SIRC in the News
- Western Morning News – 05.06.2004
Oi! You in the white van, slow down a bit. Whether White Van Man really is such a bad driver is open to debate and a report commissioned by Renault UK from the Oxford-based Social Issues Research Centre found that, as with many negative stereotypes, the perception of White Van Man was a "gross caricature of reality".
- Western Mail – 31.05.2004
Working out the english. Kate Fox is a social anthropologist who has spent the last 10 years studying the habits of her fellow countrymen and women. Ignoring their intense love affair with privacy, she interviewed them in the street, watched them while they shopped, observed them in train stations, drank with them in public houses, even knocked on their front doors to ask them about their relationship with their houses and their garden gnomes.
- The Scientist – 24.05.2004
The Enormity of Obesity, Peter Marsh, a director at the Social Issues Research Centre, also is skeptical. "Obesity is most related to processes like urbanization and social change rather than to single factors," he says. "Some of the highest obesity rates are in places like Morocco and Uzbekistan. [These are] not countries where McDonald's has a particularly significant presence" … [David] Ashton [a clinical epidemiologist at Imperial College London] believes the current focus on food advertising detracts attention away from more challenging problems, such as the lack of opportunity for physical exercise in schools. Marsh agrees. "It's not by and large white middle class kids who are becoming obese, it's kids from poorer families," which, he says, ties in with education, aspiration, and various other factors. "I fear that most government approaches take the most financially advantageous line," says Marsh. "The trouble is, they don't work."
- Sunday Times – 23.05.2004
A nation of car snobs. Anthropologists are supposed to do their research in remote, uncomfortable places -places with monsoons and mud huts and malaria. I prefer to do my fieldwork in cultures where you can get a decent cup of tea. My recent research, for example, has seen me studying the English by bumping into 100 people at a railway station to test how many would apologise. But attitudes to cars and behaviour behind the wheel also give a useful window into the social rules that make up the nature of being English…
- Florida Today – 16.05.2004
Is your flirt on the fritz? Who knew? Apparently flirting is much more important than batting eyelashes and licking your lips. "Flirting is much more than just a bit of fun," according to www.sirc.org, the Web site for the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, England. "It is a universal and essential aspect of human interaction. Anthropological research shows that flirting is to be found, in some form, in all cultures and societies around the world. "Flirting is a basic instinct, part of human nature. This is not surprising: If we did not initiate contact and express interest in members of the opposite sex, we would not progress to reproduction, and the human species would become extinct." As if being single weren't hard enough, that's a lot of added pressure.
- Daily Telegraph – 08.05.2004
How to be English Sarah Sands enjoys a survey of our strange social laws. Kate Fox is a social anthropologist, which is an accessible branch of science. She is also friendly, enthusiastic and very pretty. Her chumminess and lack of academic snootiness could suggest banality, but her sharp intelligence and the quality of her research save her. Her grand purpose is to "map the English cultural genome", and this book is divided into larky subheadings such as rules of play, dress codes, rules of sex, and so on. The point about the rules is that they are unstated. The English identity is an insider joke. The way we behave makes sense to us but is baffling to outsiders. In fact, writes Fox, the best guide to English etiquette is probably Alice Through the Looking-Glass.
- Daily Mail – 30.04.2004
Only in England! What is it about the English that baffles and bemuses ourselves as well as other races? It is the subject that has fascinated English writers such as Priestley and Orwell, Alan Bennett and Jeremy Paxman, as well as perceptive foreigners such as George Mikes and Bill Bryson. Here it is again, very thoroughly done. Kate Fox, a 'social anthropologist', has spent ten years analysing what she calls 'the hidden rules of English behaviour' as if she were studying an unknown tribe. Fortunately, she doesn't write like an anthropologist but like an English woman – with amusement, not solemnity, able to laugh at herself as well as us.
- Mail on Sunday – 25.04.2004
WARNING: This rice salad contains traces of lower middle class substances and is not suitable for upper middle class dinner parties. We are constantly told the English have lost their national identity; that there is no longer any such thing as 'Englishness'. But having spent much of the past 12 years researching English culture and social behaviour in pubs, shops and nightclubs, and on racecourses, trains and street corners, I am sure 'Englishness' is alive and well. As a co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, I wanted to discover the unspoken rules of English behaviour and what they tell us about national identity. The object was to identify the unofficial codes of conduct that cut across class, age, sex and other social boundaries. Here are some of my findings . . YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Along with the lists of ingredients and calorie-counts, almost all English-food comes with an invisible class label.
- Independent – 22.04.2004
Bound together with bricks and mortar. If you take a helicopter and hover above any English town, you will see that the residential areas consist almost entirely of rows of small boxes, each with its own tiny patch of green. In some parts, the boxes will be a greyish colour; in others, a sort of reddish-brown. In more affluent areas, the boxes will be further apart, and their patches of green will be larger. But the principle will be clear: the English all want to live in their own private little box with their own private little green bit.
- Birmingham Post – 27.03.2004
Personal finance: take heed before going diy crazy. An investigation document from the Social Issue Research Centre in Oxford explains our pre-occupation with home ownerships. It says: 'Psychological meanings include feelings of safety, status and love. Home is not just a product but also a process – an interest and a pleasure.' What's more, the report has divided the reasons why people DIY into six categories: necessity, territorial marking, self expression, leisure activity, perfection-seeking and therapy.
- New Scientist – 14.03.2004
Smelly device would liven up web browsing. A scent-generating device being tested by the UK internet service provider Telewest Broadband could soon allow internet users to transmit aromas of their choice across the internet … "Our sense of smell is directly connected to our emotions," says Kate Fox, social anthropologist and co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. "Smells trigger very powerful and deep-seated emotional responses, and this additional element to the internet will enhance users' online experience by adding that crucial third dimension."
- Comon – 14.03.2004
Duftende e-mails. Snart bliver det muligt at krydre e-mails til venner og bekendte med sin yndlingsparfume. Britisk internetudbyder tester system til aromatiske e-mails … "Vores lugtesans er direkte tilknyttet vores følelser. Dufte udløser kraftige og dybe følelsesmæssige reaktioner, og at tilføje denne vigtige dimension til internettet vil berige brugernes oplevelser online," siger antropolog Kate Fox, direktør for Social Issues Research Centre i Oxford."
- BBC Analysis – 04.03.1004
Look after yourself. Kate Fox is director of the Social Issues research centre in Oxford which, it’s open about this, will research questions posed by the food industry. Such as health scares. She’s an anthropologist and looks at behaviour over the long, evolutionary haul … "I think we need to take a step back from this kind of elitist moralising of the sort of making working classes eat up their greens and so on, assume that everyone is just as intelligent as
you are in terms of their response to these kind of messages, take a step back and actually start to look rather more seriously at the causes of obesity because it just isn’t as simple as banning this or warning people about that. The rise of obesity has paralleled the rise in heavy-handed messages about what we should and shouldn’t eat, and to say that people are becoming obese in spite of all of these health messages, it might be more sensible to turn that on its head and look at perhaps people are becoming more obese because of the kind of fear of food, obsession with food that is being promoted."
- Polskie Radio – 21.02.2004
Powachaj przez Internet. Dostajesz e-mail z zyczeniami imieninowymi, a w pokoju roztacza sie delikatny zapach róz. Otwierasz witryne sklepu internetowego - a w nim pachnie swiezymi bulkami i kawa… Choc brzmi to jak fantazja, juz fantazja nie jest. Brytyjska firma dostarczajaca internet - Telewest Broadband - testuje wlasnie "Scent Dome", czarodziejska skrzyneczke, która pozwoli nam wachac najrózniejsze zapachy podczas internetowych wycieczek. "To jak zyskanie w sieci dodatkowego wymiaru" - twierdzi Kate Fox, antropolog z Social Issues Research Centre z Oxfordu - "Zapachy wywoluja bardzo silne i gleboko zakorzenione emocje".
- BBC – 19.02.2004
E-mail tries out a sense of smell. "Our sense of smell is directly connected to our emotions," said anthropologist Kate Fox, director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. "Smells trigger very powerful and deep-seated emotional responses, and this additional element to the internet will enhance users' online experience by adding that crucial third dimension."
- Aberdeen Press and Journal – 10.01.2004
Crisis May Blow Over – Depending On Who Consumers Trust. Psychologist Dr Peter Marsh, director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, said that for every person who thinks twice about popping a fillet of salmon into their shopping trolley this weekend, there is likely to be another who couldn't give a jot. "When the BSE scare first started, the supermarkets all reduced their prices and people were buying up beef at bargain prices and filling their freezers," he explained. "If it's cheap enough, it seems, we'll take the risk." According to Mr Marsh, consumers fall into two broad camps. The "high risk factor phobics", typically the organic-buying middle classes, tend to take every food scare very seriously and will stop buying certain foods if they believe there's the slightest risk to their health.
- Times Magazine – 03.01.2004
When Saturday comes. Although, as Peter Marsh, co-director of the Social Issues and Research Centre, which has conducted several studies of football hooliganism, notes, the phenomenon is nothing new. "You find essays from the Roman social commentator, Pliny the Elder, complaining about the fans of chariot racing," he says. "They dressed in team colours, chanted songs and beat people up. What we see today is the same European cultural tradition of young males showing their defiance."