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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The warm thrill of confusion

This morning I managed to finish the first of the two readings for today's lecture. It didn't seem half as boring in Wholly Bagels today as it did in the library yesterday. The article was a short and rather disorganised overview of the current state of social movement theorising, and it also posed four "key questions" for theorists to answer. This is likely to be only the first of many completely different sets of "key questions" we will see defined by different authors before the course is over.

Something I've noticed before about sociological writing is that reviews and criticism tend to be really badly written. This piece was better than some, but it suffered from that terrible language that social scientists seem to feel compelled to use - long meaningless phrases hurled around without definitions. In particular I was troubled by "neoliberal globalisation" and "symbolic production". Hello Mr Sociologist, is the stuff you're writing about so secret that you don't want people to understand what you say, or is it so unimportant that you don't care?

The lecture, pleasingly, made a start on actual theorising by asking how social movements arise in the first place. Sandra gave us a little C Wright Mills, showed statistics on income inequality and pointed out that such a grievance is not enough, by itself, to produce a movement. The people on either side of me were named Kyle and Val - Sandra is one of those lecturers who makes people discuss things with each other in class. I recognised Val from first year. I think she was equally surprised to see me still around after all this time.

3 comments:

lorne said...

Communicating with your classmates In The Flesh?

Funny, I've never heard those lyrics like that. Listening to it in detail makes it make no sense at all.

gliderguider said...

Who let all this riff raff into the room?

Gael said...

Heh. Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh.

lornestar.

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