After reading around forums on parental abuse, I'm struck by how often my mother has a behaviour/opinion/specific threat or saying that is so common it could've come from an official handbook. My parents didn't have a parenting 'philosophy', they just did what they liked and didn't give it much thought. How is it possible that these isolated, fairly unaware people could be reproducing the exact same abusive behaviour I've read over and over, committed thousands of miles away? [more inside]
Looking for good books about cults, new religious movements, charismatic leaders and the groups they lead, "brainwashing" / "mind control" (I realize that these are controversial terms and concepts), pathological personalities in positions of power, belief systems (successfully) promulgated by the mentally ill, and the social and psychological dynamics of the aforementioned. [more inside]
WY do so few people live in the state north of Colorado? It is the least populous state in the nation and almost all its neighbors have twice the population. What accounts for such a large difference?
Some cultures foster majority-held, strongly anti-LGBT beliefs, and some do not, and religion doesn't seem to be the source of these attitudes, just a justification for them. Considering all this, what cultural forces account for anti-LGBT attitudes? What are the origins of these beliefs? [more inside]
Does anyone know any examples of intentional communities built off of ideals (e.g., kibbutzes, ashrams, communes, eco-villages, religious monasteries, etc.) where some individual(s) in charge got a little too powerful (or were too powerful to start out with) and turned the system into a self-serving, almost autocratic system? [more inside]
Pol Pat, Sukarno, Mugabe, Mao, Afwerki, Stalin. Why is it that ideologically-motivated revolutionaries often become dictators? Is it that people only act out of ideology and principles when they lack power?
Does there exist an updated catalog or wiki list of internet forums and web communities living and dead over the coarse of the internet's history?
I'm looking for a somewhat academic book on the inter-relations in ancient societies between the functions (or functionaries) of religion, law, and the "state" (or rule). Particularly something covering Sumer (and Cuneiform Law) and delving into Judaic Law and Christian law would be good. [more inside]
I don't know whether that's the right wording, but it seems that it's common in academia for scholars to have a vested interest in their discipline (or a department, or method, or theory) being considered relevant or important. As a consequence, academics might over-emphasize, sometimes blindly, the importance or relevance of their own disciplines, which can lead those disciplines to continue surviving past their relevant value. My question is - does anyone know of any literature that discusses this phenomenon or better yet, uses quantitative methods to show that it may or may not be happening? [more inside]
This might at first seem like a dumb question, because we take it as a given that people should believe other people. But when you ask a stranger a question, and they give you answer, you believe it - why? Or similarly, why do people believe their parents, religious figures, professors, etc.? [more inside]
I need to know the sociological or psychological terminology for someone who has a very narrow sense of self concept. For example, someone who puts all their focus into one specific thing and suffers through the rest of their life to engage in clubbing or fishing or movies . . . etc. [more inside]
Does anyone know why people are increasingly receiving rights now rather than at other points in history? Like, women's rights, Civil rights, gay rights, trans rights, animal rights, etc.? Jon Haidt talks about how Western liberals (among many others) have a morality loosely based on reducing harm, but how has that developed? Why now? I'm looking for any literature on the topic, ranging from academic to loose conjecture.
A while, I read Putnam's Bowling Alone and Fishman's The Walmart Effect and I enjoyed them. I didn't necessarily agree with everything they said, but I enjoyed them. A lot has changed since they were written. I'd like some recommendations of more recent books that are along the same lines as those -- books about social change written in layman's terms that aren't overtly biased.
Dearest Hivemind - Does anyone know of examples where the rules of a community or society fall apart after the community becomes less cohesive (i.e., the members of the community come to depend less on each other and interact more infrequently)? I imagine, for example, an instance where you have norms for helping others out in times of need (like sharing food), but then people become less dependent on each other and those norms dissolve. Examples from the academic literature are especially appreciated and they could occur on any scale (e.g., a children's clubhouse, a hunter-gatherer band, an American mid-century town, an organization, contemporary Japan). THANKS!!
A psychologist I know told me vaguely about a course/book she took where the teacher said something about how many of the descendants of Germans who fled WWII had service or help kind of professions, like therapists, social workers, academics, etc. I don't know if this is true or not, but I would like to find the book she was talking about. [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of what a culture or social group has articulated as the basic rights owed to any person or at least any member of the culture/social group. The universality is the point here. Obvious examples include the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the United States' Declaration of Independence and Constitution/Bill of Rights. What other examples can you give me? [more inside]
I was watching a movie where a scene included an academic lecturing on her work. The event was a black tie affair and there was an open bar at the lecture. I suddenly realized that this is common in movies and I've actually been to something like that in real life. Why? [more inside]
I'm working on something with the sloppy premise that over the gradual shift from print to digital, communications isn't a zero-sum game. The general idea is that the introduction of things like first the Internet and e-mail, and later social media and texting, have increased the total number of messages people receive, and that people are increasingly "messaged at" over time. What sources can help me prove this, or disprove it? [more inside]
hivemind!!!! Does anyone know of any cases where a norm informally or organically arises that prohibits a behavior that is costly to others (i.e., has negative externalities) or demands that individuals do something to reduce costs for others? Examples that come to mind are norms against smoking and norms demanding that people cover their mouths when they sneeze. It would be especially great if anyone also knew of some literature about the emergence of the norm, especially in the form of academic articles, though stuff from newspapers, magazines, etc. would be rad too. Thanks!
Hivemind! Does anyone know any examples of rules, regulations, laws, or norms that are under-enforced (e.g., violations go unpunished), leading the rule to completely destabilize (i.e., no one follows it)? I'm sure that there are A LOT of examples of this - stuff from any and all disciplines and scales would be welcome. I'm preferentially searching for unconventional examples (e.g., rules of children's games, supernaturally-sanctioned laws of hunter-gatherer bands) and I'm also looking especially for primary literature (e.g., experiments, case studies, etc.), but ultimately anything would be awesome. Thanks!
Are the citizens of the U.S. more or less honest than a hundred years ago? Is there any longitudinal research that explores this question? [more inside]
I'm interested in becoming more familiar with Bourdieu's ideas of habitas, fields, and forms of capital. I'd like to start with a primer book, or perhaps a collection of essays, that go over his ideas. Can you recommend one that covers these main ideas, frames them in terms of contemporary theorists, and is fairly accessible?
HIVEMIND! Does anyone know of any examples of technologies or social institutions that are "stuck" at some sub-optimal state, where we recognize that there are better alternatives out there, but everyone is just used to the current situation and coordinating a huge shift is just too difficult? The clearest example I can think of is having the Qwerty keyboard instead of the Dvorak, where we know that one is better but instituting it would require massive coordination and huge startup costs.
Maori chiefs were taboo'd from eating inside their houses, the Jewish Kohen (priests) couldn't handle dead bodies, and clerical classes across religious traditions have required celibacy -- does anyone know of any other examples of taboos on holy or religiously influential people? The cultures can range from contemporary big religions (e.g. Abrahamic) to the animism of small-scale societies - all examples are welcome!! THANKS!
I'm a man and in my mid 20's. I'm currently working on attaining my masters in social work, I've been reading up on research and While I'm no psychiatrist I do feel that I have suffered episodes of abandonment. My Stepfather ( who has raised me since I was two) suffered during his upbringing. He never met his father and his mom neglected a lot of her motherly duties. [more inside]
Lately, I have seem to have doubts about my intelligence; particularly with the notion of becoming a social researcher. I have always wanted to explore the field of social research. I have a penchant for learning new knowledge and theories; my curiosity never seems to wane. However, I have little confidence that I'm able to obtain a Master's Degree in Critical Sociology. I need to build my confidence and reassure myself that I have the capability, passion, devotion, and worth ethic to learn and strive towards this career goal. I would be most appreciated for some scope of advice, tips, and encouragement. [more inside]
I am trying to find some confirmation (or refutation) of the idea that at least in some contexts (schoolyard fisticuffs and other low-stakes, non-lethal brawls) the bloodying of one combatant's face is a kind of an "okay, the fight is over, we have a winner, everyone go home" signal. [more inside]
Circa 2010 I saw a video of a talk on dangers of twitter and hacktivism. The man giving this presentation gave an example of a tweet that angered hacktivists. One of them doxxed the twitter user and found out his/her address. A flash mob of angry people showed up at the doorstep. But the wrong address had been used. Then someone died (the homeowner? someone in the crowd? I can't recall.) [more inside]
I've been fascinated with 1950s-1960s stuff for a long time, and for just as long I've accepted that people back then were fascinated with evil, misbehaving youth, and indeed thought that "JDs" were a Huge Problem in Society (i.e. West Side Story, Blackboard Jungle, or Rebel Without A Cause). [more inside]
I'm beginning a project that looks partly at biological classification, primarily in western science. I have no background in this, and so I'm digging around. I'm interested to know more about the current rules for nomenclature, and also to know more about historical, philosophical, sociological, knowledge practice, ethnographic, anthropological, science technology and society (STS), sociotechnical, etc., approaches to the study of biological classification. I'll take monographs, articles, papers, web sites, etc. I have access to a university library. What are some good sources that can introduce me to this? Many thanks!
I'm leaving for a much deserved vacation. I will be spending a lot of time reading by the pool. I'm looking for good social science reads. [more inside]
I recently learned that the panhandlers in my city (Cambridge, MA) often share their food when they get big items and it made me wonder - do homeless individuals often have explicit or implicit rules, like "share when you get food" or "the person who's been homeless the longest gets the best spot"? What do you think happens if people break the rule? I'm sure there's a lot of variation both within and between cities, but if anyone has any thoughts, I'd really appreciate it!
I have an original pet theory I came up with a long time ago involving the Internet and how people judge probability. It probably would fall into the anthropological, sociological or psychological fields. I'm not intending to make this post to discuss the theory itself as a sort of "let's b.s. back and forth about my idea" kind of thing. Reason I'm posting is because I'd like to know if this theory already exists or is an application of something broader that already exists. Maybe it's a theory being applied onto the communications medium of the Internet of some older theory in one of the above field(s) of study, or maybe it's a piecemeal construction of a few theories spliced together. Anyway, enough babbling, actual theory after the cut. [more inside]
I'm looking for academic-level writing on the ways that cities that are built on islands or peninsulas, or in geographically isolated areas, develop and behave differently from cities that are more easily and fully connected to other cities. This would be about the mindset and attitudes and not about urban planning or infrastructure. I'm thinking these may be anthropological or sociological studies. They may even just be a thought pieces or essays. I could swear I saw one that talked about Manhattan and Charleston, but I can't find it.
Where can I find online (preferably informal) articles or blog posts about the sociology of Tumblr, like this one? [more inside]
Please recommend fiction about obscure subcultures. Basically, I'm looking for the fiction version of this question. More contemporary books (written recently and about contemporary subjects) are preferred but not required.
I am interested in articles that try to analyze and explain the conflict between the hard and soft sciences. In my casual web surfing I have come across e.g. highly-trained scientists who yet express a deep disdain for fields as open-ended and far-ranging as sociology, feminism, queer theory, postmodernism, and so on, sometimes even economics, psychology. I find such attitudes hard to comprehend, and even disturbing since my educational background is in the applied sciences. Which are the important works that have been done to better understand this ongoing social/intellectual gap, and that are presented in a readable manner for a non-expert?
Can children detect on some level when love is not genuine? An example would be when a parent is affectionate to spite their own parents as if to say "This is what you were supposed to do with me," rather than doing so out of a genuine feeling towards the child. Acting the part without the emotion and connection to back it. Can this be perceived by the child and perhaps effect their emotional development? If so, to what degree could this hinder them in the long term?
How would you put together a reading list that helps answer the question "how do Americans' present-day struggles for wellness, independence, and community compare to humans who've lived in other places and times in the ethnographic record?" [more inside]
I saw an incredibly concise quote floating around social media a few weeks back that described how hierarchy becomes self-perpetuating. The gist of it was that those at the top of a hierarchy deprive those below them of the practice required to conceptualize and implement their own plans, and then turn around and justify their position by pointing out how incapable their subordinates have become. I'm almost certain the person quoted was female, and I'm fairly sure she was a social sciences academic, but may have been an activist of some stripe.
OK... I'm probably going to mangle this question, because I'm not a sociologist or anthropologist, or remotely knowledgeable in those fields. So, I'm probably using all my terms incorrectly. But, long story short - it's been my experience that most behaviors that laypeople, in casual conversation, call "human nature" are really just cultural phenomena. In other words - a behavior that someone from the United States thinks is "human nature" might be completely absent in another culture or society. It that's true - then it's not really "human behavior" at all. So - my question - is the tendency for kids in grade school to form cliques "human nature" - or a phenomena that's specific to certain (e.g., our) cultures? [more inside]
Or should I wait until Fall 2014 to apply? [more inside]
Is there a resource for finding research positions in the social sciences? [more inside]
I don't know how else to phrase this maladroit and overlong "question," but… who are the foreign undergraduate and graduate students? [more inside]
I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on the daily experience of a university researcher in either psychology or the basic sciences as well as a meta-review of the job as a whole. [more inside]
Hi Mefites! So I'm wondering if anyone can help me in finding something to argue in a 5-6 page paper regarding 'cultural contact zones' in Orwell's essay ' A Passage to India'. Specifically, "the concept of a “contact zone” emphasizes how subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other, usually involving conditions of coercion, inequality, and conflict. It treats the relations among colonizers and colonized not in terms of separateness but in terms of interaction and interlocking understandings and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power." ( this is part of the prompt). Any suggestions? I'm usually a fairly competent writer but am having trouble here. [more inside]
How have sociologists and/or economists historically defined or measured "middle class" in the United States or the developed world generally? I mean over the last 100-200 years. [more inside]
I am taking a very new, unique class this semester at my university, which has a final project related to "breaking social norms." The teacher implied the project should most likely have some videotaping or physical results, and manipulate social norms for a better/more positive outcome. Sky is the limit on this project, there are very few guidelines and boundaries, and I'm not sure where to go with it. Suggestions? [more inside]
I am interested in critical theoretical and marxist spatial theory, please recommend me some books that provide a good overview or introduction to this area! Thanks!
Would you please help me remember either this event, book, or article? [more inside]