Discover a new way to find and share stories you'll love… Learn about Reading Desk

All Blogs / Academics / Sociology / Popular


what’s up with impact factors?

Usually when someone starts throwing citation impact data at me, my eyelids get heavy and I want to crawl into a corner for a nap. Like Teppo wrote a couple of years ago, “A focus on impact factors and related metrics can quickly lead to tiresome discussions about which journal is best, is that one […]

let’s hear it for null results

A common, and important, critique of journals is that they don’t want to publish null results. So when I saw a new piece in Socio-Economic Review yesterday reporting essentially null findings, I thought it was worth a shout-out. The article, by economist Stefan Thewissen, is titled, “Is It the Income Distribution or Redistribution That Affects Growth?” (paywalled; […]

Caveman Courtship and its Mythology

Flashback Friday. Somewhere we got the idea that “caveman” courtship involved a man clubbing a woman over the head and dragging her by the hair to his cave where he would, presumably, copulate with an unconscious or otherwise unwilling woman.  This idea, as these two products show, is generally considered good for a chuckle. (glasses sent […]

how to hang out with computer scientists

I’ve recently argued that sociology has an amazing opportunity. The emergence of data science means that you should have people who really understand research design and social behavior. It doesn’t mean that sociology will automatically reap the benefits. Rather, we’ll have to work at it. My suggestions: Sociology programs should now make basic programming a […]

Alice Deejay - Better Off Alone

I'm not ashamed to admit it. Better Off Alone is a damn fine tune from 1999, a song that soundtracked my summer in a sweltering factory.

What Inhibits Women’s Topless Sunbathing?

What should we make of changes in fashion? Are they the visible outward expression of new ways of thinking? Or do fashions themselves influence our sentiments and ideas? Or are fashions merely superficial and without any deeper meaning except that of being fashionable? It’s summer, and once again magazines and newspapers are reporting on beachwear […]

Writing Corporate Tax Law – How Else?

August 7, 2014 Posted by Jay Livingston We refer to Senators and Congressional representatives as “lawmakers.” We democratically elect these people so that they can write and enact laws. But every so often the curtain parts, and we get a glimpse of who’s writing the laws, though these are usually laws that don’t make headlines. Show More Summary

the persistence of the old regime

Yesterday afternoon I ended up reading this Vox story about an effort to rank US Universities and Colleges carried out in 1911 by a man named Kendric Charles Babcock. On Twitter, Robert Kelchen remarks that the report was "squashed by Taft" (an unpleasant fate), and he links to the report itself, which is terrific. Babcock […]

creative reconstruction

One of the most famous passages in economic thought is Schumpeter’s description of markets as an arena for “creative destruction.” This conjures images of the rust belt with its abandoned factories and warehouses. In the Internet age, I think the story is a bit different. Sure, we have Pets.com and other collateral damage of innovation, […]

Dave's Cruel Summer

2013. Labour had a crap summer. As MPs departed for sunnier climes a great gaping political hole opened up. Into its maw poured all kinds of grumbles and whinges, with advice tacked on. "Ed needs to do this. We need some policy. We're...Show More Summary

Skirting Ochobo: Big Business Finds a Way around Local Customs

Ten women marched in defiance of the stigma against women smoking cigarettes as part of the New York Easter Day Parade in 1929.  The interesting thing was, however, it was all a sham. The tobacco industry had set the whole thing up with the help of public relations mastermind, Edward Bernays.  American Tobacco Company President George Hill  […]

self-publishing at inside higher ed

A recent Inside Higher Ed article describes the world of academic self-publishing. My own view of the issue: Fabio Rojas, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University, said he’s “still a believer in regular publishing.” (His next book is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.) “The reason that academia has value is that we’re people […]

Herbert Marcuse on Dialectical Logic

In order to really know an object, one must grasp and investigate all sides of the object, all its relations and 'mediations'... Second, dialectical logic requires that the object be taken in its development, in its 'self-movement'... Show More Summary

Indulgence or Good Parenting? Framing the Privileges of the Rich

“What is it that I want?” Jane Van Galen asked herself this question after reading a gushing profile of an “island cabin” in The Seattle Times.   It begins: “Lots of folks have lots of reasons for wanting their own piece of land out of town” and quotes one of the new cabin’s owners who, when pregnant, […]

Being There: Understanding Sociology through Film

By Karen Sternheimer It’s summer, and for me that means a chance to watch movies. I tend to prefer classics to the latest releases, and I recently re-watched the 1979 film Being There, starring Peter Sellers. It is filled with...

grade inflation experiment

A recent article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives reports a recent attempt to curb grade inflation. High GPA departments at Wellesley College were required to cap high grades. The abstract: Average grades in colleges and universities have risen markedly since the 1960s. Critics express concern that grade inflation erodes incentives for students to learn; […]

Who’s Covering Up?

August 4, 2014 Posted by Jay Livingston What should we make of changes in fashion? Are they the visible outward expression of new ways of thinking? Or do fashions themselves influence our sentiments and ideas? Or are fashions merelyShow More Summary

Why the Great War Was Not Stopped

A century on and the establishment are still soft-soaping it. So no Dave, no. Britain didn't declare war against Germany for the sake of poor little Belgium, the rights of small nations or for the defence of neutrality. Those then groaning under the weight of our empire might have had a thing or two to say about these matters after all. Show More Summary

That’s Fishy: From Scent to Suspicion and Back

Earlier this year I reviewed a study that found that, simply by changing the weight of an object in hand, psychologists can manipulate how seriously a person takes an issue.  In other words, when holding something heavy, matters seem heavy.  Or, concerns seem weightier when one is weighed down. Thanks to an email from USC professor […]

Stephen Colbert Welcomes Trans-Caucasians

What do you get when you cross University of Minnesota Sociology professor Carolyn Liebler, census data, and issues of identity? This segment on the Colbert Report. The Colbert Report               The Word – A Darker Shade of Pale   In this segment, the Comedy Central satirist pulled a quote from […]

Copyright © 2011 Regator, LLC