Showing posts from March, 2016

Sociology is like Town Plan Analysis

During my A Level studies, my Geography class went to Chester (a northern city of the UK) for a week of fieldwork. One of the key aspects we studied was the historical determinants of the present day town plan. We considered how the raw materials present in the locality, as well as the depth and navigability of the River Dee, helped to make the site a good one for initial settlement. We discovered how the walls built by the Romans had enabled and constrained the development of the settlement. We thought about how the Mediaeval additions were in part informed by what their Roman predecessors had left behind, and how they added to the existing spaces with their own built structures. This process of remoulding and remaking the built environment continues to to the present day, presenting us with the modern, taken-for-granted forms of the cities and towns in which we dwell. Braun's map of Chester (1571) from Our A Level class

An open letter to sociology

Hi, how are things? I'm Mike, and I'm a full time college lecturer (I teach sport, since you asked). But I also study sociology in what little spare time I have. Well, sociology of sport, at least. This letter is to ask for your help. I'm a newcomer to sociology, a johnny-come-lately, the new kid on the block. And the fact of the matter is that I'm entirely out of my depth. I'm assured by my peers that that's a good thing though. The internet is also pretty sure, for example, that Bertrand Russell once said something like this: "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." I'm not claiming intelligence necessarily, but if the 'full of doubt' bit is anything to go by... well you get the idea. I'd like to stick around long enough to see if some of that doubt can be lifted and maybe if there's anything I can contribute. I've come to sociology in a kind of round about w

Christian conversion as habitus renversé

It's very hard, when writing of Bourdieu, not to be drawn into mimicking his prolix style of writing. Trawling through long sentences is no fun for anyone, but the concepts addressed here are sufficiently nuanced to demand some form of qualification with almost every statement. Bear with me. What is the Habitus? Pierre Bourdieu developed the concept of habitus for use in the social sciences. He was concerned to overcome the dichotomy between agency and structure. In order to do this he suggested that the formation of each individual person's tastes and dispositions is, in the first instance, a result of early socialisation in particular. The home life, the school life and the other varied experiences of early childhood all combine to suggest, implant and/or produce preferences for 'ways of being' or habitus . That is, the social conditions of childhood serve to cultivate a particular set of personal characteristics: we pick up the values of the culture in whic

Gianni on the spot? The Globalisation of FIFA.

Gianni Infantino Gianni Infantino is the new boss at FIFA. The task of restoring faith in football's wayward governing body is, for Infantino, far from child's play. Now that the braggart Blatter is serving a 6 year ban from all football activities ( recently reduced on appeal from 8 years) it would be nice to think that the opportunity for FIFA to make some long overdue and much needed changes will be grasped. But the question simply is this: is the power to change FIFA genuinely in the hands of the president?  Long term historical process can be seen pulling at the structure and direction of FIFA throughout its entire existence. Globalisation theory posits several stages in world history which have seen the planet become ever more connected. We are growing closer to one another through the global interweaving of economy, politics, society and culture. All of this has been made possible by the unprecedented technological advancement of the modern era. Robertson

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