Home / Author Archives: Dr. Michael Sosteric

Author Archives: Dr. Michael Sosteric

I'm a sociologist at Athabasca University where I coordinate,amongst other things, the introductory sociology courses (Sociology I and Sociology II). My current interests lie in the area of scholarly communication and pedagogy, the sociology of spirituality and religion, consciousness, and global transformation.

Citation Impact Factor – A Scholar’s Cautionary Tale

The Ripple Effect

For a scientists, citations are key. If your papers get cited by others, the assumption is your work is valuable. But is this a safe assumption? This article questions the validity of citation counting and finally concludes that the measurement is neither a reliable nor a valid measurement of a scholar's "impact" on the world.

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The Ideology of Darwin

darwin

Humanity used to believe in God, but now they believe in Darwin. This is a bit of an extreme statement, since most people still believe in God, but the sentiment is accurate. Darwin's theories of the MECHANISMS of evolution has had a major impact on the social, emotional, and even spiritual fabric of this planet. There is a problem though. In a lot of ways Darwin's theories seem more like canon, or ideology, than good science. This article explores early awareness of the ideological nature of Darwinian theory, and provides some suggestions on how scientists can break free of dogma that has more to do with religion than with good science.

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A Turn to Hegel

Dollars funnel.

What is money? What is the nature of money? This is a problem that has occupied Sociologists since Karl Marx wrote his magnum opus, Das Kapital. If you go by Karl M's massive, or by any of the many Economics 100 texts (which often don't even bother to define money), money is a mystified, magical thing that requires incredible effort to understand. In reality though that's not the case. Money is simply abstracted labour, pure and simple. Once you understand that, then you have the key to understanding the whole of modern society, including the pernicious problems we all face, problems caused by the easy way money allows us to accumulate labour.

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Universities Produce Happiness

happiness

Recent discussions of cutback to our universities in Alberta, the neo-liberal led assault on post-secondary education, led one colleague of mine to decry the new instrumental rationality that pervades the social fabric. These days all things great and small come ...

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Sociology versus Psychology – The Social Context of Psychological Pathology and Child Abuse

report-child-abuse

What does Psychology, Sociology, Behaviourism, and emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual abuse have to do with each other? A concern with uplifting the human being, transcending pain and suffering, and moving towards holistic health and wellbeing. Or not. Sometimes it is just about command, control, and fitting people into the System. But not here, and not from now on. The winds of change are blowing, a hurricane is coming, and no amount of self delusion, self deception, or social propaganda are going to turn those winds away.

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Technology-Enhanced Learning in Developing Nations: A review

overcome addictions

Of interest to Sociologists and students is the possibility of technology to break down class barriers. Here's an interesting paper from the journal IRRODL that discusses the revolutionary potential of "technology enhanced learning" in developing nations. Food for thought, especially considering the revolutionary potential of Moodles, Moocs, and so on. Check it out.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it

images

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. No, really I do. I know a lot of people might be a little anxious and nervous, but I see mostly good things ahead if, that is, we can put aside our differences and learn to exploit the revolutionary opportunities now emerging together, as a global family, and not separate, as a bunch of warring class, ethnic, and gender factions.

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Isolation and Connection in a Digital Village

Breakfast

The word "social technology" is a bit of a contradiction. Social technologies connect us like never before, but at the same time the superficiality of our social world, and our isolation, seem greater then ever. We are embarrassed by the rich emptiness of our world. Then again, maybe all you need to do to make rich connections is pick up a copy of BF3 where we can experience rich, genderless, race-less, class-less connections with others. It may nor be idea, but the contradictory and confusing brave new world of social technology is definitely something to think about.

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Capital and Computers – Observations on IT Innovation and Inequality

images

Here is an assignment/essay by a student in my Sociology 460 Technology course. I'm including it here because of the great way this student highlights the ambivalent impact of technology on our lives. As he clearly identifies, it is not all wine and roses. Many people are impacted negatively. In fact, when you consider it carefully, the overall impact may be decidedly negative. As evidenced by the growing gap between rich and poor, and as Warren Buffet has recently admitted, technology has allowed the rich and powerful to win the class war.

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