Posts tagged with sociology

Giovanni Sartori noted in Democratic Theory (1962) that the apathy of the majority is nobody’s fault in particular, and it is time we stopped seeking scapegoats.

What do you think about this?

Elite failure and the distrust it has spawned is the most powerful and least understood aspect of current politics and society.
Chris Hayes, Twilight of the Elites (2012)

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Gender reality is performative which means, quite simply, that it is real only to the extent that it is performed.
Judith Butler (via mishaoverlord)

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Sociologists have frequently observed that governments use punishment primarily as a tool of social control, and thus the extent or severity of punishment is often unrelated to actual crime patterns.
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (2011)

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I’m not concerned that ultra-violent films and video games exist; I’m concerned that, increasingly, that’s almost all there is. For several generations now, the homicidal reflexes that structure these media entertainments have become second-nature, and other narrative paradigms are being phased out. But the larger reality is that these reflexes are present everywhere in our pathology, in our global politics, our sports culture, our criminal justice system, our weapons policy, our right-wing TV cant, our ignorant myths of our own national history, even in our capitalism, which revels in the conquest over the hapless many by the moneyed few.
Michael Atkinson, “Hollywood is the Wrong Target” - In These Times

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This is the full pdf of the study that attempts to answer this question:

How representative are experimental findings from American university students? What do we really know about human psychology?


Not to be hyperbolic BUT these next two sentences can explain our daily lives, and our politics, almost frighteningly.

"In their paper the trio pointed out cross-cultural studies that suggest that the “weird” Western mind is the most self-aggrandizing and egotistical on the planet: we are more likely to promote ourselves as individuals versus advancing as a group. WEIRD minds are also more analytic, possessing the tendency to telescope in on an object of interest rather than understanding that object in the context of what is around it.”

Ive been thinking about consciousness - class consciousness, political consciousness, and our misguided, and toxic construct of ‘the self, for the last few days, and this study crystallizes, in a way, what I was thinking.

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Joe Henrich and colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics - and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.

From Pacific Standard.

I constantly cringe when I hear the term human nature. This article underscores my thoughts. I don’t know why it’s so hard to grasp (although this article doe explain this somewhat) that we are our environment - both internally and externally - and we (our brain, thoughts, opinions, lives) are completely constructed. Actually, I guess I do understand. When we live in a hyper-individualistic culture it shakes our identities when we talk about things like “free will,” socioeconomics, luck, circumstances, etc..

We are all so scared of the truth.

Human nature means almost zero when talking about most behavior, in my opinion. I hope this breakthrough actually happens because the implications are enormous for public policy, for economics, etc..

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I’ve said for years that one of the things about unhealthy masculinity, or dominant stories of masculinity, is that men are socialized to push past pain, ignore pain, like it doesn’t harm you in any kind of way, you’re not vulnerable. If you can’t really recognize and experience your own pain, then how can you do it with anybody else?
Pat McGann, Men Can Stop Rape (via broaddiscernment)

(Source: The Atlantic)

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Cornel West, on Al Jazeera English, reproaches the U.S. vis-à-vis our recent paltry presidential debates (and choices) and national conversations which were noticeably absent of discussion on poverty, TPP, Africa, capitalism, etc. in this election cycle.

Professor West in 5 minutes shreds apart our shallow and paper kingdom.

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As described by Tom Watson, a prominent Populist leader, in a speech advocating a union between black and white farmers: “You are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings. You are made to hate each other because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism that enslaves you both. You are deceived and blinded that you may not see how this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars both.”
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

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