“stylized facts in the social sciences” in sociological science

I’m happy to announce that Sociological Science has just published my paper Stylized Facts in the Social Sciences. The paper is a quirky mix of social theory, history of social science, and politics of knowledge that made it a tough sell for other journals but a nice fit with Sociological Science. If you read the paper and have a comment, post it as a reaction on their site!

As a note, the publication process was just as fast and smooth as they advertise. I think Sociological Science acquired a reputation for publishing primarily tighter quant papers in its first issues, but I’m glad to say that they seem to have had no issue with my theory piece, and they’ve also just published a historical article by Josh McCabe and Beth Berman on child tax credits. So, if you’re looking for an Open Access-friendly, high quality, fast outlet for sociology of all sorts, check out Sociological Science!

And, because the journal is open access, I can easily post the final paper onto SocArXiv!

 

responding to attack

I was in the news briefly in the context of an attack our university by way of an attack on one reading assignment in one of our lecturer-taught classes. Our institutional strategy is to avoid adding energy to the attack by engaging it, instead to let it die from its own weakness, so I’m not going to link to the relevant news stories or provide identifying details, but I thought it would be instructive to give some background and reflections that are both potentially helpful to others at public institutions and of interest to the broader state of higher education.

I received an email as department chair from a talk show host about one reading assignment in a class, complaining about its “vulgar and racist language and obscene focus.” I initially wrote a long response that explained how one uses “edgy” material in teaching, explaining that sexual material is appropriate for adults, and that we still can express sensitivity and concern for student sensibilities without censoring ourselves. I referenced my own discomfort as an 18-year-old student when a lecturer discussed the sexual imagery in Thomas Mann. My initial response also included a snide remark about how students with real concerns usually raise them with the instructor or chair, not talk show hosts. I almost sent it, but then at the last minute realized that I’d better check my response with higher ups, given that the tone of the email sounded more political than actually offended. Continue reading “responding to attack”

community controlled police & building trust

I’m slowly edging out of the blog closet by linking my online personas and calling your attention to two of my essays on my academic blog Race, Politics, Justice. These include a review of an article by Madison activist M Adams and her collaborator Max Rameau advocating community controlled police and a more reflective essay about the problem of creating trust when structures promote distrust.

Anyone who has been working on this issue knows that the problems of police violence and racial disparities in policing are difficult to address because they are so deeply connected with fundamental structures of inequality. We also seek constantly to maintain our understanding of the good intentions of many actors in the system and the complex interactions that constrain everyone while also maintaining a critical perspective and willingness to work for improvement and justice.

yes, there is racial “bias” in police shootings

The following is a guest post by Michelle Phelps.

A new study by Harvard Economist Roland G. Fryer, Jr. hit The Upshot column at the New York Times today, with “surprising new evidence” that there is no racial bias in who gets shot by the police. The study is currently posted as a working paper with NBER, so it has not yet received peer-review or been published. As we saw last week with The Upshot column by Justin Wolfers on gender bias in clock-stopping policies (which was heavily critiqued), such research findings should be treated as provisional. (I’m also putting aside the fact that the study relies primarily on police reports, which in several cases we have reason to doubt.) However, even if we take the paper at face value, there is strong reason to question the conclusion of “no bias” in police shootings.

Continue reading “yes, there is racial “bias” in police shootings”

guns, dallas, and tyranny

Well, it’s been a long time since I was seen around these parts, but recent events in Dallas, and elsewhere, have driven me to come out of retirement. At least for now. Boy, aren’t you pleased?

Those of you who remember me probably realize that I’m not given to a great deal of subtlety, or tact, or even decent writing. And so, asking me to comment on Black Lives Matter and the shooting of police officers is unlikely to be a good idea. But, then again, in addition to lacking subtlety, tact, and writing skills, I also routinely make poor decisions. For example, I’ve suddenly started blogging again.

I’m not going to talk about racism here, at least not directly. Others can do a better job than I can and, in any event, my own direct experiences of racism leave me unqualified to discuss it. Instead, I’m going to talk a bit about guns, tyranny, and what Dallas tells us about American culture. In my own demented view, anyway.

Continue reading “guns, dallas, and tyranny”

13th annual sociology blogger party & socarxiv pre-launch!

Back when blogging was a bit newer, and more rough and tumble, the kindly proprietors of scatterplot began a yearly tradition of hosting a party to bring together the “unruly darlings of public sociology” – those who put their sociological thoughts into the void, without the benefit (or mainstreaming pressures) of peer review. Sociology blogs seem to be everywhere now. Journals have blogs, sections have blogs, universities have blogs, and everyone from graduate students to department chairs gets in on the act. And yet the blogger party remains a vital institution for bringing them together and encouraging our peculiar brand of “doing sociology in public.”

This year’s blogger party coincides with the announcement of the SocArXiv project. Just as blogs started in part to give an outlet for less filtered, less polished – but more timely, and perhaps more cutting –  sociological insights, SocArXiv hopes to serve as a public repository for working papers as they wind their long and twisty way through the peer review process (or not!). Modeled after the incredibly successful arXiv.org, and developed in collaboration with the folks at the Center for Open Science, SocArXiv 

But what’s this got to do with the blogger party precisely? Well, at the party we’ll have information about the site, a little pre-launch commemorative button, and – courtesy of the project – some free food! Full details are below, we hope to see you there!

Continue reading “13th annual sociology blogger party & socarxiv pre-launch!”

2016 junior theorists symposium

Each year, on the day before the main ASA conference, the Junior Theorists Symposium brings together graduate students and recent PhDs to present theoretical works of all sorts. As has become traditional, the three main panels will be followed by a star-studded “after panel” of slightly-less junior theorists. The program for this year’s JTS, to be held on August 19 at Seattle University, was just announced and is available below! And if you’re interested in attending, please RSVP by emailing “JTS RSVP” to juniortheorists@gmail.com. As a past organizer, I can tell you that having a reasonable guess of attendance is a huge help for planning.

Continue reading “2016 junior theorists symposium”