Many people in my industry seem to assume that because people can't always give researchers answers to their direct questions ('Why do you ...?"), they have to resort to a machine to gain the insight for them.

In my view, this ignores how much researchers can learn from observing how people behave.  I don't just mean observing someone navigating an app (though that can be useful). I mean observing people do things that they had not realised they were doing and then interpreting that in the light of social science theory such as the theories of the late anthropologist Victor Turner who continues to inspire me. 

This new blog series 'Everyday rituals' is a catalogue of my thoughts about the everyday rituals that are so closely entwined into our ordinary lives and how they affect behaviour.

I will add to this sub-blog on an ad hoc basis featuring them here on my blog, on my Twitter and LinkedIn pages as well as my quarterly newsletter which you can subscribe to here.

Tags: Rituals

Everyday Rituals: Halloween

Not an everyday ritual, but an annual one:

I recently came across a shrewd article from Forbes contributor and marketer Michael R. Solomon that explores the meaning of Halloween as an anti-festival...an event that provides antagonistic contrast to symbols we associate with other holidays. It very nicely shows how (as I often say) 'rituals create meaning.' The insight for me: the meaning of Halloween comes in part from its contrast to Thanksgiving. From this you would predict that the meaning of the Halloween ritual in countries like Australia and the UK that don't celebrate Thanksgiving is (obviously) different from its meaning in countries that do. 

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