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Know Your Sample

April 22, 2014 Posted by Jay Livingston Tim Huelskamp is a Congressman representing the Kansas first district. He’s a conservative Republican, and a pugnacious one (or is that a redundancy). Civility, at least in his tweets, is not his long suit. Show More Summary

the effects of slavery on economic performance

Nathan Nunn has a new paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics estimating the effect of slavery on long term growth: Can part of Africa’s current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number […]

Nostalgia: Not What It Used To Be

I doubt retro video game commentators Pat the NES Punk and Luna Ian are household names among the readers, but their recent podcast on what defines a retro game raises some interesting questions about nostalgia. So before you switch off, this is going to be more than a video game post. Show More Summary

The Evolution of the “Girl Drink”

This is a Pink Lady: 15 oz. gin, 4 dashes of grenadine, and an egg white. According to Shanna Farrell,  the Pink Lady was popularized in the ’50s.  Women were believed to have “dainty palates,” and so cocktails for women were designed to disguise any taste of alcohol.  In the ’70s, the Pink Lady was surpassed […]

book review: black against empire by joshua bloom and waldo martin

The American Historical Review published my book review of Black Against Empire by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin. BAE is the first book that gives a comprehensive account of the Black Panther Party. Oddly, nobody had ever sat down and just wrote the blow-by-blow history of the Panthers: For the first time, one can […]

UKIP's Turn to the Workers

I don't love UKIP. I don't love to hate UKIP. I simply loathe them, despise them. UKIP is the Daily Mail in party form, a chamber pot spilling over with effluvia and poison. From climate change denialism to sexism, from 'are-you-thinking-what-we're-thinking'...Show More Summary

The Sinking of Quicksand

“For many of us, quicksand was once a real fear,” write the producers at Radio Lab: It held a vise-grip on our imaginations, from childish sandbox games to grown-up anxieties about venturing into unknown lands. But these days, quicksand can’t even scare an 8-year-old. Interviewing a class of fourth graders, writer Dan Engber discovered that most […]

Alcohol and the Social Construction of Social Problems

By Karen Sternheimer What do we know about the problems associated with alcohol, and how do we know it? For many people, the first thing that comes to mind is that alcohol is a mainly problem of teens and college...

Young Girls Consider Sexual Violence Normal

Good sociological research illuminates how individuals in society interact with social institutions and with one another. Sometimes, this research can uncover some of the feel-good aspects of social life. Other times, it can leave you despairing for humanity and raging against social structures. Show More Summary

charismatic organizations: the case of alcoholics anonymous

The media covered a new book by Lance Dodes called The Sober Truth. In the book, Dodes surveys the evidence on rehab and finds that there is literally no evidence that rehab, AA or other popular methods for kicking drugs are effective. From a recent Alternet article: Peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA […]

All That Is Solid ...

Names matter. Take A Very Public Sociologist, for instance. What does it say? Well, it suggests the author is a self-defined sociology fan. That's pretty unambiguous. What then is a public sociologist? If you're not party to the discipline's...Show More Summary

From Our Archives: Easter

Posts from Easters past: Easter in Japan The Commodification of Easter Festivities Giving it some Hip to the Hop Sexing It Up with Nibbles, Your Sexy Easter Honey Professional Wrestling does Easter (pictured) Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow […]

Eurovision 2014 Preview

Nation after nation are lining up to do battle. Natural allies and surprising new ones will come together along a schism that will divide Europe. No, we're not talking about the new Cold War with Russia some silly people appear to be wishing for. Show More Summary

fred ho (1957-2014)

Performing Free New Afrika! Boogaloo. He was a cutting edge figure in As Am improv and a unique voice on baritone. 50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Never Apologize, Never Explain

April 19, 2014 Posted by Jay Livingston In their research on celebrity apologies, Karen Cerulo and Janet Ruane found that the most effective apologies are simple admissions of fault. “I did it. It was wrong. I won’t do it again.” Forget about excuses, explanations, and denials. Show More Summary

Saturday Stat: The U.S. is a “Low Tax Country”

This chart comes from Chuck Marr at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  As Marr explains: The United States is a relatively low-tax country, as the chart [above] shows.  When measured as a share of the economy, total government receipts (a broad measure of revenue) are lower in the United States than in any other member […]

stacks by robin dluzen

I very much enjoyed this work on paper ( Turquoise stacks) by Chicago artist Robin Dluzen. She also tweets at @ROBINDLUZEN. 50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz  

Sorry ’Bout That

April 18, 2014 Posted by Jay Livingston Were celebrity apologies much in the news this past week or so? Or is it just that Karen Cerulo’s talk at our AKD evening turned my antennae to pick up more of them?The morning after Karen’s talk,...Show More Summary

The Commodification of Easter Festivities

Flashback Friday. The word commodification refers to the process by which something that is not bought and sold becomes something that is.  As capitalism has progressed, more and more parts of our lives have become commodified.  Restaurants are the commodification of preparing and cleaning up meals; day care and nannying is the commodification of child […]

Piketty’s Patrimonial Capitalism and the Racial Wealth Gap

Although I’ve been following the broad discussion of Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century quite closely, I haven’t really decided where I stand on the book yet. I’m reading it with an interdisciplinary group of social science graduate students, and thus far the economists have had a lot of interesting reactions on technical grounds, while […]

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