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ethnographers looking back

One on-going aspect of ethnographic work is the never-ending reflection and re-evaluation of conclusions made months, years, or decades prior. Retrospection invites extended analysis of findings that were otherwise cut short; it also facilitates shift from a worm’s eye to a bird’s eye contextualization of a case. Show More Summary

two paths to glory

Everyone wants to know the secrets to academic success. But despite the sizable academic self-help genre, actual evidence on whether scholars who pursue certain strategies are more successful than others is fairly thin on the ground. Erin Leahey has written about the returns to research specialization, and I know of a couple of papers on […]

The Tomato Tariff: The Politics of Fruits and Vegetables

If it were to happen that the decision as to whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable made it to the highest court of the land — if such a strange thing were to happen — certainly the botanist’s opinion would weigh heaviest. Right? Nope. In fact, this decision did make it all the […]

measles, HIV, brendan nyhan, and an obscure paper I wrote in 2002

Vox has a nice interview with Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan about vaccine skeptics. What can be done to convince them? Brendan does research on political beliefs and has shown that in experimental settings, people don’t like to change beliefs even when confronted with correct information. His experiments show that this is true not only for […]

Weaponising Tony Blair

Regulars round these parts know I'm not a fan of Tony Blair. I don't think much of his record in office, though I do recognise his legacy was more complex than Iraq and neoliberalism with a smile. Nor was I too enamoured of his new year interventions, which were widely read as a pop at Ed Miliband. Show More Summary

questionable hypothesizing

Heads turn whenever accusations are made about academic impropriety, but it is especially provocative when one of the researchers involved in a study makes accusations about his/her own research. A forthcoming article in the Journal of Management Inquiry written by an anonymous senior organizational behavior does exactly this. The author, who remains anonymous to protect […]

On Left Wing Fibs and Lies

No, the blog hasn't been hacked. That really is the headline. It's there because I'm going to have a bit of a moan. This did the rounds among fellow lefties on Twitter the other day: Ho, ho, ho. What a hoot! Isn't Sarah Palin utterly stupid? No wonder the Republican Party is fucked, etc. Show More Summary

Could Porn Lead to Sex Trafficking?

Early in 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed twelve bills aimed at combating sex trafficking. These bills compliment laws signed last year to protect victims of trafficking, particularly children. Thus far, however, legislation...Show More Summary

Chart of the Week: Earnings That Put Households in the 1% in Each State

Click to enlarge: From Business Insider; h/t Gin and Tacos. Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Ah Yes, I Remember It Well

February 6, 2015 Posted by Jay Livingston I don’t think Brian Williams was lying. Obviously he wasn’t telling the truth. The helicopter he was in was not hit by an RPG. But a lie is a deliberate falsehood – telling people something that you know to be untrue. Show More Summary

The Second Shift and Workplace Policies

By Teresa Irene Gonzales In 1989, Arlie Russell Hochschild published her groundbreaking text The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. For eight years, from 1980-1988, Hochschild and her team of researchers interviewed fifty dual-career heterosexual couples, and...

Books Behind Bars: College Courses in Prisons

The American public tends to balk at any prison amenities or “luxuries.” Others, however, challenge the idea that prison is meant to be stark and bleak. Those who look to a rehabilitative view of prison’s role include Dr. Reid Helford, a sociologist from Chicago’s Loyola University who works in areas outside traditional academia, such as […]

That Weird Thing About Lipstick

Flashback Friday. I have always found it bizarre that lipstick is supposed to make a woman’s lips more irresistible, yet kissing a woman with lipstick gets sticky red or pink smudge all over both faces. So women dress up and look all gorgeous and then their dates can’t kiss them. Or, it’s the end of […]

party in the street: social identities and policy continuity

One of the issues that we draw attention to in Party in the Street is that there was a great deal of continuity in war policy between the Bush and Obama administrations. This is an example of a broader theme in American government: domestic disputes are not brought into foreign policy. The phrase for this […]

Theorising the Mortality of Advanced Societies

Yesterday we talked about a specific example of catastrophe. Today I want to discuss something else, so open the Book of Revelations and settle down to some heavy doom: we're talking what Mark Carrigan calls the sociology of civilisational collapse. Show More Summary

State and Local Taxes Penalize the Poor and Benefit the Rich

Americans have become increasingly critical of public policy as a means of addressing social problems.  Many believe that these policies don’t work; the reality is that public policies are often subverted in ways that make them ineffective or even counterproductive. Take taxes and inequality.  As Danny Vinik, writing in the New Republic explains: The vast majority […]

abolitionism was a resounding success

A recent column in the NY Time’s “Opinionator” by Jon Grinspan argued that abolitionism was not a successful movement in the 19th century. I have a different opinion so let’s start with what I think is correct in Jon Grinspan’s column. First, he is completely correct that abolitionism – the abandonment of slavery – was […]

Labour's Scottish Bloodbath ... And What Needs To Be Done About It

As an ex-Trot, I've got previous when it comes to looking at reality and laughing in its face. I've been running through those memories... hope that the far left might work together constructively... that a new workers' party was a go-er... Show More Summary


February 4, 2015 Posted by Jay Livingston For Seattle fans, it was what poker players call a “bad beat” – a big pot and a hand that’s nearly sure to win but then loses on the final, unlikely card. A loss like that can dampen enthusiasm for things beyond football, at least in the short run. Show More Summary

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