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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 […]

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Saving Face Uncategorized

The Invisible Man, Part 3

The nature of social invisibility, a topic often ignored in intellectual circles, is starting to achieve some level of visibility for itself in the halls of academe. Much of this is a result of Axel Honneth’s pioneering work, an influence to the fore in a recent special edition of Distinktion: the Scandinavian Journal of Social […]

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Saving Face

The Invisible Man, Part 2

H. G. Wells’ short novel The Invisible Man was originally published in 1897, and was subsequently made into a horror movie in 1933, a film that stayed faithful to Wells’ original story. The Invisible Man (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The 1970’s Invisible Man series (with David McCallum), which portrayed the protagonist as a troubled but sympathetic […]

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Knowing Your Place

Bad Day at Black Rock

Movies don’t do bullies very well; they tend to over embellish, over-dramatise, oversimplify, de-contextualise. More importantly, the one thing that matters most in the bully’s world, their relationship with their victim, tends to be written out of the telling in favour of subject-object, action-reaction scenarios that de-legitimise the views of the bully, while also substituting […]

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Saving Face

The Invisible Man, Part 1

For all the trouble it brings, the omnipresent watchful gaze of the relational world does have its benefits. You get noticed, for one thing. This is a significant benefit of an intersubjective existence – no-one dislikes anything more than to remain invisible in a social world dependent on attention, acknowledgement and recognition. To be noticed by […]

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Uncategorized

There is No Other

The cult of the individual permeates so much modern thinking about society, equality and democracy that, when combined with the romance of individualism (heroism, glory and vanity all wrapped into one), little space is left to consider the alternatives. Whatever space is left is normally colonised by shouting matches ‘debating’ structural deficiencies versus personal morality. […]

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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 […]