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’.
As the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby powerfully put it, it would help if we didn’t start by seeing females and males as being from different planets. Experiences of violence and the broader social receptiveness to vulnerability, along with the manifestation of mental disorders and treatment, are influenced - but not entirely determined by gender.
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.
This month, Julia (1:12) prompts us to think about 'vaping' e-cigarettes as a clinical compromise for smokers with schizophrenia. Having observed this strategy to be effective in the UK, she questions Australia's black-and-white moral approach against vaping. She says to take such an uncompromising stance here borders on “the definition of psychotic thinking, where you … Continue reading Ep. #10 Smoking v. vaping, anthrosmelling, de/colonization, & America’s gun “tribes:” this month on TFS