I wanted to bring a post-doc opportunity to people’s attention. Please circulate to anyone you know who might be interested:
Please note that all applications received before May 31st will receive full consideration, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.
Youth Activism Postdoctoral Fellowship
The Youth Activism Project, housed in the School of Sociology at the University of Arizona, invites applications for a one-year, renewable postdoctoral fellowship on youth and participatory politics to begin in Fall 2013. The Youth Activism Project, directed by Dr. Jennifer Earl, is part of the MacArthur Network on Youth and Participatory Politics. It is focused on youth engagement in protest, particularly online protest and flash activism. Continue reading
My wife and I lived in California during Proposition 8. We got married before the vote, “just in case,” although I swore (clearly ignorantly) that a state wouldn’t vote to take an already extended right away from its people. We saw our share of “Save Marriage” bumper stickers, but I was unshaken until the election proved me wrong. Then, I was filled with pure rage; a sense of utter gall that someone else would vote about my marriage.
Obviously marriage is a political and social institution, blah blah blah. I am used to hearing both sides of the argument and even courting both sides in classes. But, when you are married and there is a vote affecting the validity of your own marriage, it feels very personal. Continue reading
I recently joined the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Policies (YPP). You can learn more about it at ypp.dmlcentral.net, but in brief, it is an inter-disciplinary group of really interesting scholars and practitioners interested in studying and supporting youth civic and political engagement. Although I got attached to the network through my work on online protest, getting involved in this group has really made me think about the importance of studying youth engagement in the digital age. In short, I think it offers perhaps the best window we may get into what protest will look like in 30 or 40 years. I know this may be a controversial statement, so follow along with me for a second… Continue reading
Last week I was talking with Joe Kahne about the presidential debates. I was expressing my deep concern about the willingness of candidates to make inaccurate statements during debates. We were both musing about how debates could be fact checked in real time. Joe came up with a great idea that would bring an innovation from football into politics: the challenge flag.
In NLF games, coaches are given two red flags to throw if they want to challenge a referee’s call. When a coach throws a flag, the call is reviewed. If the ref made the right call, the coach loses a time out. If the ref made the wrong call, the call is corrected and the coach isn’t charged a time out. If the coach makes two correct challenges, they get a third challenge flag to throw.
Joe suggested that each candidate receive a few challenge flags. The flags are limited, so you wouldn’t want to throw it willy-nilly. But, if something was off enough and important enough, out could come the flag. The statement would be immediately fact checked. It would be like a presidential debate game show! If the statement turned out to be correct, the candidate throwing the flag would look silly. If the statement turned out to be incorrect, we would have real time calling out of candidate falsehoods. And, think of the excitement of waiting for the flag…
Joe’s idea would likely increase the accuracy for candidate statements and viewership of the debates—that’s a democratic win-win.
(For more on Joe’s idea, see his Huffington Post blog post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-kahne/teachers-debate-moderators_b_2026666.html)
I wanted to let folks know about a set of methods workshops put on by the University of Arizona Sociology Department. The workshops take place between January 3-8, 2013 (which is a lovely time of year to be in Tucson). Topics range from a workshop on simulations to social network analysis to R and places in between. The sessions are designed to be as useful to faculty as they are to graduate students; I plan to take 1-2 myself this year.
I am going to be giving a workshop on “Managing Research Projects and Teams.”
This workshop will examine key aspects of project and team management and is designed to help both young and experienced investigators. Continue reading
In the realm of technology and repression, last week was filled with both dark and light.
On the lighter side, a Chinese dissident imprisoned using information from Yahoo! was finally released after 10 years. Yahoo! took a great deal of heat for turning over information originally, and settled a civil suit over the affair.
On the dark side, the New York Times reported that two researchers have identified an off-the-shelf surveillance program that can extensively monitor computer activity, including taking screen shots and recording skype conversations, which has been used against activists in multiple countries. It appears that governments that don’t have the resources to design surveillance systems themselves can just use off-the-shelf software instead. Although the maker says that the software is to be used exclusively in criminal investigations, evidence suggests that it sells to governments who intend to use it against protesters.
Most lesbian couples I know grapple with how to label their partner publicly. For instance, even before we were able to legally wed, but after we had a ceremony that looked a whole lot like a wedding, I decided to refer to my partner as my wife. I reasoned: conservatives could prevent me from actually being able to be married, but they couldn’t enlist me in my own subjugation by getting me to not refer to my relationship as a marriage. But, wife has two downsides. First, some would argue that wife versus spouse is old school. This one wasn’t stopping me because neither my wife nor I dislike being referred to as the other person’s wife. Second, and more problematic from my standpoint, this probably leads straight folks who aren’t up on the legal status of same sex unions—and believe me, there are a lot of straight folks that fit this bill—to assume that I have more legal rights than I actually have/had (depending on the state I am standing in). I certainly don’t want to encourage that misunderstanding. So, what is a lesbian in a committed relationship to do?
Guy Adams, a reporter, had his Twitter account suspended after he tweeted complaints about a Twitter business partner, NBC. Twitter “proactively” brought the tweet to NBC’s attention and encouraged NBC to file a complaint. When NBC did complain, Twitter kicked Adams off. The basis of the complaint was that Adams had released “personal information” about someone else, which is against Twitter policy. Interestingly, in this case, that “personal information” was the public business email address of the NBC executive that Adams saw as responsible for poor decisions about Olympic coverage.
The story of Adams’ ouster hit the news, and Twitter, which has been much more likely to protect free speech than many other social media sites, Continue reading
When scholars think of repression, they often think of the state as the repressor. This misses a tremendous amount of repression undertaken by private actors. Of course, this has always been true—from Pinkertons to the KKK—private actors have been critical repressive actors. But, the rise of digital technologies brings the role of private repression into even greater relief.
Case in point: a leaked game plan by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a music industry group, to police online music globally. A blog post from TorrentFreak summarizes the report.
Now, I realize that where the digital rights movement sees free culture, IFPI sees piracy. But, it is also the case that many of the platforms targeted by IFPI and other entertainment industry groups are also used for non-infringing uses that are important to the digital rights movement and in no way illegal. So, this global game plan gives a unique view into private repression.
Meanwhile, another case reveals the power of digital technologies to aid in the repression of dissent—this time by an unusual government repressor—the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Digital technologies played a key role in the FDA’s surveillance of watchdog scientists who felt that political concerns were being put ahead of good science and public health. The NYT report on the surveillance is shocking. According to the Times, over 80,000 digital documents were put together based on screen captures, key logs, and flash drives connected to work computers. The story, and the rather tepid reaction to it, will certainly make other potential whistleblowers think twice before they try to blow the whistle.
Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983
by Barbara Kingsolver. ILR Press, 1989.
When I was approached about writing a blog on good summer reading, I knew exactly what book I would write about—Barbara Kingsolver’s first book, which was non-fiction, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983. I read this book for the first time when I was in graduate school. I was taking a seminar on politics and organizations from Cal Morrill and Mayer Zald. I am not sure which one of them, or both, had decided to include the book, but it was fantastic. From a stylistic perspective, it’s great summer reading because Kingsolver brings all of the novelist’s intrigue and style into this non-fiction work (which also makes it a wonderful monograph for an undergraduate class). Her exceptional writing makes the book an effortless read and yet the lessons you can take from the book might haunt you for years, as they have for me.
Substantively, the focus of the book is on the Great Mine Strike of 1983 in Arizona. Phelps Dodge is the primary antagonist in the story, and the unions representing minors in several Arizona cities are the protagonists. Continue reading