snarky: what is it about a new century?

When I was book review editor at Social Forces, I developed a pet peeve: book titles that used phrases like “for a new century,” “for the 21st century,” and so on. If the only reason your book is of interest is because of the changing digits at the end of the year, you should probably find a new topic! Alternatively, how about:

Democratic Innovations for This Afternoon

Challenges for Inequality After Sunday

I just got word–about which I’m very excited–that Nikolas Rose will be visiting UNC in April:

Screenshot from 2013-02-12 15:34:40

I don’t particularly see why a new century requires a new sociology. But it’s not even a new century anymore! We’re over 12% done with the century. At least there’s a question mark at the end, which implies that the answer could be “no”.

5 Comments

  1. Posted February 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I would forgive the title if the answer to the question actually turned out to be “no.”

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  2. Posted February 12, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    The 1980s and the 1990s are kind of a blur for me. I guess I’m still getting up to speed on the fact that we are deep into the 2000s. It’s all I can do to get up lecture notes updated from treating the 1990s as recent. So I guess I’m kind of sympathetic to the “new century” usage, even as agree that there is no particular reason to say a new century ought to have a new sociology.

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  3. krippendorf
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    At least we’re not still in a phase when every third article was “Bringing [Something] Back In.” Although, given how cyclical these things are (and how few truly new ideas there are in sociology), we’re probably due for another round of it.

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  4. eischwartz
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Maybe this title is an overly subtle reference to his interest in the rise of neuroscience and its potential influence on sociology? Or maybe I am unduly influenced by the copy of the book – Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (edited by my colleague Fred Appel)- that is sitting on my desk?

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  5. Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    On the cyclical thing, this really is a genre… Let’s call it, “fin de siecle-ism” :)

    Bummed I won’t be there to see this talk- I’m hoping Eric is right that he’s linking neuroscience and sociology. Could be very interesting.

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