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in memory of primo pisares

My father in law, Primo Pisares of Salinas, California, passed away at the age of 84. Here is his obituary at the Struve and La Porte Memorial Chapel. Thank you.

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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 24, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Posted in uncategorized

open borders talk on youtube + blogcation

Hi, everyone:

I will be taking a break from public writing for a few weeks. In the meanwhile, feel free to watch the recent panel with Ilya Somin and Daniel Morales on the legal foundations of open borders.

Sincerely,

Fabio

++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 21, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Posted in uncategorized

get more jensen

+++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 19, 2020 at 6:56 pm

Posted in uncategorized

defense for the “open” position during covid

On Twitter, my good friend Mike Bader asked me if I still believed that “opening” is a good thing. My answer is yes. Roughly speaking, I believe that most institutions should try to resume normal operations and we should end most versions of the lock down.

In this post, I will explain my position in some detail. Here is the argument in brief, then I will explain the different parts below.

  1. Public policy should usually be focused on understanding trade offs and assessing risk. Totally eliminating a problem is often not technically viable or it has very large costs. Public policy should explore low cost partial solutions rather than seek perfect solutions.
  2. In understanding COVID risk, I focus less on case numbers, because they are ambiguous and there is a wide variation in terms of the impact on individual lives. Instead, I focus on mortality.
  3. We will likely have multiple waves of COVID if it is similar to other epidemics in US and world history.
  4. COVID is extremely dangerous for elderly people, but not for most other people. Deaths seem to be disproportionately concentrated in nursing homes.
  5. There are reasonable way to drastically reduce COVID transmission that do not entail more severe lockdown measures: remove people from nursing homes; wearing masks; avoid large gatherings.
  6. The level of COVID mortality is in the range of previous epidemics (except Spanish flu, which was way higher) and similar in magnitude to other risks that we already live with.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by fabiorojas

July 16, 2020 at 12:52 am

Posted in uncategorized

medieval jolene

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 12, 2020 at 4:01 pm

Posted in uncategorized

open borders: a free webinar with daniel morales and ilya somin on july 16th, 1pm est

On July 16th, at 1pm, we will have a 1 hour discussion/Q&A with legal eagles Daniel Moral and Ilya Morales. The topic will be the legal theory for open borders. Participants will have the chance to ask their own questions. It is free and all you have to do is sign up here.

Be there or be square!!!

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 8, 2020 at 6:18 pm

Posted in uncategorized

contexts and the police insurance bill

A general view of an NYPD SUV on patrol in the Harlem section of New York, NY

The New York Post reported today that the NY state assembly is considering a bill to require officers to buy their own insurance to cover misconduct claims:

Biaggi’s proposal would require each officer to obtain individual liability insurance. The city or other local governments would still be required to cover the basic insurance policy to cover tort litigation costs.

But Biaggi said her bill would better hold officers accountable by requiring them to pay any increase in premiums related to payouts for wrongdoing.

“Officers who have misconduct claims brought against them may see their premium go up and will be required to pay those costs. The purpose of this bill is to establish a financial disincentive for police misconduct and create accountability for abhorrent behavior,” she said.

Between July 2017 and June 2018, New York City paid out $230 million in 6,472 cases for alleged misconduct or alleged wrongdoing by officers, according to a report released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.

Wow.

Contexts has a policy brief by Rarkimm Fields on exactly this policy. Read it here. The main issue is that many reforms that aim to reduce police misconduct don’t work terribly well. So making officers invest in insurance is a way to restructure incentives in a more positive way. I am very pleased that Contexts was one voice that promoted this reform. Check it out.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 7, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Posted in uncategorized

i loves you porgy (botti edition, indiana special)

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 5, 2020 at 12:55 am

Posted in uncategorized

book spotlight: american bonds – how credit markets shaped a nation by sarah l. quinn

Schumpeter, in an essay on fiscal sociology, once said that if you want to know what a society really values, look it spends in the budget and who it taxes. Sarah Quinn would add, “sure, but you have to pay for it somehow.” American Bonds is a very interesting historical sociology of how the American state used credit markets to manage economic and political problems. The book examines multiple cases of how credit markets were made, and unmade, in the 19th and 20th centuries. If the book has a core argument, it might be that where ever you see political development, credit markets are not far behind.

The book itself is fiscal sociology. It examines things like the history of credit expansion after the 1873 crash, mortgage bundling before the Great Depression, and the rise of securitization in the late 20th and early 21st century. The lesson is an important one: credit markets are a tool for state making, in good and bad ways. When you read 19th American history, you see this out of the corner of your eye – all that home building was financed by someone. Of course, in the Great Depression, credit markets take center stage, and they also did in the Great Recession of 2007. In this way, Quinn’s book is an important to economic and political sociology. You can’t understand American political development unless you understand how credit is made and distributed.

I am not an economic historian, so I can’t assess whether Quinn reads the evidence right or wrong on a specific historical episode. Instead, I’d like conclude by stepping back and thinking about the sorts of things she describes from a political economy perspective and tease out some normative points. Theoretically, she relies on a Polanyi style frame. Markets uncontaminated by politics are not reasonable, instead the history of markets is the history of politics. This leads her in the concluding chapter to side step the issue that state actors may have bad effects. She is odd since earlier chapters describe how state managed lenders enforced racial inequality and may have laid the groundwork for the Great Recession. My intuition is that she doesn’t want to lay the blame on state institutions because she doesn’t to align her self with laissez-faire defenders, which she critiques at various points in the book.

Instead, I would probably borrow a few ideas from outside economic sociology to think about bad faith state actors. First, I’d appeal to the Madisonian idea that states are just normally populated by bad actors, like lenders with anti-Black prejudice. That’s why we need checks and balances in a constitutional framework. Similarly, I think economic sociologists might think what checks and balances exist to counter credit markets and state run agencies. Second, if the issue is that cheapening credit leads to over investment and busts, then might there be a technocratic solution, in the same way the Fed tries to hit certain inflation targets or to be “neutral” in terms of the money supply? It’s an interesting thing to consider.

So overall, very good book and strongly recommended for anyone interested in economic sociology.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 3, 2020 at 12:19 am

Posted in uncategorized

protest, covid and the social construction of risk

The purpose of this post is to discuss how Americans assess risk in light of COVID. In the last month or so, we’ve seen Americans break lock down and social distancing for many reasons. Most notably, we saw thousands of people across the nation appear for political demonstrations. At first, there were pro- and anti-lockdown protests. Later, we saw anti-racism protests in response to the murder of George Floyd. Other people broke lock down for religious reasons, jobs, and entertainment, like going to the beach.

The purpose in drawing attention to these mass gatherings is not to say that they are right or wrong, but to use them as an example of revealed preference. Given what we know about COVID, a lot of people seem comfortable in accepting a slightly higher mortality risk so they can mobilize for social change, engage in religion, find jobs, and enjoy life. This is not unexpected as people accept risk for many other activities such as driving a car (40k deaths in 2017), hospital acquired infections (99k deaths in 2013), and narcotics and alcohol consumption (67k deaths in 2018). In other words, COVID-2019 is will claim 200,000 lives in 2020, which two to five times the rate of some risks that people already accept. It should not be surprising that people are breaking lock downs for COVID.

In normative terms, I am not dismayed by this, given that COVID fatalities are disproportionately concentrated among the elderly and those in nursing homes. Thus, the risk to non-elderly, non-immune compromised people is quite low and comparable to other mortality causes that we don’t think about much. So, it doesn’t seem horrible if people start resuming parts of their lives. Perhaps the main policy directive should be to erect a barrier between the elderly and non-elderly, rather than engage in society wide lock down.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

July 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Posted in uncategorized

academic free speech: blm dissent edition

At Inside Higher Education, Jonathan Zimmerman has a great essay on why professors should support other professors who voice unpopular views. He focuses on the case of Harald Uhlig, the Chicago economics professor who, quite simply, thinks Black Lives Matter is lame. In summary, Uhlig thinks BLM has completely unrealistic goals, he implies that BLM protesters are childish, and he compared them to flat earthers. Soon thereafter, there were calls by many prominent economists to have him removed from his position as the editor of the Journal of Political Economy and some alumni accused him of racist actions in the class room.

Zimmerman thinks people should lay off:

What I cannot accept is the way they called for his head, which is different from criticizing his comments. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago cut ties with Uhlig, who had been a consultant in its research department. And economists around the country demanded that he step down as editor of his journal, arguing that his tweets had made him morally unfit at such a charged political moment.

Zimmerman then goes through the long, and tragic history, of people trying get professors fired for a wide range of actions, such as criticizing America’s role in World War I and arguing that the Cold War had gone too far. He concludes on a powerful note:

I say that as an unabashed ally and supporter of BLM, which has done more than any other organization to expose and challenge racism in policing. But it doesn’t need to rest of us to police the university on its behalf. That patronizes the movement, all in the guise of protecting it.

So if somebody else gets hit for criticizing Black Lives Matter, stand by them. It is not a time to lecture them about what you think they did wrong. They need your support, not your moralizing and sanctimoniousness. And we’re all in this together.

Well said.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 29, 2020 at 12:46 am

Posted in uncategorized

patrice roushen is one totally amazing piano player

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 28, 2020 at 12:51 am

Posted in uncategorized

will the real intersectionality theory please stand up?

I thought that I was done discussing the debate on intersectionality theory between Jacob Levy, Phil Magness and myself. Well, 200 Proof Liberals (a new successor blog to Bleeding Heart Libertarians) has a post by Jess Flanigan. She argues that there are multiple version of intersectionality theory and that it’s easy for libertarians to accept the mellow version, which they never opposed anyway, but there’s a serious issue with the more hard core version:

Rojas’s point is that it’s a mistake to equivocate between these two conceptions of intersectionality. If the theory (T) refers to the first definition (T1), then it doesn’t seem like classical liberals should oppose it, but it’s also not clear how many classical liberals do oppose it. If it’s the second definition (T2), then they should clearly oppose it because T2 is directly opposed to classical liberalism. Levy doesn’t make the case that T2 is consistent with classical liberalism.

So what are the different versions of the theory that are at issue? Let’s simplify:

  1. Basic: In this version, the only point is that people are unequal in multiple ways and these hierarchies intersect in important ways.
  2. Intermediate: The intermediate version of the theory focuses on the distinctive aspects of intersecting hierarchies but does not anchor them in larger normative or empirical claims. In my original post at the Cato Unbound web site, I argued that standpoint epistemology could be one example.
  3. Hard Core: Intersectionality theory is really a whole sale critique of the modern liberal capitalist social order. Damaging inequalities are structural, not epiphenomenon. The reason we have gender inequality is wrapped up with the reasons we have poverty, inequality, and racism. You have one, you have them all.

Basically, Levy asserts that any rational person would want intersectionality #1. Magness, Flanigan, and myself respond by saying that nobody opposed #1 to start with. Magness deepens the point by documenting how racial domination, such as slavery and apartheid were well discussed and rejected by classical liberals and libertarians since the 19th century. My essay was a defense of the view that pro-market liberals could have a constructive dialogue around #2. However, most of the dedicated practitioners of intersectionality theory probably adhere to #3, which makes a dialogue incredibly hard. If you buy #3, then a classical liberal who even considers intersectionality theory is probably a walking contradiction. If Levy retreats from #1, then the next thing that would need to happen is for a social theorist/normative political theorist to reconstruct intersectionality theory on different grounds so that it would be compatible with classical liberalism.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 26, 2020 at 7:46 pm

Posted in uncategorized

discussion of research on violent protest

Word on the Street, the blog of the Urban Violence Network, has a short piece by me on the research linking violence to negative outcomes. A key clip:

In the current context, these findings have sparked much online debate, including critiques of Wasow’s work and a sustained rebuttal by the author of claims that his research “allows people to blame ‘inner-city rioters’ and ignore other causes.” But the overall message of research on violence during protests is coming into focus. Violence, in the form of protests or riots, may receive attention and some policy response, but it comes at great cost. In the case of Black social movements, violent protest has been associated with more repressive administrations and sustained damage to Black communities. More generally, violence allows counter-movement actors (e.g. far right activists) to depict African American activists (e.g. of Black Lives Matter) as unreasonable and not worthy of support. In short: violence does not work for social movements.

Check it out.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 25, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Posted in uncategorized

santa cruzin’

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 21, 2020 at 12:11 am

Posted in uncategorized

the covid recession kills a great bookstore: university press books in berkeley

One of the great pleasures of the 2010s was the discovery that the independent bookstore business was still viable, if challenging. Sadly, COVID not only wrecks lives, but it is also destroys businesses. University Press Books, in business for over 40 years, finally gave in as COVID removed all the foot traffic, which was vital to a small business located across the street from the UC Berkeley campus. The $10k/month rent was simply too much of an obstacle during normal times, impossible during a recession.

Personal memory: One of the reasons I loved Berkeley as a city was its abundance of actual physical places for culture – obscure music spaces, cool record stores, and, of course, Berkeley’s truly majestic bookstores. On this blog, I reported on the closing of Cody’s Books a while back and Moe’s used book store is so epic that it even garnered it’s own issue of the famed Cometbus zine. UPB was relatively small in square footage but it maximized it’s rarefied air – it stocked mainly super hip, super cool university press monographs and it was next to a classical music cafe. When I was first accepted to Chicago’s PhD program in sociology, I went to the sociology section, which was on a small mezzanine overlooking the rest of the shop, and bought a copy of Coleman’s Foundations of Social Theory. I still have that memory and it’s a good one.

Slowly, the eco-system of cultural businesses in Berkeley is eroding. The book stores have faded – Cody’s, Black Oaks, UPB – and the music shops have also shut. But hope lasts, UPB has said that they plan to reopen somewhere in the East Bay in a year and will continue online. No replacement for being at the hub, but I do wish them the best and I hope to purchase more sociology texts at their future location.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 18, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Posted in uncategorized

intersectionality and jacob levy at the cato institute: a final comment

The Cato Unbound forum on intersectionality theory has now concluded. The first essay is by Jacob Levy, who argues that classical liberals should integrate intersectionality theory into their thinking. The responses are by Phil Magness and my self. I am semi-skeptical and Phil is 100% skeptical.

I won’t restate the arguments, as you can read the original essays yourself. But I think the issue that there are two versions of intersectionality theory: an empirical theory of inequality and a normative political theory. My criticism is that classical liberalism, understood as a belief in limited government, free markets as the primary form of production, and the protection of social and civil liberties, should really be concerned with intersectionality’s empirical claims but should reject it’s anti-market orientation. Phil thinks that the empirical claims are unimpressive and that Jacob overlooks classical liberalism’s long history of rejecting racism and opposing racially motivated regulations. What really concerns Phil and myself is that classical liberals really believe that free trade is generally a good thing, while most intersectionality theorists see free trade and the private enterprise system as one of the reasons we have multiple interlocking forms of repression.

In his final rejoinder, Jacob approved of parts of my essay, which sees links between liberal thought and intersectionality, but labeled my criticisms as part of an undesirable knee jerk reaction. Here’s may take. There are now multiple intersectionality theories. Sure, there are probably many social scientists who are happy to accept the hypothesis that people are “multiply marginalized” and some grumpy libertarians should mellow out and accept that. Jacob is definitely right on that point and accepting a “basic” intersectionality will help classical liberals understand illiberal social practices better. However, there’s a lot more to intersectionality theory than the “basic model,” including a tight alliance with Marxist theory and a deep suspicion of markets. At the end of the day, this more expansive, and very popular, version of intersectionality theory is simply incompatible with a normative framework built on a presumption that markets and trade are the best way to organize an economy.

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 16, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Posted in uncategorized

meditations on integration

++++++++
50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 14, 2020 at 12:32 am

Posted in uncategorized

a virginia school approach to racial discrmination

This past March, Public Choice published an article I found to be very interesting. It is called “The anti-discrminatory tradition in Virginia School public choice theory” by Phil Magness. I found this article interesting for two reasons. First, I’ve read a fair amount of public choice and, honestly, I had no idea that racial discrimination was a topic they dealt with in detail. Second, after the really misleading work by Nancy McLean on Buchanan, I wanted to read something written that is more level headed and, to be blunt, truthful.

So what is the article about? Magness examines the published and unpublished writings of scholars associated with the “Virginia School” of public choice theory, which focuses on how incentives affect state actors, the theory of rules and and constitutions, and issues like regulatory capture. He focuses on scholars who visited or were affiliated with the organizational home of public choice theory, the Thomas Jefferson Center at the University of Virginia. History has overlooked some figures, like WH Hutt, who wrote entire books about race, such as The Economics of the Colour Bar, and the African American economist Abraham L. Harris. Second, Magness excavates a theory of racial discrimination from the speeches and unpublished writings of these scholars.

It’s a very strong article that manages to be history of economic thought and theory building at the same time. In Magness’ view, the “Virginia” approach to racial discrimination has four big take home points:

  1. Racism leads to regulatory capture: The dominant racial group in society may take control of government regulatory agencies and use their power to harass others.
  2. Racial discrimination makes markets less efficient: Employers who discriminate produce things at higher cost. The converse argument is that these same employers work at a competitive disadvantage.
  3. Racial discrimination is a constitutional problem: A violent majority, or an empowered minority, can use the democratic process to pass racist laws and regulations.
  4. Racial discrimination is a “historical problem:” Oppressive institutions have negative externalities and massive costs. Slavery, for example, required massive enforcement – a diversion of resources – and thus impoverished everyone.

It’s a very interesting perspective that compliments current theorizing on race in sociology. Many sociologists are now focusing on the interactional aspects of race (e.g., Emirbayer/Desmon on race as interactional order, Ray on race a membership criterion) or how racist attitudes/ideologies yield racist policies. This “Virginia” school approach to race adds a political economy perspective that most sociologists of race may not be aware of. Check it out – a fascinating read in intellectual history and an enriching discussion of how discrimination can screw up states and markets alite.

++++++++

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm

Posted in uncategorized

orgtheory meets black lives matter

Its been a while since I’ve jumped on this platform (apologies to Fabio for jumping in on “your” stream).  The events of the day are calling me out of blogging retirement because it turns out the most important policy response to the death of George Floyd has to do with OrgTheory: Defunding the Police.  The idea here is basically to do a root reorganization of the concept of policing by breaking it into several constituent elements are creating new organizations that are better aligned with specific missions.  Core competence comes to the rescue.

There also is a minor subplot unfolding that is miles and miles less important, but one I happen to be more connected to which is what seems to be the dramatic potential downfall of CrossFit.   This weekend, CrossFit’s founder—Greg Glassman—unleashed a series of very questionable communications that conflated the twinned crises of Covid-19 and #BLM into a massive fireball; the kind of fireball one sees when a platform falls from the stratosphere straight into the ground.

I wonder if other orgTheorists out there have been writing about either of these topics?  In particular, I’ve been teaching for a few years now in the area of public policy and my research has of course touched on social movements.  I think this is the first time–correct me if I’m wrong–where those two things have really converged.  Has there ever been a real, in the streets, social movement which demanded an organizational response of this kind?  If so, I’d love to read up on it more.  I’d be grateful for pointers towards any serious thinking on topics and I’ll post my own thoughts in due course.

Written by seansafford

June 9, 2020 at 11:27 am

Posted in uncategorized

contexts spring 2020 is online – and free for 30 days!!!

Contexts Spring 2020 is here. Topic – gender and sexuality. I love this cover by Jeff Sheng, which comes from a photo essay about LGBT in the military. The whole issue is free for 30 days.

++++++++

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

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June 8, 2020 at 12:42 am

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alt.folk gateway

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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 7, 2020 at 4:37 pm

Posted in uncategorized

open borders: boris johnson edition?

This image is from the Telegraph and show a protest in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government has threatened to pass a series of laws that shifts control of major decision from the Hong Kong city government to China. In response, the Johnson government in the UK has offered to grant visas to 3 million Hong Kongers, essentially offering a path to citizenship and exit from tyranny.

You don’t hear me say this often, but way to go, Boris!

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 3, 2020 at 2:35 pm

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protest and police: a cato institute podcast

Over at the Cato Institute, I did a podcast on the deteriorating relationship between police and protester. Check it out.

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

June 2, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Posted in uncategorized

evan parker, more electro acoustic ensemble

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 31, 2020 at 12:10 am

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my response on intersectionality up at cato unbound

What is the link between intersectionality theory and classical liberalism? Cato Unbound has my response essay up. Key quote:

Levy’s relatively uncritical depiction of intersectionality does not confront the fact that the theory, as understood by its practitioners, is simply at odds with classical liberalism because it sees inequality and repression as the natural outgrowth of a liberal social order. Still, dialogue is possible if classical liberals understand that intersectional theory has multiple goals and some of these goals should be rejected. The embrace of Marxism and other theories that view the market economy and limited government as inherently suspect should be critiqued and cast aside. Also, intersectionality theory, like all schools of thought, has its own excesses that should be avoided. For example, the more thoughtful practitioners of intersectionality warn against an “oppression Olympics” where resources are earned by boasting about injustice.[ix] Classical liberals are wise to follow this advice.

Check it out.

+++++++++

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 29, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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current social media strategy

Right now, I am active on four different social media platforms. In theory, I am supposed to cross post to all of them to maximize impact. Instead, I choose to use each for separate purposes because I really want “each Fabio” to have different flavors. Here, I will briefly describe each form of social media and what I do on them.

Blog: This blog (orgtheory.net) is all about long form discussion. Even though blogs are no longer trendy, they remain unbeaten for medium length discussion. They are also much easier to control than any other form of social media. For these reasons, I use it to discuss sociology and the academic profession. Just for kicks, every Sunday, I post some music. The only thing I don’t like about blogs is that the sociology audience that used to populate comment sections and provide discussions have now moved to Twitter to engage in rapid fire snark fests.

Facebook: I treat Facebook as a more personal form of communication. I rarely discuss personal matters, but I use it for talking about pop culture and keeping contact with my network of friends, professional colleague, and neo-liberal confederates. During lock down, I’ve done a series of videos just talking about nerdy things (“Nerd Therapy”). You will also see more humor there than on the blog.

Twitter: I’ve come to loathe Twitter even while I recognize its utility. Sure, there can be great discussion, but there are people who trash talk and swear at you. Snark is ok face to face, but I hate it in more public settings. Twitter is uncontrolled not only in who can jump into conversation, but also it shows you people that you might be avoiding. It’s the platform where I have to block and mute people the most. Still, it’s very useful for lightning fast discussion so I maintain a presence there (fabiorojas). I post infrequently on sociology and policy but I try to keep it structured. I respond to few people. I also publicize this blog and Contexts magazine.

Instagram: I have tiny presence on Instagram (@hoosierfab). I only got an account so I could reach out for folks in the visual arts, for social and research purposes. So the account is mainly art photos, street photography, and, during lock down, discussions of art books. It’s a dry and restrained social media account. Still, I’ve me really great people and I’ve made great connections. Also, it’s the complete opposite of Twitter as it almost never ticks me off.

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 28, 2020 at 3:34 pm

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contra deadwood

deadwood

I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I’m healthy,  I have a great family, and I’ve been successful in my chosen career. Still, there’s one thing that I do worry about – becoming deadwood. It’s part of my self-image – I just don’t want to be seen as someone who is degrading. It’s also about health. Trying to be active does seem to contribute to longevity and actually being healthy. Finally, I don’t want to be pitied. I don’t want graduate students in 2035 so look at me and say, “gee, that’s cute, it’s nice that they still keep him around.”

How does one avoid being deadwood? Well, I was lucky to have role models. At my PhD institution, I saw some really solid faculty remain very active up until retirement and beyond, like Charles Bidwell and Ed Laumann. On the internet, Pamela Oliver, the self described “olderwoman,” keeps writing, posting, and contributing. At my current employer, Indiana sociology, many advanced faculty are amazingly active. For example, our own Bernice Pescolodio remains one of the most actively and influential students of mental health in the world and has done so through a very lengthy career.

What a lot of these folks have in common, I think, is a combination of mission, a rich collection of social ties, and, lack of a better word, “discipline” or “structured practice.” Many of the folks who do avoid deadwood status deeply believe in the mission of their work. They may be concerned with status and income, but that’s by no means the whole picture. There is a deep commitment to some bigger goal that the academic profession supports.

Non-deadwood also tend to have very robust social ties. As a graduate student or colleague, I can only see the professional side of their network. But in almost all cases, I see lots of co-authoring and service work. They pop up all over the place. This is all made possible by “structured practice.” What I have noticed is that non-deadwood are very careful in terms of ordering their lives. I don’t mean that they mastered Microsoft Outlook but that they really work on building daily habits that help them manage these workloads and social ties, which in turn, contributes to longevity. 

A few days ago, I worked on my summer work schedule and I shocked to find that I had 14 projects in various stages of development. Some of these are short things, but others are serious commitments. At first, I was dismayed but then I realized that this is a nourishing life and, hopefully, a life where I will never be deadwood. And that’s a good thing.

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A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 27, 2020 at 12:48 am

Posted in uncategorized

agenes clement/debussy

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
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Written by fabiorojas

May 24, 2020 at 12:54 am

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do not be an awful dissertation advisor

I realized yesterday that in a relatively short time span (2010-2020), I have hooded more PhDs than many faculty at major research oriented doctoral programs. Why? I am not magic and I don’t spend all my waking hours mentoring people. Yet, I hood and I place, My students have gotten jobs in doctoral programs, teaching programs, and the private sector.

Here are some tips:

  1. Actually take students. No need to take all folks who ask, but actually do your share. My view is that a full professor at an R1 program should have at least one or two people dissertators at a time, more if you are in a lab science. Many faculty shirk.
  2. Create a system for time management. Some folks have a strong scheduling system. Personally, I prefer a flexible drop in system, so I can deal with problems sooner than later.
  3. Be responsive. Seriously. One of my most bitter experiences at Chicago sociology was faculty who went silent, skipped meetings, and refused to talk to me… after they agreed to help with the dissertation. I’m stubborn and got my degree despite that, but AWOL faculty can be fatal.
  4. Be reasonable in expectations. Dissertations do not pass the bar if they get published in your discipline’s flagship journal. They pass if they show mastery of an area and expand knowledge. Big difference.
  5. Be mellow and cool. No crying in office hours and no yelling. Just be calm and tell people what needs to fixed in order to improve.
  6. Tell most students to do short dissertations focusing on incremental research. A PhD means you know a field and contribute, but that can be done in short order. Three papers and you are done.
  7. Short dissertations focusing on incremental research. A PhD means you know a field and contribute, but that can be done in short order. Three papers and you are done.
  8. Finally, do all paper work in a timely manner without complaint. Letters of recommendation, yearly evaluations, foreign student forms – whatever. Smile and just quietly say “yes” and do it.

Editorial: All the things I just wrote are simple and common sense, yet so many faculty just bungle them. No one’s perfect, but there is no excuse to going AWOL on students, or not doing rec letters and so forth. It’s your job. Do it or quit.

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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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gender and prison organization: a theoretical question

Last Fall, I was teaching a module in my social theory graduate class about rational choice and how RCT may be used to explain social order. I discuss Hobbes as a proto-rational choicer and then I discuss how you can explain social order without states or sovereigns. To do that, I used work on order within criminal communities (which are not within the state by definition) by Pete Leeson and David Skarbek.

Then, a student offers a feminist critique of Skarbek’s work. This student suggested that the types of gangs you describe in Skarbek’s work really reflects a masculine form of social organization and the arguments are not really generalizable. I responded that if the feminist hypothesis is true, we’d expect a different form of social order in female prisons, or at least one that is not predicted by your model.

Later, I did a small amount of Google research an discovered that female prison populations are (a) small and low density and (b) do not have many gangs. One of Skarbek’s main arguments is that gangs are a functional response to prison over crowding so a low density population population should have few gangs, and this is consistent with observation. On social media, I mentioned the discussion to David Skarbek and he noted that men’s prison population themselves vary and gangs are not universal. Also, you would have to flesh out the alternative hypothesis about hyper-masculinity.

What do you think?

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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
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Written by fabiorojas

May 20, 2020 at 12:39 am

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intersectionality and classical liberalism: what’s the link?

unbound_5_20_final

Jacob Levy has an essay exploring the connection between intersectionality theory and classical liberalism at Cato Unbound. Your thoughts? I will write a response next week along with Phil Magness and Melissa Harris-Perry. Self-recommending!

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 19, 2020 at 12:54 am

Posted in uncategorized

i normally don’t post the same person two weeks in a row but brandee younger’s muzik is so incredibly chill and hip and i just love this discussion of the detroit harp scene and alice coltrane’s composition ‘rama rama’ that i had to do it again. if you don’t listen, you only have yourself to blame. seriously.

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
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The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 17, 2020 at 12:11 am

Posted in uncategorized

theory for the working sociologist: the podcast

images_V8TrQbyanU_1581809521704

Isaac Reed and I talk theory: why I wrote this book, how I differ in my teaching of theory; the pluralism of sociological theory, and much much more.

CLICK HERE AND HIT THE PLAY BUTTON.

Bonus round: The coupon code “CUP20” gets you 20% off all Columbia University Press books.

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
Intro to sociology for just $1 per chapter – INSANE BARGAIN!!!!!
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 15, 2020 at 12:08 am

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open borders at the ratio institute

Sadly, I was not able to visit the Ratio Institute to give this talk on open borders, but they were nice enough to broadcast it. Check it out!

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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
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A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!!!!

Written by fabiorojas

May 13, 2020 at 3:34 pm

Posted in uncategorized