Tuesday, August 15, 2006

so, how was 'deconstructing playing with Katie'?

(See earlier post about DPwK here.)

I did not go to DPwK, and in fact scheduled something for that time deliberately so I would not be tempted to go to it, as nothing good could come of my attendance.

I did, however, talk to two people, each of whom had a attended a different one of the two sessions of the Animals & Society Section. They both offered substantially the same report: the presenters split roughly evenly into (1) people doing work that my correspondents regarded as embarrassing and (2) people who looked embarrassed at being stuck on the same panel as these people.

The guy doing the "Oppressed Cows" talk apparently did indeed use finger-quotes whenever he said the word "beef" and started his talk by talking about how he was a convert to the view that meat is murder and would no longer dine with anyone who ate meat. The woman after him--who did a talk about dogpark culture that my correspondent thought was good and interesting--is reported to have started her presentation by looking irritated and saying something like, "Just for the record, I eat meat." I wonder if on the future people whose talks are put on Animals and Society panels but disagree with the ideology of its more strident participants will nibble openly on beef jerky during the sessions as a way of disaffiliating themselves.

18 comments:

Katie said...

Jeremy - Whew my secret identity is safe. I was worried about the talk and if you would go, thereby exposing the truth about me. Yes it is true....on the internet no one knowns your a geologist, I mean dog. -Katie

Sara said...

I also spoke with someone who went to the A&S sessions. She was very upset by the fact that they were using very old social theory (e.g., as if symbolic interactionism has been fallow since Blumer) and critiques thereof (e.g., as if they were the first to notice that Marx tends towards humanism). Listening to her relatively generous (i.e., substantive) critique, I realized how snarky I've become. That is, it never crossed my mind that DPwK might provocatively engage contemporary work by Haraway, Latour, etc...

Gwen said...

As someone who has thought "Oh, yay, a section on animals and society! I can think of tons of ways that might be interesting, especially since I study the beef industry!" I am horrified by what I have read here. Gah. I was all thinking of writing a paper about wild horse management conflicts in the West, but I suppose I'd be better off if I videotaped myself interacting with one of my grandma's horses instead.

Sometimes my head really hurts.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Maybe I should just start preemptively nibbling on beef jerky all the time. It's amazing how many people assume that I'm a vegetarian.

Anonymous said...

A sneak preview to next year's A&S paper lineup: "The Culture of Oyster Oppression", "Obesity of American Pets: Fat Owners Make Fat Pets", "Anal Selection Effects among Dogs: A Whiff is Worth a Thousand Whiffs", "Complex Family Formations among Dogs: Who's Your Daddy?", "Urban Underclass Pets: Rats in the Hood", "Fish like Me: What's the Hook?", and "Size Matters: Big Dogs Small Dogs, Barriers to Reproduction."

-sr

Danielle said...

The dynamics among the panelists sound very interesting -- at every gathering of sociologists I've been to, holding anything but the far left position is to identify yourself immediately as "part of the problem." Here it seems like people are willing to dissent openly.

Anonymous said...

"Cow-milking as sexual assault"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think this is ballsy of Jeremy? I'm not saying that you don't have a right to make fun of people here (for the record, I'm also not saying that I disagree, or that I think it's necessarily bad or "dangerous" like some would argue). I'm not sure what I'm saying - marveling at my own wimpiness, perhaps. I had your same thoughts on these presentations, Jeremy, but I'd be scared to put them "out there." I just find it interesting.

dorotha said...

um, someone is scared about what some obsessive and strange vegans are going to do to jeremy if they read his blog? i'm a vegetarian, and i think this is silly. is this really a bad place to comment on the direction of the discipline? are his comments about this new part of the discipline really all that harsh? should jeremy get his thoughts published somewhere so that they become less "ballsy?" do we have to be supportive of everything?

i'm not saying that some of these questions don't have complicated answers, particularly the last one. should we support new sub-disciplines in case they flourish and bloom, thus encouraging new theoritcal ideas, etc? i dunno.

Anonymous said...

From the prior post, suggested Animals and Society paper titles:
"we gotta get these motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane": race stereotypes in humano-animalian conflicts

"Feels like Flying: Contemporary Flesh Hook Suspension Narratives"

Anonymous said...

Sara reads fancy sociologists.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a monster and a murderer, but it's a living": Alienation and Emotion Work at the Omaha Steaks Slaughterhouse

Anonymous said...

"It's More Than A Donkey Show": Mobilities of Dignity in Tijuana, Mexico.

Anonymous said...

"Feels like Flying: Contemporary Flesh Hook Suspension Narratives"

- Actually, this was the title of a presentation that was given at ASAs...not a joke...at least not intentionally

Gwen said...

I understand what Anonymous 9:25PM is saying...not that it's wrong to do it, but sometimes I do feel a little weird about publicly making fun of someone in my discipline whom I might someday interact with (or, even worse, face on a hiring committee). I don't think Anon is saying we should be supportive of totally stupid crap, only that it is sort of a big deal to openly and publicly chastise others in the field for being stupid.

oblion said...

I go back and forth on this in terms of what is “interesting” and “relevant” sociological research. With that said, here are my comments, noting I was at ASA, but did not go to either panel:

a) the dog park paper:
1. It could be the possibility, though I am not sure, but I’ve heard commentary on the dog park paper before. I do not remember if it was a paper presented at a regional meeting or if someone was talking about it as a submission they received. However, someone did present a poster last year at ASA about dogs and human interactions.
2. With that said, I do think that this is an actual interesting topic about the sociology of everyday life and in general interactions. Frequent dog park attendees know each other and their dogs (which I’ve observed at numerous dog parks in different cities). So, I think this topic deserves credit for examining a form of social interaction and in some ways cultural capital.

However, with that said, I probably would’ve walked out or said something with the proclamation about not dining with meat eaters. One, I think this goes against everything we are trained to do as sociologists, particularly qualitative ones. Granted, the person said he would not dine with these people and did not say not talk to, but this is just biased and makes me wonder with this public proclamation about this person's research skills (I’m not getting into the methodological argument about all research having biases, politics, etc, but more about the idea about being careful what you say in a public meeting in your field). Second, I dealt with a student who tried to convert me all semester to being a vegan (attached to most assignments was vegan literature). It was amusing to a point. But lastly, the politics of food is huge and in my opinion there are so many elements to look at that, again back to my point about being a sociologist is about understanding diverse points of view, this person misses a lot with this statement (i.e. class and ethnic views of those working in the meet industry and also regional issues/variation… have fun being a “rawist” in most places in NE and IA and explain to your family why you don’t eat meat).

With that said, maybe I’ll do a presentation next year entitled:
“Beef for Christmas: My frozen Omaha Steaks survived Nebraska to Minneapolis” or “Proud of It: Ms. Bacon in the 1950’s, My Grandma and her Meat Labeling Career”

jeremy said...

For the record, it is difficult for me to think of something less ballsy than posting something critical of scholars who are far from positions that could cause me conceivable professional harm. It's a near certainty I would have kept my mouth shut (or whatever is the orifice-occlusion equivalent for blogging) if it was someone who could cause me professional harm, so there's no pride and some cause for personal reflection for me in that.

dorotha said...

i really hate the word ballsy.

jeremy, when are you going to post again?