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Politics

The Celebration of Difference

The European Union is currently experiencing a number of challenges to its existence, challenges that were always present but have been compounded and magnified since the global economic recession.  It is a truism that political crises follow economic ones, a sequence of events especially evident at the supranational level of European governance. Storm clouds may […]

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Knowing Your Place

Losing Yourself

The death of identity has been announced in so many corners of academic life that it seems miraculous anyone has the courage to defend such a concept. But this is what Stephen Frosh and Lisa Baraitser did a few years ago. Their paper ‘Goodbye to identity?’ (published in Identity in question, ed. Anthony Elliott and […]

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Knowing Your Place

When Enough is Enough

Donald Winnicott’s concept of the good enough mother has endured past its psychoanalytic origins, gaining an unusual level of popularity since its first airing in 1953. No wonder, as Winnicott offers a logical and reasoned rebuttal to the unachievable concept of the perfect mother: A mother is neither good nor bad nor the product of illusion, but […]

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Uncategorized

The Beat of a Different Drum

The basic premise of Dirty Looks is that other people matter, that our relations with other people have serious consequences for our health, wealth, happiness, education, attitudes and politics. The theoretical premise is that the relational world has its own rationale, it own rules of engagement, compared to other forms of regulation (legal, temporal, cultural, […]

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Knowing Your Place

An Awareness of What is Missing, Part 2

In their introductory chapter to the collection of the same name, Michael Reder and Josef Schmidt connect Habermas and his ‘awareness of what is missing’ to other thinkers such as Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and most notably Bertolt Brecht (pictured).The Brecht link makes sense (there’s a link there also to Bloch): although Habermas never makes […]

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Uncategorized

An Awareness of What is Missing, Part 1

Recent discussion over reason and religion has been so overshadowed by the work of Richard Dawkins and his ilk, that it might surprise some to suggest a debate could ever take place between the two. It might be the case that such debates have a tendency towards polarity, but the dead hand of fundamentalism on […]

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Knowing Your Place Uncategorized

The Power of Words

As evidenced on this site numerous times, understanding the relational world has proven a challenge to the social sciences – for disciplinary as well as ideological reasons. It doesn’t help that it lacks its own discipline, relying instead on the half-empty promise of inter-disciplinarity to come to the rescue. Neither does it help that the […]

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Knowing Your Place

Faking It

The earning of respect and status comes with a price attached. Originally coined in the 1970s, the concept of ‘imposter syndrome’ has become a convenient way to encapsulate the dread that can oftentimes accompany success (at whatever level) – the sense of being undeserving and unworthy of glory and honour. This is normally shadowed by a […]

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Keeping Score

Religion and the Vale of Tears

Any talk of the relational world must inevitably at some stage come back to religion, a regulatory mechanism of real force in intersubjective dynamics, an influence obvious in so many facets of social and cultural life. Dirty Looks has already explored this influence to some extent, particularly in relation to secular forms of martyrdom and […]

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Knowing Your Place Saving Face

The Stresses of Work

The workplace provides a fertile space for the relational world to weave its magic/unleash its misery. The set of relational senses – honour, respect, pride, envy, shame, humiliation, acceptance, belonging (some of the usual suspects) have a field day with the combination of close relationships, institutional hierarchy and the inevitable emphasis on relative status. As […]