RU102513Becoming Aware

Root canal: that’s what I’ll be doing with my morning. In fact, I’m in the chair awaiting my fate right now. You are welcome to send mocking notes of semi-pity via the comments below. It’s a combination of a routine-emergency thing, and hopefully by noon or so I’ll be nice and numb, by Monday I’ll have a bruised face, and by this time next week I’ll be right as rain, happily eating and breathing and whatnot. But it’s super weird to suddenly become aware of one tooth

And then there’s the reverse: the grad school search for one topic no one has ever worked on before. All you can focus on is finding the “one tooth.” You’re looking for the little, eensie weensie granular thing that you (or very few others) haven’t spotted before so that you can present original insights or take a new angle.

So where’s the midpoint? Seeing the whole while realizing the individual. It’s very much what Doug talked about in last week’s “Of Foxes, Hedgehogs, and Spiders” combined with this week’s “Society’s Super Egos.” Being mindful, when it comes to your body or your body of research, requires a telescope and a microscope. Never forget your full set of tools.

In Case You Missed It:

People Like Health Care When They Learn What It Does,” by Theda Skocpol. Originally a “One Thing I Know” piece from Contexts Magazine, this big picture piece (in a compact 700 words or so) came before everyone was mad about user interfaces and computers crashing. It’s about the big fact: healthcare reform is important, it’s well-liked when people know the facts, and it’s a huge shift for the U.S.

The Editors’ Desk:

Sketch 6: Society’s Super Egos,” by Doug Hartmann. “Thinking of ourselves as society’s super egos provides a neat framework for taking the sociologist’s role in and relationship to society seriously, but not so seriously that we flip from being bearers of information and insight to experts who cannot be questioned…”

Citings & Sightings:

Locking Up the Ladies,” by Andrew Weibe. OK? Oh heck no! Oklahoma is super duper good at putting women behind bars. It can’t just be to recruit a good rodeo team…

Why Are Poor White Women Dying Younger than Their Moms?” by Erin Hoekstra. Can four years of high school can get low-wage white women an extra five years of life expectancy?

Office Hours:

Lucia Trimbur on the Boxing Gym,” with Kyle Green. Talking about the political economy of the gym, where women fit in, and the rise of the white collar fighter.

There’s Research on That!

Oprah Wonders about Atheism,” by Evan Stewart. And when Oprah wonders, opinions shift. Bad news for the already untrusted unbelievers.

Kilpatrick’s Conviction,” by Amy August. Will a stiff sentence for the former mayor raise the rep of his embattled town?

A Few from the Community Pages:

  • Sociological Images provides their annual Halloween roundup and uses a great image to think about Native American mascots. For more on mascots, check out Jen Guiliano’s TSP feature.
  • Cyborgology looks at the technology Gravity (from a different vantage point from that presented on Girl W/ Pen! last week), can’t peel their eyes off the ceremony of the Apple Product Launch, and considers the pressure of tech.
  • Girl w/ Pen! More terrifying than Gravity, there’s a new PBS Frontline documentary on superviruses and if I watch it I’ll spend a week paralyzed, wondering if I should clean something or roll around in the dirt trying to build an immune system.

Scholars Strategy Network:

As People Learn about Affordable Care, Support Increases,” by Amy Fried. Implementation lessons from Massachusetts and beyond.