soc2econ!

In a thread on orgtheory, the moribund blog “left2right” was brought up, which was apparently an effort by Rock Stars of the Academic Left to have a blog about reaching out to the right. In general, blogs fail when they are premised on the idea of writing for people who’ve adamantly no interest in reading what you have to say, especially when posed in unidirectional “myWisdom2yourIgnorance” terms.

Anyway, Omar then likens it to the idea of a blog called “soc2econ,” which may be the Single Most Hilarous Joke Academic Blog Concept Ever. soc2econ: The blog by sociologists who want to reach out and impart their wisdom to economists eager for enlightenment. I literally had to hold the sides of my head to keep it from exploding as all these possible jokes rushed into my brain. If I had time and graphic design wherewithal, I would be putting this together for April Fool’s Day. If I do sometime, y’all have to play along. Everybody has to pretend to be extremely earnest.

I still believe that nothing points to a difference between the disciplines of sociology and economics quite as incisively as the idea that this cartoon is something sociologists would create and regard as sufficiently amusing that they would try to sell it to other sociologists. You substitute “economists” for “sociologists” and the idea of AEA selling it is unfathomable. (Actually, I suppose if you just keep it as is, the idea of AEA selling it is quite fathomable.)

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

9 thoughts on “soc2econ!”

  1. Please don’t let your brain explode. And also, don’t do all that work. And also, get Carol Heimer to guest blog on this topic as a super-star guest blogger. She has some interesting stuff to say about it.

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  2. Do you think she would do it? And, by “this topic,” do you mean just the relationship between sociology and economics, or do you mean Totally Awesome April Fool’s Day Ideas.

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  3. a few days after MR links you probably isn’t the best time to discuss soc2econ as a prank. that being said, for the prank to really work as spoof it should not be real criticisms of the kind the object might seriously (as in Podolny’s soc2econ essay published in AER) but smug statements that are superficially satisfying to a partisan but absurd to the opposition. the kind of thing i’m thinking of is treating social construction like some of kind of social ruby slippers where you can click your heels three times and eliminate or reorder whatever institution you find inconvenient.

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  4. Fabio: Actually, I was thinking that a blog titled exgirlfriends2freese would have a fairly easy time finding authors with Things To Say. I would read that blog but not the comments.

    Gabriel: April Fool’s Day is almost TWO months away. The way blogs work, by that time if I roll out soc2econ people will say, “soc2econ… that does ring a bell.” So, if anything, I’m laying a foundation for an even more credible prank by mentioning it now.

    In any case, you are correct that the prank do criticisms of the smug-and-sanctimonious-but-absurd variety. I think also, to live up to the “x2y” title, the criticisms would also have to take a strong patronizing tone as well, as if the authors have been instructed to write imagining their audience is a cognitively disabled cousin who just happens to be a practicing economist.

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  5. This should really be a symmetrical exercise, though — kind of point/counterpoint. The soc2econ part would be as described, smug ruby-slippers and all. Then there should be an econ2soc response from a putative economist, perhaps lauding the ecumenical impulse, acknowledging the importance of the sociological point of view, and then moving on to discuss the recent discovery by Al Roth of culture, or George Akerlof of identity, or Ken Arrow of social networks.

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  6. I think the first post should be an elaborate, and I mean ELABORATE exposition on the fact that perfect information doesn’t “really” exist in the world. Something like several thousand words to make your point. That would be hilarious to me.

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  7. shakha,
    i think your idea for a first post is brilliant. i would start with a lengthy but conventionally positivist understanding of how perfect information doesn’t exist, then go for broke and argue that even in principle it /can not/ exist for some rather kooky phenomenological reasons about how information presupposes categories and categories are not natural but imposed on reality, and even if they did we don’t observe objects but only the sense impressions created by objects, God must find it exceedingly odd that the tree continues to be when there’s no one about in the quad, etc.

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