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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Taking the rough with the smooth - plugging colleagues and flakes

In the same issue of Sociological Research Online I also noted an interesting review article on economic sociology by an esteemed colleague. The article looks like a useful resource and is very catholic in its definition of what is to count as economic sociology, which must be a virtue. Not catholic enough though to mention Market, Class and Employment. What lies behind that omission one can only speculate about. Honestly, what do you have to do these days to get a decent  puff from your workmates?
Clearly not much in some institutions. I noticed that the single (five star!) review  on Amazon of Mike Savage's Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940: The Politics of Method is by ... Roger Burrows his sometime coauthor and current Head of Department at York. Way to go boys, keep blowing, it needs a lot of hot air to keep the RAE balloon inflated.
And before I leave off SRO I also noticed in it an extraordinary whinge by Peter Saunders about extreme left-wing, feminist and anti-quantitative bias in British sociology. Not everything that Saunders says is completely bonkers. Let's face it when even a former President of the BSA is indiscreet enough to write that one of the problems in British sociology is that some of our colleagues "are flakes" you might allow that there may be something for Saunders to whinge about. On the other hand he doesn't seem to entertain for one minute that his difficulties during the late 90s in getting research grants or in getting his  work published might have had something to do with scientific quality.
I don't regard myself as a man of the extreme left or as a feminist (to be honest I'm not sure what it is I would have to believe to be the latter) and I'm not generally known for my hostility to quantitative work but even I have noticed one or two things in Saunders' published oeuvre that are, shall we say, questionable, on technical rather than ideological grounds.

1 comment:

Roger J Burrows said...


The review was written before Professor Savage joined York. I thought there was also another more detailed review as well by someone from Nottingham taking issue with my comments but even more glowing? Do you not feel it deserves the rating?

Oh and I am no longer HoD at York. Mike is!

Best wishes