Tag: Matter out of Place

Waste is not “matter out of place”

Max Liboiron , September 9th, 2019


Douglas’ theory of matter out of place is about power. Something in the wrong spot, something poisonous, is not matter out of place. Unless it threatens power.


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Weeds don’t exist in the wild: What can that tell us about humans?

The Familiar Strange , April 7th, 2019


Each so-called weed, after all, has a remarkable story to tell. Each is the product of millions of years of evolution. Each is a descendant from an ancient…


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Post-Bureaucratic Stress: Reflections on getting a police check in Vietnam

Jodie-Lee Trembath , September 26th, 2018


Bureaucracy is so deadly dull because it’s so mundane. But, as Steve Woolgar points out in his book Mundane Governance, the Latin etymology of ‘mundane’ is ‘of the…


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The Limits of Academic Freedom

The Familiar Strange , May 23rd, 2018


We need to acknowledge the role we all play in silencing research. Consider the times we have dismissed a colleague’s idea because it ‘isn’t worth it’, or immediately…


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Love, Kinship, and Ceremonial Observance

Alexandra Frankel , May 23rd, 2018


How do I explain to my soon-to-be college graduate that she has to go to her graduation ceremony? My invocations of Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner are…


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Expats, Tourists and “Matter out of Place”

Jodie-Lee Trembath , May 9th, 2018


Using Mary Douglas’s notion of matter out of place, I posit that when the government changed the law and increased their negative rhetoric about foreign workers, people like…


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