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black angel (1970, freddie hubbard + spaulding)

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BUY THESE BOOKS!!

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

January 12, 2020 at 12:30 am

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you should become a fan of some obscure things

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It’s fun to be a fan but it can be pricey. Superbowl tickets? From $2k-$5k. Front row for Taylor Swift? $600+. Now, if you love Taylor that much, more power to you. But what if you want the world’s best entertainment with front row seats are a rock bottom price?

Answer: Be a hipster. Choose a sub culture and be it’s #1 fan.

Example: Chess. Every year, the St. Louis Chess Club hosts an international tournament and it attracts the leading players in the world. It’s blitz chess, so games are short and plentiful. You can even walk right up to a table and watch. Ticket price? $10 per day and $40 for a five day pass.

Example: Jazz. When I was in grad school, I went to see McCoy Tyner play at the old Yoshi’s in Oakland. McCoy Tyner is one of the world’s leading pianists, having invented a new style of jazz piano and being the first pianist for John Coltrane’s legendary group. Cost: $25 plus a few drinks. Amazing.

Example: Women’s basketball. A few years ago, the IU women’s basketball team was on fire. They did pretty well and even won the NIT tournament. Cost per game: $10. Similarly, the WBNA Indiana Fever will make you pay $25 to $75 for a five game pack. The Indiana Pacers? Same price… per game!

Once in a long while, I’ll drop some money on a marquis event, but why bother? I am surrounded by world class talent at bargain prices.

+++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

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

January 10, 2020 at 12:25 am

Posted in uncategorized

a sociology podcasting course

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This semester, I was asked to prepare a course for Indiana’s “Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Experience” program. The ASURE course is meant to take a small group of strongly committed lower division students into a practical hands-on experience. My choice? Public sociology. So I designed a course around the concept of reading sociology journals, identifying those with policy relevance, and then translating research into public communication.

The syllabus for Sociology 105 Spring 2020. Major activities:

  1. Learn about the concept of public sociology and read about the sociology of the media. We’ll also do readings about the theory of the public.
  2. Choose one recent sociology journal article and write a 1 page policy brief.
  3.  Same article – in class, public speech – with no power point! You gotta memorize it!
  4.  Learn about audio processing.
  5.  Then make a short pod cast where you write a radio style script.
  6.  Team practice project: podcast with instructor to practice interviewing a real person and translate their work.
  7.  Team real project: Identify local IU faculty who are willing to be interviewed about their work, make podcast, and do a poster project for the ASURE program.

Soc Twitter was super helpful in helping me identify a wide range of sociology, policy, journalism, and other social science podcasts. I’ve assembled them here for your convenience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by fabiorojas

January 9, 2020 at 12:01 am

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on the victory of “American” sociology

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Over at the “Fake Nous” blog, philosopher Michael Huemer has an interesting post on the analytical/continental divide in his field. He thinks that despite its flaws – and they are big flaws – analytical philosophy is the way to go. In summary, Huemer thinks that analytical philosophy dominates because it focuses on trying to offer clear statements of philosophical problems and then trying to deduce answers. In contrast, Continental philosophers can barely even state their arguments and their books tend to be long and confusing.

I think a similar dynamic is at play within sociology. In our field, people will often complain about “American” sociology. Sometimes they refer to geography, but usually, they are referring to a style of sociology that is positivistic in nature and presented in terse, but relatively jargon free prose. In contrast, we have many people who are committed to critical social theory. Sometimes it makes sense, but a lot of it is truly tough to follow.

American sociology rules the day for many of the reasons Huemer cites in his essay about analytical philosophy. The biggest is that problems are solvable. For example, if you think personal wealth is correlated with being a Republican, you can state that hypothesis, get relevant survey data and see if it holds up. Try to verify Luhmann? Good luck with that. Luhmann even states at the beginning of his major book, Social Systems, that if you can’t understand this, that’s your problem.

Huemer also identifies a problem within philosophy: an obsession with history of philosophy. He, correctly I think, says that it’s nice but irrelevant. A philosopher should use all information to come up with the best arguments. Re-reading old books really doesn’t do that. In sociology, we have “social theory.” It’s misleading as much of it is history of social thought. Fortunately for us, most sociologists don’t endlessly read Weber or Durkheim but rather focus on testing some of their ideas with modern tools.

The underlying issue is that philosophy and sociology, and other fields as well, probably are undergoing a similar evolution. Before the rise of positivism as a general framework for doing scholarship (e.g., focusing on clear concepts, measurements, testable ideas, clear tests of validity of argument), we had “magnus opus” scholarship where you were paid to write long books that used epic, if confusing, terminology (e.g., autopoeiesis, species being, habitus, hysteresis). The more scientistic approach to scholarship won out, but there’s still a big audience for the older style. It’s a Pax Americana in sociology and that’s probably a good thing.

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

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

January 7, 2020 at 12:14 am

Posted in uncategorized

sase mini-conference cfp “Regulation, Innovation, and Valuation in Markets for Health and Medicines” – deadline extended to Fri., Jan. 24, 2020

SASE annual meeting submissions are currently open, and the submission deadline has been extended to Fri. Jan. 24, 2020!  (The 2020 annual meeting will be held July 18-20 at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.)

For those studying organizations, innovation, health, medicines, markets, and/or inequality, I wanted to call attention to one of the mini-conference calls, organized by Kathryn Ibata-Arens and Etienne Nouguez.

Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 2020, 18-20 July

University of Amsterdam

“Regulation, Innovation, and Valuation in Markets for Health and Medicines”

Mini-Conference Call for Papers

Conference Co-Organizers:

Kathryn Ibata-Arens, PhD

Vincent de Paul Professor of Political Economy

DePaul University

Etienne Nouguez, PhD

CNRS Researcher

Center For the Sociology of Organizations (SciencesPo/CNRS)

The world is experiencing rapid transformations in the development of new approaches to improving human health and the health of communities, healthcare provision, governance over the use and pricing of drugs and medicines, and medical innovations in biotechnology (genomics and stem cell-based therapies). For example, open innovation systems and sharing in the commons have introduced healing medicines and medical innovations (e.g. the Human Genome Project). At the same time, there is growing inequality in who gets access to medical care and medicines, and at what price.

 

Meanwhile, market competition has in part led to the opioid crisis of addiction in the United States, human subjects abuses in developing countries in the race to develop new drugs, and a decline in the discovery of radical new innovations in medicines for poor populations. This mini-conference aims to convene a group of related panels around issues in global health and medicines, to facilitate useful critical discussion and reflection on participants’ works-in-progress. Driving questions include:

 

-What theoretical advances are being made in understanding causal mechanisms in improving, or undermining human health and community health, for example, through state policy and firm and organizational strategy? What new frameworks and methods are being developed to identify key actors and explain actions (e.g. improving, or undermining health, broadly defined)?

 

-What is the evolving role of the state, healthcare systems and professions, and other actors (multilateral bodies, firms, non-profit organizations) in medical and medicine provision and innovation? Are we seeing a shift from traditional dominant blocks (North America and Europe) to new actors (Asia and the Global South)? Likewise, how have states and healthcare organizations been effective (or ineffective, indifferent) in the valuation and pricing of medicines (fair, equitable, and affordable access to life saving medicines)?

 

-What should be the responsibility, if any, of the global intellectual property rights regime as arbitrated by such powerful organizations as the World Trade Organization and global corporations in monitoring access and benefit sharing of profits resulting from research and development into new drugs and medicines?

 

-What are the roles for regulation and institutionalization of markets for such boundary-products between medicine and health food as probiotics, herbals, so-called nutraceuticals, and other dietary supplements – in ensuring the health and safety of consumers and patients?

 

-In what way is current research and policy aiming for “inclusive” innovation (e.g. in healthcare provision, new drug discovery) focused on distributive aspects versus stakeholder inclusion, or both (e.g. under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs))? What is the relative role for (social) entrepreneurs, large firms, and other actors?

 

Our mini-conference encourages submissions of papers exploring emerging frameworks and theories, as well as empirically rich original data from the developed and developing world and at various levels of analysis (e.g. local community, firm, state, multilateral institution). Scholars at all levels are welcome. In the spirit of innovation and creativity, the panels will have an interactive workshop format around discussant feedback and moderated audience participation. For more information, contact the co-organizers at medhealthSASE2020@gmail.com.

You can also download the full mini-conferenc call here: SASE2020HealthandMedicinemini-conferenceCFPK10-28-19

Grad students, post-docs, and other early career scholars, please also note: travel funding and a pre-conference workshop day are available, by a competitive selection process, for those who submit full papers for consideration and are accepted in a network or mini-conference.

Written by katherinechen

January 2, 2020 at 7:20 pm

state-of-the-field article “School choice’s idealized premises and unfulfilled promises” now available

Just before 2019 ends and we enter 2020, I’ve finally broken the superstition that whatever you do on New Years will be what you will do for the following New Years.  This year, a R&R converted into an accept and page proofs before New Years hit!

My co-authored paper with Megan Moskop is now available under the Organizations & Work section of Sociology Compass!  In this paper, using critical sociology and education research, we overview the variants of school choice systems in the US and their impacts on students, schools, and society.

Here’s the abstract:

School choice’s idealized premises and unfulfilled promises: How school markets simulate options, encourage decoupling and deception, and deepen disadvantages

Abstract

In school choice systems, families choose among publicly funded schools, and schools compete for students and resources. Using neoinstitutionalist and relational inequality theories, our article reinterprets recent critical sociological and education research to show how such markets involve actors’ enacting myths; these beliefs and their associated practices normalized white, privileged consumption as a basis for revamping public education as market exchanges between schools and families. Proponents argue that choice empowers individuals, focuses organizations on improving quality, and benefits society more broadly by reducing inequality and segregation. We argue that such school choice myths’ excessive emphases on individual decision‐making and provider performance obscure the actual impacts of school choice systems upon people, organizations, and society. First, rather than enlarging alternatives that families can easily research, select, and (if needed) exit, school choice systems often simulate options, especially for disadvantaged populations. Second, rather than focusing schools’ efforts on performance, innovation, and accountability, they can encourage organizational decoupling, homogeneity, and deception. Third, rather than reducing societal harms, they can deepen inequalities and alienation. Future research should examine both how markets are animated by bounded relationality—routines that enable them to form, maintain, and complete exchanges with organizations—and how activism can challenge marketization.

Please consider assigning this state-of-the-field article in your sociology of education, inequality, economic sociology, and/or organizations courses!  (If your institution doesn’t have access to Sociology Compass, please contact me directly for a copy.)

This paper began when Megan approached me during a March 2018  Future Initiatives “Publics, Politics, and Pedagogy: Remaking Higher Education for Turbulent Times” event at the Graduate Center.  After hearing me talk on a faculty panel about my research interests, Megan asked whether we could do an informal reading group on school choice readings.  We exchanged emails and agreed to meet in person to discuss readings.

At the time, Megan was working on her masters classes and thesis in urban education at the CUNY MALS program.  She was looking for a way to manage her growing collection of citations as she analyzed her past experiences with teaching 8th graders and their families about how to participate in the mandatory school choice market in NYC .

As a new entrant to research on learning and schools through my on-going ethnography of a democratic school, I had the sense that whatever was happening in the insurance market for older adults seemed to exist in other emerging markets for other age groups.  To understand the education options in NYC, I had attended a few NYC Dept. of Education and other orientations for families on how to select pre-K and higher program.  I found these experiences comparable to my observations of orientations for professionals and older adults about enrolling in Medicare: palpable waves of anxiety and disorientation were evident in the reactions and questions from these two differently aged audiences to workshops about how they were supposed to act as consumers felt similar.  I thus became interested in learning about research on the comparable school choice market for my ethnographic research on how intermediary organizations try to orient consumers to the health insurance market.  (Indeed, a side benefit of this collaboration was that the school choice readings helped amplify my development of the bounded relationality concept that ultimately appeared in Socio-Economic Review.)

Megan and I met regularly discuss readings that Megan had suggested and I had found through literature searches in sociology.  After several of these meetings, I raised the possibility of writing a state-of-the-field overview article.  Working on this draft helped us keep track of what we had learned.  It also helped us understand how to map existing research and to identify a void that our respective expertises and writing could address: synthesizing critical studies emerging from organizations and education.   For Megan, I hoped that this experience would give her a behind-the-scenes look at the academic production of research, so that she could decide whether to head this direction.

As we read more about school choice, I realized that we hadn’t come across a chart mapping the types of school choice systems currently in operation.  Megan thus worked hard at developing a table that describes and compares different types of school choice systems.  (In my opinion, this paper’s table is a handy first step for those trying to understand the school choice landscape.)

Meanwhile, I focused on applying an organizational framework to categorize research from the sociology of education and education fields.  As we worked on the drafts in response to writing group and reviewers’ and Sociology Compass section editor Eric Dahlin’s comments, we also realized that no one had systemically broken down the impacts of using market practices to distribute public goods across levels of individual persons, organizations, and society at large.

Along the way, thanks to Megan’s connections to education and activism, we got to learn directly from people about on-going activism and research.  For instance, youth organization IntegrateNYC sent representative Iman Abdul to talk to my “Future of NYC” honors college students about efforts to racially integrate NYC public schools.  Megan and I also attended Kate Phillippo’s talk about her research on school choice in Chicago from her latest book, A Contest Without Winners: How Students Experience Competitive School Choice (2019, University of Minnesota Press).

In all, writing this paper has been a great journey with a fun and insightful collaborator.  Had you asked me back in spring 2018 what the outcome of presenting at a CUNY event would have been, I could not have predicted this.  I am forever grateful that Megan came to talk with me!

Happy New Years, readers!  May the new year bring you joy, happiness, and health.

 

merry flippin’ christmas

Time to take a break. See you in January!

++++++++

BUY THESE BOOKS!!

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

December 22, 2019 at 12:48 am

Posted in uncategorized