In December 2020 one of my favourite teachers, Walter E. Williams, passed away. Although my research in pedagogy is focused on innovative methods I always try to remember the key lessons of (i) knowing your content; (ii) delivering it well; (iii) conveying empathy and passion. Walter excelled at all three.
I also believe that Cultural Theory can help to explain the fascinating social dynamics that occur in Office Christmas Parties. Just after the launch of ‘The Office‘ there was a fly on the wall documentary called ‘The Armstrongs‘. You can find some episodes on YouTube, but the pilot episode (filmed in 2003) isn’t available. After I blogged about the series I received a DVD through the post from one of the production team. This is important because it focused on the Christmas Party. It’s no coincidence that the high point of the UK series of ‘The Office’ was Tim and Dawn’s kiss, which occurred at the Christmas Party. And one of the best ever cinematic moments occurred during the Christmas Party scene in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. My ambition was to conduct an anthropological study of the Christmas Party. One day
Matthew Taylor, former head of the RSA, likes cultural theory. Notice the influence here:
My 2009 book, The Neoliberal Revolution in Eastern Europe, (co-authored with Paul Dragos Aligica) developed two research agendas: the study of the spread of ‘neoliberalism’ – as seen from the perspective of Eastern European post-communist evolutions; and the study of Eastern European transition – as seen from an ideas-centred perspective.