three lessons to young researchers from gang leader for a day

(Book available here.)

1. If you are going to test a survey in an obviously dangerous public housing project, do not have your first question be arguably the worst survey question I have ever seen. (here)

2. If you hear a person planning a drive-by shooting of another person, you are under a legal–as well as, some of us might add, ethical and moral–obligation to do something about it. (This lesson, according to the author, was not learned until four years had been spent doing fieldwork.) (here)

3. If you are told information by interviewees, you should not divulge that information to criminals you know already are extorting money from some of the interviewees. (here)

are we allowed to plug our stuff here?

To answer foodgirl‘s question: absolutely. To pull said plug from a long comment thread:

My dissertation is about the foie gras controversies in the US and France and looks at the nexus of movements, markets, and the state in defining morality and virtue. My other project was about ‘virtuous food’ movements – the connections and disjunctures between local food, organic food, and the Slow Food movement…That turned into a book chapter that is coming out next year in an edited volume: The Globalization of Food, edited by David Inglis (the editor of the new Cultural Sociology journal), and I’ve collaborated with two great folks at Kellogg (the business school) for an article on the grass-fed beef movement as the creation of a market out of a movement (forthcoming in ASQ).

Speaking of which, there was a local news story out here in sunny California today about slaughterhouses mistreating cows. Has my living with a vegan for many years led me to falsely believe this is commonplace, or is this one of those things where now that there’s some video of cow torture circulating, everyone is just pretending that this is aberrant behavior?

where his mouth is

I’ve said it’s the great thing about prediction markets: either you can accept their implied probabilities as correct, or you can show that your disagreement is not just prattle by trying to make money off their “errors.” A friend of mine, “J.,” has been sulking around complaining that the rest of the world does not appear to apprehend what an especially bad matchup McCain versus Clinton is for the Democrats. Tonight he’s decided to take action, and he is attempting to allocate the entirety of his long-dormant account on betting for the by-implication-underpriced Republican candidate to win in 2008.*

“J.” hopes he’s wrong. Indeed, he made money in 2004 on a dual bet that Bush would win the general election but Kerry would win Wisconsin. This did nothing to abate his desolation after Election Day. And, yet, he bets ’em and he sees ’em. Continue reading “where his mouth is”

race names 2: caucasian

I just went along with a major report that uses the word Caucasian throughout (along with African American). I personally hate the word Caucasian, I associate it with scientific racism*, it seems smarmy to me, it makes my skin crawl. But I know a lot of people use it if they think the color names (Black, White) are wrong, and I don’t want to get into dissing people about using a word in good faith just because I hate it. The proper parallel to African American is European American, which I also call myself, along with White. I did not say anything because we had way too many other things to worry about to bother with my dislike of this race name. So anyway, does anybody else care about this?

*Its origins are scientific racism, in the distinction between Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid as the three main races. I’m not saying the people who use it today are racists, scientific or otherwise. They are just grasping for some word to use in uncertain terrain where the colors names are stigmatized and the continent names have not caught on for Whites. Why the name European American has not caught on tells you a lot about US race culture, but that is another story.

PS . This would be an example of why using a pseudonym is good, as I don’t want to hurt the feelings of the people who worked hard on the report using the race name I hate.

what ever happened to…

That idea of Jeremy’s where grad students ask questions about things they’ve heard about the discipline, the job market, navigating grad school, etc.? And then folks who’ve been around the block chime in and answer. Wasn’t that going to be a regular feature of this blog? I really liked the idea. It was first suggested here. This could be one of our niches in the sociology blogosphere. And I could list it as “service” for my reviews. We could call it our, “question of the week (or weak)”.