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Posts Tagged ‘Keep Calm and Commit Sociology’

Fund Sociology

At the recent annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York, the ASA made a statement that others should “Keep Calm and Fund Sociology,” as our purple conference bags noted. The continued funding of sociological research is certainly important, as successful efforts to deny NSF funding to political science make clear. Nevertheless, maybe the ASA should have used the approach of the British Sociological Association, which produced a video at its own annual meeting (available below) showing all of the ways why it is important to commit sociology. The video shows why sociology is important, which will hopefully lead to continued funding. It also makes me want to join the BSA.

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Keep Calm

In the past few weeks, there have been two relatively high-profile attacks on sociology (recognizing, of course, that anything reaching beyond the walls of sociology departments is relatively high-profile). In the first, N+1 published an article claiming that there is “too much sociology” because everybody already sees the world sociologically. In the second, Justin Trudeau’s argued that it is necessary to examine the root causes of problems like terrorism, prompting Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, to state, “This is not a time to commit sociology, if I can use an expression [that I just made up].”

Beyond potentially causing the ASA to shut down its website, I see these attacks as a positive sign for sociology. In my experience, lots of sociologists wish that policymakers would pay more attention to our ideas while lots of people in the general public have no idea what sociology is. (Admit it, half of your family members have jokingly requested that you don’t psychoanalyze them.) The fact that some, even some in positions of power, are criticizing sociological ideas means that they are at least vaguely familiar with sociological ideas. That seems like progress to me.

*The buttons in the picture above are available for sale at this website. According to their creator, all proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Sociological Association’s student research award. I have already ordered one, adding to my growing collection of sociological buttons.

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