Sociologist George Carlin Expounds on the Need for Stuff!

We like our stuff.   Stuff in fact is what makes the world’s capitalist markets go round. There are some well-thought out ways of describing the nature of stuff, including Karl Marx’s description of how and why “fetish commodity” is necessary to keep us consuming and buying. Then there was Torstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure … Continue reading Sociologist George Carlin Expounds on the Need for Stuff!

The Ethics of Ethnography, and Alice Goffman’s Ethnography about Crime in Philadelphia

Leon Neyfakh at Slate has written a review of the controversy surrounding Alice Goffman's new ethnography On The Run: Fugitive Life in an American City which is about the African' American community of inner city Philadelphia, and their relationship with the  police.  The essay is called "The Ethics of Ethnograpy," and discusses the role of Institutional Research Boards, … Continue reading The Ethics of Ethnography, and Alice Goffman’s Ethnography about Crime in Philadelphia

We Need New Names by First Time Novelist NoViolet Bulawayo

I get much of my sociological imagination from novels, and I just finished one. It was We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. The story starts in the shantytowns of Paradise and Budapest in modern day Zimbabwe. The main protagonist is Darling, a then ten year old girl who develops intense relationships with five other … Continue reading We Need New Names by First Time Novelist NoViolet Bulawayo

New Mandarins, Old Meritocracy, It’s All the Same Thing, Really. Commentary from 2013-2048

The Daily Beast in 2013 published a piece about "the New Mandarins" by Megan McArdle.  The New Mandarins are those people who test well, get good jobs, write the tests tor the next generation, and then give birth to the next generation that will do well, and so on.  The problem of course is that as … Continue reading New Mandarins, Old Meritocracy, It’s All the Same Thing, Really. Commentary from 2013-2048

Mathematicians Like Social Sciences, Too!

Robert Harrington of the American Mathematical Society is trying t understand how young mathematician use their scholarly products.  As an an "experiment" he tried out qualitative interview methods to investigate his question.  Here is what he found out: As a scientist, I have ideas about what scientific method is, and what evidence is. I now understand … Continue reading Mathematicians Like Social Sciences, Too!

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stigma, and Learned Helplessness

Does the stigmatized individual assume his differentness is known about already or is evident on the spot, or does he assume it is neither known about by those present nor immediately perceivable by them? In the first case one deals with the plight of the discredited, in the second with that of the discreditable. This is … Continue reading Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stigma, and Learned Helplessness

Good Sociology Coming out of the New York Times and a Business School

Someone is doing some pretty good sociology on the New York Times--a Business Professor no less!  Like I wrote before, sociology is among the most widespread and successful of all disciplines in the academy, and it is not only found in Sociology Departments.  The article is callsed "Guess Who Doesn't Fit in at Work" and … Continue reading Good Sociology Coming out of the New York Times and a Business School