most academics move far away from home; most americans don’t

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Beth Berman today “IRL” (as the kids liked to say, circa 2000). Among other things, we talked about various conversations in economics and sociology about why people do or don’t “move to opportunity.” That is, if incomes and quality of life are seemingly higher in big, productive cities like NYC, why doesn’t everyone move there? One obvious and important answer is family ties, which provide both emotional and material support. Academics know this, but we don’t live it.

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sunday morning sociology, partisanship in everything edition

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The Economist reports on new research from Larry Bartels examining partisans attitudes towards different groups and individuals.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

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sunday morning sociology, guns edition

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Ryan Larson and Evan Stewart write at SocImages about declining rates of gun ownership as compared to relatively unchanging (but high) support for various gun control measures in the US.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

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thinking about quality in big data: reddit and missingness

The following is a guest post by Jeff Lockhart.

On Wednesday, Devin Gaffney and Nathan Matias shared a warning for computational social scientists: Large-scale missing data in a widely-published Reddit dataset could be undermining the quality of your research. Alarm bells rang, and by the next morning, several friends and colleagues who know I use this data rushed to share the link with me. While their work is still in the preprint stage, the analysis is good and it makes an important contribution. I feel the same about Hessel et al.’s response analysis, which is printed in full at the end of the preprint. I agree wholeheartedly that more people working with this kind of data should investigate what’s really there rather than trusting grandiose claims about its quality.

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thoroughly pizzled: what’s so bad about the autofac?

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The following guest post by Mike Wood and Dustin Stoltz is part of a series on sociology and science fiction.

“The reified world is, by definition, a dehumanized world. It is experienced by man as a strange facticity, an opus alienum over which he has no control rather than as the opus proprium of his own productive activity.” (Berger and Luckmann 1967:89)

Philip K. Dick’s story “The Autofac”—published in 1955 and recently adapted as an episode in Amazon’s series, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams—takes place on Earth after an apocalyptic war. All institutions are destroyed save the Autofac, an automated mega-factory that controls every aspect of production—collecting resources, manufacturing, and shipping—for every product humans need. Created before the war, the Autofac continues production, and is completely beyond human control.

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sunday morning sociology,

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Right-to-Work laws dramatically reduce Democrats’ vote share, as shown in new political science research discussed here in the NYT.

A weekly link round-up of sociological work – work by sociologists, referencing sociologists, or just of interest to sociologists. This scatterplot feature is co-produced with Mike Bader.

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why the liberal arts? the value of general education

This post comes out of my work chairing UNC’s General Education Curriculum Revision effort. I’m posting it here on Scatterplot instead of on the Curriculum site because it represents my own view, not a formal statement from the committee. 

Unusual among our public-flagship peers, Carolina requires all undergraduate students to enroll first in the College of Arts & Sciences, even if they ultimately major in one of the professional schools. This reflects a core commitment to the liberal arts as the foundation for all undergraduate education at Carolina. Implicit in this organization is the claim that broad, serious education in the liberal arts is the best way to prepare students for future study as well as for leadership, citizenship, and professional life.

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