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Previous Research

My research to date has been confined to my doctoral programme. My doctoral thesis is a critique of conceptions of citizenship that are derived of political ideology. The thesis develops an alternative understanding of belonging grounded in the human condition. It is a conceptual analysis that offers a reconceptualisation of citizenship and society but with practical policy implications. The thesis employs an adaptionist analysis: a conceptual framework derived of the Darwinian rubric of evolution through natural selection in which the artificer of perpetuating states of affairs and change is adaptive value; pragmatically, the extent to which novel traits prove successful adaptations in prevailing environments. An adaptionist perspective incorporates the generic extension of Darwin’s biological selection rubric captured in the concept of Universal Darwinism, in which the rationale of selection is used to account for cultural and social evolution too. The thesis develops the adaptionist rubric to consider in more detail the concept of interaction. As a consequence, novel conceptions of citizenship emerge. Citizenship and society are re-conceived as a singular process of multi-level interaction according to a fundamental interaction rubric. The elementary forms of citizenship are revealed and captured in a realistic metaphor of interaction between organism and environment, and societies seen to be constituted in the pluralism of sites and domains where such interactions take place. Additionally, through its deployment, the thesis provides an evaluation of an adaptionist perspective’s usefulness as a framework of analysis in this context, and so there are implications for research methodology and method.

Future Research

Going forward I am interested to further explore human socialities in terms of complex, multi-level sites and domains of interaction. I am particularly interested in the extent to which objective rubrics underpin subjective phenomena. Particularly, the extent to which morality as the arbiter of what works and perpetuates in a given context reflects an objective rubric of adaptive value, and might help explain the role of social agents in their relationships with each other and with the structures and infrastructures of the human world in which the material and the non-material interact with human agents to shape pragmatic realities.

To date my research has been conceptual but I now want the development of the theoretical concepts to be informed by empirical research and brought to bear more overtly on real world issues with policy relevance. My longer term aims are to develop and disseminate my research through publications, conference presentations and teaching; and insomuch as my research represents a research paradigm which transcends disciplinary boundaries, I want to champion and develop this approach by establishing research alliances and specific projects that adopt it. © Mark Edwards 2014