I'm a sociologist at Athabasca University where I coordinate,amongst other things, the introductory sociology courses (Sociology I and Sociology II). FYI I did my dissertation in the political economy of scholarly communication (you can read it if you want). It's not that bad. My current interests lie in the area of scholarly communication and pedagogy, the sociology of spirituality and religion, consciousness research, entheogens, inequality and stratification, and the revolutionary potential of authentic spirituality. The Socjourn is my pet project. It started as the Electronic Journal of Sociology but after watching our social elites systematically dismantle the potential of eJournals to alter the politics and economies of scholarly communication, I decided I'd try something a little different. That something is The Socjourn, a initiative that bends the rules of scholarly communication and pedagogy by disregarding academic ego and smashing down the walls that divide our little Ivory Tower world from the rest of humanity. If you are a sociologist or a sociology student and you have a burning desire to engage in a little institutional demolition by perhaps writing for the Socjourn, contact me. If you are a graduate student and you have some ideas that you think I might find interesting, contact me. I supervise graduate students through Athabasca Universities MAIS program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does it seem like the world is going to hell in a hand basket? Hard to conclude otherwise when children are massacred as in recent fashion. If you want to understand why however, maybe it is time to put aside “stock” answers and look past clichés about God, madness, and guns. If you are interested in a deeper look at the world we live in, sociologists can help.
Here is some promotional copy for a pay-per-view on how to write resume and get jobs. In a market place crowded by highly qualified candidates, these techniques to stand out and get noticed make sense. If you do take the plunge and purchase this, consider emailing me back at mikes@athabascau with a review and we’ll put that up here for others to see.
Ah the power of the media. The power itself is not a problem. The problem is the “masses” often don’t get just how powerful it is. Here is a student essay providing evidence of the incredible power of the media to literally create reality, in this case the reality of Multiple Personality Disorder. What is interesting for me about this case is not only were the “masses” fooled, but smart, PhD level professionals, and in fact the entire psychological establishment, was sucked in as well. They even created a DSM classification based on the lie seeded by the media. WTF? And while the masses lost nothing but credibility, professionals who bought into the media scripted lie ruined lives. When will we learn?
If you can’t beat them well, don’t join them because that is just cowardly and spineless. Instead, hunker down for the hard work. Gnaw at the foundations, knock at the support beams, and eventually the system comes crumbling down. With modern communication technologies there’s simply no excuse.
Do so-called authorities know more about us than we know about ourselves? “The Big Lie” asserts that authorities, in the form of theologians and academics, seem to think they do. Further, those authorities tend to take a dim view of human nature—and those negative perspectives often produce very negative consequences. Because authorities are cloaked in a mantle of institutional legitimacy, their opinions are perceived as being more truthful than those of non-authorities. Nevertheless, “The Big Lie” argues that the truth is often at variance with the opinions of authorities. Be skeptical! (Timothy M.)
Women @ work? Progress has been made, but more work needs to be done. Women still fall short in top level CEO positions and are conspicuously absent in certain industries (like the tech industry). Why is this? And what obstacles do women still face when entering and thriving in the workplace? Women are still the primary caregivers of the children. Women still take more time off than men. Women are still seen through the blinkered vision of a gendered world.