"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.
“...the child operates as a powerful figure in our society, where children can mobilize anything, from anxieties about same sex marriage to fears about children in detention, and all these things that we see in our own society today.”
I was listening to a ‘Waking Up with Sam Harris’ episode a few weeks ago, called Facing the Crowd. It has since been playing on my mind. Harris talks with Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis, who, for a few short months in 2015/16, was also a Yale ‘Master’ - a title for academic caretakers of particular … Continue reading Unpacking the Yale Halloween Scandal
Questions about Exploitation and Invisible Work in Academia It is an open "secret" amongst academics that universities exploit the labour of their academic staff, and more importantly, that they exploit the unpaid labour of their academic staff. There are arguments for and against this – doesn’t every vocation evoke unpaid labour? Hasn’t academia always been … Continue reading In Academia, All You Need is Love
I’m writing a chapter at the moment for The Research Handbook of Global Families (due out in 2019 - stay tuned!), which is, in essence, about how families cope, adapt and sometimes collapse when they find themselves internationally ‘on the move’. As I’ve been writing it, I’ve been quizzing friends and colleagues about how they … Continue reading Australian Families: Who’s Counting?