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  1. Last 7 days
    1. Overall argument seems to be that often people assert that Marx failed to allow for the growth of the middle class, but Harris is arguing that this is because people take Marx's simple theory of class struggle as put forward in political writings like the Communist Manifesto without qualifications. In reality, Marx was analyzing capitalism by abstracting it into what he called pure capitalism, which was characterized by conflict between the capitalist and working classes to which the middle classes were incidental because its tendency is to become absorbed by either class (and it is unclear whether he thought that the middle class would actually disappear--again, he was analyzing through the lens of an abstraction). Marx also argued that because of this vacillation, the middle class was inconsequential to the ultimate fate of capitalism. What he did not foresee was the important political role the middle class has currently (my first thought here was thinking about common left analyses of the petite bourgeois as the base of fascism, but reminding myself that it is a mistake to use a solely material analysis to understand fascism, I would like to read more current analysis on the role of the middle class within capitalism). Another question left unanswered by this is how accurate Marx's analysis is here (note: read more on hollowing out of middle class).

      Here are papers that have cited Harris' paper or stem from those papers. It looks like more recent research (e.g., from the 1980s onwards) has focused on understanding and measuring bipolarization. Some of the more widely cited recent(er) papers include: * Atkinson and Brandolini (2011) who argue for measures beyond just income to measure class. * Pressman (2010) who argues that the middle class serves as a buffer in class warfare and that Marx missed this, and is key to democracy (Tocqueville would agree). Argues that US middle class has fluctuated but on average decreased due to income polarization, and that declines in middle class are lowest in social democratic states. Worth spending more time with this paper. * Esteban and Ray (1994) focus on measures of social polarization. * Foster and Wolfson (1992) find polarization rising in the US using curved rather than ranged estimates of polarization.

      At some point would like to read more literature on polarization.

    1. Tocqueville: America and Algeria * Political instability in the early/mid-1800s in places like France and Algeria were motivating concerns for Tocqueville who was interested in the conditions necessary for political stability. * In Democracy in America and The Ancien Regime and the Revolution, Tocqueville explores the French and American revolutions as world historical moments defining modernity in relation to equality. He argues that democracy follows from pre-existing equality in the US, and in France the claim to democracy opposed hierarchies in society. While former can be represented as pure democracy, France's democracy developed as a tyranny of the majority. Tocqueville omits colonial aspects--dispossession and forced movement. * France was consolidating colonial excursions in Africa (in Algeria) around 1830 and US was expanding westward. Tocqueville anticipated a US empire. Haiti also liberated itself from French control and enslavement during years of French revolution. * Tocqueville clearly stated in one chapter of Democracy in America (that was abridged from US versions until recently) that his writing on democracy was only about one of three races living in the US, while other two were subjugated by institutions praised as embodying democracy. * Displacement of indigenous peoples contiguous with expansion of US settler state, especially with 1830 Indian Removal Act. Tocqueville believed indigenous peoples were doomed to extinction and aware of contradiction within democratic America with genocide of indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans. However, his central idea of development is stadial with previous societies being doomed. He saw presence of enslaved Africans as endangering white democratic state and system of possession and ideas of property, and described slavery as evil. * Tocqueville fails to mention Haiti (then San Domingue) and revolution leading to abolition of slavery in all French oversea colonies. Napoleon's attempt to reinstate slavery in 1802 was then an attempt to enslave citizens. Tocqueville was aware of this but suppresses it from his narrative, possibly because of threat self-abolition of slavery posed to French colonial engagements. He did concern himself, however, with an orderly process for emancipation that involved state to compensate slave owners and then be reimbursed for expenses by tax on wages of formerly enslaved peoples working for the state for a transitionary period (reparations for enslavers not for enslaved people's loss of liberty). For Tocqueville, French values of equality compatible with colonialism which included subjection of local populations (evident in letters to Algiers) and genocide. Thought French imperialism was central to its stability--empire was Tocqueville's solution to international stability. * Tocqueville's arguments in US better understood in light of his comments on Algeria--democracy in US racialized, and Tocqueville willing to restrict functioning of democracy along racialized lines in service of French colonial interests. Unifying racial theme in Tocqueville's writing is marginalization of cultures of people of color.

    2. Marx: Colonialism, Class and Capitalism * Marx wrote on capitalism, as well as colonialism, with limitations. Marx's dialectics used for a broad variety of social theories (e.g., standpoint theory, postcolonial theory), however his theory of capitalism also involves a stadial theory of development (e.g., modes of production--capitalism evolves in Europe out of feudal relations). * Marx described capitalism in terms of exploitative character derived from class division. A post-capitalist society would arise from these contradictions. Colonialism, for Marx, was part of transition from late colonialism to early capitalism (primitive accumulation of wealth). Capitalism has a separate logic from colonialism, and then expands through a separate logic of globalism called imperialism. As global expansion becomes complete, contradictions of capitalism become more evident. * Things that disrupt Marx's analysis--1) capital-labor relation not as central to capitalist modernity as Marx believed, 2) capitalism not as tightly coupled as he believed, and 3) colonialism and empire function to provide patrimony that allows welfare and wages to accrue to whiteness at capitalist metropolitan centers. * According to Abram-Harris, Marx sets out capital-labor relation in terms of theory of pure capitalism abstracted from historical contingencies which varied in locations. Processes understood as real processes to which different contingencies gradually become subsumed. In pure capitalism, labor free but must sell labor to capitalist for wages. Capitalist combines labor with other means of production to produce goods for sale on market. In effect, then, capitalism a structural contradiction b/t (a) market for labor power and (b) market for products of labor process. In (a) prices of wages are driven by competition down towards subsistence of worker, in (b) capitalist seeks to find advantage by investing in new machinery to increase productivity, but this only temporary as competition drives innovation, more producers go out of business, and ownership becomes increasingly concentrated. * For Marx, these are central conditions and consequences for capitalism: skilled labor reduced to unskilled labor and differences (race, gender, disability, etc.) eroded in process of proletarianization. On other side, wealth becomes more concentrated as capacity for political intervention to ameliorate circumstances is reduced and only intervention possible is transformation of capital-labor relation itself. * Marx argues that large-scale capitalism depends on formerly free labor and commodification of labor power. This is an approximation of what was happening in Europe, but poor description of European colonialism. In colonies, dispossession of indigenous peoples accompanied by enslavement and indenture including the Atlantic slave trade. In line with this theory of pure capitalism, Marx predicted replacement of slave labor by free labor--but where slavery was abolished, it was replaced by indentured labor--e.g., global phenomenon of plantation systems. * As Harris argues, variation in forms of labor and increased differentiation of division of labor undermine Marx's predictions of proletarianization. Where there is more or less advantaged forms of behavior, is discriminatory access to jobs. Colonialism creates new systems of difference not necessarily inherited from pre-modern past (although I think Cedric Robinson might argue that these systems did not arise out of nowhere). * Marx's view of a tightly coupled system also extended to possibilities of political intervention, which Marx thought only possible form was revolution following process of proletarianization and struggles to transform capitalism from within. E.g., eventually proletariat must understand that we need to overthrow capitalism and institute system oriented to need rather than profit. These arguments go back to 1840s when Marx discussed conditions of Moselle wine growers and how logic of capitalist political economy required market processes and outcomes, and wasn't possible politically to address their poverty but by the 1860s, Parliament was discussing things like progressive taxation and public utilities (which would have been excluded by doctrines of classical political economy of which Marx was a part). This was also at height of European empire and the possibility of expanded state budgets and spending on domestic projects. Possibilities of private (charity) and state action expanded within bounds of European nations. Patrimony of empires (philanthropy or taxes) made available in metropole (not to populations subject to taxation and extraction in empire). * Marx makes room for analyzing colonialism, but within it being subsumed by pure capitalism. Also centers a European proletariat, but which is in reality bound to consumption of global appropriated resources.

    3. Early Modern Social Theory: Europe and its ‘Others’ * See video description for an overview. * Origins of modern social thought are misrepresented by dominant accounts of their development. * 1600s: Hobbes and Locke concerned with identifying rights and obligations associated with private property, and with justifying colonialism with which they were directly, deeply engaged. Private property must be understood in context of capitalism, so that we properly understand capitalism as developing from colonialism. Hobbes "state of nature" described by him as a fiction, but thought it was similar to indigenous people native to places of "European discovery" which is a serious misrepresentation with the purpose of establishing need for government grounded in agreement among property holders for their mutual protection (indigenous people assigned to state of nature and placed outside this). Locke set to argue god-given right of self-determination, and how what was given to all could be taken into self-possession. His idea was that if you mix your labor with something you take from state of nature, you make it your private property (which is constrained only by what is due to others). Locke writing contemporarily with process of enclosure, and he justified this with an obligation to put land to use ("spoilage"). Tension of accumulation of wealth with concept of spoilage reconciled through the development of money, which could be put to other productive ventures and expand possession in a virtuous circle. Enslavement contradicts right to possession directly, but for Locke, Africans and other indigenous people existed in state of nature and their "warlike aggressions" placed them in breach of their natural rights and so they could become property. Later theorists filled in stages between state of nature and modern state using various combinations of subsistence methods with forms of property--hunter gatherer, pastoral herding, settled agriculture, and commercial society. * 1700s: Scottish Enlightenment authors like Hume, Smith developed typologies of society as stages of human development (not mentioned here, but also Rousseau). Colonial encounters conceptualized as encounters with people at different stages of development, and modernity presented as project of progress. Slavery conceptualized as feature of societies in earlier stages (e.g., agricultural or hunter-gatherer, and often equated with serfdom) at the same time that colonialism forced the expansion of forced labor. Hegel argued that slavery would be good for Africans and bad for European societies, and Hegel used opposition to slavery as mark of savagery and lack of humanity. European barbarity was ignored. * These ideas contribute to view that freedom is a product of European modernity which operates from an internal logic (which excludes/displaces colonialism from its proper context in social theory). European society (capitalist society, etc.) seen as proper focus for social theory and its conflicts (I.e., class, gender) become focus of sociology. Racism rendered as non-essential and deriving from colonialism. * John Holmwood is a former president of the BSA, educated at Cambridge. His work has focused on social stratification and the relationship between social science and explanation. His later work has concentrated on issues of pragmatism in public sociology. * Comments: Helpful analysis of how foundational European theorists' thought was deeply implicated in justifying colonialism. This analysis was missing from the Western Political Heritage class (POLI 202) I took from Ryan Davis my junior year at BYU (in 2016)--I wonder if I could find any of my old papers?

    4. Decolonizing Modern Social Theory * Calls to decolonize the university came alongside broader movements for decolonization. Issues include institutional benefits of colonialism to Western educational systems (endowments, personnel) and legacy of colonial thought in social sciences. * Examines context of development of Western theory in relation to colonialism and the subsequent erasure of that information in Western discourse. * Colonialism displaced as well in neglect of rise of European imperialism out of colonialism, in contrast we see colonialism rising out of capitalism. Colonialism and empire are seen outside the dominant framework of modernity (something prior to modernity), despite Marx, Weber, and Durkheim writing at the height of colonialism which culminated in a global war b/t colonial powers. * European history often uses stadial account of social development (e.g., see Dawn of Everything) and represents slavery as a pre-modern phenomenon. * Colonialism has not been dealt with systematically within social theory. * Purpose is to decolonize and disrupt concepts and categories (e.g., class) that "modern" social theory has given us to open up new ways of thinking about modern social thought. * Post WWII, sociology expanded and was incorporated into many curriculums worldwide. As empires declined, sociology came to focus on nation-state. At same time, European countries challenged by decolonial movements (Algeria, India, etc.) which transformed the world order although sociology did not see these conflicts as defining social structures, rather as entanglements between nations. * Issue isn't to add colonialism to sociology's covered topics, but how the absence of colonialism has shaped sociology and how including it as central reforms sociology. * Gurminder Bhambra is President of the British Sociological Association (22-24) and her current projects are on epistemological justice and reparations and on the political economy of race and colonialism. * Comments: Appreciate the dual focus on grappling with institutional benefits of colonialism to Western institutions alongside the legacy of colonial thought. Really interested in the questions posed here and their cross-applicability to other fields (e.g., evaluation). Wasn't quite clear on whether she was arguing that the linear process in the development of colonialism was capitalism --> colonialism --> empire, or if she was arguing for another (e.g., non-linear or differently ordered) conception of this process (I.e., similar to what Cedric Robinson does in Black Marxism).

      • Writing in the newsletter of the American Sociological Association's theory section in 2019, Magubane argues that the day for sociology to reckon with how its structures of knowledge (frameworks, analytical categories, methods, and data) are shaped by colonialism. She argues that the dominant sociological canon (particularly Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) serves a uniquely integrating function as a shared ritual in sociology.
      • Magubane discusses Raewyn Connell's pathbreaking article "Why is Classical Theory Classical" and hostile responses. Citing Connell, Magubane highlights the disciplinary crisis that struck sociology after WWI when sociology recentered from focusing on progress to society and difference and disorder within the metropole. She argues a point that Connell does not make but that is central to understanding the implications of decolonizing sociology is that race was central to the "difference and disorder" in the metropole. Sociology was committed to understanding racism in America, but did not do so very successfully in part due to the standpoint of many sociologists within the white, male professional managerial class. The shift to focusing on race coincided with the discipline's "deep suppression of the discipline's roots in colonialism via the construction of the classical cannon" which deleted the discourse of imperialism from sociology.
      • Decolonizing sociology will require a deep examination of its history and how it has dealt with racism. This includes reading the classics differently, to see how key concepts took shape because of theorists' engagement with the global majority, and restoring intellectuals who have been excluded from the canon (e.g., W.E.B. DuBois, Anna Julia Cooper, and Charles S. Johnson) while rigorously engage them in ways that "interrogate and emphasize their intellectual disagreements" rather than lumping them under homogenizing labels.
      • Zine Magubane is a scholar whose work focuses broadly on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and post-colonial studies in the United States and Southern Africa. Magubane was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Bernard Magubane, was a prominent South African scholar and one of the leading anti-apartheid activists based in the United States. Magubane received her undergraduate degree in politics at Princeton University, and obtained a masters and Ph.D degree in sociology from Harvard. She currently works at Boston College.
      • Thought provoking analysis of the role of the "canon", the role of the study of racism in the re-construction of the field post-WWII, and of how to approach decolonization within the discipline. The latter provides extremely helpful insights into how to "do" social science work and engage with its theory in a decolonial way. The article focuses on the decolonization of the canon, and it would be helpful to also read discussions around disrupting colonial structures within sociology, academia, and related systems.
  2. Nov 2022
  3. view.connect.americanpublicmedia.org view.connect.americanpublicmedia.org
    1. The word “kafala” in Arabic has traditionally been used to describe a social and moral “responsibility to another.”  Researchers Ray Jureidini and Said Fares Hassan write, “kafala contracts were used to protect the weak and vulnerable by instituting the patronage of a prominent local who provided whatever protection was required.” Think of raising an orphaned child, for example. In business, kafala originally referred to contracts where a guarantor assumes liability for another person (e.g. a cosigner for a loan).    Kafala nowadays is often used to describe the legal relationship between businesses and migrant workers. Employers, typically citizens, act as sponsors for workers and assume legal responsibility for their movement and actions in exchange for their right to work in a geographic area. 

      The use of kafala shows a shift from a meaning of social responsibility into a meaning co-opted by capitalism and social contract.

    1. Rank, Mark Robert, Lawrence M. Eppard, and Heather E. Bullock. Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong About Poverty. Oxford University Press, 2021.

      Reading as part of Dan Allosso's Book Club

      Mostly finished last week, though I managed to miss the last book club meeting for family reasons, but finished out the last few pages tonight.

    1. Leeson, R. A. Travelling Brothers: The Six Centuries’ Road from Craft Fellowship to Trade Unionism. London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1979.

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4467218-travelling-brothers

      Suggested by Jerry Michalski on 2022-11-02

  4. Oct 2022
    1. His topics include the rhetoric and impact of culture wars in American political life and the relationship between politics and culture in the United States.
    1. https://gabz.blog/2022/10/27/what-about-them.html

      Why do people not have strong note taking practices or desire to do so? - Some of it may come down to lack of a practice (or model) to follow - some don't have a clearly stated need for why they're doing it in the first place - some spread their notes out over many tools and applications which prevents a quorum of power building up in one place, thus defeating a lot of the purpose. (This is why having all of one's notes in one place is so important as a rule.) - This particular post is a good example of this cardinal sin. - Lack of easy search defeats the ability to extract value back out of having made the notes in the first place. - Note repositories aren't always all of the value proposition. Often the fact of the work that went into making a note to learn and understand ideas is all of the value for a reasonable portion of notes.

    1. Because I am as interested in the attitudes and assumptions which are implicit in the evidence as in those which were explicitly articulated at the time, I have got into the habit of reading against the grain. Whether it is a play or a sermon or a legal treatise, I read it not so much for what the author meant to say as for what the text incidentally or unintentionally reveals.

      Historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and surely other researchers must often "read against the grain" which historian Keith Thomas defines as reading a text, not so much for what the author was explicitly trying to directly communicate to the reader, but for the small tidbits that the author through the text "incidentally or unintentionally reveals."

  5. Sep 2022
    1. Unemployed workers are much more likelyto fall into poverty in countries like the United States, Canada, and Japan,compared with countries such as the Netherlands and Iceland.

      Is part of this effect compounded by America's history of the Protestant work ethic (see Max Weber)?

      Do the wealthy/powerful benefit by this structure of penalizing the unemployed this way? Is there a direct benefit to them? Or perhaps the penalty creates a general downward pressure on overall wages and thus provides an indirect benefit to those in power?

      What are the underlying reasons we tax the unemployed this way?

    2. The culture of poverty argument asserts that poverty has become a way of lifefor many of the poor, and that this way of life is passed down from one genera-tion to the next.
    3. One reason for this is that poverty is not something that people wish to ac-knowledge or draw attention to. Rather, it is something that individuals andfamilies would like to go away. As a result, many Americans attempt to concealtheir economic difficulties as much as possible.22 This often involves keeping upappearances and trying to maintain a “normal” lifestyle. Such poverty downthe block may at first appear invisible. Nevertheless, the reach of poverty iswidespread, touching nearly all communities across America.

      Middle Americans, and particularly those in suburbia and rural parts of America that account for the majority of poverty in the country, tend to make their poverty invisible because of the toxic effects of extreme capitalism and keeping up appearances.

      Has this effect risen with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and the idea of "living one's best life"? How about the social effects of television with shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians" which encourage conspicuous consumption?


      More interesting is the fact that most of these suburban and rural poverty stricken portions of the country are in predominantly Republican held strongholds.

      Is there a feedback mechanism that is not only hollowing these areas out, but keeping them in poverty?

    4. In 1990, 15.1 percent of the poor were residingin high- poverty neighborhoods. That figure dropped to 10.3 percent by 2000,rose to 13.6 percent for 2010, and then fell to 11.9 percent for 2015.

      Is there a long term correlation between these rates and political parties? Is there a potential lag time between the two if there is?

    5. It is a region marked by historicallylow wages paid to farm laborers and their families.

      It would seem that most of the large swaths of rural poverty in America are those with historical roots of slavery, colonization, and exploitation. These include: the Deep South and Mississippi Delta region where slavery, share cropping, and cotton plantations abounded; Appalachia (esp. West Virginia and Kentucky) where the coal mining industry disappeared; Texas-Mexico border where the Latinx populations have long been exploited; the Southwest and Northern Plains (including Alaska) with Native Americans who live on reservations after having been exploited, dealt with broken treaties and general decimation of their people and communities; central corridor of California with high numbers of exploited immigrant farm laborers.

    6. sociologist C. WrightMills

      Note takers reading this may appreciate that Mills had a note taking system:

      https://hypothes.is/a/Wbm09giuEe2-tH8vp1LziA<br /> https://hypothes.is/a/_7SQkPdFEeunDX9htFmQ8w

      This particular note and my notice of it is an interesting case of faint recognition and combinatorial creativity at play. I vaguely recognized Mills' name but was able to quickly find it within my reading notes to discover I'd run across him and his intellectual practice before.

    7. Theidealized image of American society is one of abundant opportunities, withhard work being rewarded by economic prosperity. Consequently, those whofail to get ahead have only themselves to blame according to this argument. Itis within this context that America thinks of itself as a fair and meritocraticsociety in which people get what they deserve in life.

      There is a variety of confounding myths in America which tend to hold us down. These include economic mobility, meritocracy, poverty, and the land of opportunity.

      With respect to the "land of opportunity", does positive press of a small number of cases from an earlier generation outweigh the actual experience of the majority?


      There was a study on The Blitz in London and England in general in World War II which showed that despite high losses in general, enough people knew one or more who'd lost someone or something to the extreme but that the losses weren't debilitating from a loss perspective and generally served to boost overall morale. Higher losses may have been more demoralizing and harmful, but didn't happen. (Find this source: possibly Malcolm Gladwell??)

      Is this sort of psychological effect at play socially and politically in America and thereby confounding our progress?

  6. Aug 2022
    1. Jahraus, Oliver, Armin Nassehi, Mario Grizelj, Irmhild Saake, Christian Kirchmeier, and Julian Müller, eds. Luhmann-Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung. Springer, 2012. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-476-05271-1

  7. Jul 2022
    1. They're drawing primarily from students with the following broad interests: - learning sciences / educational psychology - sociology of education (to influence policy/practice) - those with strong real-world experience (looking to apply it to a specific area)

      tuition coverage & stipend<br /> must be based in Baltimore<br /> prefer one speaks to faculty members for alignment of research areas and mentorship prior to joining

    1. Martha Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield, FBA (née Potter; 22 January 1858 – 30 April 1943) was an English sociologist, economist, socialist, labour historian and social reformer. It was Webb who coined the term collective bargaining. She was among the founders of the London School of Economics and played a crucial role in forming the Fabian Society.
    1. ; until, in 1907, eachclass had come to be dealt with according to principles which wereobviously very different from those of 1834. The report of this investi¬gation was presented to the Poor Law Commission, with the interest¬ing result that we heard no more of the “ principles of 1834 ”! It wassubsequently published as English Poor Law Policy (1910).

      Beatrice Webb studied the effects of the British "principles of 1834" and how they were carried out (differently) from area to area to see the overall effects through 1907. The result of her study apparently showed what a poor policy it had been to the point that no one mentioned the old "principles of 1834" again.

      How might this sort of sociological study be carried out on the effects of laws within the United States now in terms of economics and equality for various movements like redlining, abortion, etc.? Is anyone doing this sort of work?


      There is an example of the Eviction Lab at Princeton has some of this sort of data and analysis. https://evictionlab.org/map

    2. taking in sociological investigation

      The simplest and most direct way of bringing home to the reader the truth of this dogmatic assertion of the scientific value of note-taking in sociological investigation...

      Beatrice Webb indicates that it is an incontrovertible truth that sociologists should use a card index (zettelkasten) as a primary tool in their research.

      We ought to closely notice that she wrote this truism about the field of sociology in a book published in 1926, the year prior to Niklas Luhmann's death.


      How popular was her book with respect to the remainder of the field of sociology subsequently? What other sociology texts may have had similar ideas? Webb obviously quotes some of this technique in the late 1800s as being popular within the area of history. How evenly was it spread across the humanities in general?


      Is Beatrice Webb's card index amongst her papers? Where might they be stored today?

    1. Beatrice Webb, the famous sociologist and political activist, reported in 1926: "'Every one agrees nowadays', observe the most noted French writers on the study of history, 'that it is advisable to collect materials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice are obvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host of different combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring texts of the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in the interior of the groups to which they belong.'" [6]

      footnote:

      Webb 1926, p. 363. The number of scholars who have used the index card method is legion, especially in sociology and anthropology, but also in many other subjects. Claude Lévy-Strauss learned their use from Marcel Mauss and others, Roland Barthes used them, Charles Sanders Peirce relied on them, and William Van Orman Quine wrote his lectures on them, etc.

    1. probefahrer · 7 hr. agoAre you familiar with Mark Granovetter‘s theory of weak ties?He used it in the sense of the value of weak social connections but I am pretty sure one could make a case for weak connections in a Zettelkasten as being very valuable

      Humanity is a zettelkasten in biological form.

      Our social ties (links) putting us into proximity with other humans over time creates a new links between us and our ideas, and slowly evolves new ideas over time. Those new ideas that win this evolutionary process are called innovation.

      The general statistical thermodynamics of this idea innovation process can be "heated up" by improving communication channels with those far away from us (think letters, telegraph, radio, television, internet, social media).

      This reaction can be further accelerated by actively permuting the ideas with respect to each other as suggested by Raymond Llull's combinatorial arts.

      motivating reference: Matt Ridley in The Rational Optimist

      link to: - Mark Granovetter and weak ties - life of x

  8. Jun 2022
    1. At Mojeek we believe informational diversity is vital to a healthy society and economy.

      Informational diversity is vital to a healthy society and economy.

    1. As my colleague Robin Paige likes to say, we are also social beings in a social world. So if we shift things just a bit to think instead about the environments we design and cultivate to help maximize learning, then psychology and sociology are vital for understanding these elements as well.

      Because we're "social beings in a social world", we need to think about the psychology and sociology of the environments we design to help improve learning.

      Link this to: - Design of spaces like Stonehenge for learning in Indigenous cultures, particularly the "stage", acoustics (recall the ditch), and intimacy of the presentation. - research that children need face-to-face interactions for language acquisition

    1. https://alex-hanna.medium.com/on-racialized-tech-organizations-and-complaint-a-goodbye-to-google-43fd8045991d

      As ever, we need to do more listening. And reading, there's lots of interesting references in here to read.

    2. My methodological approach comes from thinking along with Sara Ahmed’s work on complaint. By “complaint”, I mean grievances we lodge within our workplaces, which can look both like formal complaints made to human resources (excuse me, I mean “people operations”) and informal complaints which we hold between our peers, comrades, and friends. Anyone who has engaged in the process of a formal complaint can tell you how exhausting it is to register one, how management and decision-makers can stall, and how much one has to relive their trauma to do so.
    3. I’ve also learned, thanks to my doctoral training in sociology, that one must expand one’s personal problems into the structural, to recognize what’s rotten at the local level as an instantiation of the institutional. Our best public sociologists, like Tressie McMillan Cottom and Jess Calarco, do this exceptionally well.
  9. May 2022
    1. Demand-side solutions require both motivation and capacity for change (high confidence).34Motivation by individuals or households worldwide to change energy consumption behaviour is35generally low. Individual behavioural change is insufficient for climate change mitigation unless36embedded in structural and cultural change. Different factors influence individual motivation and37capacity for change in different demographics and geographies. These factors go beyond traditional38socio-demographic and economic predictors and include psychological variables such as awareness,39perceived risk, subjective and social norms, values, and perceived behavioural control. Behavioural40nudges promote easy behaviour change, e.g., “improve” actions such as making investments in energy41efficiency, but fail to motivate harder lifestyle changes. (high confidence) {5.4}

      We must go beyond behavior nudges to make significant gains in demand side solutions. It requires an integrated strategy of inner transformation based on the latest research in trans-disciplinary fields such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience and behavioral economics among others.

  10. Apr 2022
    1. It is difficult to see interdependencies This is especially true in the context of learning something complex, say economics. We can’t read about economics in a silo without understanding psychology, sociology and politics, at the very least. But we treat each subject as though they are independent of each other.

      Where are the tools for graphing inter-dependencies of areas of study? When entering a new area it would be interesting to have visual mappings of ideas and thoughts.

      If ideas in an area were chunked into atomic ideas, then perhaps either a Markov monkey or a similar actor could find the shortest learning path from a basic idea to more complex ideas.

      Example: what is the shortest distance from an understanding of linear algebra to learn and master Lie algebras?

      Link to Garden of Forking Paths

      Link to tools like Research Rabbit, Open Knowledge Maps and Connected Papers, but for ideas instead of papers, authors, and subject headings.


      It has long been useful for us to simplify our thought models for topics like economics to get rid of extraneous ideas to come to basic understandings within such a space. But over time, we need to branch out into related and even distant subjects like mathematics, psychology, engineering, sociology, anthropology, politics, physics, computer science, etc. to be able to delve deeper and come up with more complex and realistic models of thought.Our early ideas like the rational actor within economics are fine and lovely, but we now know from the overlap of psychology and sociology which have given birth to behavioral economics that those mythical rational actors are quaint and never truly existed. To some extent, to move forward as a culture and a society we need to rid ourselves of these quaint ideas to move on to more complex and sophisticated ones.

    1. Humans’ tendency to“overimitate”—to reproduce even the gratuitous elements of another’s behavior—may operate on a copy now, understand later basis. After all, there might begood reasons for such steps that the novice does not yet grasp, especially sinceso many human tools and practices are “cognitively opaque”: not self-explanatory on their face. Even if there doesn’t turn out to be a functionalrationale for the actions taken, imitating the customs of one’s culture is a smartmove for a highly social species like our own.

      Research has shown that humans are "high-fidelity" imitators to the point of overimitation. It's possible that as an evolved and highly social species that imitation signals acceptance and participation by members of the society such that even "cognitively opaque" practices will be blindly followed.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/lROFtsDkEey_yHtNNJ_NfQ

    1. As a scheme, Scientology worked because it did what all successful religious grifts do: it offered an alienated social group a community and a solution to its defining problems, articulated in the vernacular of its tastes.
  11. Mar 2022
    1. This hierarchical system ensures accuracy, rigour and competencyof information.

      Hierarchical systems of knowledge in Indigenous cultures helps to ensure rigor, competency, and most importantly accuracy of knowledge passed down from generation to generation.

    1. Also, interacting with my phone while I’m supposed to be engaging with other people (especially my own children) is very uncool. But nobody bats an eye when I take a written note. Or if they do, it often starts a conversation rather than ending it.

      From a social perspective, it's far less acceptable to pull your phone out and use it compared with taking out a notebook and writing a short note. One tends to end conversation and interaction whereas the second rarely ends a conversation and may sometimes create or extend one.


      I've experienced this same effect myself as well.

    1. Refinement is a social process

      The idea that refinement is a social process is a powerful one, but it is limited by the society's power structures, scale, and access to the original material and least powerful person's ability to help refine it.

  12. Feb 2022
    1. First, consider who gets to make the rules. Tenured scholars who, as we’ve noted, are mostly white and male, largely make the rules that determine who else can join the tenured ranks. This involves what sociologists call “boundary work,” or the practice of a group setting rules to determine who is good enough to join. And as such, many of the rules established around tenure over the years work really well for white scholars, but don’t adequately capture the contributions of scholars of color.

      Boundary work is the practice of a group that sets the rules to determine who is and isn't good enough to join the group.

      Link to Groucho Marx quote, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

    1. Also, we shouldn’t underestimate the advantages of writing. In oralpresentations, we easily get away with unfounded claims. We candistract from argumentative gaps with confident gestures or drop acasual “you know what I mean” irrespective of whether we knowwhat we meant. In writing, these manoeuvres are a little too obvious.It is easy to check a statement like: “But that is what I said!” Themost important advantage of writing is that it helps us to confrontourselves when we do not understand something as well as wewould like to believe.

      In modern literate contexts, it is easier to establish doubletalk in oral contexts than it is in written contexts as the written is more easily reviewed for clarity and concreteness. Verbal ticks like "you know what I mean", "it's easy to see/show", and other versions of similar hand-waving arguments that indicate gaps in thinking and arguments are far easier to identify in writing than they are in speech where social pressure may cause the audience to agree without actually following the thread of the argument. Writing certainly allows for timeshiting, but it explicitly also expands time frames for grasping and understanding a full argument in a way not commonly seen in oral settings.

      Note that this may not be the case in primarily oral cultures which may take specific steps to mitigate these patterns.

      Link this to the anthropology example from Scott M. Lacy of the (Malian?) tribe that made group decisions by repeating a statement from the lowest to the highest and back again to ensure understanding and agreement.


      This difference in communication between oral and literate is one which leaders can take advantage of in leading their followers astray. An example is Donald Trump who actively eschewed written communication or even reading in general in favor of oral and highly emotional speech. This generally freed him from the need to make coherent and useful arguments.

  13. Jan 2022
    1. One could say that it makes —to use Robert Merton’s term5 — serendipity possible in a systemically and theoretically informed way

      How does a set of connected notes create serendipity in a systematic and theoretically informed way?

      Merton, Robert King and Barber, Elinor (2004) The Travels And Adventures Of Serendipity : A Study In Sociological Semantics And The Sociology Of Science Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2004

    1. L’un des thèmes récurrents pendant les discussions a été celui de la rigueur.

      Not too surprising. It's an important consideration for the Academe. Almost part of the definition. And it's useful that learning pros are tackling such issues instead of jumping to conclusions. In a way, it's an extension of work done in the Sociology of Education since 1918.

    1. The term autopoiesis (from Greek αὐτo- (auto-) 'self', and ποίησις (poiesis) 'creation, production') refers to a system capable of producing and maintaining itself by creating its own parts.[1] The term was introduced in the 1972 publication Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to define the self-maintaining chemistry of living cells.[2] Since then the concept has been also applied to the fields of cognition, systems theory, architecture and sociology.

      I can't help but think about a quine here...

  14. Dec 2021
    1. Possibility of linking (Verweisungsmöglichkeiten). Since all papers have fixed numbers, you can add as many references to them as you may want. Central concepts can have many links which show on which other contexts we can find materials relevant for them.

      Continuing on the analogy between addresses for zettels/index cards and for people, the differing contexts for cards and ideas is similar to the multiple different publics in which people operate (home, work, school, church, etc.)

      Having these multiple publics creates a variety of cross links within various networks for people which makes their internal knowledge and relationships more valuable.

      As societies grow the number of potential interconnections grows as well. Compounding things the society doesn't grow as a homogeneous whole but smaller sub-groups appear creating new and different publics for each member of the society. This is sure to create a much larger and much more complex system. Perhaps it's part of the beneficial piece of the human limit of memory of inter-personal connections (the Dunbar number) means that instead of spending time linearly with those physically closest to us, we travel further out into other spheres and by doing so, we dramatically increase the complexity of our societies.

      Does this level of complexity change for oral societies in pre-agrarian contexts?


      What would this look like mathematically and combinatorially? How does this effect the size and complexity of the system?


      How can we connect this to Stuart Kauffman's ideas on complexity? (Picking up a single thread creates a network by itself...)

    1. Now, we should be clear here: social theory always, necessarily,involves a bit of simplification. For instance, almost any humanaction might be said to have a political aspect, an economic aspect,a psychosexual aspect and so forth. Social theory is largely a gameof make-believe in which we pretend, just for the sake of argument,that there’s just one thing going on: essentially, we reduce everythingto a cartoon so as to be able to detect patterns that would beotherwise invisible. As a result, all real progress in social science hasbeen rooted in the courage to say things that are, in the finalanalysis, slightly ridiculous: the work of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud orClaude Lévi-Strauss being only particularly salient cases in point.One must simplify the world to discover something new about it. Theproblem comes when, long after the discovery has been made,people continue to simplify.

      revisit this... it's an important point, particularly when looking at complex ideas with potentially emergent properties

    1. evolutionary theorists like Christopher berm whose book hierarchy in the forest he's a primatologist is quite explicit about 00:11:27 this and says well this is precisely what makes human politics different from the politics of say chimpanzees or bonobos or orangutangs is what he calls our actuarial intelligence which I 00:11:39 believe what he means by this is the fact that we can in fact imagine what another kind of society might be like

      Primatologist [[Christopher Boehm]] argues in his book Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior that humans are different from our primate ancestors because homo sapiens possess actuarial intelligence, or the ability to imagine what other kinds of society might look like.

    1. In oral societies, personal memories fade and even-tually disappear, and yet knowledge somehow remains, as does language. Con-sequently, social memory arises outside, but not independently of, individual psychic systems; it may be regarded as the recursive outcome of communica-tions that are operatively reproduced inside social systems.14

      This idea of transmission of knowledge within oral societies is worth exploring. What is the media of transmission? How does it work in comparison with literate societies? What is the overlap in the two Venn Diagrams?

    2. an inquiry into filing systems is an inquiry into how society manages its own memory.11
  15. Nov 2021
    1. The censoriousness, the shunning, the ritualized apologies, the public sacrifices—these are rather typical behaviors in illiberal societies with rigid cultural codes, enforced by heavy peer pressure.

      I'd highlighted this from a pull quote earlier, but note that the full context also includes the phrase:

      enforced by heavy peer pressure.

    2. The censoriousness, the shunning, the ritualized apologies, the public sacrifices—these are typical behaviors in illiberal societies with rigid cultural codes.
    3. Last year Joshua Katz, a popular Princeton classics professor, wrote an article critical of a letter published by a group of Princeton faculty on race. In response The Daily Princetonian, a student newspaper, spent seven months investigating his past relationships with students, eventually convincing university officials to relitigate incidents from years earlier that had already been adjudicated—a classic breach of James Madison’s belief that no one should be punished for the same thing twice. The Daily Princetonian investigation looks more like an attempt to ostracize a professor guilty of wrong-think than an attempt to bring resolution to a case of alleged misbehavior.

      The example of Joshua Katz brings up the idea of double jeopardy within the social sphere. Is this form of punishment ethical or fair? Also, while those transgressions were held to account by the norms of their day, were there other larger harms (entailing unwritten rules) to humanity that weren't adjudicated at the time which are now coming to the surface as part of a bigger aggregate harm?

      It could be seen as related to the idea of reparations. In some sense, aside from the general harms of war—in which they participated—the South and slave holders in particular were never held to account or punished for their crimes against humanity. Though they may have felt as if they were. Where are those harms adjudicated? Because of a quirk of fate and poor politics following the Civil War and not being held to account, have those in the South continued perpetuating many of the same harms they were doing, simply in different guises? When will they be held to account? How would reparations look in the form of a national level of restorative justice?

    4. Websites now offer “sample templates” for people who need to apologize; some universities offer advice on how to apologize to students and employees, and even include lists of good words to use (mistake, misunderstand, misinterpret).

      In an era of cancel culture there are now websites that offer sample templates of apologies and even universities are offering advice to constituents about how to apologize better.

      When might we see a book in the self-help section with a title like "How to apologize?" At what point have we perhaps gone too far on this scale?

    5. Because apologies have become ritualized, they invariably seem insincere.

      I often personally feel this way with others in even the most minor cases.

      How far do apologies need to go to actually seem sincere?

      Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

    6. This is typical: More often than not, apologies will be parsed, examined for “sincerity”—and then rejected.

      Why are these parsed apologies being rejected and by whom? Are they being rejected by the wronged parties or by the broader society-at-large who regularly don't have or care about the full context of the situations? How much of these are propagated by social media and the ability of search engines to continually uncover them?

      How might these situations have given rise to the idea of honor suicides in cultures like Japan with rituals like seppuku? How are these sorts of cultural practices passed into common practice? How can they be reversed?

    7. Nicholas Christakis, the Yale professor of medicine and sociology who was at the center of a campus and social-media storm in 2015, is also an expert on the functioning of human social groups. He reminded me that ostracism “was considered an enormous sanction in ancient times—to be cast out of your group was deadly.” It is unsurprising, he said, that people in these situations would consider suicide.
  16. Oct 2021
    1. Drawing from his own experiences fighting for the French resistance against the Vichy regime, Ellul offers a unique insight into the propaganda machine.

      Why is Jacques Ellul believable when he takes a psychological and sociological approach to understanding propaganda? Because he lived through the Nazi invasion of his own country and became a leader in resistance to the Vichy regime.

      As we live in times when populist movements are outsourcing influence, capacity, and agency to authoritarian leaders who purport to be able to solve our problems, we are horrified to realize that we also have been merely following orders in the work to imagine, design, and build the fascist architecture of modern society.

  17. Sep 2021
    1. Max Weber, 100 años después

      El artículo "Max Weber, 100 años" escrito por @damianpachon1 publicado en la revista @Revistasemana, hace referencia a los principales aportes de Weber, así como la importancia y trascendencia de su pensamiento.

      Me interesa saber, ¿Cuál es la trascendencia de Marianne Weber en la divulgación de las obras de Max Weber?

    2. Por otro lado, de Inmanuel Kant parte Weber para construir su teoría de los tipos ideales, “categorías-tipo” o “conceptos-tipo”

      “Max Weber,100 años después” escrito por @damianpachon1 publicado en la revista @RevistaSemana, un artículo en donde se enmarca la transcendencia de la obra de Max Weber. Aunado a lo anterior me surge como interrogante ¿Cuáles son los tipos ideales mencionados en el texto con referencia a Inmanuel Kant? Me ha parecido muy interesante el artículo por lo que le pido me comparta cuáles son sus fuentes de consulta al realizar sus trabajos de investigación.

    3. Max Weber, 100 años después

      El artículo “Max Weber, 100 años después” es un texto introductorio sobre la vida, teoría y obras de Max Weber, a grandes rasgos. Me resultó útil, ya que explica de manera resumida el contexto histórico en que se encontraba este clásico.

      Me gustaría preguntarle al autor ¿Por qué decidió escribir sobre Max Weber? y ¿A qué público esperaba llegar con este artículo?

  18. Jul 2021
    1. ‘Don’t get fooled by those mangled teeth she sports on camera!’ says the ABC News host introducing the woman who plays Pennsatucky. ‘Taryn Manning is one beautiful and talented actress.’ This suggestion that bad teeth and talent, in particular, are mutually exclusive betrays our broad, unexamined bigotry toward those long known, tellingly, as ‘white trash.’ It’s become less acceptable in recent decades to make racist or sexist statements, but blatant classism generally goes unchecked. See the hugely successful blog People of Walmart that, through submitted photographs, viciously ridicules people who look like contemporary US poverty: the elastic waistbands and jutting stomachs of diabetic obesity, the wheelchairs and oxygen tanks of gout and emphysema. Upper-class supremacy is nothing new. A hundred years ago, the US Eugenics Records Office not only targeted racial minorities but ‘sought to demonstrate scientifically that large numbers of rural poor whites were genetic defectives,’ as the sociologist Matt Wray explains in his book Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (2006). The historian and civil rights activist W E B du Bois, an African American, wrote in his autobiography Dusk of Dawn (1940) that, growing up in Massachusetts in the 1870s, ‘the racial angle was more clearly defined against the Irish than against me. It was a matter of income and ancestry more than colour.’ Martin Luther King, Jr made similar observations and was organising a poor-people’s march on Washington at the time of his murder in 1968.

      examples of upper-class supremacy

      This seems an interesting sociological issue. What is the root cause? Is it the economic sense of "keeping up with the Jonses"? Is it a zero-sum game? really?

  19. May 2021
    1. Adjiwanou, V., Alam, N., Alkema, L., Asiki, G., Bawah, A., Béguy, D., Cetorelli, V., Dube, A., Feehan, D., Fisker, A. B., Gage, A., Garcia, J., Gerland, P., Guillot, M., Gupta, A., Haider, M. M., Helleringer, S., Jasseh, M., Kabudula, C., … You, D. (2020). Measuring excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and lower-middle income countries: The need for mobile phone surveys [Preprint]. SocArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/4bu3q

  20. Apr 2021
  21. Mar 2021
  22. Feb 2021
    1. Agents are usually understood to be human, although some paradigms, such as actor-network theory, maintain that non-humans are also endowed with agency.
    2. actor-network theory

      Actor network theory (ANT), also known as enrolment theory or the sociology of translation, emerged during the mid-1980s, primarily with the work of Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, and John Law. Actor–network theory tries to explain how material–semiotic networks come together to act as a whole; the clusters of actors involved in creating meaning are both material and semiotic.

    3. In Translation Studies (TS), the notion of agent has received various definitions. For Juan Sager (quoted in Milton & Bandia 2009: 1), an agent is anyone in an intermediary position (i.e. a commissioner, a reviser, an editor, etc.) between a translator and an end user of a translation whereas for Milton & Bandia (2009) an agent of translation is any entity (a person, an institution, or even a journal) involved in a process of cultural innovation and exchange. A third avenue was suggested by Simeoni (1995) who defined the agent as “the ‘subject,’ but socialized.
    1. To all this, the extropians said no. There is more to come, and better things lie on the horizon. Evolution mandates change, and “in the long run the positive potentials for intelligent beings are virtually limitless.” Believing that they were theagents of their own destiny, extropians aimed to be catalysts for progressive change, adopting “a positive, dynamic, empowering attitude,” while rejecting, “gloom, defeatism, and the typical focus on the negatives.”

      Interesting to note that this was the plank where Eliezer Yudkowsky couldn't find himself agreeing (and I don't entirely blame him). Seems like a situation where the status quo is so astonishingly broken that just reversing it seems like a useful thing to do, but then that doesn't actually get you something philosophically coherent except in the context that the status quo exists to moderate its influence.

    1. Let's face it, these days, if you want to socialize, you don't go out to the mall or the library, and it's a 50/50 shot if you even have anything resembling a town square. You go on the internet.

      And this is the problematic part of the internet as a town square: we have no defined governance or pale beyond which to cast people who go far beyond societal norms.

    2. American urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, who came up with the concept of "the third place" in his 1989 book "The Great Good Place", defines the third place as (commonly seen as) eight characteristics. There is no obligation to be here for legal, survival, political, etc. reasons. You can just not show up. Everyone is equal. The rich, the poor, the minorities and the majorities all intermingle together in one common space. Conversation and socializing is the main activity. You go here to "hang out". They're accessible and accommodating for anyone who wants to visit. It's a place where people regularly go, and whose regulars give the space its vibe and characteristics. The physical place is not overly pretentious or imposed. It feels like the community, like an extension of home. Generally speaking, the vibe here is more calm and friendly and playful than actively hostile and argumentative. You feel like you have genuine ownership in the place, as if it's almost a communal home for you and the people you care about.
    1. Eternal September or the September that never ended[1] is Usenet slang for a period beginning in September 1993,[2][3] the month that Internet service provider America Online (AOL) began offering Usenet access to its many users, overwhelming the existing culture for online forums.

      This makes me wonder at what level a founder community can manage to maintain its founder effects for incoming new members?

      Is there existing research on this? Are there potential ways to guard against it in the future?

      What happens to the IndieWeb community if it were to see similar effects?

    1. Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self (Routledge, 1989, Second edition, Free Associations, 1999)

      Builds on the idea of the Soul in Michel Foucault's work which originally was mentioned as a secondary concept in Discipline and Punish

  23. Nov 2020
    1. Thereisstillanothersetofinstitutions,ifthatistherightword,Iwanttocalltoyourattentionandmakemuchof.Theseareinvisibleinstitutions:theprinciplesofethicsandmorality.Certainlyonewayoflookingatethicsandmorality,awaythatiscompatiblewiththisattemptatrationalanaly-sis,isthattheseprinciplesareagreements,consciousor,inmanycases,unconscious,tosupplymutualbenefits.Theagreementtotrusteachothercannotbebought,asIhavesaid;itisnotevennecessarilyveryeasyforittobeachievedbyasignedcontractsayingthatwewillworkwitheachother.

      This is a form of cultural functionalism.

      Personally, I would term these as culture distinct from institutions. Institutions may formalize culture -- and support it. But they are outward manifestations of something deeper.

      I return now to my developing archaeological layering of of socio-ecology. Each layer interacts with the other but the lower ones are more "fundamental":

      Outcomes
         ---
      Technology
         ---
      Institutions
          ---
      Culture
           ---
      Pyscho-Ontology
      

    Tags

    Annotators

  24. Oct 2020
    1. Concerning the discipline of sociology, he described the dichotomy of sedentary life versus nomadic life as well as the inevitable loss of power that occurs when warriors conquer a city. According to the Arab scholar Sati' al-Husri, the Muqaddimah may be read as a sociological work. The work is based around Ibn Khaldun's central concept of 'aṣabiyyah, which has been translated as "social cohesion", "group solidarity", or "tribalism". This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun's analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds – psychological, sociological, economic, political – of the group's downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion. Some of Ibn Khaldun's views, particularly those concerning the Zanj people of sub-Saharan Africa,[27] have been cited as a racist,[28] though they were not uncommon for their time. According to the scholar Abdelmajid Hannoum, Ibn Khaldun's description of the distinctions between Berbers and Arabs were misinterpreted by the translator William McGuckin de Slane, who wrongly inserted a "racial ideology that sets Arabs and Berbers apart and in opposition" into his translation of the Muqaddimah.
    1. “There’s a tendency of the [active] group to see themselves as the only legitimate users of the space, and everyone who’s not part of the group immediately becomes suspect,” she says.
    1. According to a recent Dutch study, that point of view still holds true today: Protestants and citizens of predominately Protestant countries tend to conflate labor with personal satisfaction more than those of other religious traditions.

      How does this juxtapose with the ideas of indigenous scocieties in James Suzman's article The 300,000-year case for the 15-hour week (Financial Times, 2020-08-27)

    1. There was also opportunity to connect with other students.

      I'm glad you had at least a little bit of this. The system I saw used for third graders left almost zero space for inter-student interaction or socialization which was a miserable experience.

    1. As sociologist Doug McAdam and others have explored, tactical innovation is crucial for movements over the long term.
    1. However, although their approaches are different, one thing ASM have in common is their emphasis on network and code pedagogies: that is, trying to help users become coders and technicians, “sociologists of software,” to draw on Simondon (2010), who are far more able to shape ASM to meet their needs. Thus, developers of ASM do more than just make media systems; they teach others how to use them and modify them. As Matt Lee of GNU social argues,it is vitally important to me that anyone can set up a GNU social server on virtually any web hosting. I also want to make it as easy as possible to set up and install. To that end, I will personally help anyone who wants to get set up.
    1. Digital texts embody the intersections between history and biography that Mills (1959) thought inherent to understanding social relations. Content from my blog is a ready example. I have access to the entire data set. I can track its macro discursive moments to action, space, and place. And I can consider it as a reflexive sociological practice. In this way, I have used my digital texts as methodologists use autoethnographies: reflexive, critical practices of social relationship.

      I wonder a bit about applying behavioral economics or areas like System 1/System 2 of D. Kahneman and A. Tversky to social media as well. Some (a majority?) use Twitter as an immediate knee-jerk reaction to content they're reading and interacting with in a very System 1 sense while others use longer form writing and analysis seen in the blogosphere to create System 2 sort of social thinking.

      This naturally needs to be cross referenced in peoples' time and abilities to consume these things and the reactions and dopamine responses they provoke. Most people are apt to read the shorter form writing because it's easier and takes less time and effort compared with longer form writing which requires far more cognitive load and time expenditure.

    1. Social scientists explain link formation through two families of mechanisms; one that finds it roots in sociology and the other one in economics. The sociological approach assumes that link formation is connected to the characteristics of individuals and their context. Chief examples of the sociological approach include what I will call the big three sociological link-formation hypotheses. These are: shared social foci, triadic closure, and homophily.
  25. Sep 2020
    1. natural sciences

      The definition for natural science are fields related to that of the physical side of the world and how it runs. This being said; wouldn't Sociology be considered up there as a Natural Science? It is the study of Social patterns which can be physical trends that influence some outcomes/events in which the world works.

  26. Aug 2020
    1. To see how this story unfolded, it’s worth going back to 2003. At the ETech conference that year, a keynote speech was given by the web enthusiast and writer Clay Shirky, now an academic at New York University, which surprised its audience by declaring that the task of designing successful online communities had little to do with technology at all. The talk looked back at one of the most fertile periods in the history of social psychology, and was entitled “A group is its own worst enemy”. Shirky drew on the work of the British psychoanalyst and psychologist Wilfred Bion, who, together with Kurt Lewin, was one of the pioneers of the study of “group dynamics” in the 40s. The central proposition of this school was that groups possess psychological properties that exist independently of their individual members. In groups, people find themselves behaving in ways that they never would if left to their own devices.

      Wilfred Bion and Kurt Lewin and group dynamics

    1. That restructuring of societies in Western Europe in turn also benefited the church, notes Henrich. "In some sense, the church is killing off clans, and they're often getting the lands in wealth," he says. "So this is enriching the church. Meanwhile, Europeans are broken down into monogamous, nuclear families and they can't re-create the complex kinship structures that we [still] see elsewhere in the world."

      If true, this is an astounding finding.

  27. Jul 2020
  28. Jun 2020
    1. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
    2. In community building, the third place is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place")
  29. May 2020
  30. Mar 2020
    1. Adam Smith, writing in 1790, said we can only expect real sympathy from real friends, not from mere acquaintances. More recently, in 1973, Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter established as a bedrock of social network analysis the idea that we rely on “strong” ties (our inner circle) for support and weak ties (our acquaintances) for information.
  31. Feb 2020
    1. The rise of big data and social media has resulted in particular transformations of academia. Deborah Lupton (2015) has, in this context, coined the notion of digital soci-ology. She argues that digital sociology consists of (a) professional digital practice so that sociologists employ ‘digital tools as part of sociological practice – to build networks, construct an online profile, publicize and share research and instruct students’ (p. 15); (b) the investigation of the use of digital technology; (c) digital data analysis, which has also been characterized as the rise of digital methods (Rogers, 2013); and (d) critical digital sociology, the fourth aspect of digital sociology. Lupton (2015) defines critical digital sociology as the ‘reflexive analysis of digital technologies informed by social and cul-tural theory’ (p. 16).All forms of social analysis reflect society in complex ways. Critical digital sociology is a particular reflexion of and on digital technologies’ role in society. It is a theoretical approach grounded in critical and Marxist theory that tries to understand capitalism and domination as well as their possible alternatives. But one should note that there is a con-tradiction between critical sociology as digital sociology’s fourth dimension and big data analytics that is part of Lupton’s third dimension of digital sociology.
  32. Dec 2019
    1. Idealized organizations are not perfect. They are perfectly pathological.  So while most most management literature is about striving relentlessly towards an ideal by executing organization theories completely, this school, which I’ll call the Whyte school, would recommend that you do the bare minimum organizing to prevent chaos, and then stop. Let a natural, if declawed, individualist Darwinism operate beyond that point. The result is the MacLeod hierarchy. It may be horrible, but like democracy, it is the best you can do.
    1. social constructionist

      "social constructionism examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality. The theory centers on the notion that meanings are developed in coordination with others rather than separately within each individual" - wikipedia

  33. Oct 2019
    1. When these signals are intercepted, collected, co-opted, or stolen, they have the potential to confuse, weaken, or compromise an individual or initiative.

      I can't help but thinking here about stories of native peoples feeling like photographs of them were like having their soul stolen.

  34. Aug 2019
    1. we have never had to fundamentally rethink the energy basis of our way of life

      The collapse of west roman empire had an energy component. See Joseph Tainter's research on collapse and complexity.

  35. Jul 2019
    1. See the author's blog post In Defense of Soundbites (2 January 2011)

      soundbites have dropped in length for a variety of reasons — economic, political, historical, and professional. What’s more, they’ve been dropping for a long time, as new research suggests that newspaper quotations began shrinking in a similar way in the 1890s.

      Instead of soundbites, then, we should worry about the tone and focus of our political discourse. And there’s no doubt that this, too, has evolved.

      Elaborated in the story:

      Hallin has argued all along that television news in the 1960s and 1970s, which many take to be the genre’s golden age, was never actually that good. Stories were dull and disorganized; those long quotations would be followed by a couple of seconds of dead air. Early newspapers, in their time, were no different. The Boston Globe’s first issue, in 1872, devoted much of its front page to transcriptions of church sermons.

      as networks shortened their sound bites, they also changed the substance of their political coverage. They started using more in-house experts, pundits who looked less at what people said than at how they said it. TV news became more about strategy and the parsing of strategy — about buzzwords like “expectations” and “momentum” — than about the issues that presumably lie at the heart of politics. Journalists wanted to turn campaigns into larger narratives, and there was no easier narrative than covering politics as though it were a sport. Indeed, Ryfe found that the same thing happened with 19th-century journalists, who, as they professionalized, also “became handicappers of the political process.”

      Ironically, this note is nothing but sound bites!

    1. evaporative social cooling effect.

      high value contributors leave a community because they cannot gain something from it, which leads to the decrease of the quality of the community. Since the people most likely to join a community are those whose quality is below the average quality of the community, these newcomers are very likely to harm the quality of the community.

      https://blogs.cornell.edu/info2040/2015/10/14/the-evaporative-cooling-effect-in-social-network/

  36. Apr 2019
    1. drei Dimensionen der Resonanzbeziehung

      Dinge Menschen Welt … Tiere Pflanzen Orte Landschaften Elemente … konzeptionelle Übersimplifizierung der Theorie? oder: treffende Beschreibung "moderne[r] Gesellschaften westlichen Typs" ?

    2. Lebendigkeit entsteht aus der Akzeptanz des Unverfügbaren

      Lebendigkeit? =: ein Gradmesser für Gegenwart/ Geistesgegenwärtigkeit/ SEIN/ flow/ …

      das Unverfügbare? =: Heisenbergsche Unschärferelation: wenn ich über das Unv. verfüge, zerstöre ich es (--> Schmetterling)

      --> Gelassenheit: ich muss nicht sammeln, besitzen kann mich über den Moment, die Begegnung freuen. der bewusste Verzicht auf Verfügung/ Besitz lässt mich wachsen, weil ich durch den Verzicht, immerhin im Falle des Schmetterlings, Leben schenke

      aber wie kann ich teilen? wenn ich kein Foto machen darf? --> schreiben! (es gibt bereits bilder von fast allem)

    1. Digital sociology needs more big theory as well as testable theory.

      Here I might posit that Cesar Hidalgo's book Why Information Grows (MIT, 2015) has some interesting theses about links between people and companies which could be extrapolated up to "societies of linked companies". What could we predict about how those will interact based on the underlying pieces? Is it possible that we see other emergent complex behaviors?

    2. Digital sociology needs more big theory as well as testable theory.

      I can't help but think here about the application of digital technology to large bodies of literature in the creation of the field of corpus linguistics.

      If traditional sociology means anything, then a digital incarnation of it should create physical and trackable means that can potentially be more easily studied as a result. Just the same way that Mark Dredze has been able to look at Twitter data to analyze public health data like influenza, we should be able to more easily quantify sociological phenomenon in aggregate by looking at larger and richer data sets of online interactions.

      There's also likely some value in studying the quantities of digital exhaust that companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. are using for surveillance capitalism.

  37. Jan 2019
    1. hose who divorce indicates that young married adults under age 30 have been particularly exposed to the risk of divorce in recent years, and this holds true especially for women.

      So is it fair to assume that the Goode Hypothesis is based on the idea that First only the rich can divorce and do so at there own rate Then it becomes available to the lower classes and so they begin to do it gradually as it is not immediately socially accepted despite being available. Then as it becomes common place amoung the poor the rich begin to see it as "lowly" to divorce and avoid it due to social stigma. Is that the presumed chain or are there other motivations that I am missing?

  38. Dec 2018
    1. Social scientists call the person connecting these two otherwise separate clusters a “bridge tie.” Research shows that weak ties are more likely to be bridges between disparate groups.
    2. homophily
    3. Te c h nolo-gies alter our abili