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Knowing Your Place

Panic at the Disco

The adolescent need for acceptance and belonging has kept social psychologists and anthropologists busy for decades, and rightly so; the memories associated with anxiety, fear and panic around teenage group inclusion/exclusion live on long after the teen years are gone.  In a book called Peer groups: expanding our study of small group communication, SunWolf (no […]

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Knowing Your Place Uncategorized

The Silent Markers of Desire and Disgust

In so much of the research on class influenced by Bourdieu, there is clear evidence of a more complex relational cartography, a world of ‘horizontal’ relations that, while mostly unacknowledged, act as a counterpoint to the standard ‘verticalising’ of relational activity so beloved of Bourdieu and his devotees. This is especially the case in accounts […]

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Knowing Your Place

When the Spell is Broken

To know your place should never be equated wholly with forms of submission; for many it can also represent a source of comfort. Knowing your place means that you can lay claim to some status, position and prestige, however insignificant in the wider scheme of things. A sense of place also provides some level of […]

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Knowing Your Place Uncategorized

The Politics of the Playground

Like the workplace, schools provide fertile ground for Dirty Looks and its desire to explore the relational world, a world in which caring what other people think may be frustrating and often self-defeating, but ultimately unavoidable. Arguably more than teachers, the collective judgements of peers exert an intense hold over young people, to the extent […]

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Knowing Your Place

Senses Working Overtime

Teachers (that’s Kurt from the British show above: less teaching, more drinking) are notorious for working long hours and in many cases taking their work home with them. The contracted 40 hours is for many in the profession a baseline, rather than a maximum. Marking and preparation are as often completed at the dinner table […]

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Knowing Your Place Politics

You and the Old School Tie

When together, images of David Cameron and George Osborne (British Prime Minister and Chancellor respectively) trigger in many minds the power of the ‘old school tie’ – the old boys’ network where the saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ rings loud and true. They represent a sense of confidence, assuredness and […]

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Knowing Your Place

The Trouble With School

One of the few decent movies about education and schools, Dead Poets Society (1989) saw Robin Williams play Mr. Keating, an English teacher newly arrived at Welton Academy for Boys, a boarding school for the privileged sons of America. Mr. Keating is a rebel among conformists, a teacher dedicated to bringing poetry alive, a romantic who saw […]

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Knowing Your Place

Speed of the Sound of Loneliness

Often covered, never bettered, John Prine’s ‘Speed of the sound of loneliness’ carries an emotional weight that sets it well apart from the standard Stetson country set. Like most country songs, it’s about misery and heartache, but its take on the sensation of loneliness assures it the status of a modern standard. Not unusual for […]

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Knowing Your Place

Crabs in Barrels

Recent research in the social sciences indicates the power of neighbourhoods as a key factor in the reproduction of social class differentials (poor neighborhoods key in income difference, study finds). Working in the North American context, researchers have found that “being raised in poor neighbourhoods plays a major role in explaining why African American children from middle-income […]

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Knowing Your Place

A Sense of Belonging

For such a deeply personal concern, it’s odd how everybody yearns for a sense of belonging, a sense frustratingly just outside our grasp. The desire to belong is a defining characteristic of the nomadic individual (another nail in the philosophy of consciousness right there). Having the sense that you are not on your own, that […]