Theories for Queen’s doco

In Transient Spaces on March 27, 2009 at 2:25 am

Jenny was discussing Blaze’s doco and asked some questions to trigger some thought about theories. I’m not completely sure what theories I want to use in my project just yet. So this seemed like a good way to think about it.

* What is community?

Community is supportive, something you can identify with, organised (to some extent), it is social and shares some common interests.

* Then according to the definition of community that he proposes, several theoretical issues might arise:
* Is the community very homogeneous? If so, does this make is weaker or stronger?

Queen’s is generally homogeneous. Because there is an interview process to get in, people are selected because of qualities they possess that the administration thinks will be valuable for the Queen’s community. For example you have to do well academically in year 12. It helps if you are involved in sport, community groups, extra curricular activities and leadership roles. They also select people to ensure diversity in degrees, they attempt to reflect the broader community of Melbourne University in the variety and number of people doing different degrees.

So there it’s bound to be leaning towards the homogeneous side of the scale. But they do try to represent broader society as well. So there is all the natural diversity that occurs with different personalities, hobbies, opinions and attitudes.

* Does the community set up strong borders (who is in it, who is outside it)?
Very much so. In a physical way as well as the general mentality.

There have been problems with thefts in the past. As a result gates and fences have been put up all around the grounds. There is still some access for the public during the day, but it is restricted. In the evening a key is needed to get into the grounds.

The general attitude of all residents is very much Stranger Danger. Everyone knows everyone. So if you come in as a stranger people will ask you what you’re doing, who you’re coming to see, etc. While very polite, there is still a strong feeling of unwelcomeness towards strangers, people are wary and untrusting.

Then there is the border that comes from any social clique. It is intimidating to go to a Queen’s function unless you are a current Queener. There are in-jokes, trraditions and lots of history. These are hard to overcome as an outsider. And like a t-shirt I saw the other day there is almost the attitude of “Fuck off, I’ve got enough friends.” There is so much happening when you live at Queen’s that you don’t need to go anywhere else. You barely have enough time for class as it is, so why would you waste time leaving college and meeting other people?

Wyverns are in a strange limbo. Wyvern is the name given to Queen’s alumni, a community that I’m a member of. And you are not classified under Stranger Danger, you still don’t feel entirely welcome. People will still ask what you’re doing if you come round to Queen’s. It’s a strange feeling because it goes from being your home, and let’s face it, the centre of your life, to being just a building strangers.

* How does the community deal with bad behaviour?

There is a student run General Committee who are responsible for most discipline and organisation of events in the college. They have weekly meetings and decide on punishments. Eg. Water Wagon, not being able to attend events, etc. The GC answers to the Master and the Vice Master of the college who operate similar to the Principal and VP at a school. The buck stops with them. They have the power to kick people out because of bad grades or bad behaviour. Bad grades can be failing a subject two semesters in a row. Bad behaviour can be nudity in a public place.
* What threats to the continual existence of the community exist?

Right now there is unrest between the administration and the students. Many of the students have been unhappy with decisions the Master and VM have been handing down. Changes such as reducing the amount of sport played, reducing the number of social events and kicking a student out in 2008 for nudity.
* Does the community have clear leaders? (is it hierarchical or democratic?)

There is a strong hierarchy between first years (silly freshers), second years, and third years. Within the third years there is the eight person GC. And eight additional people who together with the GC made up the O-Week leaders. Then there are the heads of committees (boat, social work, music and drama, etc.). Then at the top is the Master and the VM.

These are some of the theoretical issues we have touched on or will touch on soon. There is both drama and theory inherent in these sorts of questions.

So from all of this I need to now pull out some theories eh? I need to do some thinking…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: