Wednesday, April 19, 2006

stranger than fiction, and rarely as well-written

Okay, so I didn't really like it when "declining significance of sociology" was the theme of the American Sociological Association meetings last year, even if "rising and" was tacked on to the front (and, yes, it felt and presumably was tacked on). Annual meetings of a discipline are, you know, supposed to imbue members with enthusiasm, not make them gloomy about their choice of careers.

This year, the subtitle of the ASA meetings is "Transgressing Boundaries." As I was just reminded by a fellow sociologist, this year is the tenth anniversary of the Alan Sokal's famous hoax, in which he published a paper that incorporated postmodern jargon and jibberish physics (apparently quite funny jibberish physics, if you know physics) in the cultural studies journal Social Text. The pre-colon title of that paper: "Transgressing the Boundaries."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Goddamn ASA meetings. The only boundary-transgressing to be seen there is people refusing to obey the time limit on their presentations.

jeremy said...

Not if I'm presiding the session, they don't.

tina said...

I think my dinner is going to transgress the boundaries of my esophagus.

Mike Shanahan said...

The ASA is in the grips of the baby-boomers now and, as such, it is having the late life crisis of an aged hippie.

Steve said...

Amen, Mike. When I first started grad school, I contemplated writing an open letter to the hippie generation of sociologists entitled, "Waiting for You to Die." Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed...