Channel “Idioms of Normality”

Idioms of Normality
A channel hosted by Dr. Paul Mason
Dr. Paul Mason is an Australian anthropologist who works on human and planetary health. In this space, we share the conversations Paul has about normality with people from all walks of life from Australia and around the world.

What is normal? How does normality impact our lives? What would the world look like if we took seriously the idea that normality is not real? Accompany Paul on his exploratory tour to better understand the way in which people think about normality and the way it shapes our lives and impacts upon the planet.

Want to know more? We invite you to join the conversation! Write to us with questions about normality, or if you would like Paul to further explore some aspects you are particularly interested in.

Coming on September 1st. Stay tuned.

The Illusion of Normality

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul interviews stage magician and environmental scientist Pierre-Ulric Achour. In this wide-reaching conversation, they explore normality’s domain. Normality has applicability when examining inanimate objects using scientific methods. But, does normality have application when considering biological organisms such as humans in all their messy complexity? And, has the stability of the Holocene tricked humans into an illusory understanding of normality?

The Hegemony of normalcy

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Professor Lennard Davis, author of Enforcing Normalcy and The End of Normal, joins Paul in a discussion about the history, cultural dynamics, and hegemony of normalcy. This must-watch episode unpacks the widespread influence normalcy has had on the contemporary world. With a view towards social justice, Lennard leads us to ask if there is a utopia where we are not under the sway of the normal and, if so, what does that look like?

Normality and Education

In this episode, Paul interviews Drs Joanna and Kate Winchester, sisters who both conduct research into education in Australia. Challenging established doctrine and traditional educational practice, their research looks at new ways of cultivating pedagogical experiences.

The Pursuit of Normality

In this episode, Paul interviews Professor Elizabeth Shove, a sociologist at Lancaster University who co-directs the Centre on Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand. Enormous resources are consumed in the pursuit of normality and Elizabeth shares her insights into challenging the everyday practices that we have come to take for granted.
The Demand Dictionary of Phrase and Fable that she mentions in the interview is available online: http://www.demand.ac.uk/demand-dictionary/

The Speed of Normality

In this episode, Paul speaks with Ashwin Segkar. Ashwin describes normality as a dull, grey field with red flags all around that mark the boundaries of where you should and should not be in life. He describes his career as abnormal but time-rich. After discussing the lure of normality, Ashwin finishes by asking “Who profits from normality?” — an intriguing and thought-provoking question to ask.

The social conditioning of normality

Professor Emeritus Allan Horwitz, author of “What’s Normal? Reconciling Biology and Culture”, joins Paul in this episode of Idioms of Normality. Allan discusses a sociological and biological approach to understanding normality. His wealth of experience researching mental health is brought into the discussion to enlighten how cultural and biological imperatives can sometimes operate in conflict with each other.

Normality, Diseases, and Uncertainty.

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul meets with Associate Professor Greg Fox who works on infectious lung disease in Vietnam and Australia. Greg talks about how the normal is defined in clinical and epidemiological terms as well as its use and application for patients. While serving a diagnostic function, when the normal is brought out of the diagnostic toolkit, does it simply become a tool of reassurance?

Challenging Common Sense

In this episode, Paul meets with philosopher Tim Dean. Tim answers the coming of age question, “what is normal?”, and discusses how two types of social norms, descriptive and prescriptive norms, can often bleed into each other. In a broad sweeping conversation, Paul and Tim discuss the social consequences that can follow from this confusion.

Changing the world with edible bugs

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul speaks with entomologist and food scientist, Skye Blackburn. We talk about bugs in your food. What started off as a fun hobby for Skye has turned into a world-changing enterprise to hook people on edible bugs.

Beyond Normality

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul speaks with Dr Bob Rich, author of From Depression to Contentment. Bob discusses the challenges faced by people in contemporary society, as well as some of the tools in his latest book that offers therapeutic pathways to heal scars as well as spiritual tools to strive for contentment and hopefully even enlightenment.

https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/chapter-1-from-depression-to-contentment-a-self-therapy-guide/

The Hauntings of Normality

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul speaks with Associate Professor Tess Lea, author of Wild Policy. They discuss the legacy that can be left by policy and legislation for future generations and the ghosts of the past that can haunt and predate future generations based on the standards of normality promoted by past generations.

The parameters of normality

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul speaks with actor Nicholas Hope. They discuss the boundaries of what communities define as normal, the codes and standards that can go global, and the diverse viewpoints from which normality can be defined.

What does it mean “normality”?

In this interview, Paul speaks with Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens from the University of Queensland who co-authored “Normality: A critical Genealogy” with Emeritus Professor Peter Cryle. Elizabeth talks about the history of the concept of normality and its ongoing persistence in contemporary popular culture.

Disrupting Normality – To save the planet.

In this episode, Paul speaks with Chief Conservation Officer at WWF Australia. Rachel talks about normalising good habits and patterns of behaviour in addressing environmental issues and habitat destruction as well as how we need to set new standards in policy and legislation. This enlightening conversation looks at ways to disrupt bad patterns as well as methods to instill patterns that are congruent with the health of the planet.

What do wild animals teach us about leadership?

In this episode, Paul speaks with Erna Walraven, Emeritus Curator and Senior Curator at Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Her book, “Wild Leadership: What wild animals teach us about leadership”, has been widely acclaimed as an insightful analysis into hierarchical social structures in other animals as well as a valuable tool for reflection about leadership among humans.
I hope you enjoy Erna’s perspectives as much as we did!

Does the concept of normality produce inequality?

In this episode, Paul speaks with Dr. Alice Krozer, a researcher based in Mexico working on inequalities. She is also the host of the Inequalities podcast on FutureFramed.TV.
They speak about normality, inequality, and how both of these concepts influence the other.
Have a watch!

Challenging the Conventional Western Diet

In this episode of Idioms of Normality, Paul meets Ruth Galloway who talks about crickets, gateway bugs, and edible insects. Ruth runs The Cricket Bakery and has been challenging the conventional Western diet for over six years by making and selling insect food for human consumption. What is a normal diet? And, what are the ethics of our eating habits?

What is normal? How does normality impact our lives? What would the world look like if we took seriously the idea that normality is not real? Accompany Paul on his exploratory tour to better understand the way in which people think about normality and the way it shapes our lives and impacts the planet.

In this episode, Paul speaks with Ash Morse a musician and psychotherapist based in Australia. They talk about Ash’s journey from a religious upbringing to becoming a stage musician and psychotherapist who questions normality in his everyday practice.

Can “ugliness” be pathologized?

In this episode, Paul speaks with the medical doctor and philosopher Dr Yves Saint James, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values at the University of Wollongong. Yves talks about definitions of normality in medicine and how ugliness is becoming pathologized in some branches of cosmetic and plastic surgery.

Seeing Normality as Commonality

In this episode, Paul speaks with Professor Greg Downey, an anthropologist at Macquarie University. They speak about normality in relation to elite performance, gender, blindness, neurodiversity, and the discrete privileged populations upon which the statistics of normality have been based.

Sexuality, Religion, and Culture.

In this episode, Paul speaks with Dr Siobhan Irving. She is an anthropologist based in Australia who has studied sexuality, religion, and culture in both Australia and Singapore. We speak about her personal reflections on normality as well as some of the theoretical dimensions as they play out in her work as an anthropologist.

Is normality stressful?

In this episode, Paul speaks with Dr Monty Badami, CEO of Habitus a social enterprise empowering people to work together more creatively and resiliently. He talks about normality in relation to human diversity and raises important questions about how normality is conceived and rolled out across diverse populations.

In the first episode, Paul speaks with Professor Anina Rich, a cognitive scientist at Macquarie University. We speak about synaesthesia, a condition where the senses become mixed in diverse combinations. For example, individuals might experience colour percepts in response to numbers, letters or words, or perhaps feel shapes in response to smells or tastes. A benign condition, synaesthesia is a fascinating case example to problematise and rethink what is normal.

Dr Paul Mason is an Australian anthropologist who works on human and planetary health. In this space, we share the conversations Paul has about normality with people from all walks of life from Australia and around the world.

What is normal? How does normality impact our lives? What would the world look like if we took seriously the idea that normality is not real? Accompany Paul on his exploratory tour to better understand the way in which people think about normality and the way it shapes our lives and impacts upon the planet.

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