From birth to death, other people are unavoidable; we are born into relations, make friends and enemies at school, then subsequently at work, and negotiate relationships with family, friends and neighbours in our private worlds. Their ubiquity means that people have a great deal of power over how we feel, think and act, our relations with others being the source of much of the emotional content of our lives.
Much of this power reflects the position of other people as moral arbiters of our behaviour, attitudes and social position – they have the capacity to be simultaneously judge, jury and social executioner, holding in their hands the power to accept, reject and even ostracise.
The power of a ‘dirty look’, however, is not just the stuff of adolescent nightmares; it’s everywhere. The relational world is much more expansive than given credit for, a world including the likes of:
- Pride, honour, reputation, status, prestige
- Shame, embarrassment, humiliation
- Envy, jealousy, resentment, disgust, hate, love
- Recognition, respect, acknowledgement, trust
- Belonging, acceptance, rejection.
Developing this site provides me with the opportunity to explore this relational world in some depth, while not having to genuflect before the altar of any particular academic discipline. It allows me to explore highly emotive issues alongside social, cultural and
political ones, without fear of academic censure. Understanding the power of relations in their various forms is a challenging thing to do, and trying to make sense of them paradigmatically even more so. I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity to do this via Dirty-Looks, and your comments will be very welcome. The site is designed to be educational in the broadest sense of the term, in that the best and most useful ideas are developed and honed via discussion and evidence gathering. I’d be reluctant to say I’m an ‘expert’ in this area, but I’m passionate about the relational world and its consequences.
I’ll try to keep this site as engaging as possible as it develops its own rhythm, keeping academic jargon to a bare minimum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Dirty-Looks represents a personal ‘journey’ for me, but I am intrigued about where it will end up. In
fact, contrary to popular opinion, Dirty-Looks may possibly be more about the final destination than the route taken. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the site.
Mark Murphy [e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter: @dirtylookscom]
PS: Please read the No Exit page, it helps to clarify the ‘why hell is other people’ tagline.