I’ve come up with a little rule of thumb I try to keep in mind when coming across a piece of data that, prima facie, might appear anomalous. Instead of thinking “weird; how do I explain this?,” I force myself to ask, “what set of assumptions or grid of classification makes this anomalous?”
Obviously, what one group thinks is “weird” may be “normal” to another group. It follows that nothing is exceptional in and of itself; something becomes exceptional only within an ideology that renders it as such. As a scholar, what interests me more than the “anomaly” is the means by which something is made anomalous. We should always historicize, for when we take for granted the anomalous status of something we naturalize the ideology that renders it anomalous.