Understanding the constructions of the ‘other’: co-produced knowledge and understanding of ‘terrorists’ and ‘terrorism’

Last year, I put together a small HEA individual grant to build upon our earlier research concerning terrorism and social work education, and civil unrest and welfare in Muslim countries. Unfortunately, the bid was unsuccessful but one should never let a good bid go to waste. Given that it was education focused, based around co-production and student enhancement – a ‘fusion’-based project! -I thought rather than try somewhere else for funding I would embed it into the third year undergraduate Sociology unit Terrorism, Protection & Society, where it would have sat if successful.

The project encourages active student engagement in learning, employing a methodology of co-production of knowledge in which skills to collaborate in producing critically informed and societally beneficial knowledge will be developed. Students are reading, critically, major UK newspapers, identifying and analysing those articles that mention ‘terrorists, terrorism or terror’ and associated concepts. From this they are engaged in identifying the processes by which our dominant cultural frames are constructed and can be challenged. The project findings, once 30-days worth of newspapers have been scoured for relevant articles, will be widely disseminated through the production of academic papers, a submission to eBU and through conference presentations.

Students following the Terrorism, Protection & Society module, engage in learning how the ‘other’, in this case ‘terrorist’, is constructed within popular debate and within the public media in the UK. As part of the project rooted within the unit, students will also analyse the media’s use of target terms (terrorist, terrorism, terror and so on) through a content and discourse analysis, and debate the potential consequences of this for contemporary society and for developing a deeper and more nuanced understanding that can assist in restraining social conflict, violence and the ‘othering’ of those who may be associated with core characteristics of ‘terrorists’ according to the socio-cultural master-narratives created by media representations.

Students will produce a paper with academic staff for the eBU on-line journal; most co-production of academic papers with students occurs at postgraduate level and this project has a degree of originality in promoting co-production of academic knowledge with undergraduate students, something we have done already in respect of edited books. Other academic outputs will be developed and students demonstrating interest and capacity will be invited to participate in their production.

Alongside the academic publications envisaged, this proposal meets BU’s fusion objectives in seeking also to add to the corpus of evidence of pedagogical benefits for students of knowledge co-creation and includes a focus on the student experience of the processes of learning.

Thus, as part of the teaching and learning students engage with, the project has wide reach and significance for student learning and pedagogical development by enhancing social and cultural understanding amongst students who will soon graduate, alongside producing autonomous and critically thinking individuals who can translate their learning and core skills into the employment market.

This week students energetically engaged with the preliminary data extraction and coding of those newspaper articles dealing with concepts and issues that were termed or could be termed as terror, terrorist, terrorism, extremism and so forth. The work undertaken helped to put in perspective some of the first two weeks’ lecture material and allowed the students to bring their own critical understandings to this complex and emotive area.

So far, the project has illuminated to me what an incredibly versatile and intellectually agile student body we have; people who will be an asset to the workforce of the future and a credit to our university! I am looking forward to the following weeks as the project unfurls.


Professor Jonathan Parker


Sociology students engaged in research


Beware of rogue journals.

Open Access: not every new journal is rogue!

Open Access publishing is the hot topic in academic publishing.  It comes from the idea that publicly funded research used to end up in expensive journals which are difficult to access and which are expensive to users.  It also made for real ivory tower research and it did not give the general public, often the funder of research through taxation or charity access to the studies which they ‘paid’ for in the first instance.   The success shows in (a) the rising Impact Factors of online Open Access journals, such as, for example BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth; (b) the requirement for the UK funding bodies that all research its funds needs to be published as Open Access by 2016; and (c) the growing number of traditional academic journals that now offer authors the option to pay for online Open Access in addition to the traditional paper-based journal publication, for example Midwifery.  Two further signs of success are:  (d) the growing popularity of Open Access Week, this month (20-26 Oct.) we celebrate for the 7th time Open Access Week ( http://www.openaccessweek.org/); and (e) the growing number of rogue journals trying to cash in on the Open Access trend.


The latter is the ugly face of capitalism whereby opportunists, i.e. unscrupulous publishers jump on the bandwagon cashing in on a successful service.  BU librarian Jean Harris recently shared an interesting article about Predatory Publishers (see: www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/blog/are-we-doing-enough-warn-users-about-predatory-journals?utm_source=Communicator_membership_list&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Untitled21&utm_campaign=Weekly+News+from+CILIP%2c+18+Sept+2014).   Predatory publishers create a convincing looking scientific journal on the web, often borrowing details from other journals. They then email academics and researchers for both manuscripts and the offer to sit on the journal’s editorial board.  Submissions are then “peer reviewed” and an invoice for Open Access publishing emailed by return. No submission is rejected!  Many of us will have received such spam emails.

The message is not the fall for the scam.  Prospective authors should check the webpages of the journal (although some fake ones can be convincing).  Talk to more experienced colleagues in your field or your librarian to find out what they know about the ‘new’ journal, do they know someone on the editorial board.   Is the journal listed in reputable electronic databases such as SCOPUS?  Please, do not rely on information from Google on the journal you are trying to suss out!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen





Bangkok comms conference launched

Following the very successful first International Corporate and Marketing Communication in Asia Conference (ICMCAC), held in November 2013, Chulalongkorn University and Bournemouth University are again providing a scholarly platform for research into Asian perspectives of corporate and marketing communication in all forms and time scales.

The conference will be conducted over two days (January 29 and 30, 2015) with a keynote speaker on both days. It is organised by a partnership of two leading research and teaching universities in the field of corporate and marketing communication with the aim of creating an Asian perspective in research and scholarship.

Advertising, corporate communication, marketing communications, mass communication, media and public relations researchers as well as educators and graduate students from Asia and Australasia are invited to submit  abstracts for paper and poster presentation at the 2nd ICMCAC. Researchers from outside these regions are most welcome to submit abstracts with cross-cultural or Asian perspectives.

Professor Tom Watson is BU’s conference leader and organiser for ICMCAC. Professor Watson said the first conference had drawn papers from 10 countries ranging including many Asian universities: “It was the start for development of Asian perspectives in the fields of corporate and marketing communications, and associated area of research”.

For Call for the Papers, click on this link: 2nd ICMCAC Call for Papers)

There are three themes for the 2nd ICMCAC:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia
  • Creativity in corporate and marketing communications, including creative industries perspectives
  • Cultural identity and norms in mass communication in Asia

General papers are welcomed on a range of topics, as well. The deadline for submissions is: Friday, October 24, 2014 to comira@chula.ac.th.

The conference website is:http://cuprimcconference.net

The venue for the conference is the Pathumwan Princess hotel, near to Chulalongkorn University and the National Stadium rail station.

Conference organisers Jirayudh Sinthuphan (R) and Tom Watson (L) with Phanasari Kularb (C)
Conference organisers Jirayudh Sinthuphan (R) and Tom Watson (L) with Phanasari Kularb (C)

Security and Spam Fighting at Facebook…

Please join us for our next interdisciplinary Cyber Security Seminar on:

Tuesday, 7th October

5pm – 6pm

Barnes Lecture Theatre

How do you keep a system with 1.3 billion users both secure and (mostly) spam-free?  This talk will describe some of the biggest challenges in spam fighting and security at Facebook, as well as going into more details about one specific mechanism – our system for detecting compromised passwords – and how we use it to prevent phishing attacks.

Our speaker will be Dr John Lyle.  John is a software engineer at Facebook working on the Site Integrity team. John works primarily on Facebook’s anti-phishing system which helps protect the accounts of people who may have had their credentials compromised. Before joining Facebook, John was a post-doctoral researcher and DPhil student at The University of Oxford investigating usable access control and authentication for cross-platform mobile web applications.

eBU – helping to develop academic papers for the new academic year

With the new academic year about to go into full swing, I’m sure everyone has many papers planned for the year ahead.

In the last 14 months eBU: Online Journal has a build up a steady track record of helping early career academics and more established scholars to gain feedback on their work before submitting to external journals. In fact, not only does eBU have a track record in helping academics gain feedback, but BU academics are using eBU feedback to help them publish in external journals.

From immediate publication to open peer review in a safe internal environment in weeks instead of months, eBU is ideally placed to help early career and established academics to break through the barriers that stand in the way of publication – surely you’d be foolish not to consider using eBU for your next paper!

CEMP Bulletin October 2014

Here’s the first CEMP bulletin of the academic year. A bumper issue, as we’ve had a busy start to the year, and earlier than advertised, to boot.

CEMP bulletin October 2014

Usual terms apply, contact Julian or Richard in CEMP or the CEMP Fellow in your group or CEL to chat about anything here.

Fusion Investment Fund: Millennium Development Goal Fusion of Ideas Update!

Back in February, Bournemouth University hosted an international conference thanks to the Fusion Investment Fund awarded to Vanora Hundley, Edwin van Teijingen, and Zoë Sheppard. It brought together clinicians, academics, policy makers, students, and other stakeholders to help set the future global midwifery agenda post the Millennium Development Goals.

A smaller follow-up meeting took place in June. The two days were spent discussing arising research ideas from the conference and collaborative funding opportunities to take forward. These networking events have indeed led to a number of outcomes including important local, national, and international links; collaborative publications in progress; a potential research programme; increased media coverage for the University; and the showcasing of students’ work thereby fusing research, education, policy and practice. These important outcomes will help ensure that midwifery continues to be on the global political agenda and raise the international profile of the University.

Calling All Consumer Behaviour Researchers … A forum for discussion around CB research.


The study of consumer behaviour has always been a multi-disciplinary endeavour, so perhaps it is not too surprising that there are pockets of related research activity all around BU.  These include consumer related research clusters in the Business School, the Media School, School of Tourism and Psychology.  What is surprising is how little we are aware of each other’s work.

Given this the ICB research cluster are hosting a ‘Hands-on Information Sharing Session’ to provide a forum for discussion around CB research at BU.  The session will provide an opportunity to meet others with similar research interests and learn more about the variety of consumer research being carried out across the University through brief research presentations, followed by discussions over refreshments to look for potential cross-discipline research opportunities.

Wherever you are in BU, if you think that you would like to be part of a forum aimed at developing a stronger research presence in this area please come along to a meeting over coffee and cakes ….

‘CB Hands-on Information Sharing Session’

Wednesday 22nd October at 15:30 in TAG22, Talbot Campus.

Please could those wishing to attend let Juliet Memery know as soon as possible to ascertain likely numbers for catering purposes, and then send three Powerpoint slides (max) that briefly cover your research/interests in issues relating to consumer behaviour research to her by Monday 20th October (email: jmemery@bournemouth.ac.uk ).

All welcome – we look forward to seeing you there!


PR historians meet in Brussels

Plans for future joint research were discussed at a meeting of the European Public Relations History Network (EPRHN) in Brussels on September 12.

The network, which was established with Fusion Fund assistance in 2013, met during the annual EUPRERA Congress and was attended by 15 PR historians from Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and England.

In addition to developing joint bids to national and European funding sources, EPRHN members have been contributing to a PR history book series which is being edited by Professor Tom Watson of the Media School.

Other plans are research into WW1 propaganda and information campaigns, comparative studies, collaboration with researchers in political communication and nation branding fields, and the role of PR during 20th century European dictatorships.

“EPRHN works as a virtual organisation and is gathering momentum. The key to it becoming a sustained network is both funding and outcomes,” said Professor Watson. “At present, there are outcomes in the form of accessible online resources and publications. So more effort is going into research bids when opportunities arise.”

Grand Place de Bruxelles

BU social science research on ‘Guns, Pride & Agency’

Worldwide, guns are a topic wrought with emotions. While most democratic countries consider guns in private hands a severe risk for public health if uncontrolled, it is not just in the US that licencing laws face resistance that benefit from a political and emotional rejection of state interference (e.g. UKIP’s Nigel Farage earlier this year). But why and how are ‘gun cultures’ built and sometimes sustained, even if they might undermine, an EU-led, much-desired democratisation and peace-building process after violence and war?

Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, social anthropologist at the HSC, addressed this question in her presentation ‘Guns, Pride and Agency—Albanian Ideals of Militancy Before and After the 1999 War in Kosovo’, at the international conference Comparing Civil Gun Cultures: Do Emotions Make the Difference? at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin from August 26 to 28, 2014 (https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/research/history-of-emotions/conferences/comparing-civil-gun-cultures-do-emotions-make-the-difference). The wider ethnographic research project, on which her findings are based, was also subject of an interview earlier this year, published on a research blog of the London School of Economics: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsee/2014/04/03/ilegalja-terrorists-or-freedom-fighters-an-albanian-tale-from-yugoslav-times/ .



Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen


Subscribe to receive the Daily Digest email