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

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Into the mystic - Bourdieu and MCA

What is it with Bourdieusians and multiple correspondence analysis? Why do they place  so much faith in one modest little data reduction tool. Why don't they love other ways of projecting points into  low dimensional sub-spaces - PCA, factor analysis and MDS  - quite as much? And why do they feel the need to denigrate other ways of summarizing  and smoothing data - let's not even get on to causality -  often with "arguments" (I use the term loosely) that are so spurious and/or muddled one wonders whether the purveyor actually understands what they are writing about? 
You can find a new example of this woeful tendency here complete with the usual approving nod towards the great Chicago General Linear Reality Dragon Slayer and obeisance to Wuggenig. Pity the author didn't care to cite Chan and Goldthorpe's utter demolition of Wuggenig's folly - you can read it here. Really a bit naughty to ignore it. Must have slipped by on the referees' blind side.
The only explanation I can come up with is a primitive psychological need to see magical  connections between substantive objects of interest - cultural tastes, practices, consumption and the scientific tools we use to learn about them. Which is a good excuse to listen to Van Morrison getting into the mystic.

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