offentlichkeit and the problem of translation

My friend Jeff Olick and I are working on a translation of, and introduction to, Gruppenexperiment, a “lost” public opinion experiment in immediately postwar West Germany carried out by Theodor Adorno and his Frankfurt School colleagues.¬† It’s really fun and interesting, and a great post-tenure project as it’s kind of quirky. (I’m sure I’ll blog more about it later.) Anyway, we just got back the reviews of the proposal for Harvard University Press, and one reviewer complained about my translation in an earlier piece of the German word √Ėffentlichkeit as “publicness.” As the reviewer pointed out, it’s a technically relatively precise definition, but he claims “public sphere” would have been a better translation for this piece.

Continue reading “offentlichkeit and the problem of translation”

more on the gene fetish

I confess, I don’t read the NYT regularly because with two small kids I just don’t have time. Frankly even the hometown rag often goes days before being read (forgotten as history and reborn as second nature). But my father-in-law sent me this editorial while he was reading and commenting on an article I’m working on for Contexts on voting in America. Continue reading “more on the gene fetish”

they need to be made to make sense

I spent this morning at a very interesting seminar sponsored by UNC’s terrific Center for Genomics and Society. The speaker was talking about potential “breakthroughs” in the genetics of psychiatric conditions using Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS). More on my thoughts on genetics a different time, but I was struck by an interesting set of comments. Continue reading “they need to be made to make sense”

on question wording and push polls

For the past few years I have been placing questions on some statewide (North Carolina) polls on various areas, including human rights and collective bargaining for NC state employees. The last two were my own polls, carried out by Public Policy Polling under contract to me. Continue reading “on question wording and push polls”

methinks he doth protest too much

In Public Opinion Quarterly 72:1 (the latest issue), Andrew Kohut reviews Sarah Igo’s (IMHO terrific) book The Averaged American. Predictably, Kohut likes the “good stories that are generally well told,” but complains that Igo fails to give credit to polls’ capacity to wrest control from elites and put it in the hands of “ordinary Americans.” Continue reading “methinks he doth protest too much”