A preliminary survey of 98 women and 23 male anthropologists finds 30% have been verbally abused whilst carrying out field work. A further 63% of women and 39% of men have faced sexualised comments in the field and 21% of women have been physically harassed – mostly by senior researchers in their field team. The study is being extended as more field researchers come forward and share their stories. One of the study’s researchers, Professor Kathryn Clancy, says that as more people complete the survey, it is apparent that sexual abuse in the field is more common, but women researchers do not speak up fearing the consequences on their academic careers:
“Taken together, these factors result in a particularly vulnerable population of victims and witnesses powerless to intervene. As a discipline, we need to recognize and remedy that an appreciable non-zero number of our junior colleagues, particularly women, are having to endure harassment and a hostile work environment in order to be scientists.”
The Pew Research Centre reports that the proportion young people who own homes went down to 34% in 2011 compared to 40% in 2001. Also in 2011, only 66% of people aged 25 years or younger owned or leased a car compared to 73% of young people in 2001.
Good news is that credit card debt is down to 39% in 2010, in comparison to 50% of youth who had credit debt in 2001. Bad news is that student loan debt rose from 34% in 2007 to 40% in 2010. Then again, debt trends are mixed, as the median debt for young people is now $14,102, which is around $1,000 less than in 2007. These patterns reflect a shift in economic priorities after the recession as well as broader changes in society that include delayed marriage, which impacts on household formation and spending.
Sociology text books often use the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” conundrum to socialise students about the structure versus agency debate. That is, do societies shape individual choices, or do individuals have power and influence over the way in which societies are organised?
John Macionis and Ken Plummer talk about this as a classic question that relates to the way we see history: as the outcome of human action. How does the education system work? We need to understand not just the laws that make education mandatory, but also the legislators who provided the legal framework for how teachers are accredited, for the topics and texts that make up the curriculum, how exams are then tallied across the state, and thus impact on the educational, economic and health outcomes of every young person. This is the ‘chicken before the egg’ argument. You can’t have an educational system (or society) without individuals making decisions that determine the outcomes and mobility of others. Continue reading Sociology Conundrum: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
On the dire need for senior social science advisors in the UK:
“The Government scrapped the post of Chief Social Science Advisor in 2010, dividing the work between two officials, who have other roles. At present there is no senior social scientific advisor, and very few of the 20 or so departmental scientific advisors are qualified social scientists with detailed knowledge of the research community and a standing with them… Without this role, no government can be fully informed about the best policies to reduce crime, ensure social mobility and cohesion, run our cities, protect our countryside, get people to take climate change seriously, and much more.”
The rise of the White British middle class had its origins in the servitude of “wayward girls.” A new BBC series based on the book by Pamela Cox (in turn based on her PhD) examines domestic service in Britain between the 1840s and 1940s. In the 19th Century, “respectable” jobs were scarce for White working class women who wanted to escape farm work and so they opted for domestic service, which consisted of up to 17 hours work daily. Cox says:
“Service was vital to the social reproduction of labour and class power… Middle class enterprise was one of the main engines of economic growth. Middle class household structure and reputation was inseparable from that enterprise – and servants were, in turn, vital to the maintenance of those household structures and reputations.”
zeezeescorner: This is great for lovers of literature and critical thinking, and especially for Jane Austin fans:
By asking a test group of literary PhD candidates to read a Jane Austin novel inside of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, a Stanford researcher has found that critical, literary reading and leisure reading provide different kinds of neurological workouts, both of which constitute “truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.”
The study was conducted under the supervision of cognition and neurobiology experts at Stanford, but it is the brainchild of literary English scholar Natalie Phillips, who was interested in figuring out exactly what the value of studying literature is. Aside from the pursuit of literary knowledge and the aspects of culture, history, and the humanities that are tied up in our collected written works, does reading impart any kind of tangible benefit to us as humans?
Science Confirms the Obvious: Literature is Good for Your Brain
The CSIRO Climate Report shows Australia has lived through our warmest decade in recent records. More extreme weather coming: floods, droughts and extreme cyclones.
CSIRO Climate Report on Climate Change in Australia