies should be included or excluded, and why? These are the issues the conference will consider.
Exchanging words and papers is a powerful academic practice at the heart of DPR. But the conference is about the discourses of inclusion and exclusion, so images, music, performance, display, story-telling - the variously imaginative ways of sharing our understanding - must have their space. DPR13 will include the contributions of the creative and performing arts so that the conference tells and shows a freshly inclusive vision.