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Whence Altruism?

A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2010 - 49 comments

The "Still-Face" Experiment

The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2010 - 22 comments

A new kind of civil disobedience?

Boston College sociology professor Lisa Dodson does research on poverty, public policy, and low-income work and family life. Recently her research took a different turn, as she discovered through interviews with U.S. managers in charge of low-income workers that some of them feel "(a) sense of unfairness (...) as a supervisor, making enough to live comfortably while overseeing workers who couldn’t feed their families on the money they earned. That inequality, he told her, tainted his job, making him feel complicit in an unfair system that paid hard workers too little to cover basic needs." Professor Dobson talks about this phenomenon, and how it plays out in that some managers undermine the system, in interviews in the Boston Globe and on public radio. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 on Mar 2, 2010 - 35 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

Jared Diamond on Haiti

Jared Diamond on the unique cultural and geological challenges Haiti has faced since its colonial days. Diamond shows how these reasons have caused the nation to fare considerably poorer than its neighbor, The Dominican Republic. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 28, 2010 - 35 comments

(glowing) prairie voles illuminate the human condition

Monogamouse
Prairie voles have many vasopressin receptors in the reward centres of their brains. It seems as though these are wired up in a way that causes the animal to take pleasure from monogamy. (previously 1|2)
posted by kliuless on Jan 9, 2010 - 20 comments

If you wouldn't like living that way (in the lowest status slot in the pecking order), you're doing it wrong.

Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross asks the question; " You, and a quarter of a million other folks, have embarked on a 1000-year voyage aboard a hollowed-out asteroid. What sort of governance and society do you think would be most comfortable, not to mention likely to survive the trip without civil war, famine, and reigns of terror?" engrossing commentary follows. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2009 - 156 comments

The Gervais Principle

The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office”. Warning: link may evoke baleful despair!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 16, 2009 - 57 comments

Fear of Cycling

Fear of Cycling, an essay in five parts: introduction, constructing fear of cycling, helmet promotion campaigns, new cycling spaces, making cycling strange.
posted by parudox on Oct 5, 2009 - 204 comments

Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

The Art of the Prank offers insights, information, news and discussions about pranks, hoaxes, culture jamming and reality hacking around the world. Includes topics such as The History of Pranks, The Prank As Art, and the Sociology and Psychology of Pranks. Get pranking. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Aug 24, 2009 - 16 comments

Health Service Sociology

An article of an american sociologist about being sick in Europe.
posted by - on Jul 28, 2009 - 150 comments

"Thanks for ruining the game for me. Really."

MMORPG Griefing ... for Science! Twixt fought his fellow players in City Of Heroes to win. But he used methods that, despite being legal within the rules of the game, the rest of the community hated. Then the player behind the hero unmasked as Loyola University media professor David Myers, author of "The Sad & Curious Tale of Twixt" (.doc), a sociological study of the unwritten rules in MMORPG's. Not entirely unlike the epic tale of Fansy The Famous Bard.
posted by waraw on Jul 8, 2009 - 204 comments

Transformations of the world

Giovanni Arrighi, the renowned authority in the fields of world systems analysis and historical sociology, died earlier this month. A retrospective interview on his intellectual trajectory was published in the March/April 2009 issue of New Left Review. A major international conference was held in his honour in late May in Madrid, featuring several top scholars in an exploration of the insights of Arrighi’s work.
posted by Abiezer on Jun 27, 2009 - 6 comments

Why you're probably not named Tricia

What leads cultural tastes and practices to be abandoned? (.pdf) A new PNAS paper by marketing professor Jonah Berger and organizational psychologist Gael Le Mens argues that the faster a trend rises, the faster it's likely to fall, at least as regards longitudinal data of first names given to American children. (Via the Baby Names Blog.) Berger has written before on the drive to non-conform; a 2007 joint paper with Emily Pronin and Sarah Molouki (.pdf) shows that "people see others as more conforming than themselves.... placing more weight on introspective evidence of conformity (relative to behavioral evidence) when judging their own susceptibility to social influence as opposed to someone else's."
posted by escabeche on May 5, 2009 - 42 comments

Austrian school do it better

The Austrian school of economics try to explain what's wrong with our money.
posted by - on Apr 18, 2009 - 83 comments

Sociology papers online

Harvard Sociologist Robert Samson, known for his work challenging the Broken Window hypothesis (previously on Metafilter), has a number of publications on neighborhoods, race and immigration, crime, and spatial dynamics posted publicly online. Here are just a few recent publications (all pdfs):
*Moving to Inequality: Neighborhood Effects and Experiences Meet Social Structure
*Durable effects of concentrated disadvantage on verbal ability of African American children
*Rethinking crime and immigration
*Neighborhood Selection and the Social Reproduction of Concentrated Racial Inequality
*"After School" Chicago: Space and the City

posted by lunit on Apr 14, 2009 - 22 comments

"Boys Build Houses. Girls Keep Houses. Boys Invent Things. Girls Use What they Invent. Boys Can Eat. Girls Can Cook."

A snapshot from a sexist 1970's children's book for your perusal. Many have seen this and insisted it must be a hoax. But is it? Sociological Images says not so fast.
posted by crazyray on Apr 11, 2009 - 149 comments

Animal behaviour: Grape expectations

Revealing how we are just a bunch of monkeys... (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 28, 2009 - 15 comments

How Do We Know What We Know?

For most of us, science arrives in our lives packaged neatly as fact. But how did it get that way? Science is an active process of observation and investigation. Evidence: How Do We Know What We Know? [HTML version, Flash version also available] examines that process, revealing the ways in which ideas and information become knowledge and understanding. In this case study in human origins, the folks from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology explore how scientific evidence is being used to shape our current understanding of ourselves: What makes us human—and how did we get this way?
posted by netbros on Mar 25, 2009 - 15 comments

Sociological Images

Sociological Images. A branch of the journal Contexts from the American Sociological Association. What does "organic" look like? What happens after the oil boom dries up in a town? There are many discussions about the way bodies are shown. Privilege and Poverty in Vogue India. They also go behind your back and add content to previous posts. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Mar 11, 2009 - 12 comments

The linguistics of color-blind racism

As the Jim Crow overt style of maintaining white supremacy was replaced with “now you see it, now you don’t” practices that were subtle, apparently non-racial, and institutionalized, an ideology fitting to this era emerged... -The Linguistics of Color-Blind Racism.
posted by lunit on Mar 9, 2009 - 191 comments

above us only sky

The end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability. "At the moment, we can call this the triumph of multiculturalism, or post-racialism. But just as whiteness has no inherent meaning—it is a vessel we fill with our hopes and anxieties—these terms may prove equally empty in the long run. Does being post-racial mean that we are past race completely, or merely that race is no longer essential to how we identify ourselves?"
posted by plexi on Jan 16, 2009 - 69 comments

Paris: Invisible City

Paris: Ville Invisible. "This work seeks to show how real cities resemble the 'invisible cities' of Italo Calvino. As cluttered, saturated, and asphyxiating as it is, one can breathe more freely in Paris, the invisible city." The renowned French sociologist Bruno Latour presents a "virtual sociological book" that explores the limits of social theory for the understanding of urban life. The Flash interface is somewhat rickety, but there is a text-only PDF of the English version. (via)
posted by nasreddin on Dec 28, 2008 - 11 comments

Workplace Mobbing

Sometimes, especially in winter, Kenneth Westhues can hear a flock of crows tormenting a great horned owl outside his study in Waterloo, Ontario. It is a fitting soundtrack for his work. Mr. Westhues has made a career out of the study of mobbing. Since the late 1990s, he has written or edited five volumes on the topic. However, the mobbers that most captivate him are not sparrows, fieldfares, or jackdaws. They are modern-day college professors. [more inside]
posted by parudox on Nov 11, 2008 - 58 comments

Do you like this post? a)Yes b)Of course c)How could I not? d)Maybe

Rethinking Public Opinion - the immense importance of public opinion polling in American politics, and the under-reported problems at the heart of the enterprise, combine to call for a serious critique of the polling industry, its assumptions, and its method
posted by Gyan on Nov 8, 2008 - 40 comments

Culture Clash

Blogs about India (from an expats perspective): Welcome to India! Namaste, Namaste... please come in and enjoy yourselves... you must've heard a lot about us, but you ain't seen nothing yet. [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on Sep 21, 2008 - 7 comments

Venus and Mars - not what we thought

Why aren't men and women becoming more alike? A husband and a stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge. International Sexuality Description Project findings.
posted by desjardins on Sep 9, 2008 - 45 comments

People who live without TV

Out There: People Who Live Without TV. About one to two percent of Americans do not watch television, which it turns out, is a common ground for the very liberal and the very conservative. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Sep 4, 2008 - 183 comments

Now you see the violence inherent in the system

Working Hard, Drinking Hard is a book about structural violence in Honduras by Adrienne Pine. In it, she "explores the daily relationships and routines of urban Hondurans in light of globalizing forces and extreme social inequalities." [more inside]
posted by lysdexic on Aug 21, 2008 - 13 comments

What's nu?

A linguist and a sociologist at Hebrew Union College have teamed up to track the inroads made into American English by words and idioms from traditionally Jewish languages, including Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), and Hebrew. They've created an online survey and are looking for people from all religious and ethnic backgrounds to answer a few questions about their word choices, phrasing, and pronunciation. They're also trying to determine whether certain linguistic quirks usually attributed to Yiddish's influence are actually carried over from Jewish ancestors' speech patterns and accents, or whether they're merely an artifact from growing up in or near New York City. [via]
posted by Asparagirl on Jul 23, 2008 - 65 comments

What's the problem with Yale?

William Deresiewicz examines the pitfalls of an Ivy League education Apparently, the Ivies prepare you for... mediocrity.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 18, 2008 - 188 comments

Žižek!

"Žižek!" is a feature documentary exploring the eccentric personality and esoteric work of the "wild man of theory": the eminent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 12, 2008 - 18 comments

Warum nicht wir betrunken erhalten (und schraube)

Europeans Get Drunk to Have Sex. The UK has one of the worst reputations for binge drinking and underage sex but there are striking similarities between countries, a study found. A third of 16 to 35-year-old men and 23% of women questioned said they drank to increase their chance of sex. The study - of 1,341 young people in nine countries including the UK - is published in BMC Public Health. PDF available here. [more inside]
posted by psmealey on May 9, 2008 - 130 comments

Go to Your Room

Are you an older sibling? Did you feel unfairly treated compared to your brothers and sisters? Well, now you have science to back you up. According to Games Parents and Adolescents Play, a new sociology study published in The Economic Journal, the oldest kid in the family really does bear the brunt of parental strictness, while the younger brothers and sisters generally coast on through. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 5, 2008 - 67 comments

my grandma married an engineer, so did my mom, oh and I'm one too

Islamic terrorists are more likely to be engineers than members of any other profession--and not because engineers possess superior technological skills. That's the conclusion of a controversial Oxford University study that has the engineering community buzzing. (PDF) The study's disturbing finding blames what it calls a universal engineering mindset, which it describes as one drawn to structure and rules plus clear, single solutions to complex problems. When coupled with the harsh realities of life in many Islamic countries, terrorism can be the result, the study says. ~ Via EETimes [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 10, 2008 - 68 comments

Understanding Race

A new look at race through three lenses: History, human variation and lived experience. Be sure to check out some of the quizzes, notably White Men Can't Jump and other assumptions about sports and race. [via SpoFi] A product of the American Anthropological Association.
posted by psmealey on Feb 3, 2008 - 14 comments

Obscure timelines and curiosities

Artslynx's theatre resources section is a goldmine of links to research and support sites for every aspect of theatrical production and dramaturgy. Especially useful are the Artslynx timelines. Need to know when cling wrap came into usage? Check out the prop timeline. Lots of additional links to outside timelines and history sites for anyone with a thirst for obscure sociological information, a love of craptacularly designed scrolling pages, and generally and too much time on their hands. For example: food, fashion, ephemera, and people who have died onstage [more inside]
posted by stagewhisper on Dec 7, 2007 - 3 comments

Choices, constraints, and the 'mommy track.'

Insightful, sociological, bitter: A scholar reflects back on her entry into the academic 'mommy track.' An interesting blend of meditation-on-resentment and just-plain-resentment, worth a read both intentionally and un-. [via] [more inside]
posted by waxbanks on Dec 2, 2007 - 69 comments

Not as subtle and intricate as AskMefi. But way faster.

Ask 500 (or 100) people: Random participants answer each other's polls on prayer in school, the bible, philosophers, iraq, social habits, love & marriage, materialism, freedom of speech, or whatever topic of interest someone wants to open up for a very momentary spotlight, and reasonably accurate data. [more inside]
posted by mdn on Nov 25, 2007 - 29 comments

A Theory of Humor | Why something is funny, why it sometimes is not, and when it crosses a line.

Theory of Humor. A scientific paper, written by Tom Veatch, describes his Theory of Humor. When is something funny? When is it not funny? When does it cross the line? Why are puns generally shitty? And the mysterious and magical powers elephant jokes have on children, revealed! A great data set to use for practice in applying the theories presented in the paper can be found here.
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 20, 2007 - 57 comments

Diversity counterproductive to "social capital?"

Diversity counterproductive to "social capital?" James Wilson's article in Commentary magazine talks about Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam's essay recently published in Scandinavian Political Studies. In the essay, Putnam publicizes the findings of his research, conducted in rural districts, towns, and cities, whose conclusion establishes that diverse neighborhoods show less "social capital" because ethnically diverse residents seem to distrust each other. [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Nov 2, 2007 - 37 comments

Before Kid Nation, there was Robbers Cave

"In the summer of 1954, twenty-two fifth-grade boys were taken out to a campground at Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma. [...] Ostensibly it was an unremarkable summer camp. [...] what they had really done for two and a half weeks was unwittingly take part in an elaborate and fascinating psychological experiment." [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Oct 23, 2007 - 44 comments

The Tearoom Trade and the Breastplate of Righteousness

Laud Humphreys was studying to be an Episcopal priest in the mid-1950s when he learned, shortly after his father's death, that his father, Oklahoma State Representative Ira D. Humphreys, took trips to New Orleans to have sex with other men. After being dismissed as an Episcopal priest in the 1960s, Laud Humphreys then enrolled as a sociology grad student where he completed a dissertation about men who had sex with other men in public bathrooms in St. Louis, which Humphreys researched by agreeing to serve as a "watch queen", looking out for the police. After writing down the license plate numbers of the men having sex, Humphreys traced the men's addresses and contacted them in disguise, claiming to be collecting data for a public health survey. The research, which was condemned as unethical for its use of covert methods, was published in 1970 as Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Sep 8, 2007 - 58 comments

This story is about something called Radical Honesty. It may change your life. (But honestly, we don't really care.)

I appreciate you for reading this article. I resent you for snarking in the thread without reading it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 5, 2007 - 293 comments

I'm a cold Italian pizza / I could use a lemon squeezer

Bonobo chimpanzees are commonly thought to be "an example of amicability, sensitivity and, well, humaneness" in the animal kingdom. Ian Parker's Swingers suggests a darker, more savage side to the species that belies popular perception.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 3, 2007 - 20 comments

Japanese host club documentary

Following this 2005 post, this documentary on Osaka "Host Clubs", "The Great Happiness Space" [Google vid 1:15; misleading preview here] is like nothing I've ever seen. Dark and light and wrenching and weird and funny. And dark. Kafka comes to mind for a lot of viewers, but this would fail as fiction. A midpoint shift forces you to confront a reality that is staggeringly complex. It's a kaleidescope of self-awareness and -delusion; compassion and manipulation; candor and deception. Layered, nuanced, and self-referential. The chief host's blog translated somewhat idiosyncratically by google, gives you another perspective [note: not included in the spirit of "LOL Engrish"]. This insider's account of a hostess club, written by a Duke University sociologist, is a lot more predictable and straightforward.
posted by Phred182 on Jul 28, 2007 - 24 comments

About psychopaths.

Are these people qualitatively different from us? "I would think yes," says Hare. "Do they form a discrete taxon or category? I would say probably -- the evidence is suggesting that.
Psychopaths. They form about 1% of the population. They enjoy the excitement of power. Some choice bits from Hare's book. The obligatory Bush link, but, hey, it's got the test sections and the sad truth is that we do have some psychopaths in positions of power, though probably not the Presidency. [Gosh this is getting long] It turns out there's a biological basis for it. Here's the DSM description and some detailed analysis/description (gosh, I identify with some of those traits!) And here's some AskMe fodder, "Are You Involved With A Psychopath?" And because of that lust for power... well, it could well be your boss.
posted by five fresh fish on May 28, 2007 - 112 comments

An uncommon vacation.

Judy's tour diary (pdf, somewhat long) isn't your standard travelogue. The author is Judy Porter, a professor of sociology from Bryn Mawr Collge. Her expertise in the fields of AIDS and poverty are apparent as she paints a vivid picture of life in West Africa, and the health and social conditions that come with it. She also set up a web page that has links to a number of photo slide shows and hand shot video footage. West Africa has been extensively discussed previously.
posted by The Straightener on Mar 16, 2007 - 6 comments

How I got critically bit in my socially constructed ass

Made in Criticalland. Sociologist Bruno Latour reflects upon the way social construction and social critique have been instrumentalised by lobbyists, conspiracy theorists, "instant revisionists" and other unsavory people: We, in the academy, like to use more elevated causes–society, discourse, knowledge-slash-power, fields of forces, empires, capitalism–while conspiracists like to portray a miserable bunch of greedy people with dark intents, but I find something troublingly similar in the structure of the explanation, in the first movement of disbelief and, then, in the wheeling of causal explanations coming out of the deep Dark below. This from the guy who, thanks to his Relativistic account of Einstein's relativity, was one of the targets of the Sokal hoax.
posted by elgilito on Dec 23, 2006 - 28 comments

I just want to belong.

People are strange when you're a stranger.
posted by Robot Johnny on Nov 24, 2006 - 60 comments

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