Thursday, October 26, 2006

dead man writing

Do not expect much from this blog for awhile. I'm sort of engrossed in a few things, including needing to clear out my basement storage bin so asbestos removal can begin.

The more engrossing thing, though, is that I am working on a paper for an November 15 deadline, and it's been slow going. I feel sort of like a tangled cognitive kite stuck in a very tall tree. I'm not sure if I am going to be able to pull this off or not; it's certainly going to require the boy detective to step up his game.

Regardless, the thing with this paper is: if it fails, it will either end up a word puddle that's never quite finished or something that gets serially rejected from journals until I find some gentle hideaway outlet for it. But if it succeeds, it may well ruin my career in sociology.

Why do I not walk away from this? I do not know. Or, to whatever extent I do, the theory varies from day to day. Part of it is a conviction that I am right, but that is hardly a sufficient explanation for academic action.

On an all-too-related note, I am giving a talk at another university in a couple of weeks. Because this paper is the main thing I'm working on between now and then, and because I'm not really excited to take one of my old talks and do the refreshing and tweaking work to buff it up for this purpose, I will be giving a talk on this paper. I waited until the third time I was asked to send the title. But, lo, posters are being made or whatever for this guy Freese to give a talk called "Brave New (end of the) World (as we know it): Genetics and the Future of Analytic Social Science."

19 comments:

AaronSw said...

Where's the talk?

Lars said...

I thought the point of tenure was that nothing other than getting caught doing dirty things with your undergrads could ruin your career?.No? Did I just open up the tenure-debate free for all that seemed to have just died down?

I think my lousy graduate career has ruined career in sociology (my own fault, not my mentors), so you won't be alone.

Anonymous said...

Or, maybe it will be a smashing success, revolutionize sociology, and make you a sociology-celebrity.

Anonymous said...

Given that the only thing w/ such a title that could "ruin your career in sociology" would be something that is "pro" rather than "con" (or merely equivocal), does this mean you are "coming out?" Bully.

Anonymous said...

Why do people make such snide comments? Oh well.
Re your talk: timely it is in a world of flux. And I understand we're due for the magnetic field to flip flop soon.
Careful of the asbestos and work well!

jeremy said...

Anon, 9:35am: I think you made a typo. It should have read: "Given that the only thing w/ such a title that could "ruin your career in sociology" would be something that is "pro" (or merely equivocal) rather than "con"..." Anyway, I might have more to say about my position, which regards the idea of "pro" versus "con" as exactly what should be avoided, later.

Anonymous said...

"which regards the idea of "pro" versus "con" as exactly what should be avoided"

But your post reveals that you are well aware: this is one area in which you will not be allowed a "middle ground" comrade. Fight the power!

Anonymous said...

But the truth almost certainly lies in that middle ground -- closer to one end of the continuum or the other depending on the outcome of interest. Why do people resist the idea that our behavior is the result of complex interactions between genetics ("nature") and social structure ("opportunities", "environment", etc.)? Seems awfully closed-minded to me.

Anonymous said...

It's ok, I long had this idea that we should all start a world-renowned research center in Costa Rica (much warmer than Wisconsin or Boston and not that far from the U.S.), so you could join us and we'd revolutionize sociology.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 12:10 (and also Jeremy!):
some sociologists feel quite strongly that we ought to pay attention to issues of genetics and social structure.
see: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJS/call.html

Bill said...

There's a real recent article by Hibbing et.al. in the American Political Science Review you might want to look into, if you haven't already.

Drek said...

If and when you finish it, Jeremy, I'd love to see a copy.

Seriously.

And if it makes you feel any better, I have an article circulating right now that I think may manage to piss off several entire sections at once.

Not on par with you, no, but then my career isn't quite as resistant to crushing either.

What's the fun of being an academic if you can't get embroiled in ridiculous arguments?

jeremy said...

Anon 12:27pm: The AJS special issue has a deadline of November 15. I said I was writing a paper for a November 15 deadline. Coincidence, or causality?

Constance said...

I reject the nature nurture dichotomy, but for those sociologists that stick close to the nuture camp... wouldn't incorporating genetics into our explanatory variables be the exact right way to we show how irrelevant they are?

Lucy said...

The issue is tentatively scheduled to appear in November, 2008

Does that mean you at least get 2 years before your career is ruined (or you become a celebrity), or is publication not the way most people hear about your work in Sociology?

Yvette said...

I'm looking forward to more news of your talk on genetics and your field. I just completed a dissertation exploring adoptive mothers' beliefs about genetics. I think this whole area of genetics is sorely in need of social and behavioral scientists. And I do not think we in these fields will have the luxury to remain uninformed for much longer.

Kieran said...

The content is analytical but the title is straight out of the English department. Drop the parentheses and the double wordplay. "Genetics and the Future of Analytic Social Science" is a perfectly good -- indeed, direct and intriguing -- title.

Anonymous said...

I'm a card carrying sociologist, and am excited to see movement in this direction. You'll get naysayers now, but you're in the forefront of what sociology will eventually become.

Teppo said...

Jeremy: Below a quote that you'll enjoy (I have used it far too many times in my papers...) - from Simon's 1985 APSR piece. I wholeheartedly agree with it (though Simon takes things a different direction) - unfortunately most of social science simply dismisses the matter of human nature.

“Nothing is more fundamental in setting our research agenda and informing our research methods than our view of the nature of the human beings whose behavior we are studying” (1985: 303).

Simon, H. A. 1985. Human nature in politics. American Political Science Review, 79: 293-304.