Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ladles of Marxism and feminism

Posted by Jenni Remnant

‘It was one of those events full of eminent (and emeritus) professors where I felt slightly out of my intellectual depth. I didn't trust myself to say much. But I tried to listen well.’
– Jean Adams in a Fuse blog post from February last year.

Deciding to write a blog on here is pretty much (for me) an echo of the above, except very out of my intellectual depth rather than slightly. That said, some posts here are about holidays and lots have pictures in, so there’s no harm in writing something. 

Sorry - feeling a tad embarrassed
So, introductions.

I just started an ESRC funded studentship at IHS, that isn’t remotely scientific or epidemiology-y, or even medical really, which kind of makes it feel like the bastard child of the bastard child twice removed of the medical faculty. Alas. The only way is up. And actually it’s a really cool project that has tonnes of really fascinating theory that maps onto current events and has an excellent match in methodology. I appreciate that this is part and parcel of academic projects, but it’s still very satisfying, and very new to me.

The focus of the project centres on work, worklessness and cancer. It fits in remarkably well with the mental health stuff I was involved with as a research assistant before heading to Newcastle to do a masters. This is perhaps due to the patterns of the illnesses involved; symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, relapse, treatment, recovery…etc – in addition to both being banner titles for a huge variety of illness experiences on a spectrum of severity.

Another similarity is the ESA50 form, and for many the following Work Capability Assessment, and then the exciting wait before finding out if you are Fit For Work (Hurrah), need to join the Work Related Activity Group, or whether you will stay in the Support Group where the ‘big bucks’ are. The really excellent news is people that may not feel that they are fit for work actually are, for example, those with terminal cancer or a severe and enduring mental health problem.

So currently the plan is to explore all this, hook it all together with ladles of Marxism and feminism and then, when something is particularly interesting, or the pathway to get there was particularly interesting (or when I have something I want to shamelessly promote) blog about it. I will attempt not to lament the hardships of a PhD (jokingly referred to in the office as a Permanent HeaDache – which we appreciate doesn’t quite work) to a load of people that already have one and somehow fit in amongst the decent blogs, despite being out of my depth.

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