back-from-vacation thoughts


Ah, I’m back (at last) from vacationing in Idaho. Glancing at my bloglines reader, I can tell you now that there is no way I will catch up on the blogs reading I missed. I still have a lot of non-blog-related reading to do and my lawn is an absolute mess, so the 1000+ posts that are aggregating on my bloglines reader are just going to have to be dumped into the vast system of tubes that is the internet, and I will begin fresh tomorrow. Also, don’t expect any well-conceived posts to suddenly appear over the next few days. All of the really good post ideas that occurred to me on my drive to Boise have since vacated my mind or were washed down the Boise River while rafting with my family.

A few responses –

  • I can’t answer for every sociologist, but I lean left because the alternative would mean that I’d have to vote for the party of George W. or Rick Santorum. No, really, there’s more to it than that. The best reason is that I feel the Democratic party (the leftist real party we have in the U.S.) is more likely to correct its views given the current scientific knowledge on a subject. However, if I were to answer Peter’s question sociologically, the answer would have to be that I my voting tendencies are merely a reflection of my position in a field.
  • Omar’s post on fields and value is full of great Bourdieuian insights. I wish I were more Bourdieuian, but I guess my faith in field theory is continually shaken because I can’t see what it explains well that some other more-mechanistic theory can’t explain better. Field theory is attractive because it is a thorough paradigm that seems to give an encompassing view of the world. A theory that explains everything makes me very suspicious. That is the same reason I don’t trust neoclassical economics.
  • Bob Sutton, writing about company performance, says that the best diagnostic question to determine a firm’s innovativeness is, “What happens when they make a mistake?” This is a really interesting question that probably sheds more light on learning processes than other assessments of innovation (for instance, patent counts are a notoriously inadequate but highly common measure of innovation). How, though, do you operationalize mistake-reactions? If you could figure out a systematic way of doing this (which perhaps he and Jeff Pfeffer do in the book which I haven’t read), you might be on to something.

Written by brayden king

July 25, 2006 at 1:35 am

Posted in blogs, brayden

2 Responses

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  1. Brayden, on sociologists having the highest Democrat:Republican ratio of any academic department: What do you think explains this? Omar’s post on “fields” is a bit too subtle for me. Does the study of sociology make one a loyal Democrat? Or do loyal Democrats tend to choose sociology as a specialization? Or something else entirely?

    That sociologists have a high D:R ratio doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me is that the ratio is so much higher than that for historians, linguists, literary critics, philosophers, etc.


    Peter Klein

    July 25, 2006 at 1:47 pm

  2. I’ve seen other studies where sociology falls behind some of the humanities in liberalness. Perhaps the findings to which you refer partly reflect a bias in the California system, which tends to produce a special class of liberal sociologist.

    Still, there’s no question that sociology exhibits a high D:R ratio. My assumption has always been that there is a selection effect. Sociologists study inequality, deviance, and other social problems and tends to draw people who are interested in finding solutions for them. Those same people also tend to be politically liberal.



    July 25, 2006 at 2:15 pm

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