Are you a pirate?

Jesus-pi.jpgrate2 Picking up again on the Research Magazine article which came out last week and which featured renegade models for research. Matt Mason has written a book called the Pirate's Dilemma and has a website of the very same title. He points out that piracy – the borrowing, outright theft and mashups of all sorts of bits of culture is now a mainstream way of finding out what is emergent and particularly what youth audiences are up to because frequently it is they who are doing the pirating or are its most eager customers.  Its a valid model for research – arguable cool hunting was no more than observation of piratical behaviour in certain parts of youth culture. And instead of creating elaborate and pompous predictions about the future using abstruse research methods wouldn't it be quicker to try to create or brainstorm the future? So piracy is a valid tool for researchers – the question is who does it and how do they get paid.

On a parallel track Kester Brewin has been championing the notion of piracy as an ethical and non conformist alternative to the mainstream. He is a theologian who is actually advocating this as a model for churches. You can find his posts and his reasoning here. The church of Engand in particular has to chart a way between being a movement (not very often) and an institution (most of the time). So despite appearances anyone who is anything of an operator in that environment has strong piratical credentials. Because it is the only way to get anything done. And you can be far out of harms way by the time the navy come after you.

Research is in danger of behaving like a convoy as all the agencies change direction at precisely the same time. One of the reasons a few of us started up the Research Liberation Front as a fringe event at the annual research conference was precisely to break formation and to encourage others to do the same. It doesn't make our work suspect. Actually it provides the stimulus to make our work better. Look for us at the conference next year. We are making plans to do it all over again



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