Friday, August 03, 2007

have $500 and reasonable social connections? well, then, you could be a proud owner of your very own asa section-in-formation!

From a mass e-mail sent to the Wisconsin sociology listserv:

WE need 100 people *WHO ARE CURRENT MEMBERS OF ASA* who are willing to
support our petition to the Committee on Sections----or our petition
will not be considered. We have well over 100 people who indicated that
they support the section-in-formation, but the problem is that many are
not current ASA members. [...]

*If you are already an ASA member who has indicated support, how can
you help*?

Approach colleagues, friends, grad school buddies or graduate
students who are ASA members and ask if they will support this...
(Or, if you have grad students are not members, convince
your chair that they should be and get them signed up
pronto.) Depending upon how much this is worth to you, and if you can
afford it, offer to pay their section dues [$5-10/yr] for them for two years.
All we need right now is their names--no money. Frankly, at this point I
would pay their section dues in order to get this thing off the ground.
(Yes, I will).
I understand that more sections = more money for ASA, regardless of where the money comes from. Still, does anybody feel good about these open listserv requests for recruiting "grad school buddies" with zero interest in a topic to sign up for a new section and have other people pay their dues for the two years it takes to get the section started (at which point they drop out)? Is there any integrity whatsoever to the process of forming and maintaining sections at this point?

This message also bothers me because the author later writes, "I am not trying to plug ASA membership.," and seems to think it's an abomination that ASA requires that the people who count toward becoming an ASA section be ASA members. Sections-in-formation take ASA resources beyond what they raise in dues. Besides, if ASA membership isn't important, why is becoming an ASA section so important?

And, what's with the part about getting chairs to have grad students sign up? Are there departments that pay for their graduate students to be ASA members?

Update: Instructions on how to form your own ASA section are here.


gabriel said...

These shadow memberships could be the reason why many sections (you know who you are) will accept any crap that gets submitted to them whereas other sections have 90% rejection rates and end up being able to fill their sessions entirely with marquee names. Would ASA be better off with a disability section that apparently only one person is really interested in, or with an extra session allocated to econ soc?

jeremy said...

If a section really does have a 90% rejection rate, or anything close to it, could it be that the section organizer is very passive about asking for extra sections?

Brayden said...

I think we need a more fragmented set of categories that we use to label interests and form associations with like-minded ASA members. Why not have interest groups that could serve to network people interested in semi-marginal issues and that could presumably co-sponsor a session with a section? In time interest groups, if they get enough support and have some longevity, could turn into regular sections.

gabriel said...

I checked and for one particular econ soc session the rejection rate was 95% and all the accepted papers were from big names. My impression is that most econ soc sessions are similar.

I don't know much about the deep magic of ASA, but I thought number of sessions was entirely determined by section memberships. If I am wrong and there is some wiggle room, then I agree, econ soc should be using its enormous number of submissions as evidence that it deserves more space.

jeremy said...

Brayden: Agreed. I think that would be a great solution, and the entry costs for becoming an interest group could be lower than what is now needed to be a section-in-formation.

Gabriel: I've organized regular sessions on a couple different occasions, and both times I asked for more sessions and got them.

Anonymous said...

"I've organized regular sessions on a couple different occasions, and both times I asked for more sessions and got them."

SECTION SESSIONS are driven by membership numbers however. I'll second the motion for "interest groups" as an alternative to the growth of sections. When we get Jeremy elected ASA President, I hope he will consider it.

Anonymous said...

As Anon 1:59 notes, the number of section sessions is dictated by section membership, but wily organizers of regular sessions can increase the number of allocated sessions by pleading to ASA based on the number of (quality) submissions received. Some sections routinely coordinate submissions with the cognate regular session organizer to maximize the number of good papers that will make it onto the program, because the number of regular session slots is expansible, whereas section slots are not.

One caution about the section vs. interest group issue. I belong to an association about twice as large as ASA which has 13 divisions and more than 100 special interest groups, each of which gets session space at the annual meeting. The resulting annual meeting programs are fragmented and incoherent.

jeremy said...

Right about regular versus section sessions. I forgot about that.

jeremy said...

There could be interest groups and then get rid of the regular sessions, which have a confusing existence anyway.

Anonymous said...

Well, it doesn't look like ALL econ soc sessions at this years ASA meetings are big names

Anonymous said...

From the ASA website

"The proposal and petition for creation of a new section will be referred to the Committee on Sections for its review. Prior to making a recommendation to the ASA Council, the Committee on Sections will review the proposal to ensure that the proposed section represents a sub-field that has intellectual merit and that the vision for the section will benefit the profession."

Anyone else out there think that this review step may have been skipped a time or two?


Anonymous said...

I was suggesting interest groups WITHOUT the right to take up space on the program. Sections have proliferated beyond reason. We need to see consolidation of sections, not expansion.

- The Draft Freese Committee

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your sharing with us your Northwestern mass mailings. Keep at it, as you try to haul ASA up to your professional level.

jeremy said...

Anon 3:45: You are right, what kind of conceited buffoon do I have to be to suggest there may be things about organizations of which I am part that should be changed? Who knows, maybe next I'll have the hubris to think I am able to criticize our government!

And what kind of lout am I to feel free to share an e-mail that was a forward of a forward and sent to over a hundred recipients? How indiscreet!

I am pleased to have my anonymous comments turned back on, as what would I do without the moral compass they provide.

tina said...

Why is it that none of your anonymous commenters has asked you what you have against people with disabilities?

Anonymous said...

"Why is it that none of your anonymous commenters has asked you what you have against people with disabilities?"

OK, ya heard it here first: Jeremy Freese don't like disabled people!

But seriously, PLEASE ignore the anony snipers.

jeremy said...

Indeed. I am surprised that I also remain unaccused of comparing disabled people to dogs, or advocating that disabled people be made to fight dogs.

Brady said...

What about when disabled dogs fight people?

Anonymous said...

Not only that, Jeremy, it's like you're equating disabled people with DISABLED DOGS! I mean, I'm not saying that's what you're actually trying to do, but it does kinda sound that way :)

I would actually be happy for you to turn off your anonymous comments again even though I refuse to get a blogger/google account myself. You get a lot of totally moronic comments.

- another moronic anonymous commenter said...

speaking of disabilities, if you do disable anonymous comments again, please enable the date stamp for your comments.

jeremy said...

AMAC: I don't understand what you mean.

AMAC said...

not sure which part you don't understand, so 1) "disability" and "disable" have the same root -- that's the only connection of the comment to disability (this is the moronic part); 2) perhaps i'm anal, but i find it disorienting not to be able to see the date a comment was posted. (having only the hour does sometimes provide an illusion as if the post is always being commented on though.)

jeremy said...

I'm confused about why I would need to disable anon comments again to enable to time stamp. Anyway, sure, we can see how the date stamp goes.

Anonymous said...

Turn off Anons and leave them off (-- though they do add an extra dimension to your blog). It was all so soothing when the 'google/blogger' and 'other ' had the comments to themselves.

jeremy said...

Brady: I'm just watching the clip you posted now. What is this?

Brady said...

That would be a clip from "Babe: Pig In the City," which is in the running for "perhaps the most traumatizing children's movie EVER". It's like Charlotte's Web crossed with The City of Lost Children.