“let me tell you why not to quit”

Academic “quit lit” is a large and probably growing genre. We’ve all seen it, agreed with some bits, disagreed with others. Today, I read a new essay in reaction to quit lit by Matthew Pratt Guterl that I found moving: What to Love. Here’s how it opens:

Let me tell you what to love.

Let me tell you why to stick it out.

Let me tell you why not to quit.

Like Tressie MC’s critique of quit lit, Guterl objects to the hyper focus on work and the individual. Read the whole thing, it’s short, and hopefully you’ll find it as inspiring as I did.

asr comparative historical reviewer guidelines

Last month, ASR announced they would be publishing guidelines for reviewers of qualitative, theoretical, and comparative/historical papers. Today, draft versions of the historical guidelines were released (pdf version). Here’s the message that Monica Prasad posted on the CHS list today along with the guidelines:

“The committee to draft guidelines for comparative historical sociology articles in ASR has finished its work, and the draft guidelines are attached here. The committee consisted of Richard Lachmann (chair), Greta Krippner, George Steinmetz, Melissa Wilde, Nicholas Hoover Wilson, and Xiaohong Xu. Thank you to the committee for doing such an excellent job, and let’s all hope that the end result is more fabulous CHS articles in ASR!”

I’d love to know what you all think of them.

translating habitus from bourdieu to english

The following is a guest post by Steve Vaisey.

Last Friday I was in the airport, coming back from a talk at Emory when I saw this tweet from Paula England.

At one level, I shared her pain. “Structured structures predisposed to serve as structuring structures” is not exactly the clearest phrase ever written. But, that said, I get a lot out of Bourdieu and I think this passage is a pretty good summary of the entire argument of the Logic of Practice.

So, foolishly, publicly, I claimed that, when rendered in plain English, this was actually a pretty good passage. Then, doubling down, I offered to try such a translation. A number of people expressed interest in seeing what I came up with, so here it is.
Continue reading “translating habitus from bourdieu to english”

the $7bn myth: isis and the antiquities black market

The following is a guest post by Fiona Rose-Greenland.

Last week the FBI posted a new bulletin warning American citizens to be careful when purchasing antiquities of Iraqi or Syrian origin. The risk, according to the FBI, is that “purchasing an object looted and/or sold by the Islamic State may provide financial support to a terrorist organization and could be prosecuted under 18 USC 233A.”

Media outlets responded with a new round of articles, resurrecting the specter of a “$7 billion black market in antiquities”, in which the Islamic State (IS) is apparently making a killing. Continue reading “the $7bn myth: isis and the antiquities black market”

is parenthood really worse than divorce? demographic clickbait in the washington post

The following is a guest post by Aaron Major.

If you’ve seen, or heard about, the Washington Post piece on having a baby being worse than death, read on. Lots of these science/social science articles come across my feed and while most of them bug me in various ways, this one has prompted me to write. Maybe it’s because I’ve got good friends who just had their first baby and, while they’re too tired and blurry-eyed to spend much time on the Facebook these days, I cringe thinking about this stuff becoming part of the many ‘having a baby’ conversations that they, and lots of folks, are having. To start with context. The article summarizes research recently published in the journal Demography as showing that having a baby reduces your happiness more than divorce, unemployment, or death of a partner. Yikes! That is one click-worthy headline. So what’s the problem with this article? A few things.
Continue reading “is parenthood really worse than divorce? demographic clickbait in the washington post”

in (partial) defense of cultural dopes

The following is a guest post by Jeff Guhin.

John O’Brien has an important new article at Sociological Theory about individualism that everybody should read. It uses a brilliant and incredibly well-handled meta-analytical technique: by combining 17 qualitative studies of religion in America (including his own), he’s able to use others’ data but not take their conclusions for granted. Of course, he’s limited by what ended up in the field notes and then, more importantly, what made it from the notes to the pages, but he still does a lot of his own interpretation. In fact, watching O’Brien shift how an author interprets “individualism” to what he thinks is really going on is some of the article’s best stuff. Continue reading “in (partial) defense of cultural dopes”