It's our 1st birthday in 2 weeks time (nooo, say what?? Where did that year go?) and a birthday is always a good time to take stock. Are we where we want to be in life? Are we using our time in the best possible ways? Are we spending the desired amount of time with the people we love and who care about us? So, we thought we would just... ask. Would you, pretty please, take our 5-minute survey and give us feedback about what's working for you, and what we could do better? Find the 5-minute survey here. We are hoping to get 100 people to respond to this survey, and are giving away 2 x $100AUD Amazon gift vouchers as thank yous for your participation. That basically means you have, at worst, a 1 in 50 chance of winning a gift voucher. Not bad odds! On the anniversary of our website launch, Monday, October 1st, we'll choose the 2 winners at random from the pool of survey participants who provide their email addresses at the end of the survey. If you're a winner, we'll contact you to find out what country you are in, and send you the Amazon voucher through your preferred Amazon country site. We really look forward to getting your feedback, positive and negative, and any suggestions you have for the future of The Familiar Strange.
"Although this stuff is very ordinary, very day-to-day, very unremarkable... it's actually quite dangerous, too." Steve Woolgar, emeritus professor at the Saïd School of Business at Oxford University and giant in the field of science and technology studies (STS), spoke to our own Jodie-Lee Trembath about the little niggling rules that we run up against … Continue reading Ep. #22 Just the way things are: Steve Woolgar talks mundane governance, & the rules that run our lives
At the end of a day of academic work, you may not want to talk to anybody else, and giving yourself that option is a form of self-care. But that kind of self-care doesn’t help you to play well with others, so it becomes a vexed choice - be a good academic, or a good wife and mother.
Are we seeing a shift away from explicitly imagining alternatives to the status quo? Are we even still capable, as a society, of envisaging these alternative imaginaries? There is a ‘discursive regime’ - ie. a way of speaking and discussing ideas that is so pervasive as to become inescapable - at play in discussions of universities (and indeed, the world at large) that precludes the consideration of alternatives to neoliberalisation, marketisation and capitalism more broadly. But systematic application of the imagination can create ideas, and “ideas can change reality, for ideas can turn into reasons for action, which in turn can become causes of change.” (Barnett, 2013, p. 7).
"Rather than always studying poor, peripheral peasants, pastoralists, and fishermen, let’s turn the critical gaze of our discipline, which we do so well, let’s pivot it round like a telescope lens and focus upwards at, [Laura Nader] coined the phrase, ‘the hidden hierarchies of power.’" Cris Shore, professor of social anthropology at the University of … Continue reading Ep. #16 The costs of efficiency: Cris Shore talks neoliberalism in the public sector
Outside the academy, I’m sure the perception remains that academics sit in leather armchairs, gazing out the gilded windows of our ivory towers, thinking all day. That has not been my experience, nor that of anyone I know. My colleagues and peers have, however, experienced levels of anxiety and depression that are six times higher than experienced in the general population. They report higher levels of workaholism, the kind that has a negative and unwanted effect on relationships with loved ones. The picture is often even bleaker for women, people of colour, and other non-White, non-middle-class, non-males. So whether you think academics are ‘delicate woeful souls’ or not, it’s difficult to deny that there is a real problem to be tackled here.
Using Mary Douglas's notion of matter out of place, I posit that when the government changed the law and increased their negative rhetoric about foreign workers, people like me got switched to a new category in the collective consciousness: from ‘just another member of the employment landscape’, to ‘imminent threat to the locals' jobs’.
As Helene Mialet’s ethnography examines the role of his assistants, his students, and the media in the social construction of ‘Stephen Hawking: the great genius’, she also shows the subtle ways that some part of Hawking the man remains present, imposes himself on each interaction within his extended network.
Are you keen to understand more about what anthropologists do and why they do it? This post compiles the reasons of anthros from around the world in honour of #AnthroDay 2018.
Although I’ve often been heard to sigh and groan that “technology hates me”, just like any other self-respecting anthropologist, in this post I want to consider just what we might be missing out on if we choose to totally avoid extending our minds into cyber-infinity and beyond.