> > > Graeme Evans at ESRC seminar

Graeme Evans  at ESRC seminar
University of Bristol, 10-5pm, Monday 24th March 2014

Professor Graeme Evans to speak at ESRC seminar ‘Changing spaces, urban planning and neuroarchitecture’

University of Bristol, 10-5pm, Monday 24th March 2014

This ESRC seminar series: Behaviour Change and Psychological Governance, aims to investigate as yet unanswered aspects of the debate over Behaviour Change and the use of psychology in techniques of governing.  Specifically, we do not know enough about the effects of psychological forms of governance on national populations and specific social groups. Nor do we know what alternatives to Behaviour Change might look like if they were informed by participatory, observational or interpretive social science methods rather than economistic or behavioural science techniques and paradigms.

The seminars will discuss the Behaviour Change agenda in its wider context – in relation to how our cultural ideas about the brain, mind, behaviour and self are changing.  Participants from a range of social science disciplines will identify research, practical and political challenges posed by the current policy enthusiasm for particular branches of positive psychology, wellbeing, happiness, flourishing and ‘mindfulness’ in order to examine two original aspects: (a) the cumulative effect, or unintended consequences of the use of psychology in public policy, and (b) the underlying assumptions and principles on which they are based.

This seminar focuses on building a contemporary and critical understanding of the relationship between space and behaviour. Seeking to avoid the past mistakes of a now- discredited behavioural geography and overcoming some of the blind spots of environmental psychology, this theme considers how best to conceptualise the spatial framing of human behaviours without unwittingly reviving the spectre of environmental determinism.

It has been argued that recent developments in applying neuroscience within architecture/urban design revisit behaviouralist missteps, and these will be considered in light of debates from within human geography on obesogenic and  debtogenic environments, fitter and healthier cities, crime-reduction through design and the impact of urban form on cultures of drinking, conviviality, fear, surveillance, sustainability and resilience.