When I started working on the politics/social media correlation, a few researchers told me that is doesn’t work with Facebook data. Here’s a new article argues the opposites – Facebook likes are good predictors in recent Indian elections:
Can the count of ‘likes’ recorded on the Facebook page of a party predict whether it will win the elections or not? To answer this question in the Indian setting in the context of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the political trend on Facebook was estimated using the numbers of ‘likes’ recorded on verified Facebook fan pages during the period of study—24 January to 12 May 2014. A strong positive correlation was found to exist between the number of ‘likes’ a party or its leader secured on their official Facebook fan page and their popular vote share. A single latent variable—presumably, the political preferences of the people—explained 91.37% of the total variance in those two variables. Furthermore, the time period during which the ‘likes’ were recorded was found to have a moderating effect on the positive relationship between the ‘likes’ and votes. It was found that the month preceding the voting period was the best to predict the vote share using ‘likes’—with 86.6% accuracy.
Check it out.
Question for the weekend: I am searching for an example of a theory or empirical work that combines rational choice theory with some other style of social theory. A few candidates:
- Analytical Marxism
- Michael Chwe’s theory of ritual and interaction
- A friend recommended Anthony Giddens’ structuration, as it has goal oriented actors who behave in endogenously created social structures
Other suggestions? Bonuses for recent work, work that is empirical, or accessible to general educated readers.
The organizational sociology of higher education is having a moment. Elizabeth Armstrong and Johanna Massé have written about it recently (and even more recently here), Michael Kirst and Mitchell Stevens have a new volume out on the topic (I’ll be writing more on that soon), and Amy Binder, whose work is very organizational, is chair of ASA’s generally strat-heavy Education Section.
Maybe it’s because there are so many changes going on in higher education right now that simply can’t be understood without thinking about organizations and the fields they are located within. From the Wisconsin budget cuts, to the effects of proliferating rankings, to the internationalization of universities, to the impact of organizational culture on student experience, tons of organizational questions are begging for answers.
Anyway, I’m editing a volume of Research in the Sociology of Organizations on “The University Under Pressure” with Catherine Paradeise, to be published in January 2016. We’ve got some great contributions from a trans-Atlantic group of authors including Dick Scott, Georg Krücken, Philippe Laredo, Christine Musselin, Amy Binder, Daniel Kleinman, Joe Hermanowicz, and others. And while the volume has mostly come together already, one free slot has opened up.
So if you have a paper in the works that you think makes a contribution to the organizational sociology of higher ed, send it my way. There’s some focus on comparing the U.S. and European experiences, but many of the articles look at a single country. And despite the title, it doesn’t have to be about universities: writing about community colleges from an organizational angle? Great.
The catch is that it needs to be either written already or ready for review quite soon — say, within the next month. On the plus side, if it’s accepted, you can expect it to be in print within the year. (And if it’s not, you’ll know quite soon.)
Just about all of us care about the future of the university. It’s time for organizational sociologists to do a better job of helping us understand it.
When people look at PhD programs, they usually base their judgment on the fame of its scholars or the placement of graduates. Fair enough, but any seasoned social scientist will tell you that is a very imperfect way to judge an institution. Why? Performance is often related to resources. In other words, you should expect the wealthiest universities to hire away the best scholars and provide the best environment for training.
Thus, we have a null model for judging PhD program (nothing correlates with success) and a reasonable baseline model (success correlates with money). According to the baseline, PhD program ranks should roughly follow measures of financial resources, like endowments. Thus, the top Ivy League schools should all have elite (top 5) programs in any field in which they choose to compete, anything less is severe under performance. Similarly, for a research school with a modest endowment to have a top program (say Rutgers in philosophy) is wild over performance.
According to this wiki on university endowments, the top ten wealthiest institutions are Harvard, Texas (whole system), Yale, Stanford, MIT, Texas A&M (whole system), Northwestern, Michigan, and Penn. This matches roughly with what you’d expect, except that Texas and Texas A&M are top flight engineering and medicine but much weaker in arts and sciences (compared to their endowment rank). This is why I remain impressed with my colleagues at Indiana sociology. Our system wide endowment is ranked #46 but our soc programs hovers in that 10-15 range. We’re pulling our weight.
From Public Collectors:
This collection grew out of a fortuitous encounter with Guy Debord, the leader of the Internationale Situationniste. Oneday in late 2001, as I recall it, I stumbled upon a small volume with a most intriguing title: La Société du Spectacle(the Society of the Spectacle). The front cover, which featured a yellowed map of the world, also piqued my curiosity. What could this book possibly be about? Hoping for some clarification, I turned to the back cover (what the French call quatrième de couverture). Its content could be translated as follows: “Throughout his life, and in the way in which he took his own life, Guy Debord (1931-1994) followed only one rule. He summarizes this very rule in his Foreword to the Third French Edition of the Society of the Spectacle: ‘It is necessary to read this book with the idea in mind that it was intentionally written to harm spectacular society. There was never anything outrageous, however, about what it had to say.’ ”
Influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach, Guy Debord posits that, “in modern societies… everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” In a sense, the opening sentence of the Society of the Spectacle (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967)sums up the French theorist’s view of the world. According to Debord, alienation does not lie in workers’ lack of agency (as Marx believed) but – and this is a gross simplification – in the fact that, in modern societies, social interactions are mediated by images.
Having read much of Debord’s works, I then turned to the writings of Internationale Situationniste members. In the meantime, I also developed an appetite for scholarship on Guy Debord, and the Internationale Situationniste, as well as for Situationist-inspired movements of the late 1960s onwards. My collection grew from this appreciation of theInternationale Situationniste and its ideas.
Debord insisted that his written works be made available to all free of charge. By sharing my own collection of Situationist and Situationist-influenced material, both via my blog (www.situationnisteblog.wordpress.com) and here on Public Collectors, I hope to play a (very) small part in fulfilling Debord’s legacy and that of the Internationale Situationniste.
A colleague emailed me to ask whether I thought hiring a PR specialist would be helpful for getting the word out about a forthcoming university press book. While a university press will send books to venues at the author’s request and place ads in academic venues like the Chronicle of Higher Ed, the author may consider doing more, usually using his/her own resources. Looking at the book publicist’s webpage, buying this person’s services would mean access to radio talk shows.
Based on conversations with book authors over the years, I know that opinions vary about how much effort authors should expend to publicize their work:
At one end, one colleague thought that the “work should stand on its own.” While it’s possible that an audience will flock to an unpublicized book, not doing anything to announce the arrival of a book could effectively consign years of work to the remainders shelf of a bookstore basement or warehouse.
At another end, a few colleagues might go on the radio talk show circuit, give talks at universities, book stores, and other venues, do interviews with high profile magazines (possibly in exchange for a pricy ad placed), and have ads on public transit stations. The trade-off here is emotional energy expended and the opportunity cost of working on other projects, spending time with family/friends, etc.
For my book, I adopted a middle route:
– made a webpage
– joined facebook
– made postcards of the book cover and handed these out to colleagues at ASA and Burning Man attendees
– bought books (at author’s discount) to gift and share
– asked colleagues at universities to order the book for their libraries (note: this was during the financial meltdown, so some libraries were unable to order)
– said yes to invitations to give talks for classes
– guest-blogged on orgtheory and other venues
– did “author meets critics” sessions at regional association meetings
Colleagues have also noted that depending on a professional association’s rules, authors can self-nominate books for section or professional association awards.
So, orgtheory readers, soliciting your experiences and thoughts here:
What’s the sweet spot?
Is it worth a couple $K to hire someone to do publicity?
What tangibles and intangibles does an author get with this extra effort?
Please do share in the comments.