January 25, 2011

"Sociology does not enjoy an especially elevated reputation in the academy, and the American Sociological Association provides an object lesson in why that is."

Says Instapundit, linking to my fisking of the sociologists' expression of outrage. He emphasizes the violence inherent in the Greek riots Francis Fox Piven rhapsodized about, quoting this Wall Street Journal article:
[T]ens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

49 comments:

EDH said...

Notice the violent rhetoric of the ASA.

Scholars of her caliber, intellectuals of her stature, and especially those who tackle social conflicts and contradictions, mass movements and political action, should stimulate equal levels of serious challenge and creative dialogue.

Now, in an Althouse Exclusive, we have received video from the actual meeting of ASA officials expressing "outrage" over the treatment of Francis Fox Piven, in an attempt to clarify their remarks.

[Bumped]

Carl Vero said...

There are many things whose existence is manifest and obvious;
some of these are innate notions or objects of sensation, others are
nearly so. False notions, however, may be spread either by a person laboring under error,
or by one who has some particular end in view, and who
establishes theories contrary to the real nature of things, by
denying the existence of things perceived by the senses, or by
affirming the existence of what does not exist.

shoutingthomas said...

Yeah, but it was just the crazy ass Stalinist Nation magazine.

Everybody knows you're not supposed to take anything in the Nation literally.

So you can't really hold the Nation or Piven responsible.

And, Beck is just a dumb yokel on Fox. How could he possibly understand the intricate intellectual ramblings of The Nation?

shoutingthomas said...

Next stop for Piven and the dopey sociologists: O'Reilly.

They don't have any idea what they've stirred up.

They want a fight. They should have stuck with Beck. I think the fight is about to be bucked up to O'Reilly.

Pouring gasoline on a fire.

Ah Pooh said...

The 1967 riots did wonders for Detroit. Wayne State University was affectionally referred to as Moscow U., Rules for Radicals a classic.

edutcher said...

Interesting how those who encourage violence from the Left are never held morally (dreaming, I know), legally, criminally, or financially responsible.

And alsmost all are from Liberal Arts - Churchill, Chomsky, Marcuse, etc..

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

When the the finest sociology department in the country, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison is chaired by a guy like Erik Olin Wright, then you can understand why the whole subject matter has rotted and become useless.

Here's a bit from that link, but you should read the whole thing:

With Wright that sociological tradition, alas, is dead. The book is startling and depressing evidence of what has happened to American academic Marxism, at least its sociological variant, over the last thirty years. It has become turgid, vapid, and self-referential. Wright lives in a bubble of like-minded sociologists and political theorists. On page 322, he thanks Marcia Kahn Wright, his wife, for suggesting to him “the term ‘interstitial’” as a way of expressing something about “strategic logic,” whatever that is. Apart from Mrs. Wright, Erik Wright’s favorite source is Erik Wright. He has read all of his works and finds them remarkable. He moves fluidly between Wright of 1985 and Wright of 2010, as if history has not changed. Actually, for Wright, history has not changed. The issues that rivet Wright unfold in an eternal graduate sociology seminar where the clock has stopped. In a memoir elsewhere, Wright comments that every September since kindergarten in 1952 he has been in school. It might be time for him to take a break.

Beldar said...

You've got this whole barbershop mirrors thing going nicely.

Trooper York said...

I don't mind if we are more like Grease if we get to bang Olivia Newton John.

She is still pretty hot. Just sayn'

nobody said...

"With [Erik Olin] Wright that sociological tradition, alas, is dead. The book is startling and depressing evidence of what has happened to American academic Marxism, at least its sociological variant, over the last thirty years. It has become turgid, vapid, and self-referential. Wright lives in a bubble of like-minded sociologists and political theorists. On page 322, he thanks Marcia Kahn Wright, his wife, for suggesting to him “the term ‘interstitial’” as a way of expressing something about “strategic logic,” whatever that is. Apart from Mrs. Wright, Erik Wright’s favorite source is Erik Wright. He has read all of his works and finds them remarkable. He moves fluidly between Wright of 1985 and Wright of 2010, as if history has not changed. Actually, for Wright, history has not changed. The issues that rivet Wright unfold in an eternal graduate sociology seminar where the clock has stopped. In a memoir elsewhere, Wright comments that every September since kindergarten in 1952 he has been in school. It might be time for him to take a break."

[...]


"He says little about anything. The empirical information he provides is perfunctory at best. His command of Marxism seems limited. His historical reach extends to his own earlier works. His vast theoretical apparatus is jimmy-rigged and empty. The graphs are inane, the writing atrocious. To call this book dull as dish water maligns dish water.

'Wright is a man of the Left and undoubtedly supports with his heart, mind, and resources good causes. Yet only sociologists force-fed as graduate students will not choke on this book. That many of them have come to adore this stuff is only striking proof of the discipline’s collapse. In a blurb, Michael Burawoy, a previous president of the American Sociological Association and a prominent leftist sociologist, calls the book “encyclopedic” in its breadth and “daunting” in its ambition. He states, “Only a thinker of Wright’s genius could sustain such a badly needed political imagination without losing analytical clarity and precision.” With the correction that Wright is no genius and that the book is suffocatingly narrow in scope, impossibly cramped in imagination, and irreparably muddy in execution, the blurb is accurate. C.Wright Mills, who despised sociological jargon, has been succeeded by Erik Olin Wright, once given the C.Wright Mills Distinguished Professor Award at Wisconsin, who cranks out sociological cant. With Wright as elected president of the sociological profession, the conservative nightmare of radicals taking over the university has in part come to pass. But if this book exemplifies academic Marxism, conservatives can rest easy. We should all fear, however, what it suggests about the contemporary university and its scholarship."

nobody said...

http://dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=3790

Steroids UK said...

there's no excuse for the actions of the rioters in Greece.

shoutingthomas said...

Here's Piven's reply on MSNBC
Notice the strange halt at 4:07.

She was just a little old academic. Can't understand why Beck singled her out. Must be (implied) racism from people who can't cope with the way the country has changed.

virgil xenophon said...

Shorter Piven/ASA: "Nobody here but us chickens!"

Quayle said...

"Scholars of her caliber, intellectuals of her stature..."

The Crack Emcee said...

"Sociology does not enjoy an especially elevated reputation in the academy,..."

Oh well, it's got to beat this shit.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucid said...

You go get them, Ann.

This kind of piercing and critiquing of sententious hypocrisy, and your photography, are two of the things you do best and uniquely well, in my opinion.

former law student said...

the violence inherent in the Greek riots Francis Fox Piven rhapsodized about

Could Ann be angling for her own radio show?

Roger J. said...

Sociology has a long and less than distinguished history of incoherent use of the English language starting at least with Talcott Parsons some 70 years ago--and only getting worse over time.

traditionalguy said...

But I thought that CO2 emissions have caused every bad thing in history since man first popped out of Evolution's Oven. Now we hear that CARBON has always been at war with nature, but that life and nature are carbon based??? And Co2 is not Carbon any more than H2O is Oxygen. Who tells the truth anymore?

Chip Ahoy said...

We are only on page thirteen and already we have utopias that depend on a social science that depends on a theory of justice that breaks down into two parts, social and political, the first of which subdivides in three ways. The first of the three subdivisions contains four main components, the fist of the four components has eighteen elements, the first element of the first of four components is further subdivided evenly into seven flavors. The first flavor of the first of eighteen elements has an assortment of up to sixty-two of tinges, the first four tinges consist of some one hundred and eighty-six taints. We will return to the political aspect of the theory of justice in due time after all the components of the subdivisions of the social part of the theory of justice is exhausted, if ever, because new things keep occurring to me along the way, and believe me, I'm keeping track of all this on little cards.

Trooper York said...

Chip Ahoy said.....
The first flavor of the first of eighteen elements has an assortment of up to sixty-two of tinges, the first four tinges consist of some one hundred and eighty-six taints"


Jeeez the only person I know with one hundred and eighty-six taints is Vanessa Del Rio.

Talk about your excessive taint!

rhhardin said...

Sociology has a long and less than distinguished history of incoherent use of the English language starting at least with Talcott Parsons some 70 years ago--and only getting worse over time.

counterexamples

Erving Goffman
Joseph Gusfield
Richard Harvey Brown ("A poetic for Sociology")

virgil xenophon said...

Trooper York/

Don't want to make you jealous or anything, but I once met Vanessa baby in person in Louisville, circa 1978-79. Chris Matthews would have gotten more than tingles...

Trooper York said...

I wouldn't be jealous virgil. I have met her many times as she used to live in Brooklyn. In fact her real name is Anna and she would go to a bar I used to hang out in with her boyfriend. Sometimes she hung out with some of her friends in the industry.

Of course that was back in the
1980's in my single days and the statute of limitations apply. Just sayn'

Paddy O said...

The more I think about it, the more I think there really is a place for sociology.

It's a bit like the waste management of academia. All the old broken down theories drift through the sewers and are allowed to fester in sociology, with all the liquids eventually evaporating leaving a solid chunk of waste matter that can be quite easily identified identified and even sold as manure.

Trooper York said...

It's just when you talk about taint....well Vanessa just naturally comes to mind.

lucid said...

@rhardin

Yes, there are good sociologists, like Erving Goffman.

(My favorite Goffman: "To the degree that a [social] performance highlights the common official values of the society in which it occurs, we may look upon it as a ceremony--as an expressive rejuvenation and reaffirmation of the moral values of the community. Furthermore, in so far as the expressive bias of [social] performances comes to be accepted as reality, then that which is accepted at the moment as reality will have some of the characteristics of a celebration. To stay in one's room away from the the place where the party is given, or away from where the practitioner attends his client, is to stay away from where reality is being performed. The world, in truth, is a wedding.")

Also good are some of the empirically oriented researchers like Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker at U of Texas-Austin who are getting attention for some of their ideas about sexual economics.

And then there are the "applied sociologists" who do marketing and public opinion work. They have possession of powerful and effective tools that are sociologically based.

But a lot of sociologists are simply moralizing scolds who substitute stale leftism for actual thought and who are really part of a political movement rather than an intellectual or academic tradition. For example, the new sociology fad for "Whiteness Studies." Unbelievable yuck that they subject their students to without any pretense at balance or open mindedness.

And these folks are wasting their students time and money and essentially living on a public/private dole that is handed out based on political affiliations and allegiances. None of this sort could make a living in the real world.

chuck b. said...

Misread: Scientology does not enjoy an especially elevated reputation in the academy...

Methadras said...

Sociology is nothing more than Marxism 101.

Almost Ali said...

Google: Did you mean Franc[e]s Fox Piven?

Interesting photo of Piven (and Tom Hayden) scaling the walls at Columbia in 1968.

garage mahal said...

Pure genius Meth.
Sociology = Socialism!

Duh!

Donald Douglas said...

I linked a couple of your posts, Ann. Video at the link: 'Glenn Beck Slams New York Times and Soros-Funded Center for Constitutional Rights'.

ricpic said...

Back in the days when the occasional ray of honesty pierced the fog of civility the likes of Piven were called what she is -- an agitator, no more, no less.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sixty Grit,

Seven-fold peace unto you, Crack. May the fleas of seven-fold camels roost in your reiki and the bird of seven-fold paradise nest upon your doctored soul.

Fuck Sixty - now I can't stop laughing!

Pogo said...

It is still shocking to read the writings of the SDS, the Weathermen, and other 60s radicals.

Radical socialist Columbia University professors Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven started the Cloward-Piven Strategy, in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation.

The strategy was to force political change through orchestrated crises; fomenting the fall of capitalism "by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.[Horowitz]"

Piven:
"By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some institutional sphere. Crisis can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to public attention."

This is what radicals like Piven and Bill Ayers wanted. Violent riots, subterfuge, and takeover of the system.

ricpic said...

garage stumbles into the truth. Any sociologist who flew around with and observed capitalist parrots and then reported that capitalist parrots had better plumage than and were happier parrots than socialist parrots would be a dead sociologist parrot in no time flat.

nrn312 said...

They want a fight. They should have stuck with Beck. I think the fight is about to be bucked up to O'Reilly.

Our loofahs are at the ready!

vnjagvet said...

The notion that Piven was not calling for riots like occurred recently in Greece and Britain is disingenuous. In fact her Nation article was a how-to for organization of such actions in this country and in today's environment. Here are her statements of the problems and solutions from the article:

Problem: First, when people lose their jobs they are dispersed, no longer much connected to their fellow workers or their unions and not easily connected to the unemployed from other workplaces and occupations.

Solution: The problem of how to bring people together is sometimes made easier by government service centers, as when in the 1960s poor mothers gathered in crowded welfare centers or when the jobless congregated in unemployment centers. But administrators also understand that services create sites for collective action; if they sense trouble brewing, they exert themselves to avoid the long lines and crowded waiting areas that can facilitate organizing, or they simply shift the service nexus to the Internet. Organizers can try to compensate by offering help and advocacy off-site, and at least some small groups of the unemployed have been formed on this basis.

Problem: Second, before people can mobilize for collective action, they have to develop a proud and angry identity and a set of claims that go with that identity. They have to go from being hurt and ashamed to being angry and indignant.

Solution: So, a kind of psychological transformation has to take place; the out-of-work have to stop blaming themselves for their hard times and turn their anger on the bosses, the bureaucrats or the politicians who are in fact responsible.

Problem: Third, protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones capable of making some kind of response to angry demands.

Solution: Local protests have to accumulate and spread—and become more disruptive—to create serious pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.

The notion that she is not advocating such organization and action is plainly silly.

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Pure genius Meth.
Sociology = Socialism!

Duh!


In a word, yes. I've ultimately distilled it down to that because that in effect is what it becomes. Glad you barely caught the gist of it. I thought that statement alone would have went over your head. You're a fucking idiot anyway, so what the fuck do you care, unless of course I insulted your ideology.

Methadras said...

ricpic said...

garage stumbles into the truth. Any sociologist who flew around with and observed capitalist parrots and then reported that capitalist parrots had better plumage than and were happier parrots than socialist parrots would be a dead sociologist parrot in no time flat.


Thus rendering him and ex-parrot!!!

Fen said...

Something the owners and editors of The Nation to consider:

"No one ever died from reading Der Sterner, but the culture it served caused 6 million Jews to drop dead" - George Will

flicka47 said...

Oh, I think Frances Pivens is misreading her tea leaves...

In today's political/economic environment I don't think her "over-whelm the system" will play out like in her little dream.

The Crack Emcee said...

There once was a woman named Piven
who didn't like how we were livin'
So she said, "Be like Greece!"
'til we read Socrates
and then questioned just what she was given.

AST said...

From Dissent article: “hard-nosed proposals for pragmatically improving our lives” sounds suspiciously like something Pol Pat preached before he seized power.

And why should anybody not take Obama seriously when he uses violent metaphors like "hit back twice as hard," etc.? Fortunately, the revolution he thought he was instigating fizzled when he couldn't deliver his promised millions of well-paying jobs.

Ms. Piven appeared to have been told "Don't say 'riot'" or to have had a sudden stroke.

AST said...

In a way, she reminded me of Doktor Fremdenliebe, him of the trick arm.

AST said...

I went looking for that quote from George Will and kept being led to this odd review of Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America titled "A Frightening but pertinent and timeous warning,"

timeous?

I still don't know what Der Sterner was/is.

abeer ahmed said...

For the latest news visit us on cnn.com
http://whois.domaintasks.com/cnn.com