Are There Two Kinds of Stupid? Gump, Nietzsche and “Stupid is as Stupid Does,” or “Power Makes Stupid?”

There are lots of good reasons to read Bent Flyvbjerg’s 1991 book Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice.  But for this blog, I want to focus on his description of why people in power are stupid in one particular unique way. He writes that people in power have the opportunity to define what is rational, … Continue reading Are There Two Kinds of Stupid? Gump, Nietzsche and “Stupid is as Stupid Does,” or “Power Makes Stupid?”

Ethnography as a Contact Sport: the Mla Bri and the Long Family of Phrae, Thailand

Ethnographers and a Lack of Common Sense How many ethnographers are crazy? This question came up for me in a Facebook post recently by Gene Long, a missionary/linguist/ethnographer who has lived with the Mla Bri (Yellow Leaf) hunter-gatherers of Thailand since 1981. In other words, he and his wife Mary Long have 34 years of … Continue reading Ethnography as a Contact Sport: the Mla Bri and the Long Family of Phrae, Thailand

The Last Auschwitz Trial, Moral Guilt, and Criminal Guilt

On June 2, 2015, I attended the trial of Oskar Groening, a German SS officer who was assigned to Auschwitz in 1942-1944. He is being tried for being an accomplice to murder of 300,000 people at Auschwitz, the number of people sent to the gas chambers during the time he was there. Another 100,000 were … Continue reading The Last Auschwitz Trial, Moral Guilt, and Criminal Guilt

Mirror Neurons and the Looking Glass Self: The Neural Sciences meet Sociology

Why do neural scientists need expensive MRI machines to “see” what classical sociologists Charles Horton Cooley and George Herbert Mead saw by simply looking into the eyes of children?  This is the subject of my recent article “Of Mirror Neurons and the Looking Glass Self” published in Perspectives on Science. The Mirror Neuron is a hot thing … Continue reading Mirror Neurons and the Looking Glass Self: The Neural Sciences meet Sociology