Normative as dance images on #WordyMonday #photography
I’ve decided to continue WordyMonday with a few small changes. I still plan to interpret a word with a dance image and would still love suggestions but I’m going to write about how it relates to the news, contemporary culture or science. That’s why I’m starting with ‘normative’, a word that I’ve heard repeatedly on the radio.
One programme discussed how post-crash university students the world over are fighting their tutors because they want to change how they’re taught economics. Even though the students aren’t asking for a large change, and seriously influential people like George Soros, Andy Haldane and Rob Johnson agree that what is taught needs to include real life examples such as systems that have failed (how else can we understand why), academic decision makers still cleave to old-fashioned pre-crash syllabi and thinking.
While I believe that original thinkers (some, such as those who predicted the last crash) will always arise, it makes sense to me that we teach economics students that there is more than one way of thinking about their subject and take economics out of its ivory towered isolation. The programme demonstrated what we all know; that those who think outside the horribly clichéd box are often pilloried, even if their theories turn out to be more resilient or more pragmatically meaningful than last generations’ clearly inaccurate normative views.
Later I listened to a program on self-help books which you can read more of here. It discussed with other academics how most self-help books do the opposite, that the society as a whole and the individual person’s situation within it must be considered and that the books (apart from, apparently, one anti-self-help book written by one of the academics) often do more harm than good. They discussed a number of reasons. You’ve probably guessed that one was that the books are far too normative (of, or relating to a norm, especially an assumed norm regarded as the standard of correctness).
So we have a society in need of fixing, with an education system that refuses to change sufficiently to equip future economists with some of the tools that might help them fix things and a set of self-appointed experts writing that the only way you can improve is to fit yourself into their normative expectations what is normal (normative here is ‘this is what you should do/be/say/think because this is what everybody else does/is/says/thinks’ and is anti-diversity by its very nature). Oh yes, and one of the academics in the anti self-help program believe they’re part of the problem and that by telling people they should change themselves rather than society the books are distracting many from the real problems around them.
Until you consider the images I’ve used for this post. The choreography Pretty Hurts was first performed in the December show Uncovered is a choreography by One Youth Dance’s 2014 Soloists examining the feelings that the dancers have as a result of the normative pressure to have and/or maintain an ‘ideal’ body.