‘Can national identity ever have “fundamental values”?’ : CEPA symposium at International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

CEPA members Dr Alan Hodkinson, Ella Houston, Asli Kandemir, Dr Joseph Maslen and Dr Zaki Nahaboo travelled to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on 17-20 May for the Thirteenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (QI2017). The visit, supported by Hope’s HEIF Route to Impact funding and invited by Illinois’ Distinguished Professor Norman Denzin, was to deliver the panel session ‘Can national identity ever have “fundamental values”?’, which problematised the notion of Fundamental British Values that are taught to children and young adults in British schools. Before their departure, the team launched their collaboration by rehearsing their papers to wide acclaim at the Faculty of Education’s ‘Golden Hour’ Research Seminar Series.

(l-r) Ella Houston, Dr Alan Hodkinson, Dr Jospeh Maslen, Dr Zaki Nahaboo, and Asli Kandemir launch their project at a Faculty Golden Hour


The story of the visit by Asli Kandemir

At 5.30am on 17 May the team met at the appointed time and place to take the taxi to transport us to Manchester Airport. The check-in process as well as the flight from Manchester to London and to Chicago went smoothly. The Amtrack train we took to accommodate the transportation from Chicago to Urbana-Champaign was easy and enjoyable as well.

On the Amtrack to Urbana-Champaign

The team had been excited and positive, both about the Congress and their panel as well. First of all the team participated in the official barbeque night, in which all of the team members managed to establish good contacts with different scholars through successful networking both in formal and informal gatherings. The next day the team attended several panels before delivering their specific session – a session that was very well received by a considerable gathering of scholars from several countries. In the audience there were a number of scholars from different institutions with different fields of research, and all of our presentations received significant comments and thought-provoking questions from the floor. The team celebrated this success with a nice dinner at a local restaurant.


The ICQI is a highly prestigious conference devoted to qualitative inquiry, and therefore it attracts many scholars each year from a variety of countries around the world and with high calibre of expertise and research-informed knowledge. The keynote speakers are thus selected from the leading figures of qualitative research. This year’s keynotes, too, were seminal and the team attended those speeches.

Professor Denzin’s inaugural speech was a critique of the immigration-ban enacted by the current American government, and following this was an acknowledgement of emancipatory research being undertaken by and about indigenous American peoples. The appreciation of this work was one of the most pleasant moments of the Congress.

Meeting Professor Norman Denzin by Ella Houston

A clear highlight of our trip was meeting world-renowned sociologist and qualitative researcher, Professor Norman Denzin. His work on qualitative inquiry is foundational in many sociological and humanities-related disciplines. As you may notice in the photo below, Denzin is holding a small box in his hands. Within this box is a University scarf we offered to Denzin, as a token from Hope. With local temperature a warm 23 degrees celsius, unsurprisingly the scarf remained in its box! Denzin was a fantastic host and meeting him was a true pleasure for us all.

(l-r) Professor Norman Denzin (and Hope scarf), Ella Houston, Dr Zaki Nahaboo, Asli Kandemir, and Dr Alan Hodkinson


Landings and new departures by Joseph Maslen

Since the Illinois visit, the ‘Fundamental British Values’ conversation continues and we have found ourselves featured as the top story on the Faculty of Education’s internal E-Bulletin as well as the University’s website and news feed. For the future, it is anticipated that this symposium, coupled with a contribution from Professor Ian Stronach and other interdisciplinary papers from the Department of Early Childhood, will form the basis of a special edition of the International Review of Qualitative Research, edited by Professor Denzin, as well as generating further bids for research funding.

Below you can see the outline of what the team presented at the Congress. Contact Joseph Maslen for further information.

Can national identity ever have ‘fundamental values’? Panel session, Thirteenth Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 19 May 2017  


The UK Government is currently asserting the need for the curriculum in England and Wales to promote ‘fundamental British values’, in response to perceived threats from various radicalisations and globalisations. In the broadest sense, ‘fundamental British values’, as the UK government promotes it, raises issues of interpretation that will be explored by the speakers.


Dr Joseph Maslen: ‘“Fundamental British values”: What’s fundamental? What’s value? And what’s (now) British?’

Dr Alan Hodkinson: ‘Fundamental “British” values: Radicalising “British” children into a manufactured concept of “British”ness – A problematization from an Englishman at Liverpool Hope’

Asli Kandemir: ‘Tolerance in fundamental British values: A case study on young British-Turkish people in Northwest England’

Ella Houston: ‘National identity and the prevalence of ableist and disablist ideologies’

Dr Zaki Nahaboo: ‘Being valued as a “post-truth” citizen’


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