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For the final night of Our Society’s talks, we are looking at current issues surrounding our use of language and its emotional effect. We delve into communities reclaiming slurs previously used to demean and dehumanise, how marketing strategies have been used to gender our children’s toys, and the stigmatising language of mental health.
The Impact of Linguistic Reclamation on Taboo Language Processing
Daniel Edmondson (Research Student)
Research suggests that offensive language shocks us, even in ways that we might not be conscious of. In particular, our emotional responses to these ‘taboo’ words seem to affect the ways our brains process this language. However, what happens when some of the people targeted by offensive language start taking that language back? Do these words stop being shocking once they start being used positively in certain contexts, and what does this mean for how they are processed? Focusing on language targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community, these are the questions that this research seeks to answer.
Heroic Boys and Friendly Girls? A Comparison of How LEGO® CITY and LEGO® FRIENDS Represent the World and Children’s Place Within It.
Emma Putland (Research Student)
What messages do children’s toys and media send us while we’re growing up? Does this affect how we see ourselves and relate to others? This talk is interested in two key LEGO® franchises, CITY and FRIENDS. I explore how playsets that are both based around a city present the same kind of world for boys versus girls, and the different identities and relationships that they promote. Through this example, I introduce a kind of “linguistic and visual toolkit”, to start deconstructing some of our everyday language and images, to encourage a discussion of what exactly we’re telling our children…
Everybody’s Business: Understanding and Responding To Self-harm and Suicidality
Emma Nielsen (PhD Student)
Suicide kills three times more people than road traffic accidents. Suicide is preventable. In her talk, Emma Nielsen will explore how people deal with difficult days and the emotional, psychological and social factors that might lead someone to harming them self. Drawing from research at the University of Nottingham's Self-Harm Research Group, Emma will dispel common misconceptions and consider what can help – from the language we use and conversations we have, to treatments and support that promote recovery. Suicide is preventable. Suicide prevention is everybody’s business.