Born in Queensland, Australia in the 1970s I spent the first fifteen years of my life fighting against non-culture shock while growing up in my father’s laundry business.
It was this experience loading and unloading industrial washing machines between school and late evenings of study that I became interested in the twin pursuits of academic study and avoiding work requiring steam, cleaning fluids, and working with my hands and back.
After my successful maturation from Cavendish Road Reformitory, I entered university, focusing my attention on the emerging field of product placement and the creation of brand value. Some time in between these events I “managed”, non-sequentially, a string of unnamed fast-food facilities, but don’t really talk about this period much.
Dominating the study of marketing at Griffith University in my first years of post-secondary study, I redefined excellence in my studies, including such subjects as “Introduction to atheoretical heuristics and market clichés”, “Advanced franchising and churn-based profit”, and “Recurrent value creation via the stimulation of cognitive dissonance”. With this triumph tugging at my heals I quickly moved into the field of public policy and administration studying with Professors Weller, Wanna, and O’Faircheallaigh. Under this stimulating company I explored the nature of public policy processes, including Weller’s wry historicism, Wanna’s homoerotic fascination with poster-boy revolutionaries, and O’Faircheallaigh’s barely suppressed Marxist subversiveness. van Acker balanced this shock-jock managerialism with an introduction to the limitations of rationalism and media theory.
It was during this time I had two guns pointed at me (not at the same time), disproving my mothers authority-based-on-traditional-wisdom-view about the necessity for clean undergarments on every day of the week.
Following an engrossing, yet strangely critically-ignored honours thesis on residential tenancy law reform, I moved to Canberra to acquire my doctorate in political science under the direction and protection of Professors Simms and Warhurst. This work explored the relationship between Australian political science and other jurisdictions’ interpretations of intermediation, blended Information Technology with qualitative methods, and tended (as these things do) to ask the questions no-one thought mattered.
Picking up a PhD and marital bliss at the same time simply served to show that I could produce a doctorate on time and on budget, sleep-walking through the kinds of work that leave some people significant mental disorders and/or ongoing commitments to the purchase and consumption of prescription narcotics. Collecting the title “the Jeff Fatt of Australian political science” because of this, and not, presumably for the racist reason of similar ethnicity, I immediately relocated to Melbourne where my wife engaged in a thesis so theoretically rich and deep that full professors have been known to weep at its intellectual majesty.
Do I look like a drug dealer in this photo?
At this time I became interested in the grounded theory notion of “applied labour”, bringing this approach to bear in a number of projects: first, an ethnographic study of the Victorian Police Force, where I observed myself in the performative act of developing public policy; second, exploring implementation differences between market and hierarchy by undertaking participant observation of Information Technology consulting in the post-dot com bubble period, undertaking a post-modern ironic interpretive dance called “lecturing”, systematically working my way through Melbourne-based universities beginning with the letter M.
I’m presently residing in Edmonton Alberta, doing the expat thing.
- Neitzsche, F. (1908) Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is
- Cheung, C. (2000), “A Home on the Web: Presentations of Self on Personal Homepages”, Web.studies: Rewiring media studies for the digital age