Here in Minnesota it appears (knock on wood) that the terrible long winter is behind us–which means that finals are upon us, commencement is coming, and grades will soon be due. And even as academic terms wrap up all over the country, the Pages remain vibrant. Highlights from the past week include:
–a public criminology post on the new Minnesota law that makes it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal history until an interview is granted or a job is offered;
–the introduction of a brand new TSP blog, Walt Jacobs’s “Dispatches from a New Dean”
–and the two latest “data based” columns from cyborgology–one on health, the other on love;
Digging back in the archive a bit, you might also take a look at Jennifer Lee’s provocative piece on Asian American exceptionalism and what she calls “stereotype promise“–which we are re-releasing now with video!
Field research photo by Nicolas Nova via flickr.Just
Just one more, late addition to last week’s round-up: the TSP Media Award for an article in The Atlantic earlier in the spring. The piece described the growing trend in market research of hiring anthropologists to do fieldwork on how people actually use and talk about the products they consume.
In addition to the phenomenon itself, there was a lot of great food for ethnographic thought in the piece. Some highlights include: (more…)
In the wake of our award from the Merlot group for outstanding multi-media educational resource, we have been thinking a lot about on-line teaching and learning here at TSP. Can everyone now say “MOOC”? Okay, that’s not been the only topic of conversation but it is a big—or should we say, massive—one. Anyway, if you are interested or intrigued about these huge courses now being pioneered on-line, the New York Times ran a fun little first person reporting piece on the phenomenon over the weekend. (And thanks to our colleague Rachel Schurman for highlighting this piece).
The Society Pages scored a nice little win in Las Vegas last week—not at the slots or the craps tables, but at the 6th Annual Meetings of the Sloan Consortium for Emerging Technologies for On-Line Learning. Our award was for Outstanding Peer-Reviewed, On-line Resource in Sociology. It came, unsolicited and much appreciated, from the Merlot (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and On-line Teaching) group, whose social science committee was chaired by Mike Miller, a sociologist at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
It’s a major award!
The conference was an eye-opener in many ways. An amazing array of new technologies and devices and platforms for higher education is already on the market or in production, and the amount of energy and capital devoted to new resources is astounding. (One plenary speaker claimed that venture capitalists invested over $1 billion in educational startup funds in 2012 alone.)
We were also honored to give a presentation on TSP. I gave a quick overview of the site and all its wonderful features and contributions, and talked about the unique publishing partnership with Norton that is our support system. And there was a good deal of talk and exchange—both enlightening and inspiring—about all of the ways in which the site is used for teaching and learning these days. (more…)
Addendum to my post last week criticizing Scalia’s characterization of the state of sociological research on the question of the impact of gay and lesbian parents on child development:
Phil Cohen (and others, in both public comments and private communications) point out that Scalia didn’t just miss the ASA brief or make up his claim that there is “no clear answer” among sociologists on the matter. Rather, it would appear that he got the line from reading another brief on parenting submitted by sociologist Mark Regenerus and his colleagues that explicitly and directly countered the organizational consensus account. (See Cohen’s account.)
So is Scalia off the hook? Not quite that easy. For one thing, Regenerus’s brief is based on a highly controversial paper published in the journal Social Science Research about a year ago. (To say that that study has been controversial is putting it mildly; just take a look at some of the reactions chronicled previously by Cohen). Setting aside the question of how this piece got published in the first place (a significant matter of speculation and consternation in the field), one wonders if Scalia read the paper, or subsequent commentary about it—much less really parsed through the research on both sides of the issue. And even if some of the findings hold more water than most sociologists will allow, there seems little ground to warrant the larger societal implications that Regenerus imputes.
I won’t get into the specifics further, except to paraphrase Cohen’s summary: So what we have here is one sociologist (or one sociologist and his collaborators) denying the scholarly consensus which Scalia takes to mean there is no consensus. “Just like with evolution and climate change,” as Cohen puts it. I guess there are folks scientists who still think the earth is flat or that gravity isn’t really real either.
The weather sucked (and not just in Minnesota). Once again, our university spring break didn’t line up with the kids’, so my family didn’t get to go anywhere. And my big, make-the-best-of-it plans to catch up on deadlines and past-dues were only partially fulfilled, leaving me as stressed as ever. But enough about me. The worst news of the past week–and the part of spring break that really matters—came out of Congress. This week, it was announced that the Senate had voted to restrict NSF funding for political science research to only those studies that promise to “contribute to military security or economic growth.” Talk about a shock and awe attack. (more…)
We’d like to think this is Dick Vitale asking if UNC’s community relations team is a bunch of “victim-blaming diaper dandies.”
“I have what I think is a sociology question for you,” a friend of mine in the administration recently said. Turned out to be a good one: “Why do organizations act so stupidly sometimes?”
“What prompted this question,” my friend went on, “is an email discussion with a friend [who lives in NC] about the controversy over the UNC rape allegation and the response of UNC [declaring the woman may have violated the school's honor code]. On its face—and one must acknowledge that we don’t know all the facts—it appears that UNC is acting really stupidly. Really: accuse a possible rape victim of violating the honor code? What century do they live in?” (more…)
With a high school senior in the house and the Facebook everywhere, there’s no way I could resist this great little piece from the Social Media Collective. Bonus points for layering in two of my current favorite sociological concepts: diversity and homophily. Give it a read and let me know what you think—especially you high school seniors and college freshmen out there.
(Thanks to Karl Bakeman @wwnsoc for the heads-up on this one !)
Growing up too fast and growing up too slowly have long since been questioned. Tom Hanks in “Big.”
It used to be that almost no one worried about the transition from adolescence to adulthood; as the teenage years wrapped up, it was assumed by scholars, policy makers, parents, pundits, and young folks themselves that they’d finish their schooling and get a job, find a mate, buy a home, and have kids. Once all of these milestones were passed, they’d fairly quickly settle into the regular, routinized world of adult life. Whatever the other limits of this halcyon and harmonious view, one thing is now clear: a swift, smooth transition to adulthood can’t be taken for granted.
Beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century and now into the new millennium, social scientists from a wide range of fields have documented that the transition to adulthood has become more complicated, multifaceted, and extended. Scholars now see coming-of-age and transitioning into adulthood as a new, distinctive phase in the lifecourse. Indeed, we academics have coined new terms for the period—“emerging adulthood” in the psychological parlance, or “young adulthood” or “early adulthood” for those more sociologically inclined.
How should we understand this new, more extended, and uncertain transition period? What are the forces driving these changes? And what can we or should we do about the fact that it is taking young people longer and longer to make the transitions and assume the role we have so long associated with adulthood? (more…)