When my husband died, because he was so famous & known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — & ask me if Carl changed at the end & converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage & never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief & precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive & we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous & so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space & the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me & it’s much more meaningful…
The way he treated me & the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other & our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
Because we must change, we also must refuse the temptation to look away when confronted with disasters. We must refuse the old stories that tell us to interpret social disasters as natural disasters. We must refuse the familiar scripts of victims and rescuers that focus our energies solely on charity instead of systemic change. We must refuse the recovery measures that seek always to further polarize the people and the places they claim to mend. And we must, in all circumstances and with all our strength, resist the attempts of those who helped bring the disaster to use the chaos to their advantage—to tighten their hold on our futures.
We must stare into the ruins—bravely, resolutely—and we must see.
And then we must act.
Our very lives depend on it.
Will it happen? Will we, despite all our limitations and cruelties, really heed our ruins and pull ourselves out of our descent into apocalypse?”
Thank you so much for your reply. It was most helpful in deciding which one to choose. You gave a profound explanation in spite of your hangover :)
I will probably do both because even though i favor anthropology much more for research i would still choose to study sociology. I am a great believer in change ( critical approach to society) and so i would also like to work in developing social policies that benefit those with a lesser voice in society. Sociology seems to fit that area for its tendency to seek statistics to explain behaviors and in forming generalizations.
One more question.. I have been looking to subscribe to some magazines in the anthropology or sociology subject. I have kept my old textbooks and i plan to reread them but i would like to be updated in new findings. Can you suggest me any magazine that you may read?
AGAIN, thank you for time
Hii, so i dont really subscribe to any discipline specific journals as there are so many. I do get “contents alerts” from basically every Anthro academic journal i can or am interested in. That way i get an email when each issue comes out where i can see the titles of all the articles and if i want click the abstract. if im interested in the article i save them for later.
In particular i like all the SAGE journals not just in my field but in sociology and other fields too like cultural studies, or class and society, or sexualities. Its hard to find journals that always have stuff in the areas you like or that you have access too. So i prefer this scatter gun approach, altho it often means i never get around to reading some stuff.
I also use netvibes too, to track a lot of Anthro and Sociology websites. sites like Anthropologist in the Attic, Savage Minds, Culture Matters, wayneandwax. That way im also aware if when they post new articles too.
But in terms of buying one or two specific magazines in my field i have to say i havent done that in a long time. The internet keeps me too busy : )
"What would you identify as the central insights of Academic Choice theory?
The theory begins by identifying three principal ways in which economists try to maximize their utility. First, they receive salaries from universities, which can be increased if their course enrollment increases. Course enrollment is primarily driven by students with future careers in business and the financial sector, so an economist has an incentive to propound theories that CEOs and financial institutions find attractive. Even if adoption of these theories leads to substantial public costs, these costs will not be shouldered by the economist personally. Second, by developing such theories an economist can open the door to future wealth as a lobbyist or consultant. Third, the support of economists is critical to creating and maintaining special privileges for the financial services industry and for top corporate officers. By threatening to withdraw this support, economists can engage in rent-seeking. I call this last practice academic entrepreneurship.”
"This paper reports on a study of Facebook in Trinidad recently published in the book Tales from Facebook (Polity 2011). This suggests that previous arguments about the internet need to be re-thought since in some ways Facebook represents the opposite, rather than a continuity, with the prior internet. The focus of this paper is on the global and older population as opposed to earlier literature on US students.
The paper then goes beyond that publication to open up three more extreme possibilities. That Facebook flies in the face of foundational assumptions within social science with regard to the nature of modern sociality. Secondly that Facebook is a way in which people attempt to create a relationship to God. Thirdly that Facebook runs parallel to one of the best known anthropological theories of culture, based on the Kula ring, and seems to suggest that Strathern’s characterisation of Melanesian personhood actually applies much more widely.”
“The only adequate conceptual framework for understanding the city is one which encompasses and builds upon both the sociological and the geographical imaginations. We must relate social behaviour to the way in which the city assumes a certain geography, a certain spatial form. We must recognise that once a particular spatial form is created it tends to institutionalise, and in some respects, to determine the future of social process.”—David Harvey (2009) Social Justice and The City p. 27 (via geogthoughts)
“The means of production being the collective work of humanity, the product should be the collective property of the race. Individual appropriation is neither just nor serviceable. All belongs to all. All things are for all men, since all men have need of them, since all men have worked in the measure of their strength to produce them, and since it is not possible to evaluate every one’s part in the production of the world’s wealth.
All things are for all.”—Peter Kropotkin (The Conquest of Bread, 1907)
Well first off, i really love your blog.It Is inspiring,motivating, and challenging.I have one question to ask you.I graduated with a sociology major and a anthropology minor. Im taking a few years before going into grad school ( peace corps ).
How did you decide which one ( socio or anthro) to choose? i am most interested in social inequality. doing research of those that get less attention ( immigrants, women, "lower class" etc)
Thank you for your time
Good to hear from you. I like your blog too : )
I dont really have a simple answer to your question. I was always anthropologically orientated and sort of fell into working as a sociologist at the University of the West Indies cus they didnt have an Anthropology program. My grad training was also very interdisciplinary so that helped me bridge the differences and now i work as both an anthropologist and a sociologist, or rather what i describe as cultural sociology.
There are some basic differences i think between the two that might affect your decision making. For example, sociology is the social SCIENCE while anthropology is the SOCIAL science.
Sociologist are very hung up on the scientific validity and logical nature of their research and its relationship to structure and agency. Anthropologists while also believers in rigorous methodological practice are less hung up on the pursuit of scientific validity and more interested in the politics and power relations human society is built on.
Sociology has a tendency to deal in numbers and stats looking for the causality of variables. Whereas anthropology is more often concerned with describing phenomena. Although both subjects flip between quantitative and qualitative methodology the former is more often found in sociology, the latter in anthropology. Hence the joke anthropologists are sociologists who can’t do math. There is probably a little truth in that.
For me anthropology is more suited to what you mention are your interests. In criticism, analysis and outlook anthropology seeks to intervene on the side of the oppressed and powerless. It is an enterprise in the analysis of power relations and it seeks to make policy contributions from such a vista. As such the meat of what you study will often have overlaps with social justice ideas and forms of difference-making.
Another difference is between macro and micro analysis. Sociology is often much more about the macro situation - extrapolating findings to large groups. Anthropology is often much more about the micro situation - providing holistic descriptions about smaller groups that often can’t be taken out of context.
Both subjects do research into social inequality however anthropology i believe would more overtly have as its subject matter those who get less attention - ie the groups you mention.
All in all though different grad skools and departments will have different research clusters and their own ideas on what is sociology and what is anthropology - and also how much they overlap or should be kept apart. That means you should factor in the department itself into your decision-making on doing soci or anthro.
If it were me, interested in the areas you mention - i would do anthropology over sociology, but im biased already. I think anthropologists are cooler than sociologists lol
I hope that was helpful answer. I have a little bit of a hangover this morning.
“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”—Paulo Coelho, The Zahir. (via promotingpeace)
A Turning-Point We Miss at Our Peril
We have the choice of burning all the oil left and hacking down all the remaining rainforests - or saving humanity
by Johann Hari
We have been putting short-term profits for a few ahead of the long-term needs of our species. Every rainforest on Earth is being reduced to the money that can be stripped from it: yesterday, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies voted to slash the amount of the Amazon that must be preserved by landowners. Except this time, for the first time, the people of Ecuador have offered us an alternative – a way to break this pattern. Alberto Acosta, the former energy minister who drew up the plan, calls it a punto de ruptura – a turning point, one that “questions the logic of extractive development” that drilled us into this species-swallowing hole.
Here’s the offer. The oil beneath the rainforest is worth about $7bn. Everybody knows that a stable climate, biodiversity and functioning lungs are worth far more than that. But until now, nobody has been willing to pay. Ecuador’s democratic government says that, if the rest of the world offers just half of what the oil is worth – $3.5bn – they will keep the rainforest standing and alive and working for us all. In a country where 38 per cent live in poverty and 13 per cent are on the brink of starvation, it’s an incredibly generous offer, and one that is popular in the rainforest itself. As one of its residents, Julia Cerda, 45, told New Internationalist magazine: “With oil, the government just sells it to richer countries and we’re left with nothing, no birds or animals or trees.”
No country with oil has ever considered leaving it in the ground because the consequences of digging it up are too disastrous. This is a startling attempt to reverse one of the greatest dysfunctions in the global economic system. The market considers things like species diversity, the climate, and the rainforests to be “externalities” – factors not affected by the price and profit mechanisms, so irrelevant, and dispensable. It’s a system that, as Oscar Wilde put it, “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. The people of Ecuador are trying to find a way to get us to see the value of some of the most important things on Earth.
They first made this offer in 2006. So how has the world responded? Chile has offered $100,000. Spain has offered $1.4m. Germany initially offered $50m, then pulled out. Now President Correa is warning that they can’t wait forever in a country where 13 per cent are close to starving. If they don’t have $100m in the pot by the end of this year, he says, they will have no choice but to pursue Plan B – the digging and destruction of the rainforest.
So i never really write too much about me because im quite happy reblogging and tumbling along, viewing what other people tumble and happy with that experience. That said i do like to write, especially to get things out of me that dont need to be there anymore like negative feelings. So here’s a little urban tale of something baddish that happened to me in Trinidad about three weeks ago.
I live in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago. If you live in T&T youd call it town (pronounced tong). My area is called Newtown, its right next to another district called Woodbrook about which i wrote a social history for my PhD in Anthropology that im currently trying to turn into a book; albeit in slow-mo as i keep getting distracted by other work and fun times
I live on the third floor of a building that from the outside looks like an office block but inside all the spaces have been converted to apartments. Its a two-bedroom spot. My mum is a trini and she sometimes comes to visit, or other friends or family too either from the UK where i was born or the States where i went to grad skool. So one room i keep for her or other visitors and i rarely go in it.
Tobago is Trinidad’s sister isle. More beachy-fied, laid-back and tourist shaped than Trinidad. You see goats teethered on the side of the streeets and the beaches are all fantastic. its an awesome place that recharges your soul within a few hours of being there and washes away any worries the longer you get to spend under its spell. I had some friends here so we were there for a few days. On the Friday we came back to Trinidad to hang out for the weekend before they left to return home.
We were liming (hanging out in Trinbagonian parlance) back in my apt with my friends and i wanted to play some tunes but i couldnt find my ipod or my UK blackberry. At first i thought nothing of it. The weekend came and passed. We went to the beach. Also went to a place called three pools which is up a river called Marianne on the North Coast of Trinidad. Very beautiful and we had an awesome day jumping of rocks and using the natural water slide. My friends week long holiday was a success and on the Sunday night i went to bed early as i had to take them to the airport for 5am.
My friends weren’t staying with me but in another apt in my same building that a neighbour kindly offered to us for their stay. It was about 1030pm when i said goodnight to my friends and went to bed.
Now my bedroom is pretty standard. No massive bed as much as i’d love one, not the biggest space either. Right now its got two single beds in it, a telly and not much else. That night I got into bed, set the alarm on my phone, checked tumblr for five mins and got sleepy. With that i left my laptop and trini blackberry on the bed next to me, before instantly falling asleep.
Now you know what its like when you go to sleep knowing youve gotta get up super early. You often get up and check the time to make sure you havent over slept. More often than not you realise you have another couple of hours sleep to go. Well thats what happened to me.
My eyes opened and i started feeling around for my phone on the bed next to me to check the time. With my eyes closed i patted the bed looking for it but couldnt feel it so i opened my eyes. The first thing i noticed was my bedroom door was open. That was weird. I always sleep with the bedroom door closed. Then i noticed my laptop was not on the bed next to me. Again strange. I stood up and went into the living room to see what time it was. I had a eerie feeling. Something felt a little off in my personal space but i brushed it off. Perhaps my phone was on the floor under the bed and as my friends from abroad had a spare key to my apartment they probably came down and borrowed my laptop to check something out. I couldnt see the laptops plug in the wall so i further assumed they definitly had it. I looked at the clock and it said 3am. I knew i had a couple more hours to sleep and went back to bed.
At around 510am i woke up and realised my alarm on my phone hadnt gone off. A few minutes later one of my friends came downstairs to check if i was up. After a minute or so i asked him if i could get my computer back and he looked at me puzzled. I immediately realised i had been burgled. Whats more the thief had come into my room and taken things off the bed right next to me!!
I didnt have much time to deal with things right there and then as i had to rush my friends to the airport, so i flew up the road, in somewhat of an inner panic. My work and most of my life is run through my laptop so not having that was potentially a major disaster. I was also somewhat seething inside with anger and being violated by someone i did not know entering my house and taking stuff. It was then i realised the person had been in my house a few nights earlier too when i was in Tobago. Hence, my ipod and UK blackberry also vanishing.
Now, these things are obviously upsetting and for a week or so i felt very much like i was out of sorts. I kept dropping things at home, banging into tables, and feeling an uneasiness. The energy of someone i didnt know and did not give permission to be in my space had somewhat messed up the vibes or normality of my home. Luckily i was able to go back to Tobago the following week and bushbath/wash the negativity away and today im more acceptant of the violation. You have to be. While things cost a lot of money, possessions are material things that can with hard work and savings be replaced. Life and safety are things that cannot and i still very much have those so its important to remember the basics of your life.
The part of the story i wanted to tell you all though is the gall of the burgler. The police and i reckon he was a spiderman burgler, and he climbed the outside of my building and entered through a closed door that my mum had left unlocked when she returned to England. As i mentioned earlier a room i rarely go in I forgot to check if it was locked or not. But that not the gall part.
A few days after i got burgled, or rather a few days after they burgled me twice in one week i was writing an email to an ex girlfriend in the States. I told her what happened and when. She was lightly aghast and asked my what time i thought it happened. I told her i went to bed at 1030pm and got up at 3am, so sometime between those hours. She wrote me back straight away to say she had been BBMing with who she thought was me at 1252am that same night. We both realised it could not be me. It was the burglar, and not the ham-burglar either, pretending to be me.
My friend sent me the transcript of their conversation. The gall part is he asked my friend to send him (pretending to be me) a naked picture of herself to let him (pretending to be me) see how much she missed me!! you couldnt make that shit up!! He takes my stuff, comes into my room, and on top pretends to be me to ask a random woman he does not know for naughty pics.
OMG man!! How absurd can life be!!
anyways my words of caution to my tumblr friends is this. 1) back up your computer right now. I hadnt since NOV and lost more or less a whole semester’s work. 2) Its worth checking your doors and windows just to be safe. 3) Put a password on your phone and a tracking device on your computer - neither of which i did but you can for little time and no cost. and 4) even if life sucks and bad things happen to you that doesnt mean the feelings of negativity the incident produces have to stay with you forever. With time, the right destinations and loving people around the bad things will pass. Oh and 5) prob double check that who you’re sending naked pictures to is actually the person you think it is!!
“All over the world, historic centers are being sanitized of signs of age and decay, losing any sense of the identity that buildings accumulate over time. Facades are carefully scrubbed clean; interiors, often blending minimalist white walls and a few painstakingly restored historic details, are reduced to a bland perfection. And new buildings are designed in watered-down period styles, further eroding the distinction between what’s real and what’s fake, and producing what Mr. Koolhaas calls a “low-grade, unintended timelessness.” ”—Rem Koolhaas’s problem with architectural preservation. (via robsmemory)
“The increasing attacks upon lesbians and gay men, are only an introduction to the increasing attacks upon all Black people, for wherever oppression manifests itself in this country, Black people are potential victims. And it is a standard of right-wing cynicism to encourage members of oppressed groups to act against each other, and so long as we are divided because of our particular identities we cannot join together in effective political action. Within the lesbian community I am Black, and within the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and thousands of other Black women are part of the
lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gays is a Black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black. There is no hierarchy of oppression.”—audre lorde, there is no hierarchy of oppressions (via weexist-weresist)
“We needed and need to change our perspectives on other countries. America is very arrogant, very obnoxious…We were admired by everyone, then there was a certain point where the arrogance overuled what people liked about us”—Gil Scott Heron (via slystone)
“the Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish are all erasing themselves in an effort to pay off debt via austerity. Austerity which has so far, failed to reduced the debts but has erased the means by which they had hoped to pay the debts. In each of those countries the economy has shrunk faster than the burden of debts, leaving them worse off than before. Which is why each of them has suffered credit downgrades.
So far so stupid. What is worse, according to all our leaders and especially all our banks, there is no alternative, no other way out.
I do not think this is true. I suggest an alternative is what we might call a people’s debt jubilee. The idea of a debt jubilee is an old one. I think a collective pan-European, even global, jubilee is worth looking at.”
“The fukú is machismo. It took me a long time to realize that. For a long time I was ineffably enamored of the novel. I knew I loved it, but, when faced with criticism – as I was one day by one of my colleagues, an expert in Latino literature, who found Yunior’s voice merely sexist, infuriatingly self-assured and macho – I found myself at a loss to say why. I hadn’t yet worked through the deep irony of the novel. It was on the surface as broken and postmodern as a Ph.D. in English could want, a fractured collection of incomplete narratives, with almost all the characters consumed by the merciless Angel of History; it was stuffed to bursting with references to geek culture that I reveled in seeing in a “legitimate work of literary fiction”; it was funny the way much Latino humor is funny, fast and black and fearless and savage. But what I loved most about it, inarticulately at first, is that it identifies machismo as a soul-crushing fukú for both women and men. Machismo is a curse that must be broken.”—
There is a grammatical misunderstanding common to many U.S. Americans, largely because we learned about grammar in the either/or terms of right vs. wrong. Here’s the misunderstanding: can not or cannot? My public school teachers said can not was the correct form, and that cannot was a corruption. A friend of mine from a previous generation was taught the opposite. Her son, much better at using the language than either of us, said both were right, but usage depended on context.
Here’s the explanation: If I can not do something, then I can also do it. I can not write these words if I choose (and you may think I shouldn’t), but I also can, and am, writing them. What I cannot do is know who will read them, or what they will think. I can imagine such things, but I’m limited by my experience and perceptions. So this is the rule: if you either could or could not do something, then you use two words, because you can leave out the second word if you so choose. If you could not do something no matter how much you desired or tried, then you use one word, cannot. There is no other option.
“I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen that amount of concentrated enthusiasm for something I’d done. It felt like “The Doctor’s Wife” had touched some kind of nerve. Er, in a good way. A happy nerve. Not everybody loved it, and not everybody liked it, but it seemed that the overwhelming majority of people did. (I think it is a good thing that all people do not like all things equally, by the way. There is, as the Romans pointed out, no arguing with taste, and trying to convince someone that they should like something they don’t or not like something they do is pointless and foolish. We like different things, and it’s part of the joy of being human, and part of the reason that I can make a living making art.)d”—Neil Gaiman
“No amount of knowledge of ‘competent natives’ rules and codes can ‘account for’ phenomena such as poverty; underdevelopment; imperialism; the population explosion; minorities; ethnic and class conflict; exploitation, taxation, and private property; pollution and degredation of the environment; the military-industrial complex; political repression; crime; urban blight; unemployment; or war. These phenomenon… are the consequence of intersecting and contradictory vectors of beliefs, wills, and power. They cannot be scientifically understood as manifestations of codes and rules.”—Marvin Harris, Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture, 1979 (via fuckyeahanthrotheory)