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Taking My Leave from Corrente

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Because of this:

Obama’s a helluva lot more human than the botox domme Queen Cindy and her gigilo soldier of fortune John Sidney McCain. You all have a helluva lot of a greater chance surviving the next four years with an Obama preznitcy than with a McCain-Cheneyburton oligarchy. If you vote “Mc$ame” like Rove wants, or you simply sit out this $election on your hands in petulance, you, personally, are making one of the biggest mistakes of your life.

And this

you whiners need to just register (R) and send in your KKK membership dues. Now that the Alaskan lady is running you have a reason to vote for McCain. (I kid of course, but seriously, get over it as Lord Cheeto is fond of saying)

And this Read below the fold...

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Stephanie Coontz Revisits The Feminine Mystique

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Stephanie Coontz makes all the so-called relationship, marriage and family experts from the conservative thinktanks look like the frauds that they are. Her most recent book, Marriage - A History, is a masterpiece of scholarly research made accessible to the general public through great writing.

Today, in a Guardian column, she uses the 45th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique to revisit its impact. Read below the fold...

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Basic Sociology - Group Behavior

Groups

Social groups have specific characteristics: (a) they consist of two or more people who (b) interact in an ordered fashion, (c) share specific values and norms, and (d) have at least some sense of unity and common goals.

Group conformity / obedience

One of the main influences that groups exercise over their members lies in their capacity to induce conformity – the process through which members modify their behavior to comply with the group’s norms or decisions. Research shows that group pressure does not have to be intense to produce conformity.

One such experiment was conducted by Solomon Asch (1956) to show the power of groups to influence behavior. Asch assembled 6 to 8 students, all accomplices except one, the subject of the experiment. The students were shown a line on card 1 and asked to pick the corresponding line on card 2 (see diagram).

Asch

It is obvious that the correct answer is A. At first, Asch’s accomplices answered correctly but in further rounds of the experiment they started answering incorrectly. Asch wanted to see what the subject would do: would he provide the correct answer despite the group’s incorrect consensus or would he go along with the group?

One third of the subjects went along and provided the wrong answer and later admitted they knew it but did not want to be singled out. In other words, they were willing to compromise their judgment for the sake of going along with the group’s (wrong) answer.

Here is a video to illustrate this dynamic further:

Read below the fold...

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PB2.0 - Where Do We Go from Here?

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After weeks of looking back and taking stock of what happened to the major players in the progressive blogosphere (PB1.0), let's move forward, shall we?

It's time to come out and stake our claim to a place in the blogosphere. We need to define ourselves as we are already being defined by others as "just disgruntled HRC supporters over there at Corrente."

The Principles

What we for PB2.0

  • Promotion of Justice / Social Justice
  • Promotion of truth no matter what
  • Promotion of the tools of critical analysis
  • Party invariance
  • We are not impartial, we are progressives

What we don't want for PB2.0

  • An exclusive focus on electoral politics
  • Too close a relationship between the blogosphere, the media and party politics
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Book Review - The Rise of the Global Imaginary - Part 2

RGI Here is the second part of my review of Manfred Steger's The Rise of the Global Imaginary (part 1 here). In the last part of the book, Steger focuses on the sometimes conflicting ideologies derived from the global imaginaries.

Starting from the collapse of the USSR, Steger argues (correctly, I think) that the first winning ideology in the decontestation game was market globalism, the ideology that managed to decontest "globalization" in the limited sense of deregulated markets on a global scale.

To explore the tenets of market globalism, Steger reviews the writings of one of its main proponents and popularizers: Thomas Friedman. Needless to say, this is painful to read as is anything related to Thomas Friedman (hence no links), however he is indeed a central figure in the promotion of market globalism. He is also a good representative of the way this ideology was promoted by the political, economic and corporate elites in the 1990s (or the transnational capitalist class as Leslie Sklair calls this group, Friedman belongs to the ideological sub-group of the TCC).

Read below the fold...

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Number One Song on The Day You Were Born

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Via Avedon, find out at this site, here is mine (coulda been worse!):

Feel free to leave yours in the comments! Read below the fold...

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Book Review - The Rise of the Global Imaginary - Part 1

Coss-posted from The Global Sociology Blog, a proud PB2.0 Blog!

RGI I have already blogged a bit about Manfred Steger's concept of social imaginary but that was before the actual publication of his book on the subject. Now that I have had the time to read the book, let me offer the following review.

Let me say right off the bat that I am a big fan of Manfred Steger's writings on globalization. His Globalization: A Very Short Introduction is still the best introduction to globalization on the market and the one I use for my undergraduate classes. His other book, Globalism: Market Ideology Meets Terrorism is a great exploration of the ideological and cultural implications of globalization.

In his latest book, The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from The French Revolution to the Global War on Terror, Steger offers another analysis of the ideological dimensions of globalization, but more in-depth than in his previous books.

Read below the fold...

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Book Review - Marsbound

Marsbound I am a big fan of science-fiction in general (good science-fiction is always good sociology), and of Joe Haldeman (that website needs some updating, Joe! Oh well, we can console ourselves with Live Journal) in particular ever since I read The Forever War. I have read all his books since and they keep getting better (The Accidental Time Machine was great but then again, I love the time travel sub-genre). The latest one is Marsbound. It belongs to the first contact genre, humans meet aliens. Read below the fold...

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How To Rob an African Nation

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

What happens when a small island African country discovers oil in its territorial waters? (Via Der Spiegel) In a perfect world, it should be the way out of poverty and to development and higher living standards for all. But this is not a perfect world. And this is not a hypothetical situation. It is the story of what happened to Sao Tome and Principe (See the BBC country profile for Sao Tome and Principe for general background information on this country.).

And it is a textbook example of how power differentials and resource curse combine to create a situation where a few will benefit tremendously and the many will be left in the same abject poverty as they were before and where transnational corporations and richer and more powerful countries can throw their weight around with the help of corrupt officials.

Read below the fold...

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Choosing One's Words Carefully

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Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

Via Jay Livingston at Montclair Socioblog, a beautiful short film that won in Cannes. Read below the fold...

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The Caucasus as New Cold War Theater?

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Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

Georgia

It is pretty clear that Russia and Georgia are at war (see excellent background article here). It is not like there were no warning signs that Russia did not enjoy having its power challenged, as happened with the independence of Kosovo where the UN ignored Russia's opposition and went ahead with support for the new republic over its objections. Then, a few weeks ago, I posted on the fact that it seemed that Russia was engaging in a new Cold War in an attempt to reclaim some global military leadership. The invasion of parts of Georgia in support of independent movements in Southern Ossetia and Abkhazia should be read in that context.

As usual, I find Michael Mann's conceptualization of different forms of power useful to understand what is going on here. As Jonathan Steele puts it in the Guardian, this is not just an economic war, a "pipeline war", but a war of political influence. Political power, more than economic, might be at work here:

Read below the fold...

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The Democratic Platform (Draft) - A Selective Commentary

This is my selective review of the draft of the Democratic platform (changes might still be made). I'll just highlight the stuff I really like or dislike. You can go read the whole thing itself, just follow the link. Here we go

Preamble

"A great nation now demands that its leaders abandon the politics of partisan division and find creative solutions to promote the common good. A people that prizes candor, accountability and fairness insists that a government for the people must level with them and champion the interests of all American families. A land of historic resourcefulness has lost its patience with elected officials who have failed to lead."

Uh oh, this does not start well. Partisan division is NOT the problem. Republican governance is. Creative solutions are good, but they include first sending the Republican leadership back to the hole they crawled out of.

"And so, Democrats –through the most open platform process in history –are reaching out today to Republicans and Independents who hunger for a new direction and a reason to hope."

I think I'm going to need a puke bucket AND a large supply of barf bags to make it through this.

Read below the fold...

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Political Repression, Myth-Building and Invisible Classes

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

As the Olympic Games started in Beijing, the question of human rights in China has been already well discussed. What was interesting to me was a Guardian op-ed by Brendan O'Neill on the journalistic and activist distortions and myth created regarding the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989.

"Many have accused the Chinese of trying to control international perceptions of Tiananmen Square – Beijing's "blackened heart", as one reporter describes it – and no doubt that is true. Disgracefully, the Communist party of China's official position on the 1989 massacre is that it wasn't a noteworthy event. Officials still refer to it as "the incident", a shocking label for the Chinese military's massacre of anywhere between 300 and 1,000 people on the hot, heady nights of June 3 and 4 1989. Read below the fold...

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Training for the Carceral and Surveillance Society

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

Scott Jaschik was at the ASA meeting (I had breakfast next to him on Saturday morning) and he has an interesting article in Inside Higher Ed regarding the relationship between sociology, criminology and criminal justice. These disciplines are usually considered to be "cousins". Sociology broadly provides most of the background that goes into criminology, understood as the study of the ins and out of the criminal justice system with a theoretical background. Criminal Justice often includes the more vocational aspects of the field, something often nicknamed the "cop shop" aspect of teaching. So what are the issues here? Read below the fold...

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The Brave New World of Work - Precarious Work, Insecure Workers

Cross-posted from The Global Sociology Blog.

This session by ASA President Arne Kalleberg (website) deserves a post of its own, because I thought it was so good and important. The title says it all: when it comes to the meaning of work, socio-economic forces have made work more insecure, unpredictable, and risky. In other words, in the brave new world of work, the French concept of précarité is the name of the game: work has become more precarious.

Kalleberg divided his presentation into four sections:

  • The causes of growth of precarious work as global challenge
  • The consequences
  • Rethinking the employment relationship
  • Challenges for public policy and sociology

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