Wednesday, December 27, 2006

jeremy freese: the footnotes interview, final part

[in response to questions e-mailed by a writing doing a piece for sociology's newsletter, Footnotes; links to parts 1, 2, and 3]

Question #4: Do your students read your blog?

I think this question is most interesting with respect to the question of whether one's undergraduate students read one's blog and, if so, how this influences content. Graduate students do not influence content of my blog any more than the general knowledge that anyone out there could be reading my blog, but I might imagine approaching my blog a little differently (as in more self-consciously) if I was teaching a class of first-year undergraduates at the same time. I have not had that experience yet with my blog.

Question #5: How do you decide what topics to blog on and do you believe they go beyond the scope of sociology?

My blog posts mostly happen by me happening to be at the computer when I think of something I think would make a good blog post, and then I write it. Most of my blog posts are resolutely not works of sociology or about sociology. I did not start my blog as an act of "public sociology," and, even if I did, I generally regard as objects of disdain and intellectual suspicion those in sociology who fret overmuch about whether they are talking about things in a consistently "sociological" fashion. In any case, I view my blog as more an outlet from my non-sociology and meta-sociology thoughts. I think if I had started my blog with the idea of it being something where instead I would write only about my take as a sociologist on issues of the day or whatever, I would have written about five posts before getting bored with it and giving up.

Incidentally, if anyone does answer this question by saying they have an exclusively sociological blog and it's a blog they have managed to keep up for, say, more than a fifty posts, I want to know who they are. To my knowledge, no true "sociology" blog, in the narrow and tedious sense presupposed by the question, exists. All the better for sociology, I say.


Anonymous said...

Hey Man, It's ALLL sociology....

jeremy said...

Hee. That is the other way of looking at it.

Queer Dewd formerly known as be elle said...

you know, having been out of academia for several years, yet remaining tied in through some aspects of my work (more applied) and through participating in debate lists, I started the blog completely as a selfish enterprise in inexpensive therapy. And because I was pissed.

But I was so steeped in thinking sociological, always translating everyday events into sociological explanations that it was virtually impossible not to do sociology somehow, someway. I do not generally make it explicit, but what happens is someone says, "what?"

And then I explain.

I don't know. When I was teaching, I always told my students that taking sociology of work would not help them "do" work better -- help them get a promotion. It wouldn't help them "do" the family. What it could do, though, was help them figure out was going on in their lives, help them better understand, say, why there is interpersonal conflict at work or what is going on when your sister and brother-in-law divorce because, say, he can't find steady work in his chosen profession.

That's was about the only way I thought of my blog as "doing sociology": C. Wright Mills' history and biography, where I can hardly think of my own life or anyone else's without thinking of it all through that framework.