Postcards from a PhD
The Ploughman’s Lunch exists as a blog-trail through my PhD at the University of Leeds (originally started at Liverpool). Ostensibly researching the emergence of hauntology as a genre of electronic music I shall no doubt wander from the path from time to time.
I became aware of hauntology in a cultural sense in the late noughties while working on my Masters dissertation on the relationship between public service broadcasting and children’s television drama. I’m particularly interested in the supernatural, mythological and metaphysical in children’s television drama and blog erratically on these themes at prettyfantasmagorical.com. My curiosity was piqued by the way certain kids TV programmes – The Owl Service and Children of the Stones in particular – had been retroactively ‘reclassified’ as hauntological, something I also observed happening with a handful of British films being pulled together under the newly coined category of Folk Horror, as well as with a cache of musical artists and electronic pioneers. Hauntology’s mining of this archive culture and its playful and very British approach to the themes of place, memory and heritage were irresistibly appealing to someone who grew-up in the 1980s in the classic uncanny village in the Westcountry (complete with its own 1970s revival pagan festival).
My research focuses on hauntology as a genre within electronic music, as opposed to a cultural movement or critical theory which I’ll leave to the blogosphere and English Literature students respectively. That’s not to say it doesn’t involve critical theory, but if I have the map the right way up I’ll be taking a more psychoanalytical than political path (bypass Derrida, turn left at Freud and keep an eye out on your right for Žižek). Don’t forget to say hello if you see me on the way.