Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Mathieu Deflem responded to my post about his arguments regarding the ASA elections. My presumption is that reasonable readers who are sufficiently inclined so as to read Deflem's posts, my post, and his comment on my post, will form a conclusion that would not be much enhanced by any strenuous rebuttal on my part, which is good because I am not interested in composing one. My official position being that if Deflem wants people to spend time engaging him in dialogue, he needs to work on making fewer transparently bad arguments.*

That said, Deflem did respond to one commenter to my post who apparently asserted that the reason for the sweep of female winners in last year's ASA elections was the result of the slate of candidates itself being overwhelmingly female. To my knowledge, he is absolutely correct on that point (see earlier post of mine and various comments thereafter).

Meanwhile, I discovered a public sociology site being hosted by my own University of Wisconsin-Madison. I don't want to get into the larger issue of my opinions about "public sociology." That said, do note that the Madison site has, as one of its two banner images for Public Sociology, somebody holding up a sign saying "No War For Oil." This being, ostensibly, the sociological-imagination-derived understanding of the causes of the (second) Iraq war that public sociology wishes to advertise/celebrate. Woo-hoo, where can I get me one of those simplistic-and-inaccurate-slogan signs to wave around?

* (Update) This sentence, I have decided, is nastier than I have any right to be. My mother would not be happy with me, and she would be correct.

Update: As if I'm not grumpy enough, someone was kind enough to point out to me the way that the Public Sociology site has the phrase "those who take sociology out of the classroom and laboratory to directly impact social change" in its first paragraph.


Anonymous said...

You sound a little world-weary today, Jeremy-- or maybe just grumpy. I'm not glossing over the substance of your post, but I hope everything else is going okay.

jeremy said...

I think I was grumpy when I was writing this particular post because I have a lot to do and was annoyed with myself for taking the time to write it. It's plain stupid of me to let my cognitive energy get sucked up by complaints about the inner-workings of the ASA, or complaints about the complaintants.

Anonymous said...

Well that site is about the lamest thing I've seen today, and I walked past a three-legged dog on the way into work.

chris said...

i think i'd like your mother, as she seems to have raised a kind and generous soul. that's why you can't join the cranky ranks of the bitter tenured professor's league.

jeremy said...

Chris: I agree! Indeed, this is something that causes me to lie awake at night (granted, I have chronic insomnia, some of which is responsible for this weblog in the first place, and thus I lie awake about a lot of things), but I very much do not want to be one of those enthusiasm-atrophied-through-bitterness older professors.

dorotha said...

perhaps the trick is to not age.

Anonymous said...

No war for oil: simplistic, yes; inaccurate, arguable. I mean, I know I could put regression coefficients on a placard, but I haven't seen a mainstream sociological explanation for the Iraq war that's any more persuasive. So what does one do?

It seems to me that in your moment of crankyness you've descended into positivist condescension that's thoroughly asociological.

Drek said...

Bloody hell, Jeremy. I can't wait until he finds my posts.

Well that site is about the lamest thing I've seen today, and I walked past a three-legged dog on the way into work.

Look, Anonymous, it's a funny joke, but I have a three-legged dog and I'm pretty sure she could kick your ass.

Anonymous said...

My first reaction was that the public sociology website must have been designed (if you can call it that) by the same people who did the ASA website.
Visual clutter? check.
Low color contrast between font and background? check.
Poor organization? check.
Overuse of bold font? check.

Sure enough, note the acknowledgment at the bottom of the former site's page.

jeremy said...

Anon 12:13: I'm not inclined to get into debates with anonymous commenters who sound like cranks. Regardless, I'm not sure exactly what about my condescension was "positivist", and, in any case, something to understand about me is that I really don't care whether an explanation seem "sociological" as whether it is correct. In any event, it's stupid to imagine the explanation of single historical events in regression terms, and beyond-asinine-ignorant to imagine that people who are quantitative sociologists think of the sociopolitical issues of the day in these terms.

Anonymous said...


I'm not looking for a debate either, but I just LOVE that you'll call me a crank with no provocation. I just think you're being more than a bit condescending to the views of another UW sociologist (re: the pubsoc site). I called it positivist because it seems like you (and many other quant soc'ers) are satisfied (smugly) with the certainties and regularities of quant soc and the topics you study, but dismiss another prof's attempt to engage and change a difficult issue.

Anon 12:13

Anonymous said...

Gotta love that Sconnie pub soc site! Spent a few moments there poking around and look what I came up with:


Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Please tell me this isn't a hoax. Levon, where do I sign up?

jeremy said...

Anon 12:13: I didn't say that you are a crank. I said you seem like a crank. And it wasn't without provocation. It was based on your crankadelic comment. If you're not a crank, it's not my fault if you express yourself in my comments like one.

Nice understanding of the word "positivism", by the way. In the same ilk, you are probably one of those people who likes bemoaning various things they don't like about society as "fascist."

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if my tone didn't come across right in the first comment, but you're hardly immune to that. I'm still not sure if I'm a crank because I think 'no war for oil' might have merit or for calling something positivist condescension.

But dude, why are you such a jerk on your blog sometimes? I think my use of positivism is legit, and I've read from "Introduction to Positive Philosophy" to "Politics of Method in the Human Sciences" and a few things in between. Scientism is probably more accurate, but whatever, I should criticize he 'who can never see why he might be wrong and others might be right.'

jeremy said...

Anon 12:13: Understand that when you avail yourself of the opportunity to lob phrases like "positivist condescension" at me from behind the Veil of Anonymity, I'm not going to be nice in response. Understand also that it gets tiresome sometimes to engage in dialogues with "Anonymous", and that you would probably be engaged more reasonably (especially in response to being critical of me) if you did it non-anonymously.