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November 16, 2009



"Reading the rich and varied chapters of this handbook one can only be convinced of the importance of public sociology for both the world and for our discipline".
I'd say I'm tempted to read it just to prove him wrong, but I'm not. I don't think it's a good sign that you have to tell your readers how impressed they must be.

Some quibbles, in case the author is reading. In reference to table 25.2 they say "There is no such simple correlation" when there is a correlation, just a smaller one. The greater total number of non-elite as compared to elites would actually strengthen the correlation, because one's prior that a sociologist of the sample is non-elite would be shifted more on learning that they are a professional. On the next page they seem to assume causation from mere evidence of correlation when they talk about orientations being "shaped" by training or employment, without considering selection effects by either vetters at training/employment institutions or the applicants themselves. Did Wilson & Patterson become public sociologists despite working at Harvard, or did Harvard hire them despite them being public sociologists?

Hopefully Anonymous

There's bullshit in there like you quoted, but I found it easy to ignore. The transparency with which he described sociologists using their own sociological techniques to optimize the status of sociologists was one of the more interesting parts, to me. Hansonesque in its social scientific critique of social scientists.


I'm reminded of your take on the econ nobel:
There you didn't mention any rightie economists who were willing to sacrifice the status of economics or the prize for political points (analogous to critical sociologists). That sentiment would have been more relegated to non-economists and maybe some of the folks at the Mises Institute, who are low status.

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