Looking forward to the new batch of Charlie Brooker Black Mirror dramas, starting on Channel 4 on Monday 11th Feb. For the unitiated, Brooker’s darkly comedic vision delivers pacy drama, acidly accurate social commentary and dyspeptic belly laughs in equal measure. Bring it on. But regardless of the show, this trailer itself is worth aContinue reading “Black Mirror: Trailer Trash”
Category Archives: Society
Empathy, Outrospection (and Qual): an RSA Animate
Here’s an RSA Animate talk (see http://www.theRSA.org for more) from last year on the importance of empathy. As Krznaric sees it, more widespread practice at empathy – particularly cognitive empathy, where you fully step into another person’s shoes and see things as they see them – could revolutionise how we think about our lives andContinue reading “Empathy, Outrospection (and Qual): an RSA Animate”
Mind the gap between the audience and the brand
As a massive London-phile (not sure it’s a word but I can’t stomach asking Boris Johnson what London would be in Ancient Greek), who no longer lives there, I’ve enjoyed on my recent trips into the Smoke the video advertising alongside the Tube escalators. The ads are on to celebrate the London Underground’s 150th birthdayContinue reading “Mind the gap between the audience and the brand”
A place where demographics are politics
Expect plenty about N. Ireland identity issues in 2013, as Derry/Londonderry is the new UK City of Culture this year. William Crawley from my neck of the woods has made an interesting programme for Radio 4 on the rise of a specifically Northern Irish identity (vs solely British or solely Irish) in the 2011 census.Continue reading “A place where demographics are politics”
Scrimping on incentives and other false economies
Reading Michael Sandel‘s What Money Can’t Buy – subtitled The Moral Limits of Markets – has made me reflect on researchers‘ attitudes to the ‘incentives‘, as we call them in the UK, that we pay to research participants. At the risk of now being bombarded by offers of participation in my projects from the entireContinue reading “Scrimping on incentives and other false economies”
Culture on Radio 4; Kulturkampf in Ulster
Melvyn Bragg on the Value of Culture Happy New Year! Caught some of this Melvyn Bragg series yesterday (link above for those in the UK) and today while dragging myself up from hibernatory winter sleep, exploring the history of debates over the last century and a half about ‘culture‘ – what the word means andContinue reading “Culture on Radio 4; Kulturkampf in Ulster”
Kahneman in conversation with Evan Davies and Prof Paul Dolan
Kahneman discusses Thinking Fast And Slow at LSE with Evan Davies and Paul Dolan For those interested in psychology and behavioural economics, here is a quick link via Prof Paul Dolan’s site to an hour’s discussion between Evan Davies, Dolan and Kahneman about Thinking Fast and Slow, which took place a while back when theContinue reading “Kahneman in conversation with Evan Davies and Prof Paul Dolan”
How We Took Control Over Our Stiff Upper Lips
Ian Hislop’s Stiff Upper Lip – An Emotional History of Britain I never tire of watching Peter Cook‘s WW2 officer announcing to valiant subordinate Jonathan Miller in Beyond The Fringe: Perkins, I want you to lay down your life. We need a futile gesture at this stage … Miller as Perkins accepts his fate withContinue reading “How We Took Control Over Our Stiff Upper Lips”
Speaking Up For “Introverts”
As one who ends up more on the introvert side than extravert when I do a Myers-Briggs test, this TED talk by Susan Cain resonated with me. At last, one of us has managed to survive the glare of attention long enough to mount a defence of the introvert take on life – or asContinue reading “Speaking Up For “Introverts””
A Dragon In A Pigeonhole: Gender and Stereotyping At Work
Hilary Devey’s Women at the Top
Despite not being a huge fan of this Dragon’s Den business celeb, I was quite gripped by her documentary about inequality in employment between the genders. There was nothing very new in it, but it was great to see a “queen bee” (as a powerful leading woman in a male-dominated business gets called these days) being jolted out of her previous simplistic take on gender in the workplace – basically the “I managed it, why can’t they?” approach. Interesting in particular to hear the success of changing gender awareness and gender balance within the ranks at P&G.
There are some areas that will always be male dominated, one suspects – but some are just that way because no one has bothered challenging received wisdom. More than a decade ago I carried out some qual work on a gender issue in the British Army and interviewed soldiers right across the ranks. I can’t share the detailed insights on here, fascinating though they were. But it is a matter of public record that there are women who can pass the physical tests for entry into the infantry – there are some superb and very tough female athletes in the Army. The barriers to the Army accepting women into the teeth arms of the British military are not physical but to do with group dynamics, culture and psychology – no less real for that, but not what you might have expected coming at the issue afresh.
The infantry is perhaps exceptional because its personnel decisions have life and death consequences, but Hilary Devey’s warehouse was all male also for no good physical reason, just a cultural one. Women have not been encouraged to think they could train as forklift truck drivers and so there are few out there. But there’s no obvious reason other than the work culture to exclude women from training up for that kind of job. And warehouses don’t have the life and death excuse. But cultural stereotypes are powerful.
I also wasn’t surprised to see in the team exercise experiment, the mixed gender team out-performing the single gender teams. That’s been my experience of workplace teams too and I’m a big believer in not just mixed gender in teams but mixed personality type and mixed as much as possible. It’s that coming together of different perspectives that is so effective, especially in my line of work, qualitative research.
I’ll watch the rest of the series with interest.