Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Really like my new dining table! So big and chunky!

Only downside is that this one actually looks and feels like it may last a lifetime. A scary thought when applied to Ikea furniture.

However, one of the orange plastic chairs has a small but very visible scratch, and a couple of black smears which wouldn't go away with the wipe of a damp cloth. At first I thought, nah, what the hell, it's gonna get scratched sooner or later anyways so I'm not going to bother my ass to do anything about it. But on second thought, and third thought, and fourth, I think I should call the shop and ask them to send over a new one. No reason why I should accept a knackered one when I paid the price for a brand new one, right?

Made some good progress with one of my papers today, but got quite sidetracked reading up on recent debates about "the discipline". Which is fascinating and a load of shite at the same time. Apparently, a bunch of sociologists have been bitching about how the discipline is being variously "contaminated", "diluted", "bastardized", "hybridized". Bit like some folks' reaction to opening the door to immigrants. I find it fascinating that some people, not just any people but otherwise rather intelligent and articulate and well respected scholars, take this crap so seriously.

But I do agree that most academic sociology articles you read in peer-reviewed journals are not very good. 90% are uninspiring, formulaic, and over-worked. The most important problem is, and I am not excluding myself from this criticims here, the lack of theory. The fabulous little book, "The Sociological Imagination" by C Wright Mills, written half a century ago, still, in my view, sums it all up about why sociology should be an interesting, relevant, engaging and challenging piece of action. But the quantitative turn and the cultural turn and the poststructuralist turn etc have really led younger scholars (not sure if I can include myself in this category) to forget about the big picture, about what it is that makes sociology exciting in the first place.

The most exciting sociology you find these days are written by journalists who probably did sociology as an undergraduate, but aren't so dumb as to do a PhD.

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