Bureaucracy is so deadly dull because it’s so mundane. But, as Steve Woolgar points out in his book Mundane Governance, the Latin etymology of ‘mundane’ is ‘of the world’ - just the way things are. And that’s only true of your experience with bureaucracy if you belong in the world in which you are living. If, as a grown-up, you’ve had to do any adulting in a country where you’re unfamiliar with the rules, then you'll know that bureaucracy becomes anything but mundane because you are not ‘of the world’ in which you’re trying to operate. So in this post, I want to draw on an experience from my fieldwork to explore how mundane bureaucracy, when you’re away from home, can be a stark reminder that you are ‘matter out of place’.
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.