Ghent-Kent Meeting

12-13 November 2015: Two-days meeting in the framework of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Initiative on the Research of Families, Relationships, Parenting and Reproduction between staff members of

  • Centre for Research on Culture and Gender, Ghent University
  • Bioethics Institute Ghent, Ghent University
  • Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent
  • Kent Law School, University of Kent

The objectives of the proposed interdisciplinary collaborative initiative is to bring together researchers with a shared interest in families, relationships, parenting and reproduction of both Ghent University and the University of Kent. More particularly, a short-term staff exchange between members of the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender and the Bioethics Institute (Ghent) and the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies and the Kent Law School (Kent) aims to discuss the preparation of (1) joint funding applications and other collaborative arrangements and (2) a two-days symposium to be held at Ghent University.

The programme will consist of public lectures (organized in collaboration with the UGent Policy Unit Diversity & Gender) and closed round-tables and meetings

With public lecture by Srećko Horvat: ‘Love in the Age of Selfie’ and response by Frank Furedi


12 November 2015

14.30-16.15: Public lecture by Srecko Horvat – ‘Love in the Age of Selfie’ (in cooperation with the Policy Unit Diversity & Gender of the University of Ghent)

14.30-15.30 Lecture

15.30-15.45 Response by Frank Furedi

15.45-16.15 Discussion

Venue: Raadzaal UFO – Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33, 9000 Gent

16.45-17.45: Closed presentations of participants and research groups

17.45-19.30: Closed roundtable discussions: The post-conventional? Culture, Gender and Moral Thinking. Part I. Relationships, families and parenting.

Venue: TBA

13 November 2015

09.00-11.00: Closed roundtable discussions: The post-conventional? Culture, Gender and Moral Thinking. Part I. Reproduction, kinship and families.

11.00-12.00: Closed meeting

12.00: Lunch

14.00-17.00: Closed meeting

Venue: TBA

Abstract and bio

Srećko Horvat  – Love in the Age of Selfie

12 November 2015 – 14.30 -16.15 – Raadzaal UFO – Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33, 9000 Gent


In 2013 Oxford Dicitionary announced selfie as “the international Word of the Year”. Since then, it seems we are witnessing a selfie-pandemic. According to the Russian Ministry of the Interior at least 10 Russians have been killed and 100 more injured while taking selfies this year alone. Social networks and new technologies, from Facebook to Instagram, only enforce these trends that are correlated with narcissism and self-commodification. If Christopher Lasch warned about the normalization of pathological narcissism in late 20th century, what we should do today is not only to investigate various new modes of narcissism, but pose the really crucial question:  what about love in the “Culture of Narcissism”? How did love or falling in love change due to new technological developments from the late 70s, when Lasch’s book was originally published up until today? And above all questions: is there falling in love without narcissism? That are some of the questions that the lecture will try to raise.

Srećko Horvat  (1983) is a philosopher born in Croatia. He is author of “What Does Europe Want?” (Columbia University Press, 2014) co-authored with Slavoj Žižek, “Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism: Radical Politics After Yugoslavia” (Verso, 2014) with Igor Štiks, and most recently “The Radicality of Love” (Polity Press, 2015). He regularly publishes for The Guardian, Al Jazeera and New York Times.

Response by Frank Furedi

Frank Furedi is Emeritus professor of Sociology, University of Kent and Visiting Professor, Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London.

During the past 15 years Furedi’s studies have been devoted to an exploration of the cultural developments that influence the construction of contemporary risk consciousness. During the past decade his research has been oriented towards the way that risk and uncertainty is managed by contemporary culture. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology. His Invitation To Terror; Expanding the Empire of the Unknown(2007) explores the way in which the threat of terrorism has become amplified through the ascendancy of possibilistic thinking.  It develops the arguments contained in two previous books The Culture of Fear (2003) and Paranoid Parenting(2001). Both of these works investigate the interaction between risk consciousness and perceptions of fear, trust relations and social capital in contemporary society. His work on trust has been developed through a historical investigation of the meaning of authority, which was published by Cambridge University Press in October, 2013 as Authority, A Sociological History. Furedi’s books and articles provide an authoritative yet lively account of key developments in contemporary cultural life. Using his insight as a professional sociologist, Furedi has produced a series of agenda-setting books that have been widely discussed in the media. Furedi regularly comments on radio and television. In the past year he has appeared on Newsnight, Sky and BBC News, The Today Programme, Moral Maze and a variety of other radio television shows. His has been interviewed by the media in Australia, Canada, the United States, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Brazil, and Germany and other countries.