domestic violence & employment bleg

I got an email from a former student who is now working in an employment program and asked me about research on the problem that victims of domestic violence sometimes lose their jobs due to victimhood. She’s asking me for relevant research. We know about Matt Desmond’s work on victims of domestic violence getting evicted, but I’m not the right person to know the research on the employment link. So, Scatterplotters, can you help?

nominal bleg

I need some available data that allows a simple model with a nominal outcome.  Ideally, there would be 4 categories (less ideally 5, less still 3), and it would be not quasi-ordinal.  The model will probably need to include a binary explanatory variable, a categorical explanatory variable, and a continuous or quasi-continuous variable.  But the outcome is the first thing.  Any ideas?

the future of academic freedom!

Inside High Ed has a story on a Florida state university that will not have tenure.  What struck me about the article was not that the university won’t have tenure, but the argument for why this is a good thing:

We don’t want the [professors we hire] to be worrying within the first five or six years whether they’re going to be tenured or not.”*

The faculty contracts will last for one, three or five years, and will be renewed based on merit “rather than on a set rule within the boundaries of tenure,” Darkazalli said. He said that abandoning the tenure model means that faculty members will be less inclined to pursue the kind of “trivial publication and research” professors on the tenure track sometimes feel is required of them to succeed**, and instead focus on teaching and research beneficial to their students.

* Not added: “We want them to feel their livelihoods are in jeopardy each and every year.”

** Also unsaid: “We want them to tackle the really big questions.  The ones that might take one, three, or even five years to answer.”

is open access equal access?

As Jenn and Brayden both write, a high-powered group of sociologists incoporated a new online journal, Sociological Science. Most commenters at orgtheory debate the prospect of Sociological Science succeeding in the near future and Brayden wonders whether this model can displace established journals. I, however, question how much the journal will promote or exacerbate inequality across academic institutions.

The editors tout the “evaluative not developmental” editorial reviews as a main feature of the nascent journal. One month review times and no R&Rs. It sounds great, after all I frequently get frustrated with the fact that reviewers do not recognize the my brilliant ideas, eloquent prose, and innovative statistical techniques. Who likes being forced to explain regression models to reviewers or to be asked by an editor to add three literatures and simultaneously cut 3,000 words?

At the same time, editorial focus on “evaluative” rather than “developmental” reviews implicitly assumes that authors can equally access venues to support the development of their work. I do not think that this is true.

Continue reading “is open access equal access?”

anarchism in the academy

I’ve always liked Marx but hated Marxism. Growing up, I identified mostly with anarchism, and was moved particularly by its critique of power and hierarchy, and the violence that undergirds them. And where Marxism was severe and joyless, anarchism to me seemed playful and creative. In critical sociology, of course, Marxist and Marxian perspectives — I know, I know there’s a difference in the two — have been dominant, and the influence of anarchism has been marginal at best. I don’t write about anarchism either, and sadly don’t think of it very often, but I’m heartened to see that it’s finally making some waves in the academy. First, James C. Scott wrote the marvelous The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia and Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play. And now anthropologist David Graeber has been getting a lot of press for his work with Occupy, and for not getting tenure at Yale. See this piece in the New Yorker. (I don’t really know Graeber or his work, so I can’t say much about it). In any event, it’s nice to see scholars take this political philosophy seriously, both as a topic of study and as an analytic perspective (especially given that it’s been proven exactly right in its critique of Marxism over the years).


Incidentally, the TESS project that I’ve co-run for nearly five years is currently in another round of funding from NSF, with Jamie Druckman, a political scientist here at Northwestern, as the new co-PI.  (You might note that, as a subtle shout-out to our home institution, the main color on the TESS website is now purple.)

The premise of TESS is that investigators submit ideas for Internet-based survey experiments, these are reviewed, and successful proposals are fielded at no cost to the investigator using a platform based on a population sample (the GfK KnowledgePanel, formerly known as Knowledge Networks, which, yes, is also the company the collected the data for a certain other study that has been talked about a lot on sociology blogs).

We have a couple new mechanisms this time around.  One is a Short Studies Program, which allows people to submit shorter proposals for shorter experiments for which we are committed to turning around very quick decisions via internal review if possible.  Another is a Special Competition for Younger Investigators, which will give graduate students and recent Ph.D.s a competitive opportunity to field a larger experiment than the usual TESS parameters allow if they can make a good case for it.

Anyway, ironically, other blogs have actually posted our publicity announcement before I’ve said anything about it, so I might as well just link to Andrew Gelman’s post here.