[Air-L] snide, cute, ignorant, surprising

Christian Nelson xianknelson at mac.com
Sun Dec 16 21:18:52 PST 2007


I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The author of the Post  
article observes that scholars demonstrate a land-rush mentality when  
a new area of inquiry opens and substantial funds for its researching  
become available. They demonstrate this by hurriedly staking claims  
in the new area with supposedly academic observations that are merely  
the most obvious ones dressed in academic terminology. And they do so  
because the group of people who get repeatedly cited in the new area  
quickly narrows, along with the opportunity for acquiring the  
lucrative research grants. That fact is reflected in the resentment  
of the "sooners" expressed by scholars who feel they've been beaten  
to the punch. As I see it, these observations are pretty accurate,  
and predictably so given all the available research on academia as a  
social institution.
--Christian


On Dec 16, 2007, at 7:40 PM, Alexis Turner wrote:

> Circle the wagons, boys!
>
> She didn't seem surprised *or* ignorant to me.  She seemed right on  
> the money.
> I read nothing in the article that was inaccurate about the general  
> state of
> academia.  Do we really want to suggest that telling the public the  
> truth about
> how fucking ugly, insular, and petty the ivory tower is is  
> "irresponsible"
> (a word several respondents have thus far used)?  Is telling the truth
> irresponsible, or is telling the truth about only yourself  
> irresponsible?
>
> That is not to say academia doesn't do good work.  But it isn't an  
> all or
> nothing endeavor.  We can put out good work while still being  
> incorrigable
> fuckups and human beings, filled with all the same ridiculous cliques,
> backbiting, and foibles that other humans are subject to.  Pointing  
> that out is
> hardly inaccurate.
>
> I would LOVE to give most of the academy the  "atomic wedgie" Hesse  
> suggesests
> because the shit she quotes is *precisely* what makes the academy's  
> work
> meaningless to the very people it should be speaking to - the  
> public.  If you
> don't like the picture being painted, change the landscape.
> -Alexis
>
>
> On Sun, 16 Dec 2007, Barry Wellman wrote:
>
> ::Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 16:47:41 -0500
> ::From: Barry Wellman <wellman at chass.utoronto.ca>
> ::Reply-To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
> ::To: aoir list <air-l at aoir.org>
> ::Subject: [Air-L] snide, cute, ignorant, surprising
> ::
> ::The tone of Monica Hesse's Washington Post story is somewhat snide.
> ::
> ::Although I did enjoy some of her word-play: "celebrademic" danah
> ::"uncapping" herself (altho note that the Post copyeditor re- 
> capped her at
> ::the start of a para.) Frankly, "danah" uncapped has made  
> proofreading
> ::PITAs for me for years.
> ::
> ::What is ignorant is Ms Hesse being surprised that small circles  
> cite each
> ::other. This is true in many fields. There is a whole area of  
> bibliometrics
> ::devoted to this. Check out the work of Howard White or Loet  
> Leyesdorff,
> ::for example. Or, as usual, I have co-authored a paper on the  
> subject --
> ::its on my website.
> ::"Does Citation Reflect Social Structure? Longitudinal Evidence  
> from the
> ::'Globenet' Interdisciplinary Reserach Group" JASIST, 1/04.
> ::
> ::What is surprising is that I was interviewed and quoted by Ms  
> Hesse and
> ::it was a much straighter piece of reporting:
> ::
> ::"An Unmanageable Circle of Friends: Social-Network Sites Inundate  
> Us with
> ::Connections, and that can be Alienating." Washington Post, August  
> 26,
> ::2007, p. M10.
> ::http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/24/ 
> AR2007082400481.html
> ::
> :: Barry Wellman
> ::  
> ______________________________________________________________________ 
> _
> ::
> ::  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC              NetLab  
> Director
> ::  Centre for Urban & Community Studies           University of  
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