Saturday, September 02, 2006

must love altruists

walden 065

What I liked about this sign is how honest it is about a prime motive single people have for volunteering. And it's single first, volunteering second, with the actual volunteered-for activities unspecified. For those searching singles who've chosen a volunteer activity based on its content and then showed up and it was all married people or septugenarians.*

Meanwhile, in the American Sociological Association, a common complaint is that there are too many specialty area sections. The number of sections has increased from ~5 in ~1960 to ~25 in ~1990 to ~45 now.** It's a collective action problem, where there can be all kinds of agreement that there are too many sections but everyone thinks the sections they belong to deserve to exist. In this respect, it's interesting one of the most recent proposed new sections is dedication to the sociological study of Altruism. If you think there would be any group willing to subordinate their own interest to solve the proliferation of specialty areas, it would be the altruists.

* (BTW, the sign has an example of someone using "affect" when they presumably really mean "effect," instead of the way more common error of using "effect" for "affect.)

** According to Slide 13 of this presentation, which is James Moody's critique of Public Sociology, which figures centrally in another section currently in formation, "Human Rights"--which has a much broader charter than what would be recognizable outside certain academic cliques as "human rights"--and which I'm presuming will eventually be pressured by co-constituents from the Animals and Society section to change their name to something less anthropocentric. A whole coven of whiches in that last sentence, I know.


Anonymous said...

Of course, the section on altruism is composed of people who study altruism, not altruists. Maybe the section on altruism is filled with self-centered me-first types who study altruism precisely because they find it so incomprehensible?

jeremy said...

Good point! And, thanks for having this post not go uncommented, as such things deflate my will.