Posts Tagged ‘leeds salon’

Surviving Identity

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 | Events, Religion & Politics

Recently, Leeds Salon hosted Ken McLaughlin, author of Surviving Identity: Vulnerability and the Psychology of Recognition.

The book itself is a good read. I found the first chapter or so, which discusses the transition from the old social movements (such as traditional labour and trade union movements) so the new social movements that we say today, went over my head somewhat. Not that it wasn’t well written or easy to follow, but I won’t claim to understand the nuances of the historical development of sociology. But beyond that, I settled into an enjoyable read.

Ken’s thesis looks at the increasing prevalence of the “survivor mentality” – once a term used for people who survived the Holocaust, now an increasing number of groups describe themselves as survivor groups, even though the category of things you can die from had been left long behind.

He also commented on the increase of people classified as “vulnerable adults”, which only 40 years ago was restricted to those with mental health issues that explicitly put them at risk of serious abuse, to today’s standard where simply being old can qualify you as a vulnerable adult, in which everyone who comes near you must be rigorously CRB checked, of which the extended CRB checks can include information like accusations – even if you are found innocent. Such restrictions don’t help the field of social care, but more importantly, they don’t help the people they are designed to protect.

If interested, you can find the book on Amazon.

Panic on a Plate

Friday, December 30th, 2011 | Events

Having been quite impressed by the Leeds Salon event I attended, and I decided to head down to their next one – Panic on a Plate: How Society Developed an Eating Disorder at which Rob Lyons made the case that we all need to chill out about what we’re eating before being cross-examined by a panel of experts.

The key points in Rob’s talk were that people now eat a more varied, nutritious diet than ever before. One hundred years ago people didn’t have freezers, microwaves or even cookers, so the idea that until recently everyone had eaten warm home cooked meals is nonsense.

Supermarkets have only come round in the past 50 years, and before then you simply couldn’t get the variety you can access now. Let alone a thousand years ago, or ten thousand years ago as the species was evolving (not that it’s stopped). Only as far back as 1914, people simply couldn’t afford the fuel to run their cookers, so would often only cook hot food once a week for Sunday lunch. People would be eating junk food all the time – they would often by down the fish and chip shop three or four times a week.

In 1930, food made up 30% of your household budget, it now accounts for 10%. It was only in the 1970’s that freezers became affordable to everyone. In short, food today is cheaper, easier to store and easier to cook than ever before. The result is that people benefit from a more varied, more nutritious diet than ever before. Even if you’re eating takeaway every night, compared to what people were eating a hundred years ago, you’re doing pretty well.

While the panel didn’t buy into the talk wholesale, there was a lot more agreement than I expected. Generally, the consensus was that Rob was speaking a lot of sense – but there still was a healthier way to live, if only by ensuring you have different coloured foods on your plate each night.

Leeds Salon

Friday, December 16th, 2011 | Events

Recently, I headed down to Leeds Salon for their debate on “The Big Society: A Clean-up for the Charity Sector?” The event was well attended and had a diverse range of people there. Though as the event was part of Leeds Summat, I’m not sure whether that was partly responsible.

The speeches were good, though as someone who only dips in and out of politics a lot of the time, some of the content went over my head. The discussions afterward were very interesting as well. I’m looking forward to attending their next event.