As part of the holiday tradition, we present “Mr. Krewstyscabbe’s Night Before Christmas.”

“Twas the night before Christmas” written by Nicholas Krewstyscabbe*

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
For they had been smooshed and flattened and relieved of their feet
By a ghastly young girl that claimed “ADD!”

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Coated in retardant that befouled the air
But the FDA approved it, they pushed it right through!
For someone had photos of a congressman…or two.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
So they were pumped full of Xanax, Thorazine too
til the visions had dimmed and the fruit was just fruit.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I arose with my handgun to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Seeking a clear field of fire to turn intruders to ash!

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave my keen eye good aim on what was below.
then what in the square of my sights should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight mangy reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
He’d gotten out early, released on parole
he’d fooled them again bless his wicked old soul!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!, on Donner and Blitzen!
The night is still young and the johns are about
Daddy needs cash, twas time you turned out.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
a scraping and pounding of tools on the…um….well, roof I guess.
Then into the house came St Nick with a bound
where he leered at the flat-screen licking his chops like a hound

He seemed to feel he was something, quite dashing indeed
With his very tight Speedo, neck chain and erring.
With the bundle of burglary tools slung over his back
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
I n’er or’looked the ankle monitor he was wearing
With specking of white coating all over his chin
Showed he had be huffing just before he broke in.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
But he had smoked his last rock, its why he was here
and why he was reduced to pimping tiny reindeer.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I wailed when I saw him, I near wet myself!
With his red runny eyes and a twist of his head,
At knew in a moment I had a world of dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
bound us all up in ropes with a twist and a jerk.
But that was not the worst, I n’er lost my lunch
for when he turned towards the chimney we saw how his Speedo had bunched!

He sprang to his sleigh, with our goods all in tow
for the alert on his ankle monitor was starting to glow.
As he was leaving he shouted over his back
“Say nothing to no one cause I swear I’ll be back!”

* Nicholas Krewstyscabbe is sadly, not a pen name. Born in 1924 in Somerville, MA, Mr. Krewstyscabbe made many failed attempts to publish and sell poetry over the years until recently discovering the magic of plagiarism. Preferring to refer to it a “Urinating from the shoulders of giants,” this questionable tribute to Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston is found in his most recent collected works “The New English Translation of Classic American Literature” published by the Somerville Cockfighting Society. Sadly, English is Mr. Krewstyscabbe’s 4th language. (His 3rd language is said to be a collection of belches and scratching himself, with his 2nd language and native tongue mercifully lost to time.). The publication of this work in no way reflects the opinion of this publisher, but does imply he’s got some pretty good dirt on us.

AAA Issues Report on Human Terrain Teams

The American Anthropological Association has issued a report on the Human Terrain Team experiment that the military has undertaken. The report is nuanced and thoughtful, and I recommend that interested people have a look here. AAA Report on Human Terrain Teams

Judging from my admittedly quick read, studies about the use of anthropology are now moving beyond blow-torch advocacy of one position or the other, and acknowledging the ethical dilemmas created when contracting, military action, and academics mix. 

Let’s hope that besides the obvious consumers of such reports from academia, that there will be some attention paid by the military as well.

Johnny Cash, my family witch craft and why it is so ordinary.

My family – mother and father sides – are from the Appalachian regions. We are from, as my father said “Coal miners and dirt farmers.” I was the 3rd person in either family to ever get a college degree, my father and older brother being the 1st and 2nd. When dad was younger he worked the Ohio river: on tugs, in bars and a little bit of coal mining and petty larceny as he worked his way to becoming a doctor. My mothers family was a bit harder off in Pike County, KY and purely of coal mining stock. On my mothers side, the family claim to fame is that a distant uncle burned the company store to the ground. Good on him. We have the usual list of family things that come from the region that I never knew were interesting until I started to study folklore at Indiana University. My mother was raised in a snake-handler church when she was young, watching the men dance with rattlers and such. My grandmother on her side was a “witcher woman” that did all the various remedies that they did. Even my mother as a child was supposed to be imparted with special powers. In her region, if the father died before the child was born, that child was assumed to have healing power. My mother was that child, and her step father would drive her around the area to heal people. Unfortunately, those in need of healing where often people with tuberculous and if she “breathed” into their mouths it would heal them. Unsurprisingly, that was just one of childhood illnesses my mother acquired over time. Of course, when I was growing up, my mother and father had left all of that quite behind. I only learned of it over time as I grew up. It was not something we discussed. It was for lack of a better phrase “The ignorant past” in their eyes. Well, all except the music. Sure I wanted to be an actor and in the 70’s and 80’s and I promise I knew the names of every Broadway and Off-Broadway show. But the music I was raised on was of the region.

I remember old scratched records by Peggy Seeger and June Carter and the Carter family the most. Partly because my mother played autoharp. Because of those recordings I learned to play my first instrument, the Appalachian Dulcimer. I even remember the first song I learned to play, “Go Tell Aunt Roadie.” It was fun and frankly easy to play. Make no mistake, at the time I was not in love with all “country” music! Anything other the Seeger or Carter was just radio country crap to my ears growing up…. well, mostly… partly. Imagine my shock to learn that all the songs I played on the dulcimer from “Aunt Roadie” to “Cruel Hearted Lover” to “House Carpenter” were a much older than my parents! Bluegrass was not problem for me, I fell in love with it from the first moment. Old-time (a phrase I never heard until 2000 or so) was just the stuff I listened to on LP’s.

Of course, Johnny Cash was part of all that. Cash, particularly because hes great last albums was seen in someways as a folk singer. He was in fact a major influence in rock and roll and bridged that gap between the mountain music and the commercial country. I still love his music, and this is the last music video he made and to me… a fitting end to a great journey. Its a cover of NIN, sorry… about the ad at the front.

Johnny Cash – (HURT)The most amazing bloopers are here

Here is a call for papers, a nice reason to see Liverpool in the Fall.

The 5th Annual Joint University of Liverpool Management School and Keele University Institute for Public Policy and Management Symposium on Current Developments in Ethnographic Research in the Social and Management Sciences.

In Association with the Journal Ethnography

Work, Organisations and Ethnography

Wednesday 1st – Friday 3rd September 2010

Queen Mary, University of London. Mile End Road, London, England

Call for Papers

In recent years, ethnography has become an increasingly popular mode of research enquiry within the social and management sciences. In organisation and management studies, areas of interest include ethnographies of new organisational forms, human resource and quality management, performance management, appraisal and information systems, employee-relations, cultural and emotional labour management, job-design, job-satisfaction, employee motivation and morale, employee subjectivity and identity, gender relations, politics and ethics. In the public sector, areas of interest include ethnographies of the nature and impact of organisational change on public service organizations, local authorities, the professions, professional practice and public service provision in local communities. There is also a growing interest in new virtual and media-related ethnographies, art, architecture, consumption, community and ethnicity. The use of ethnography in consumer research, marketing and other commercial contexts is also a growing ethnographic research topic. Other areas of interest relate to fieldwork and practice and the writing of ethnography as emotional labour, the practical, political, ethical and theoretical challenges ethnographers face within the field, the purpose of ethnography and whose interests it serves? Finally, recent debates have asked whether ethnography can or should be „value-free‟ and what actually counts and does not count as „good‟ ethnography given the range of traditional (i.e. naturalist, interpretivist, constructivist, modernist) and more contemporary (i.e. postmodern, poststructuralist and critical) theoretical standpoints which inform how ethnographers choose to approach, conduct and write-up their research.

This symposium brings together established and emerging social and management science scholars with an interest in ethnographic research to explore current trends within the field from a broad range of perspectives.
The symposium will appeal not only to organisation and management academics but also colleagues from sociology, anthropology, human geography, architecture, law, criminology, politics, cultural studies, environmental studies, gender studies and social and public policy. Papers from any of these disciplines, particularly those that examine the role and value of ethnography in social and management teaching and research, are welcome. We are open to theoretically informed or empirically based papers, as well as work-in-progress papers from new and young emerging scholars, in any of the following areas:
– Public and private sector work organisation and work restructuring.
– New organisational forms and changing forms of employment.
– Organisational and workplace cultures and sub-cultures.
– Management-labour relations and trade union practices.
– Accounting, auditing and governance.
– Services-marketing, consumption and consumer behaviour.
– Healthcare, education, local government and social and public policy.
– Ethnographies of conflict, crime and deviance, resistance and misbehaviour (including researcher misbehaviour).
– Business ethics and unethical business and management practices.
– The prospects for shop-floor ethnography in an era characterized by the break-up of traditional forms of shopfloor and trade union organisation.
– Labour process and critical management studies
– The contribution of virtual or new media mediated ethnographies.
– The theoretical and commercial use of ethnography in consumer marketing
– Ethnography, architecture and art.
– Emotions, the management of emotional labour in organisations, and ethnography as emotional labour: dealing with uncertainty, fear, anxiety, stress, insecurity and danger in the field.
We are particular keen to attract papers that consider the political and ethical challenges involved in conducting ethnographic research, as well as papers that contribute to the following streams.


Ethnography and practice based research

Stream convenors: Elaine Eades (University of Liverpool Management School) Aileen Lawless (Liverpool John Moores University) Sally Sambrook (Bangor University)
This stream considers the opportunities and challenges involved in conducting practice-based ethnographic research and „self-ethnography‟. Papers are invited that consider how these variants of ethnography involve a process of starting research from one‟s own experiences, which is not always a major preoccupation apart from particular times when the empirical material is targeted for close scrutiny and writing. Close scrutiny and writing up is an essentially „retrospective‟ process that provides an opportunity for sensemaking, whereby the researcher steps back and questions initial assumptions. This stream provides an opportunity for colleagues to examine joint „sensemaking‟ and to explore the potential for ethnographic research to provide fruitful insights into practice.
Identity and Ethnography: dimensions, transitions, expressions
Stream convenor: Manuela Nocker (University of Essex)
Identity is a popular topic, yet it cannot easily be dismissed as being just a research fad. It speaks to all of us through self-understandings and lived experience. It is as much about the meaning of “Who am I/What are we?” as that of “How should I/ we be or act?” Whilst claiming uniqueness, it emerges both from difference and similarity in the representation of self, others, and otherness.
Papers that examine issues of belonging, recognition and identification with reference to groups, organisation, consumption, spaces and places, history and culture, events, and routines are welcome. Papers that investigate how identity is essentially a dynamic and ongoing process enacted through individual and group practices, behaviour, memories, narratives, and dominant discourses are particularly welcome. The overarching aim is to explore the links between identity and ethnography within the broader realms of the management and social sciences, to deepen our understanding of the nature and multiple expressions of identity, to make sense of its inherent complexity and ambiguities, and to examine its possible tensions as experienced in everyday life by emphasising the situated practices of identity construction, the management of identity, and the performance of identities in different contexts. Along with an attention to the ethics and politics of identity and belonging, this stream also aims to scrutinise the epistemological and methodological base from which ethnographers conceptualise and analyse the „ethnographic self‟, reflexivity and authorial voice.
(Il) legitimacy’ and Ethnographic Research Practices.
Stream convenor: Jason Ferdinand (University of Liverpool Management School)
This stream considers the political and ethical challenges involved in conducting ethnographic research, and the question of (il)legitimacy. The concept and question of (il)legitimacy is multifaceted. It touches all aspects of individual and collective social and organisational behaviour, social encounters and self-identity and subjectivity. What is deemed legitimate, or perceive to be illegitimate, requires consideration of the basis upon which judgements are made. Our understanding and perceptions of things such as government health and social welfare and education policy, foreign policy, governance structures and legal frameworks remain legitimate only as long as they are deemed so by a majority of those they govern. In work organisations, legitimate management power and management control methods, employment conditions and job-design, decision-making and communication and leadership styles are all contingent upon employee consent. Notions of legitimacy also determine social and management science views of the (orthodox or critical) aims and purpose of their research. Research design, methods and practices, codes of ethics, researcher-subject field relations and the theoretical and empirical claims drawn from research all rest on notions of the quality and legitimacy of the means through which research is conducted and the theoretical and conceptual tools used to achieve given research aims.
This stream invites papers that consider whether legitimacy is a concrete or indeterminate and essentially value-laden social construct that like beauty is something that resides „in the eye of the beholder‟. Papers that explore the kinds of social, organisational, political and ideological phenomena upon which legitimacy rest, the socially constructed nature of (il)legitimacy, and the social, cultural, ideological and often political persuasive means through which it gains and sustains its currency in organisations and in research are welcome. Papers that examine topics that are usually considered as illegitimate, such as criminal activity, and papers that do not fit comfortably within pre-existing and established categories of interest are also invited.
Shopfloor Ethnography: The Relevance of ‘Learning to Labour’ (Willis, 1977) Past & Present.
Stream convenors: Matthew Brannan and Frank Worthington
This stream invites papers that examine the politics of production within the context of contemporary shop and office floor condition of employment. Papers that consider the politics of management-labour relations with reference to class, gender, race and emotional labour management issues are welcome. Papers that consider (support or critique) Willis‟ account of the political, social and cultural formations that determine labour‟s everyday lived-experience of work, and its and understanding of its commodity status, position, role and identity in society and places of work are particularly welcome. The overriding aim of this stream is to re-examine Willis‟ depiction of working class counter-cultural opposition, resistance and accommodation to workplace exploitation by considering the use-value and potential relevance, or perceived irrelevance, of Willis‟ Learning to Labour thesis for understanding contemporary class formation, work and organisations, and the application of ethnography to broader emancipatory social and political purposes.

Abstracts (up to 750-words, excluding contact details and references) should be submitted to by Monday 1st of February 2010
Decisions on acceptance of papers will be given by email, subject to external refereeing.
Full papers will need to be submitted by Friday 20th of August 2010.
Only papers submitted to the organizers by this date will be published on the symposium website.
Delegates whose papers are accepted but who are unable to meet this deadline are asked to submit a copy of their paper as soon as possible thereafter and bring 20 photocopies of their paper for circulation at the symposium. All papers presented at the conference will be automatically considered for publication in the Journal Ethnography.
Symposium attendance fees, accommodation and registration
Attendance fee for delegates in full-time employment – £395
Emerging scholars – PhD research students and delegates in part-time employment -£295
The Attendance fee includes:
– symposium proceedings
– daytime refreshments and lunches
– accommodation with full English breakfast on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd of September
– an informal two course dinner on Wednesday 1st September
– formal four course Symposium Gala dinner on Thursday 2nd September
All delegates will have accommodation provided in student study rooms unless they choose to make their own alternative arrangements.
If you wish to book additional nights in the student study accommodation or make alternative arrangements at an additional cost to you information and details of local hotels will be made available on the Ethnography website at a later date.
How to Register:
Delegates wishing register for the Symposium should register and pay online via the Ethnography website.
If you prefer to pay be invoice please contact providing
– a purchase order number from your institutions finance department
– your Institution
– a full postal address
– the amount to be charged
– any special dietary or mobility requirements
Our procedures require all of this information before we can raise an invoice.
When registering please ensure that you select the appropriate fee – reduced (for PhD students/part time employment) or standard (for those in full time employment).
Cancellation Policy:
Delegates requiring a full refund should contact by Wednesday 4th August 2010. After this date refunds will be at the discretion of the organizing committee and should be directed to
Enquiries: Enquiries of an academic nature should be directed to:
Dr Jason Ferdinand (
Dr Frank Worthington (
All other enquires should be directed to where an Event Coordinators Katie or Dawn will respond to you.
We look forward to seeing you at the event in London in September 2010 all information will be updated on

Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines Hui

This announcement showed up in my e-mail, nicely formatted too:

Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines Hui

17 – 19 November 2010

University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Kia ora koutou (Greetings to everyone)!

New Zealand’s first international ethnography hui will give participants the opportunity to meet with like-minded researchers and experience the rich cultural tradition that is Aoteaoroa, New Zealand.  The hui, or conference gathering, will take place at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand from 17-19 November, 2010, with exciting pre-conference workshops scheduled for the afternoon of Monday 16 November 2010.  There is a stunning list of four cutting-edge keynote speakers—Norman K. Denzin, Linda Tuwihai Smith, Elspeth Probyn, and Neil Drew—who will challenge and invigorate delegates, and are looking forward to this exciting time together!

The hui has three key threads;

  • Emerging Methods: traditional, experimental, transgressive forms
  • Practice and Advocacy: doing ethnography on the ground
  • Social Justice and Transformation: theoretical ethnographic visions

This quadrennial conference welcomes all forms of engagement in ethnographic disciplinary practice, and aims to stimulate rich intellectual discourse.  Researchers and practitioners from across the disciplines of law, anthropology, education, health, management/business, psychology, sociology, cultural, and gender studies and – any other discipline where ethnography advances our understanding of the way groups and individuals interact and live their lives into being – are invited to submit papers. Contributors are invited to experiment with traditional ethnography, as well as new methodologies – and with new presentational formats such as drama, performance, poetry, autoethnography, and fiction.Presenters’ papers will be considered for a peer-reviewed compilation of four to five presentations per thread.

You are invited to submit your abstracts online.  Please browse through the conference website for more information:  about Hamilton, New Zealand; about the University of Waikato (and the School of Education), our primary sponsors; about the thematic threads offered during this meeting; and about how to submit your abstracts for sessions (this link is now live!);

Now Available for your Xmas giving, Chief Culture Officer by Grant McCracken!

chief culture officerI am pleased to let people know about a new book by fellow social science innovator, Grant McCracken.  Hi book ” Culture and Consumption: New Approaches to the Symbolic Character of Consumer Goods and Activities” was a major inspiration for me when I started my career in design anthropology and have have been reading his blog ever since.  (Grant, please..please go back to the old format!).  Below is the press release, and I will follow up after I give it a read.  I downloaded it to my Kindle and then realized I have left it at the office!

If you are interested in what anthropology has to offer business thinking and the practice of innovation, do your self a favor and pick up any of Grant’s books

In Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation (Basic Books; December 1, 2009) anthropologist and consultant Grant McCracken argues that products and ads succeed when corporations capitalize on culture.  Not corporate culture or “high culture,” but the world outside the company—the body of ideas, emotions and activities that make up the life of the consumer.  Major corporations like Apple, Nike, Virgin, and Volkswagen study and cater to their customers’ behaviors and values—they found a way to read their audience’s culture and then speak to it.  We can also see the costs of misreading culture: Coca-Cola missed out on the demand for a diverse selection of drinks to the tune of $1.4 billion; Best Buy purchased Musicland just as people began downloading music online; and Levi-Strauss missed out on the hip-hop trend.  In each case, executives failed to notice what was happening in world outside the corporation, and they paid dearly for it.

Not only do corporations live or die by their connection to culture, but too often, many are completely dependent on big-name “gurus”—Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, Silvia Lagnado—for insight and guidance. Or worse, they outsource the task to marketing firms, consultants, branding experts, or the office intern.  McCracken has consulted with an array of major companies, including Campbell Soup, Coke, L’Oreal, IBM, and the Children’s Television Workshop, always with an eye on the value companies can derive from culture.  In CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER, McCracken argues that the American corporation needs a new officer in the C-Suite—a Chief Culture Officer, or CCO—who will harness the near-uncanny cultural insight exemplified by gurus like Jobs, and make it systematic and professional.  A company’s CCO would develop a deep understanding of culture—both its fast-moving trends and its deep, enduring waves—along with a strategy for applying this knowledge in a way that creates value.  With CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER, McCracken hopes to reach those inside the company who want to make their company more intelligent, strategic, and responsive, as well as those outside the company who want to turn their knowledge of culture into a career.

In an insightful overview of pop culture, CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER takes readers through major cultural movements of the past century—the hippies, the yuppies, the new avant-garde, the networked community—and examines the successful qualities of popular television shows and movies, analyzes the preppy culture of the 1980s, shows how teens today identify with not one but several groups, and describes how “cool” overtook status.  McCracken’s witty romps through culture demonstrate how successful brands listened to and interacted with their consumers, while other executives led their companies in the wrong direction, following “hunches” and intuition alone.  And with an aim to put culture in the C-Suite, CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER profiles a number of figures—from gurus like Jobs and Stewart to real-life “stealth CCOs” who are already acting the part—and reverse-engineers their skills and strategies.  Through these insightful character sketches, McCracken demonstrates that cultural knowledge involves not just keeping up with trends, but active participation, as well.  Only then can the CCO discover what their consumers truly value—and what makes them tick.

To those inside the corporation, CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER provides a bonus appendix with ten real-life candidates for the new CCO position—from a 17-year-old named Justin who loves military history, to Eric, who, while getting his physics degree at Stanford, also ran the FAQ and played volleyball.  And for the aspiring first generation of CCOs, the second bonus appendix provides a toolkit for understanding both slow culture and fast culture—from what to read, watch, and attend, to who to lunch, what to outsource, and how to transform others in the company into active, thoughtful observers of culture.  With authority, wit, and keen insight, CHIEF CULTURE OFFICER provides the description—now it’s time for companies to post the job.