Can the 'Swiss finishing school' be saved? The finishing-school tradition dates from the 1800s, when wealthy debutantes began coming to Switzerland, famed for its clean air, majestic mountains and multilingual population. Here, they would complete their education by acquiring the domestic and life skills needed to run a household – and to attract a suitable husband. The goal was to produce an ideal mate, someone refined and accomplished with impeccable manners. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad
on Dec 9, 2012 -
This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology, but it was finally cemented into the theoretical mainstream in 1972 when Pierre Bourdieu published his Outline of a Theory of Practice. Bourdieu makes the case that we come to internalize the expectations of our particular social group by analogy with categories, orders and relations of things. Spatial arrangements of objects in the home, for example, or the use of different farming tools at different times of year, come to stand for intangible relationships between genders, social strata and the like, thereby anchoring abstract ideas about social organization to the physical world.
~ Designing Culture by Colin McSwiggen
posted by infini
on Sep 7, 2012 -
Michael Young's critique of the meritocracy
is brilliant, subversive and quite possibly based on faulty assumptions. "It is good sense to appoint individual people to jobs on their merit. It is the opposite when those who are judged to have merit of a particular kind harden into a new social class without room in it for others."
posted by lbergstr
on Jun 29, 2001 -