Categories
The Family

The Conditions of Love

The notion of unconditional love has come to signify the ideal form of parent-child bond, to such an extent that too often the real form (in many cases), conditional love, gets ignored. The fact that conditional love tends to be shunted back into the emotional closet reflects a cultural need to avoid reality, especially when […]

Categories
Knowing Your Place

The Right Bearing

Interviews are situations to be endured rather than enjoyed, a necessary evil in the recruitment and promotion of labour. They may change format and duration (2-3 day interviews are surprisingly commonplace), but the principle is the same – the presentation of self to be judged by other people who are more important than you. As […]

Categories
Keeping Score

The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

It needs to be said: those who manage to maintain a positive attitude in the workplace are either simpletons or part of an emotional super race. Work is designed to bring people together in a restricted physical space, away from their family, friends and home comforts. It is therefore inevitable that workplaces bring out the […]

Categories
Keeping Score

Happiness and the Politics of Envy

In an article entitled ‘Legislating for happiness’, Randeep Ramesh today argues that any decent public policy on well-being needs to understand that we are ’hardwired for envy’: “People measure their satisfaction by how well they do in relation to others, rather than on absolute levels of income. Success is not enough: we also want to […]

Categories
Keeping Score

What Do You Earn Again?

An important book in some ways, frustrating in others, Christakis and Fowler’s Connected: the amazing power of social networks and how they shape our lives, makes the strong claim that our connections “have an astonishing power to influence everything from what we eat to who we sleep with”. When it came out last year it […]

Categories
Saving Face

Shrinking Violets

Shyness is quite a common form of social anxiety, a complex combination of the fear of others and dramaturgical stress. In fact It’s much more common that given credit for – for example some studies suggest that about half of Americans consider themselves shy (with nearly as many saying they experience shyness in certain situations). […]

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Knowing Your Place

God Knows What I Am

The title is taken from a scene out of Saturday night and Sunday morning, a 1960 British movie directed by Karel Reisz and adapted from Alan Sillitoe’s novel of the same name. The most famous line out of this scene is ‘Whatever people say I am, that’s what I am not’, popularised by the band […]

Categories
Politics

Outside, Looking In?

Jeremy Paxman, the sometime scourge of feeble-minded politicians, host of University Challenge and pillar of the British media establishment, states in an interview published today that “I’ve always felt myself to be an outsider”. Really? Jeremy Paxman, ex-student of Malvern/Cambridge? One of the most recognisable faces/voices in Britain? A man with powerful connections and influence […]

Categories
Knowing Your Place

The In Crowd

It would be unwise to assume that the ‘dirty look’ is somehow gender specific. This site takes it as a given that the capacity to give someone a dirty look, as it were, is not an exclusively female phenomenon. Nor is it the preserve of any particular age group or social class. We’re all at […]

Categories
Knowing Your Place

Keeping Up Appearances

Anthropologists have the wonderful task of documenting social behaviour in various cultures and geographies, and travel to the far ends of the earth and the most exotic of locations to do so. One wonders though how necessary this travel is, when the peculiar habits and customs of people are ever present in their own cultures, […]