granovetter rejection!

You may think I’m talking about the Nobel. But I’m not. Here is the 1969 rejection letter and reviews of an early version of Granovetter’s “the strength of weak ties” paper. It was rejected by ASR.

I asked Mark if I could share this; he agreed. He also wrote, “I’d note also that this rejection illustrates the importance of framing. I framed the original draft, which I wrote in grad school, as a treatment of “alienation”, more or less in response to the ideas of Louis Wirth and others that the city was an “alienating” place. The editor therefore sent the paper to reviewers who seemed to be European-oriented alienation theorists, who rightly saw that I was not talking about alienation as Marx did, but failed to imagine that there might be any other valid way to talk about it, as you can see from their comments. When I later revised the paper for AJS, I pulled all references to alienation out, and it obviously fared much better.”

I figured many of you would find it interesting — seeing the early reviews of a classic. It’s also slightly heartening. Even our discipline’s most cited papers have been rejected! Perhaps you have a classic in your drawer you should dust off?

dealing with nasty comments

Recently, a student who read my book decided to write in a rather nasty comment on this blog. It wasn’t so much about the entry I’d posted, as an attack on me and my book. This same person posted something roughly equivalent on Amazon. I don’t wish to single out this man, because in fact, I get nasty notes fairly frequently. My immediate response in this case was what it usually is: to dig around and find out who the person is and see where they had read the book. I almost always regret this, as I did in this case, because I usually find it’s a place where I’ve given a lecture, and had a wonderful time with the faculty and students. I want to write the faculty in the department to bring it up – particularly if the attacks are vitriolic. I want to out the person and show their colleagues and boss the kind of person they’re working with. I never do. And I want to write back to the person who has attacked me. I want to say to Mr. Mosser, for example, that it’s an honor to have my book hated by someone who is mean-spirited, angry, and cruel – that I consider it a testament to my work, that I would be more upset if someone with his character actually liked it. But this, of course, is a silly retort to make me feel better, and it plays into the same unhealthy dynamic that upset me in the first place. I’ve learned from the rare occasions where I have tried to productively engage that people simply want to spew more of their rage. Continue reading “dealing with nasty comments”

pressing asa question

Dearest Scatterbrains – I’ve been asked to help construct the ASA restaurant guide this year. I’m rather excited about the chance to write a snarky guide (“Are you sitting at the bar? No? Get up and move to the bar…”*). But in all seriousness, are there any elements you’d like to see in the dining guide? To a degree I think this is less than useful in these days of the interwebs. But I’m still happy to write in a dying medium (hell, I write books too!). I’m thinking of adding a “so you want…” section. As in “so you want a hamburger…” Shake Shack is nearby. It’s like fast food only a little better and much more expensive! “so you want to feel hip…” Go to Brooklyn. Say hi to your grad students at the next table. “so you want to go somewhere without sociologists…” I have four words for you (three places): Queens, Staten Island, Bronx. I will, of course, have vegetarian/vegan options. High end to budget (more of the latter). But any other requests ideas? And I may keep a secret place or two off the guide, for my own enjoyment. I love you all… but… well… sometimes you can overwhelm me.

* paraphrased/stolen from Frank Bruni’s review of Keen’s. Which will be on the guide. Especially if you want scotch. Or have a lot of money to pay for a steak. Don’t get the fish. Or the desserts.