24 September 2011

Twitter @discoursology

At least one of the Berlin-based discoursologists is now able to communicate in less than 140 characters…. @discoursology #discourse #media #ethnography #russia #theory

22 September 2011

Making bankers human

A Dutch anthropologist explores London city bankers. Blog at The Guardian.

19 September 2011

Deepest darkest Austria. An ethnography

Brilliant. I think I might take up culturalbytes teaching tip:

I am now assigning Walter Wippersberg’s 1994 Film, Dunkles, Rätselhaftes Österreich Dark, Mysterious Austria, to all my students! If you teach qualitative methods, consider including this in your syllabus.

Produced for Austria’s SBS-TV, this films poks fun at old-school ethnography from anthropologists and the National Geographic-esque like exposes on the exotic Africans and South American natives.

“A team of the All African Television network wanders into the darkest regions of the Eastern Alps. They observe the habits and rituals of the natives and make not one, but two ethnological major break-through discoveries.” IMDB

badethnography tell us that at

“At 5:40, we learn that the team has disproved the theory that Europeans are monogamous; starting at about 7:50, they describe the elaborate costumes and militaristic symbolism of clans of the Tyrol region of Austria; and at 15:00, there’s a great discussion of the curious obsession with “patently useless activities,” such as biking for no other purpose than biking itself.

Aside from the humorous commentary, it’s a great way of illustrating the sociological imagination,  which requires us to step out of our own culture and try to look at it through the eyes of an outsider — and, as C. Wright Mills put it, to recapture the ability to be astonished by what we normally take for granted.”

via badethnography via culturalbytes

19 September 2011

Pirates: Redistributing the sensible

The Piraten Partei, with their 8.9% results in the Berlin election, have already massively reconfigured what counts as politics and election issues. Now they’re tweeting on what the other side of the camera looks like.

“Ein neues Blickregime” said a Berlin-based discoursologist.

2 September 2011

CDA and education

Rebecca Rogers’ Introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis in Education is out in a new, revised, updated second edition. This edition includes chapters by James Paul Gee, Norman Fairclough and Gunther Kress. The richly resourced companion website (Routledge website) offers chapter abstracts, discussion guides for the chapters, and interviews with Gee, Fairclough and Kress. A real gem is the video page, including clips with Chouliaraki, van Dijk, Martín Roja, and van Leeuwen discussing among other things the future of critical discourse analysis and discourse studies.

2 September 2011

Rising powers

No more old-fashioned talk of “developed” and “developing” countries. China and India now categorised as “rising powers“.

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10 August 2011

The language of riots

1. BBC World reported yesterday that the police had announced “that Mark Duggan had not fired the first shot”. This is linguistically correct. But since apparently all shots fired were from police guns, the negation is midleading.

2. Young people have now occasionally been interviewed – and given space to speak – on tv. They are not talking about deprivation, bad parenting or cutbacks. They repeatedly say it is about the police: police corruption and unfair treatment. Since I can’t link to the tv news here, …:

One 18-year-old man told the Independent, “Police know what they should have done, they should have come to speak to the community themselves. They don’t care. You don’t get no opportunities around here,” he went on. “The police stop you because you’re black. They stop you because you’re wearing a hood.”

One story on London24 headlines it tonight:

London riots: Police stop and search blamed for tension that sparked Tottenham riots

A 51-year-old builder named as Danny, who lives on the Chesnut Estate in Tottenham, said: “It was triggered by the police really. They terrorise the boys in the area for no obvious reasons. They stop them and search them, it’s bullying really. You see them upset. ‘What the police man just scold me about?’.”

3. The Guardian reports police commander Adrian Hanstock saying: “Last night’s peaceful demonstration was hijacked by a small number of criminal elements, who used that for their own gain.”

Sounds suspiciously similar to the language used by Assad, Mubarak et al. Leaders will be leaders.

10 August 2011

London vs. Moscow

I can’t stop the “imagine this is Russia” thing going through my head. The police are announcing they will act “robustly”, including bringing in water cannons and rubber bullets; police officers all over the city questioning young people about what/who they know; possibility of night curfew being brought in; apparently 333 deaths in police custody since 1998 and not one police officer convicted.

And very very little talk in major news media of exclusions, inequality, racism, cutbacks, etc. Instead, lots of individualising/personalising talk instead about “bad parenting”.

Imagine this was Russia. What would the UK media be reporting? Strong hand tactics of the police. Soviet-style clamp down. Medvedev (or more likely: Putin) rolling back democracy – no-one listening to citizens voice their greivances and/or a generation disenfranchised by the nation’s anti-democratic policies, thus they have turned to violence as the only way of being heard.


9 August 2011

Peace Poets Workshop at Bethanienhaus

Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th August, 13:00-16:00

The Peace Poets

We are young artist educators committed to teaching with a focus on our collective liberation. Our goal is to create safe spaces that allow us to deconstruct race, class and gender as a community. Our workshops focus on Hip Hop, youth empowerment, conflict resolution, community healing and cultural identity through spoken word poetry, music and theater.

We use music and poetry in the service of our collective struggle for justice. Through performances and workshops we open spaces for all people to embrace their role as leaders and compañeros in the construction of more just local and global communities.


As children of Hip Hop, we recognize its amazing potential to transform and liberate.
We also recognize how industries have exploited the culture and market appeal of this sacred force.
Our workshops focus on the true legacy of Hip Hop, its history and healing properties.
It’s roots in African and indigineous cultures.
It’s ability to tell the stories of the most marganilized and silenced in our society.
Through creative writing, performance and beatboxing, we take it back.. way back!“

The first studio on the right side, inside South Wing of Bethanien HOUSE…opposite playground, under the New york Squat.. MARIANNENPLATZ 2A, Berlin Kreuzberg…

9 August 2011

London civil unrest

A lot of words flying around in the “mainstream media” to describe the events in London over the last three days. “Anarchists” being my favourite misnomer (Sky News). “UK riots” has become the key phrase to google, recalling the classic CDA comparison: “10 rioters shot in vilent clash” vs. “Police shoot 10 demonstrators dead during peaceful march”.

It seems the news media and commentariat have forgotten the concerns which have been voiced since the Conservatives and LibDems came to power and started making their radical cutbacks to social services, including but not limited to closing many youth centres before the summer.

And, of course, the widespread corruption in the police which has been receiving major coverage during the Murdoch case – and would unsurprisingly fire up existing tensions between police and local residents.

These cutbacks and revelations,  added to long-standing (institutionalised) social inequalities, are not serving to increase “community cohesion” in today’s UK.

Context and comment here: Nina PowerGavin Knight; Stafford Scott.

Update (see Penny Red):

In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

(…thanks to miriyam aouragh on mediantho for the motivation to write… she recommends:

The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better for Everyone“. By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett)

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