29 May 2012

The Pastrami Drawer

Talked with C.H., a roofer who had worked at Sellafield, had been fired (for taking materials, possibly, and worked in various places including Saudi Arabia 3 yrs ago (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology), mostly in aluminum, and re-hired at Sellafield as subcontractor. Because of security and rules, he said it is impossible to take anything out of the fence surrounding Sellafield. But on the other hand he said today nothing is impossible. How?
  1. Money
  2. Violence
  3. Sex
He mentioned someone who had used company materials (from Sellafield?) to build two houses and was now a millionaire by selling them. He would say no more on the issue. When first asked about homers (conversationally, maybe circuitously) he said, "Everyone does it." But maybe he had not completely understood what was being asked. He gave the example of a large wooden spool that would be used for holding cable, especially heavy gauge, and how that would quite easily be used for making a table. Whether or not the material is rough, it can be planed, or covered. In this case C.H. was talking about making things that could be produced with recycled materials. Had he ever made anything with the materials he works with (for home), namely aluminum sheeting, for example a barbecue—well, he has designed a barbecue with some friends, one that could serve 40 people, but that was never built.
Several methodological problems present themselves here: being itinerant; not being professionally related to the man; the question being asked is sensitive; the man is not sure how we are using the "research." (although later he appreciated—in rather drunk state—the "program" as contributing to learning, citing his daughter's new Ipad in terms of the building of knowledge and education, and gave us his name and phone numbers, saying he would do anything to help us.) Plus the fact of our being in a pub and some of us (including the researchers) being a bit drunk—is this part of the research process? Is the problem of obtaining information, and what can be considered information? (must it be corroborated by the subject?)

—Knowles Eddy Knowles sociological research notes after an evening spent in the Kings Arms Pub in Egremont, UK, January 28th, 2012

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