The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

A geezer's true worth

Geezerland - Exploring contemporary working class Britain. Oliver Murphy reviews a session from this year's MRS conference.

Vegas’s Ian Pierpoint and Andy Davidson warned us Uni-educated researchers and clients that trends, new ideas and fashions don’t always trickle down from the more ‘discerning’ to the masses but instead explode upwards from the street.

That much-loved target - the young BC1s, the smart urbanites - is apparently a lot less lucrative than yer pack of Geezers. Geezers find ‘Uni-Twats’ quite incomprehensible - slaving away in penury for three years just to end up with a huge loan to pay back when they could have been out having fun!

So stick to your Geezers - they’re rough, they’re raunchy and they’re usually rat-arsed but they’ve got cash and they spend it.

Kjell Nordström’s keynote address began with him bounding onto the stage, then talking non-stop for almost an hour without any visible means of support. Charming, enthusiastic, challenging and thought provoking, Dr K was indeed an ‘experience’ as Ginny (Valentine) the Chair had predicted.

He kicked off with the ‘Bowling Alone’ phenomenon. Over 60% of households in many big cities (Stockholm, Amsterdam, Moscow) are single ones and yes, even Americans are now increasingly going to bowling alleys by themselves. Do our samples reflect these single households, do our products and services cater for them?

Secondly, a theory that globalisation will not make us ever more homogenised but actually more fragmented as the like-minded cluster together to live out their own particular take on the world. He cited all the tekkies in Silicon Valley or Nokia-land but has obviously never been to Milton Keynes!

Next we must open up those boxes. Communication in the ‘Dream Economy’ is uncontrolled (by governments or corporations) but is fast, transparent and interactive. We are urged to get into the daily stream of Communication to hear what’s happening, and review how we listen within research (well at least groups in viewing theatres are transparent and interactive, but I suspect that’s not what the good doctor meant).

Finally, individuals and corporations survive and prosper by using the two key Darwinian tactics of Fit or Fancy, otherwise known as ‘Adapt & Survive’ and ‘Attract & Survive’. Since organisations are now cut to the bone, Dr K advocates that we add on a layer of Attraction to find our next ‘Temporary Monopoly’ in the market.

And if you’re now totally confused about where it’s all going in your industry, don’t worry. He reassured us that "Only Chaos can give birth to a dancing star!"

Come back Eric Cantona, all is forgiven.

 

Oliver Murphy
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