via Brayden King at orgtheory:

It turns out Tom Wolfe, the realist American novelist most famous for his Bonfire of the Vanities, is a bit of an amateur sociologist. Check out this interview with the New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus in which Tom admits to falling in love with sociology.   (You can begin listening about 1/4 of the way into the interview.) During graduate school Tom became attracted to Weber’s theorizing of status, a concept that later figured prominently in many of Wolfe’s novels, especially in Bonfire.  In the last half of the interview Wolfe describes how he carefully builds status markers into his novels.

In a Minneapolis Star-Tribune op-ed on political rookies seeking high offices, political scientist Lawrence Jacobs invokes sociologist Max Weber’s (1919) Politics as a Vocation:

The legendary German sociologist Max Weber explained that the “vocation of politics” requires an aptitude to engage in the “strong and slow boring of hard boards.” Successful apprenticeships in politics can instill a healthy skepticism about searching out quick fixes and simulating representation in place of genuine community engagement.

The hard work of fashioning government policy in a process designed to invite conflict among divergent perspectives requires the skills of a specialized craft — the ability to search out compromises that achieve mutual gains, the patience to pursue gradual but meaningful progress, and sustained and strong bonds with constituents.

After reviewing an ESPN report on the hometowns of professional basketball players, demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution concluded that the “NBA is much more of a suburban population than most would have thought.” The average player hails from a city that is 59% white, which is significantly lower than the nation as a whole. On other dimensions, however, NBA players’ hometowns are quite comparable to U.S. averages: their average population is 112,017, 79% of their adult residents have a high school degree, and their average income is $38,127. Professor Frey concludes, “there’s a broad spectrum of areas the players come from, and a significant number come from white, middle class suburbs.”

At Orgtheory, Kieran Healy uses C. Wright Mills’ classic essay On Intellectual Craftsmanship to explain how “writing a blog can be a endless black hole of self-absorbed wittering — or, it can cultivate a capacity to stay interested in things and to write about them fluently in the course of everyday life.” On balance, Professor Healy suggests that “keeping an adequate blog” can stoke the sociological imagination.

BBC News reports on a new Social Science and Medicine article, showing that rates of depression peak in mid-life, around age 44.