Comments for The Sociological Imagination http://sociologicalimagination.org A daily dose of the Sociological Imagination Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:01:21 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Comment on Reclaiming ‘impact’ and committing sociology by » Making Sociology Public The Sociological Imaginationhttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/13963/comment-page-1#comment-132548 Sun, 29 Mar 2015 07:01:21 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=13963#comment-132548 […] However while it’s obviously the case that social media is relevant for public sociology, I’ve found it harder to be clear about precisely what this relationship entails. The communicative affordances of social media obviously play an important part in this: these tools are ‘fast, cheap and out of control’ as the educational technologist Martin Weller has put it. But there are good sociological reasons to reject a view of the communication of sociological knowledge as intrinsically valuable, as well as important conceptual questions about what exactly we mean by ’sociological knowledge’. The discipline’s identity is far from secure and ritualistic invocations of the sociological imagination (etc) need to be treated with caution at a time of institutional in​stability. That said, I’m still convinced that Sociology has an important role to play in public life and I’m much more interested in getting good at public sociology than I am in adding to an already voluminous literature. […]

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Comment on The Sociology of Civilizational Collapse by rivathudshttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/16561/comment-page-1#comment-132545 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:55:53 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=16561#comment-132545 See also Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake trilogy

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Comment on A Summer of Television Poverty Porn by Scrap this deadly election | Drowning Witcheshttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/14013/comment-page-1#comment-132542 Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:46:57 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=14013#comment-132542 […] amorality if not  ruthlessness. The foundational assumption of We Pay Your Benefits is that the unemployed don’t want to work although everyone can get a job in the new […]

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Comment on Indigenizing Approaches to Research by Fred Turnerhttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/2004/comment-page-1#comment-132540 Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:13:18 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=2004#comment-132540 At first, I was excited to see that an indigenous author has written about indigenizing approaches to research only to have my bubble burst when learning that non-indigenous academics have written it. Emma, you said it yourself that indigenous peoples are leading the way. Then why not let indigenous academics write about indigenizing research from their own lens and worldview? I think its fair to say that indigenous people are cabable of speaking for themselves, specially when it comes to research. The title and the article comes off as if you have done the work but it looks like once again you and the co-author are benefitting off of indigenous peoples hard work. I look forward to reading your book, I hope there is a chapter on privledge in it!

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Comment on A Modest Proposal for Making Actor-Network Theory More than Academia’s All-Purpose App by Steve Fullerhttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/15243/comment-page-1#comment-132538 Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:27:02 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=15243#comment-132538 Actually there is no place for ‘will’ in actor-network theory. Who in this crowd embraces Nietzsche, let alone Kant or Augustine? Will implies too much potential for responsibility — a godlike position that ANT’s self-styled ‘irreductionist’ ontology refuses, as it endlessly ‘delegates’ (a bit like Eichmann dispatching trains). But ANT’s refusal to embrace will also helps to explain its popularity among researchers in precarious positions. After all, if you don’t know where your next paycheque is coming from, it pays not to presume any explanatory framework that might put your potential paymaster in a disadvantageous light (as in the case of Marxist explanations).

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Comment on A Modest Proposal for Making Actor-Network Theory More than Academia’s All-Purpose App by Philiphttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/15243/comment-page-1#comment-132537 Sun, 22 Mar 2015 15:52:36 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=15243#comment-132537 There’s no ‘will’ in ANT? Rather depends what you mean by will. The Nietzschean will to power is pretty foundational to it. Didn’t Schopenhauer also use will as a metaphysical concept? Not an insignificant lineage, then.

The point re ‘agency’ presupposing that the agent could have done otherwise presumably is meant to imply that rocks, scallops, etc. are bound by natural causality and therefore can only do as they do? (Welcome back bifurcation of nature, we didn’t miss you.) No counterfactuals for things.

By the by, I’d argue against any really close connection between Morton, Harman and ANT. The latter is militantly empiricist and the former pair have little or no interest in empirical research (this is less true of Morton [though not untrue of him] but Harman is a pure philosopher). Of course they derive concepts and images but to divest ANT of its empiricism is to more or less destroy it. In practice, ANT studies are full of reflexive, wilful human agents. Maybe even excessively so (the legacy of ethnomethodology shouldn’t be forgotten). When reduced to its theoretical vocabulary (and this is a complete reduction) then of course it appears to be rather tough on human intentionality but then it was never intended to be a ‘standalone’ theoretical vocabulary (although I admit that it has been taken as such). The whole point of it is that the concepts must always be wrapped up in the empirical work. Divest it of that principle and you have something completely different.

There’s nothing inherently ‘prescriptive’ in ontology (historically maybe but, really, so what?). It’s certainly not immune from it, of course, but, likewise, epistemology is no stranger to prescription (what is?). Not sure who these ‘value neutral’ apologists cloaking themselves in ‘ontology’ are either. The ‘speculative realists’? If so, then see my answer above. They bear only superficial resemblances to ANT as it’s generally been practiced. There’s a difference between something being ‘value free’ and it just not being explicitly on board with any particular political programme. Has every single research paper got to be banging some particular political drum? What if a researcher doesn’t know the political consequences of their research — yet? That doesn’t mean value neutrality, just naive uncertainty — an uncertainty that is acknowledged rather than buried underneath dogmatic adherence to whatever pre-existing sect (membership of which is perhaps to be prescribed — there’s that word again — by the ‘leading lights’ and ‘great old men’ of the discipline?).

I do agree that ANT research, in the final analysis, can be somewhat limited for its tendency to eschew politics. However, there’s nothing necessary in that. Doubtless part of its popularity is due to its political open-endedness (the point of it was always to be open-ended) but that shouldn’t paper over the achievements of the field or license a regression to a modified, made-over humanism as if that was a new idea.

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Comment on Sam Farooq on Religious Masculinities in Sport by URLhttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/6230/comment-page-1#comment-132536 Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:40:33 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=6230#comment-132536 … [Trackback]

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Comment on Selling psychopathy in late modernity by Sociological Imaginationhttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/17043/comment-page-1#comment-132531 Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:35:49 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=17043#comment-132531 Lots of people seem to be self-publishing books on a similar basis!

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Comment on Three Modes of Academic Success, none of them quite autonomous by Thomas Basbøll (@ThomasBasboell)http://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/17107/comment-page-1#comment-132530 Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:25:33 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=17107#comment-132530 Or the way Socrates was a somewhat awkward sophist, and yet a (the?) founder of philosophy.

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Comment on Selling psychopathy in late modernity by samanthawhytehttp://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/17043/comment-page-1#comment-132529 Tue, 17 Mar 2015 09:10:35 +0000 http://sociologicalimagination.org/?p=17043#comment-132529 There’s also a trend for “listicles” citing highly ambiguous alleged “red flags” for psychopathy (usually the kind of traits one might attribute to a former parter following an acrimonious split). I blame Jon bloody Ronson.

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