blogging as pampleteering for academics

In my discipline, sociology, there is a great deal of hand wringing over our relevance, and, in particular, how we can become a more ‘public sociology.’ One blog that goes by that name has been even more idle than this one (to be honest, there is some blogging: one by a collective of bigger names in the discipline, one by a University of Arizona Prof, and the American Sociological Association has spent a little energy on a new magazine that sits in Barnes & Nobles everywhere, called ‘Contexts‘–full disclosure, this writer is a student editor and modest contributor).Crooked Timber, a great academic blog, has a fine honor roll of public voices, and in this arena, political science, history, and economics are kicking sociology’s ass: headlined by Daniel Drezner (who has a nice entry about this very topic), Juan Cole, and Paul Krugman, respectively. New to the field is a powerhouse duo, which includes someone at least a joint appointment in sociology: Nobel Prize-winning Professor of Economics and Sociology, Gary S. Becker and federal circuit judge and Professor of Law Richard Posner (who has written a book on the decline of public intellectuals, which I discussed a few months ago, if you recall). They believe that blogging “is a major new social, political, and economic phenomenon. It is a fresh and striking exemplification of Friedrich Hayek’s thesis that knowledge is widely distributed among people and that the challenge to society is to create mechanisms for pooling that knowledge.” Check them out.


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