Synopsis

New ways of thinking about social structure

Episodes

  • Episode 20: Facing Thanksgiving

    Episode 20: Facing Thanksgiving

    27/11/2015

    As a great sage (a scriptwriter for Saturday Night Live) once wrote, Thanksgiving with the family can be hard. Everyone has different opinions and beliefs. The aftermath of people expressing their different opinions and beliefs at a family meal is beautifully parodied in the sketch, A Thanksgiving Miracle. In Politeness Theory, personal offence is understood … Continue reading Episode 20: Facing Thanksgiving

  • Episode 19: Paradigms

    Episode 19: Paradigms

    20/11/2015

    The notion of the ‘paradigm shift’ originates from Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn argued that science does not progress in a linear fashion: if new evidence comes in that upsets an established paradigm, it is described as an anomaly and often explained away as human error or flawed research design. When enough new … Continue reading Episode 19: Paradigms

  • Episode 18: They Lied to Us

    Episode 18: They Lied to Us

    13/11/2015

    Social structures are like spider webs – interlinked strands of assumptions about the social world that form conceptual networks to support us as we navigate our daily lives. What would be the effect of exposing social structures as oppressive or unjust? On the one hand, we might feel completely unsupported and ungrounded, like Boris the spider … Continue reading Episode 18: They Lied to Us

  • From Paperclips to Marshmallows: False Promises of Individual Choice

    From Paperclips to Marshmallows: False Promises of Individual Choice

    06/11/2015

    All this talk of social structure and how it could be better: does it match your own experience? Last week I talked about a social structure that is divided along gender, and requires boys and men to behave in one way and girls and women to behave in a different way. But I can hear … Continue reading From Paperclips to Marshmallows: False Promises of Individual Choice

  • Blank Boys and Blank Girls

    Blank Boys and Blank Girls

    30/10/2015

    I’ve been talking a lot about recognisability in social structures. Closed social structures divide up the world into particular categories such that it becomes impossible to think outside those categories. What doesn’t ‘fit’ within those categories, or identities, or ways of being, or ways of feeling are rejected, ignored or simply not allowed to exist. … Continue reading Blank Boys and Blank Girls

  • The Paperclip Game

    The Paperclip Game

    23/10/2015

    When I was teaching conversation classes in France I invented a game designed to encourage students to speak more English to each other. Each player started with 12 paperclips, and they’d have to forfeit one each time another player caught them speaking a language other than English. The goal was to acquire as many paperclips … Continue reading The Paperclip Game

  • Liza Got Hair: Thwarting Recognisability

    Liza Got Hair: Thwarting Recognisability

    16/10/2015

    How do you know if a social structure is having an impact on you? Have a look around and notice if there’s anything you recognise. If you’re using language to label the things in the room, for instance, you’re participating in a linguistic structure. A language structure is a social structure inasmuch as it is … Continue reading Liza Got Hair: Thwarting Recognisability

  • Let’s Dance!

    Let’s Dance!

    09/10/2015

    Last week I talked about how bodies are disciplined to conform to societal norms. This week I discuss the pressure to conform to a consistent identity. I explore this idea in relation to two renowned scholarly figures – Michel Foucault and Monica from Friends. I get curious about how the enjoyment of the body might … Continue reading Let’s Dance!

  • Episode 12: Foucault, the Panopticon and the Tyranny of Cartwheels

    Episode 12: Foucault, the Panopticon and the Tyranny of Cartwheels

    02/10/2015

    We’re still talking about bodies but this week the focus is on how they’re disciplined. I explain some of the ideas in Michel Foucault’s book Discipline and Punish. An important component of Foucault’s work is the mechanisms that keep societal structures in place. In a feudal society, structured hierarchically according to the birthright of the … Continue reading Episode 12: Foucault, the Panopticon and the Tyranny of Cartwheels

  • Episode 11: I’m So Fat and So Short. The Fragmented Body

    Episode 11: I’m So Fat and So Short. The Fragmented Body

    25/09/2015

    If you were in a position to make a judgement about someone – in a job interview, for instance – would you take into account what their body looked like? One widespread societal message is that the uniqueness, the individuality, the ‘personhood’ of a person has nothing to do with what their body looks like. … Continue reading Episode 11: I’m So Fat and So Short. The Fragmented Body

  • Episode 10: Potties and Bodies

    Episode 10: Potties and Bodies

    18/09/2015

    ‘Fairness’ and ‘equality’ are at the heart of the modern justice system, as I explained in last week’s episode. This week’s idea is that basing notions of justice on fairness and equality will never work. Why not? Because such a justice system requires us to think in terms of disembodied individuals – and we simply … Continue reading Episode 10: Potties and Bodies

  • Episode 9: It’s Not Fair! The Rational, Disembodied Person

    Episode 9: It’s Not Fair! The Rational, Disembodied Person

    11/09/2015

    This week I turn to the concept of individual that’s produced by the legal system: the ‘rational person’. The rational person is a disembodied individual, who is stripped away of all uniqueness, embodiment, emotion and desire. It turns out that a justice system, like the modern one, based upon the idea of ‘fairness’ requires us … Continue reading Episode 9: It’s Not Fair! The Rational, Disembodied Person

  • Episode 8: The Model Person: Traffic, Politeness, French Kissing and Fingernails

    Episode 8: The Model Person: Traffic, Politeness, French Kissing and Fingernails

    04/09/2015

    In the past two episodes, I’ve been talking about how society needs to be structured in order for particular types of individuality to exist. In this episode I discuss two types of social structure: the system of traffic laws and culturally specific politeness norms. My interest in traffic laws comes from spending lots of time … Continue reading Episode 8: The Model Person: Traffic, Politeness, French Kissing and Fingernails

  • Episode 7: ‘I Left, Like, That Night’: The Isolated Individual

    Episode 7: ‘I Left, Like, That Night’: The Isolated Individual

    28/08/2015

    With each new story is a different – but familiar – way of understanding how different types of social structure produce different types of individual. Mary’s story, in last week’s episode, illustrated the notion of the individual as a token of a particular, recognisable type: ‘I was one of those…’ This week we hear from … Continue reading Episode 7: ‘I Left, Like, That Night’: The Isolated Individual

  • Episode 6: ‘I Was One of Those’ – Uniqueness and Community

    Episode 6: ‘I Was One of Those’ – Uniqueness and Community

    21/08/2015

    I tell more stories about my experiences in Strasbourg and American students doing their best to fit in. Often fitting in to aspects of French culture, and learning French, was made difficult because of how much they enjoyed being in the company of other English-language speakers. Thinking about them as a ‘community of practice’ – … Continue reading Episode 6: ‘I Was One of Those’ – Uniqueness and Community

  • Episode 5: Kill Your Peas and Other Stories from Alien Worlds

    Episode 5: Kill Your Peas and Other Stories from Alien Worlds

    14/08/2015

    Last week I said I hated social structure? I need an attitude adjustment. When is thinking about social structure fun for me? When we’re imagining new ones: flower worlds, sock worlds, bubble words, underground worlds, for instance. I discuss the work of two sociolinguists, Penelope Eckert and Mary Bucholtz, who did ethnographic work in the … Continue reading Episode 5: Kill Your Peas and Other Stories from Alien Worlds

  • Episode 4: I’m Like, Social Structure Really Pisses Me Off!

    Episode 4: I’m Like, Social Structure Really Pisses Me Off!

    07/08/2015

    Linguistic description gets messy. The scientific description of language starts from the idea that no one variety is intrinsically better than any other variety, then why do linguists always only use the Standard to describe other varieties? Well, not every linguist. In her book, Talking that Talk, Geneva Smitherman upsets the apple cart by using … Continue reading Episode 4: I’m Like, Social Structure Really Pisses Me Off!

  • Episode 3: ‘Objective’, ‘Descriptive’ and Other Broken Promises in Linguistics

    Episode 3: ‘Objective’, ‘Descriptive’ and Other Broken Promises in Linguistics

    31/07/2015

    What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘grammar’? Red pen marks all over your assignments? Being told there’s something wrong with the way you speak or write? A disgruntled feeling when you see a misplaced apostrophe? My love of grammar has never been about recognising ‘errors’ in speech or writing. For me it’s … Continue reading Episode 3: ‘Objective’, ‘Descriptive’ and Other Broken Promises in Linguistics

  • Episode 2: Chutes and Ladders, or I Am Being So American

    Episode 2: Chutes and Ladders, or I Am Being So American

    24/07/2015

    In this episode I talk about the experience of internalising a judgmental, hierarchical social structure. In my case it was like living by the rules of Chutes and Ladders (Snakes and Ladders). Some arbitrary set of characteristics is graded on a scale of 1 to 100 and you find yourself landed on one of the … Continue reading Episode 2: Chutes and Ladders, or I Am Being So American

  • Episode 1: The Mystery of the Little Black Baby Dolls

    Episode 1: The Mystery of the Little Black Baby Dolls

    17/07/2015

    Welcome to the very first episode of the Structured Visions podcast! In this episode I look at aspects of racial injustice. I share some perspectives from my five-year-old self to show how certain logical structures enabled me to cope when I first noticed racial inequality. I talk more about what it means to understand racism, or any other form of social injustice, as structured. I invite listeners … Continue reading Episode 1: The Mystery of the Little Black Baby Dolls

page 3 from 3

Informações: