When I arrived in Oslo recently I had forgotten that the doors to hotel guest rooms open outwards towards you. My oversight became abundantly clear when I encountered the door to my room; it did not open for me. My initial thoughts were that either the door was faulty, the lock was broken, the key card was not correctly encoded, or that I had arrived at the wrong room. A moment later, after a brief inspection of the door fittings, I realised that I had unwittingly become, once again, the nitwit in Gary Larson’s cartoon Midvale School for the Gifted (see below). However, putting this to one side, as well as the smug feeling of achievement at solving the most routine of problems, I began the inevitable luggage-wrestle while trying to pull open the door. This moment of observation-assumption-action-failure-annoyance-puzzlement-assumption-success-smugness acts as a reminder to us, as scientists, of the importance of being sensitive to differences of the cultural norms of the world we aspire to describe. We mustn’t assume, as I did, that while one object may seem familiar, perhaps due to our exposure to it in our own cultural context, that it may be have the same meaning or function in another cultural context.
|Type||BSC Policing Network Blog|
|Media of output||internet|
|Publisher||British Society of Criminology|
|Number of pages||1|
|Place of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2016|