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.
The Politics of Higher Education
- The Mercatus Center is part of George Mason University – except when it’s not, like when you want to FOIA its records.
- After multiple investigations into shady research practices, Cornell food researcher Brian Wansink announced his retirement – but still maintains that his findings were correct, and is proud that his (deeply flawed) research has already had a real world impact.
Race and Racism
- “The background of Kaepernick’s image against the foreground of Nike’s copy, slogan, and logo are meant to compel audiences to believe that individual determination, in the context of social resistance, can overcome all odds, and that membership in this movement can be procured with the purchase of Nike shoes and apparel. This narrative of independent perseverance as a solution for toppling odds stacked against those who are disenfranchised not only fails to achieve the reform for which Kaepernick is pushing, it also undermines it.” Saida Grundy in The Atlantic.
- Most Americans want colleges to be racially diverse – but just 24% support considering race as a factor in admissions (though that number varies a lot depending on how you word the question).
- “So, the economists go with a biological explanation for economic disparities, but the biologists disagree.” Andrew Gelman on studies linking (lack of) societal genetic diversity to economic growth.
Health and Illness
- “Bearing witness to the mapping of meaning onto this gene has shown me how correct Hacking was. Ruby is one of a brand-new kind of person whose definition barely exists, and yet I can already see the generalizations — less nuanced, poorer, overlooking a lot — hovering around her.” Kristen McConnell reflects on her daughter’s genetic diagnosis.
- “A basic tenet of sociology is that all experiences from birth to death, no matter how personal they may be, are also inherently social. Our most personal thoughts and emotions are largely products of our social experiences, our social environment, and the social expectations that are thrust upon us.” A moving essay by Peter Kaufman on grappling with, and learning from, his incurable cancer through sociology.