231 posts tagged with Sociology.
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L'escholle des filles (1668)

The School of Venus, or the Ladies Delight, Reduced into Rules of Practice (digitized by Google Books) is a delightfully raunchy sex manual from 1680, captured in wonderfully engaging detail. [more inside]
posted by Skeuomorph on Jul 2, 2013 - 18 comments

I have an upcoming EDWARDx talk about it

Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere.
posted by kenko on Jun 9, 2013 - 23 comments

Excellent Advice

Advice for college grads from two sociologists From the writers of the always-amazing Sociological Images, it is directed towards college graduates, but useful for everyone.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 on May 25, 2013 - 120 comments

What Do Philosophers Believe?

What Do Philosophers Believe? David Bourget and David Chalmers, co-directors of Philpapers.com, have written an article based on the PhilPapers Survey of professional philosophers. It covers the popularity of various views, correlations with age, gender, and geography, a factor analysis that tries to isolate important underlying factors; and discussion of the results of the Metasurvey, bringing out just how surprising some of the survey results are. The article is forthcoming in Philosophical Studies. [more inside]
posted by Golden Eternity on May 2, 2013 - 65 comments

"I am always the last person to eat."

David Arenberg on being the only Jewish inmate in a state prison.
posted by reenum on May 1, 2013 - 49 comments

Still far from that digital democracy any utopian could hope for.

7 (well, technically 6) myths of the digital divide.
posted by iamkimiam on Apr 26, 2013 - 8 comments

“Rituals are the glue that holds social groups together.”

Social Evolution - The Ritual Animal "Praying, fighting, dancing, chanting — human rituals could illuminate the growth of community and the origins of civilization." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 23, 2013 - 11 comments

Ruled by “Dave” and “Nick”

In a sense what we have is the Americanisation of Britain, or at least of England. A society where everybody has then sense that they can be anything they want to be, and where hardly anybody can. Crooked Timber's Chris Bertram on the evolution of British society since the seventies.
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 12, 2013 - 20 comments

CS Lewis' The Inner Ring

There are no formal admissions or expulsions. People think they are in it after they have in fact been pushed out of it, or before they have been allowed in: this provides great amusement for those who are really inside. It has no fixed name. The only certain rule is that the insiders and outsiders call it by different names. CS Lewis on The Inner Ring.
posted by shivohum on Mar 21, 2013 - 66 comments

two girls, two cups

Pattycake, modernized (via TYWKIWDBI)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Mar 6, 2013 - 19 comments

Psycho History, it's what they wanna give me

Psychohistory, the imaginary scientific field created by Isaac Asimov in his "Foundation" series, may no longer be fiction:
Song Chaoming, for instance, is a researcher at Northeastern University in Boston. He is a physicist, but he moonlights as a social scientist. With that hat on he has devised an algorithm which can look at someone’s mobile-phone records and predict with an average of 93% accuracy where that person is at any moment of any day. Given most people’s regular habits (sleep, commute, work, commute, sleep), this might not seem too hard. What is impressive is that his accuracy was never lower than 80% for any of the 50,000 people he looked at.
Full article at The Economist.
posted by Strange Interlude on Feb 26, 2013 - 39 comments

Sociology (and other group data) assumptions based on Americans.

And that's a bad idea. Much of standard group behavior data in Sociology/Economics/Psychology is based on Americans. Which don't seem (contrary to universal assumptions) to be shared by a lot of the World.
posted by aleph on Feb 25, 2013 - 53 comments

Freedom from....

The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 16, 2013 - 260 comments

Beauty matters. Plainness hurts.

Unpacking the Beauty Premium, Borland J & Leigh A, unpub., 2013.
The first Australian study of the financial return to physical attractiveness finds its worth an astounding $32,150 in annual salary, with men of above average looks typically commanding $81,750 compared to $49,600 for men with below-average looks.
Men with below-average looks were 15 per cent less likely than normal to be employed and were typically employed for a 9 per cent lower wage. They were also less likely to be married and less likely to married to a woman of high income.
posted by wilful on Jan 6, 2013 - 64 comments

Nonvoters in America

In 2012, 40 percent of Americans didn’t vote. The research on this website is an attempt to determine why so many citizens opt out of this fundamental civic duty, using extensive survey research as well as interviews with nonvoters to give a voice to those who are often ignored or marginalized by politicians and the news media. [via this phys.org article that provides a nice summary]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 18, 2012 - 63 comments

How and Why We Read

"Reading is always an act of empathy" - John Green of Crash Course (previously) explains "How and Why We Read" (... and recommends his favorite books). [more inside]
posted by mrgrimm on Dec 4, 2012 - 19 comments

if the shoe fits

You can accurately judge a person just by looking at their shoes, psychologists say. "Researchers at the University of Kansas found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger's age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person's shoes." Virginia Postrel responded: "The study made a solid contribution to research on first impressions, but it was hardly earthshaking. By getting so much attention, however, it demonstrated a sociological truth: People love to talk about shoes. Even those who dismissed the research as silly often felt compelled to call radio stations or comment on websites, providing details about their own choices. Why this fascination with footwear? " [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 15, 2012 - 159 comments

How to Stay Stuck in the Wrong Career

How to Stay Stuck in the Wrong Career (PDF) (non-PDF version requires free registration): Conventional career change methods...are all part of what I call the “plan and implement” model of change. It goes like this: First, determine with as much clarity and certainty as possible what you really want to do. Next, use that knowledge to identify jobs or fields in which your passions can be coupled with your skills and experience. Seek advice from the people who know you best and from professionals in tune with the market. Then simply implement the resulting action steps. Change is seen as a one-shot deal: The plan-and-implement approach cautions us against making a move before we know exactly where we are going. It all sounds reasonable, and it is a reassuring way to proceed. Yet my research suggests that proceeding this way will lead to the most disastrous of results, which is to say no result. (by Herminia Ibarra, who expands on these ideas in her book Working Identity)
posted by shivohum on Oct 4, 2012 - 13 comments

27.5 years of gameplay

A study-based analysis of UK gaming magazines in the 1980s and 90s argues that the analysis of computer games, independent of attributes such as the platform or narrative, becomes more evident after March 1985 when the term 'gameplay' begins to be used in this media.
posted by Wordshore on Oct 3, 2012 - 10 comments

Working, playing, day or night, the look that's right

Jeans. Jeans. Jeans. JEANS! (via)
posted by mrgrimm on Sep 18, 2012 - 18 comments

Thoughts about women and homemaking in the 21st century

"This blog is a look at the social movement I call ‘New Domesticity’ – the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex and the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?"
posted by showbiz_liz on Sep 5, 2012 - 250 comments

Grape Apes: The Origins of Morality

Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
posted by kliuless on Sep 2, 2012 - 36 comments

The Association of Religion Data Archives: Churchgoers give far less than they think

"Parting with treasure easier said than done: Churchgoers give far less than they think" is the latest feature article from the Association of Religion Data Archives, which "strives to democratize access to the best data on religion." The site includes a browsable archive of religious survey data, a quick statistical roundup, international religious profiles, feature articles on topics like the rise of Mormons, Muslims and nondenominational churches in the USA ("nondenominational and independent churches may now be considered the third largest religious group in the country...Only the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention are larger"), links to sources like the 2010 U.S. Religious Census, a Religion Research Hub (with tutorials and helpful advice on best practices when theorizing, conceptualizing and measuring religious behavior) and lots more.
posted by mediareport on Aug 30, 2012 - 25 comments

Perry Anderson's essays about modern states in The London Review of Books

Perry Anderson's book length three part series on the history of India from the beginnings of its independence movement, through independence and partition into its recent history as a nation-state is the latest in a series of erudite, opinionated and wordy articles in The London Review of Books by the UCLA professor of history and sociology on the modern history of various countries, so far taking in Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, the EU, Russia, Taiwan and France. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Aug 25, 2012 - 6 comments

A Confederacy of Bachelors

A Confederacy of Bachelors [NYT] Meet the brotherhood of Fortress Astoria: Danaher Dempsey, Luke Crane, Rick Brown and Shyaporn Theerakulstit, best friends and artists. They have no children, no linear career histories, no readily disposable savings. The four men, all heterosexual, approaching 40 and never married, have lived together for 18 years, give or take a revolving guest roommate, cohabitating in spaces like an East Village walk-up, a Chelsea loft and, now, a converted office space in Queens. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 4, 2012 - 115 comments

The Mundanity of Excellence

Excellence is mundane. Excellence is accomplished through the doing of actions, ordinary in themselves, performed consistently and carefully, habitualized, compounded together, added up over time.: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers (1989) [more inside]
posted by latkes on Jul 30, 2012 - 9 comments

Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?

"Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?" Kearney MS & Levine PB (2012) Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(2): 141–63. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Jul 23, 2012 - 122 comments

"And so if elites have a culture today, it is a culture of individual self-cultivation."

The New Elitists (NYT) - "...omnivores seem highly distinct and their tastes appear to be a matter of personal expression. Instead of liking things like opera because that’s what people of your class are supposed to like, the omnivore likes what he likes because it is an expression of a distinct self. Perhaps liking a range of things explains why elites are elite, and not the other way around. By contrast, those who have exclusive tastes today — middle-class and poorer Americans — are subject to disdain. If the world is open and you don’t take advantage of it, then you’re simply limited and closed-minded. Perhaps it’s these attributes that explain your incapacity to succeed." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 9, 2012 - 128 comments

Now, draw me a picture of the good life.

"Descartes is smaller than you’d think" in this graph of the history of philosophy [more inside]
posted by mc2000 on Jun 28, 2012 - 63 comments

made immortal by means of tape backups

"when i went into cyberspace i went into it thinking that it was a place like any other place and that it would be a human interaction like any other human interaction. i was wrong when i thought that. it was a terrible mistake." Pandora's Vox: On Community in Cyberspace [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on May 29, 2012 - 25 comments

Reflections On The Norwegian Massacre

Reflections On The Norwegian Massacre (60 min audio interview) On July 22, 2011, Norway suffered a catastrophe: its main government buildings were bombed, and scores of young people were killed and maimed at a summer youth congress. Nils Christie, a prominent Norwegian sociologist and criminologist, talks with CBC IDEAS about what happened and what it means for his country. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 29, 2012 - 38 comments

Tattoos, Piercings, and Alcohol Consumption

According to research recently published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research[DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01711.x], tattooed people drink significantly more than their peers (as well as other risky behaviours).
posted by wilful on Apr 19, 2012 - 63 comments

"Vulnerability is not weakness.... Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”

Brené Brown: Listening to shame. Filmed this month at TED in Long Beach, CA. (YouTube) Also see: The Power of Vulnerability (yt, previously on MeFi), and The Price of Invulnerability. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 16, 2012 - 16 comments

a radical experiment in empathy

Sam Richards: A Radical Experiment In Empathy (button underneath the video makes "interactive transcript" available, at link) [more inside]
posted by flex on Mar 5, 2012 - 33 comments

experimental archeology / history at its best

Victorian Farm | Edwardian Farm -- 18 hours of BBC experimental archeology/historical documentaries, online. Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and historian Ruth Goodman spend two years living the life of rural country farmers.
posted by crunchland on Jan 15, 2012 - 33 comments


On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

Robert Paul Wolff's "The Philosopher's Stone."

Robert Paul Wolff is most famous as the author of In Defense of Anarchism and as the "only person on the face of the earth who has read, cover to cover, Immanuel Kant's Inaugural Dissertation, Karl Marx's doctoral dissertation, and Newt Gingrich's doctoral dissertation." His memoir has also drawn considerable interest. But as a part of his blogging he has habitually offered "micro-tutorials" to encourage his readers to re-acquaint themselves with the classics of what might be called the Heroic Age in the study of society -- the writings of Marx, Freud, Weber, Ricardo, Mannheim, and others. His newest micro-tutorial, on Durkheim's Suicide, begins today.
posted by anotherpanacea on Dec 8, 2011 - 25 comments

Your resume was thrown out in the first 10 seconds

Sociologist Lauren Rivera of Northwestern spent two years researching the way elite financial and law firms really select their new hires. The original paper is behind a sciencedirect paywall, but Bryan Caplan has a nice write-up about the results. You're much better off with a degree from a tippy-top school than just any Ivy -- but they don't actually care about what you learned there. Your grades don't matter that much as long as they're not bad. Climbing a famous mountain or making a varsity team, especially if you're nationally competitive, would be wise. And oh yeah -- they do care what you got on your SATs. More reax from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and physicist Steve Hsu.
posted by escabeche on Nov 20, 2011 - 152 comments

Growing Old Gothically

An article in the Guardian asks why do so many Goths stick with their subculture through their adult lives, through career, parenthood and well into middle age. [more inside]
posted by acb on Oct 26, 2011 - 104 comments

Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright; But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night

Gender Differences and Casual Sex: The New Research [more inside]
posted by Orange Pamplemousse on Oct 6, 2011 - 144 comments

You're blind baby. You're blind to the facts.

Miss Representation is a film by Jen Siebel Newsom about the images, representations and media constructions that shape American society in a harmful way for women. It explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence that result. Shorter trailer here. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Oct 5, 2011 - 18 comments

I really dig infectious diseases (much to the dismay of those dining with me).

How did hookworm infections slow the economy of the postbellum South? Do body mites play a role in diseases such as rosacea? Did fermenting seal flippers in Tupperware instead of traditional containers increase Native Alaskan botulism rates? Body Horrors is the blog of microbiologist Rebecca Kreston, who aims to explore the intersection of infectious diseases, the human body, public health and anthropology.
posted by emjaybee on Sep 24, 2011 - 36 comments

The news knows it

Culturomics, an emerging field of study that applies climate-modeling levels of supercomputing power towards predicting human behavior, using "computerized analysis of vast digital book archives, offering novel insights into the functioning of human society", has been tried with digital news archives. [more inside]
posted by nomisxid on Sep 7, 2011 - 12 comments

So on the bright side, the poor make for better company anyway

New research shows the Rich truly are different from you and me in one key respect: they feel less empathy (overview of the research here; unfortunately, a full report of the findings is only available behind various pay-walls). Previously, the same team of researchers found that members of the economic upper-class have a harder time recognizing others' emotions.
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 10, 2011 - 118 comments

Binary Agreement Model

Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities: We show how the prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction p of randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize the opposing opinion and are immune to influence. Specifically, we show that when the committed fraction grows beyond a critical value pc ≈ 10%, there is a dramatic decrease in the time, Tc, taken for the entire population to adopt the committed opinion. [.pdf] [more inside]
posted by troll on Jul 26, 2011 - 56 comments

"The problem stems not from there being 'too much' casual sex on campus but from the overall dissatisfaction with sex on campus and the lack of alternatives."

So suddenly, everyone was talking about hookup culture, and they wanted to know: "What is this thing? What is it?" And they were afraid that somehow college was some alcohol-fueled Bacchanalian orgy.
The Promise and Perils of Hookup Culture: a talk by sociologist Lisa Wade (previously).
posted by NoraReed on Jun 22, 2011 - 46 comments

The Victims

Going Straight: My Ex-Gay Friend Also: Living the Good Lie: Therapists Who Help People Stay in the Closet. (Both links NYT, via)
posted by zarq on Jun 17, 2011 - 90 comments

"Sex selection defies culture, nationality and creed."

"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2011 - 65 comments

Why Can’t More Poor People Escape Poverty?

Psychologists are now theorizing that humans have a depletable reservoir of self-control, and that this is why poor people remain poor.
posted by reenum on Jun 6, 2011 - 118 comments

The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire!

The Age of Imperialism is over, but its impact remains, leaving behind a long-lasting legacy through cultural norms. Comparing individuals on opposite sides of the long-gone Habsburg Empire border within five countries, it shows that firms and people living in what used to be the empire have higher trust in courts and police.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 on Jun 3, 2011 - 21 comments

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