The academy: Abstract of the month

I just came across this abstract. I have no idea what it means. It’s not a ‘post-modernist’ journal from what I can see, but I still don’t know what it means. I’d like to write more about this, but don’t have the time right now, and am still pondering it all, but the abstractions deployed seem so general and broad that it’s not only hard to understand what it’s talking about, it’s also hard to believe it can lead to any beneficial insights, as opposed to generating citations for academics. But then I might be wrong.

Anyone wanting to do further research to discover the content in the article and whether it has any value can follow it up (for a limited time) here. It’s at the Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 71, No. 3, 2015, pp. 633--645

Broadening Perspectives on Achieving Social Change

Katherine Stroebe, University of Groningen, Katie Wang, Yale University, Stephen C. Wright, Simon Fraser University

The articles in this special issue challenge readers to reconsider the relationships among individual mobility, collective action, and social change. Taken together, they reveal an increasing and broadening interest in the concept of social change and raise important questions about its societal applications. In this commentary,we expand on this rich body of research by considering how surface indicators of(lack of) social change such as individual versus collective action may be related to a wider range of motives than has been assumed. Moreover, we consider more carefully what constitutes social change, and discuss different forms of equality asa means to conceptualizing social change. In doing so, we attempt to move beyond implied dichotomies between individual and collective strategies and actions to consider alternative perspectives on classifying and studying social change.

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paul walter
paul walter
5 years ago

I’ve read worse. I think it means greedy thrill seekers can also have fun doing some thing constructive, like helping disabled kids at the park for a day, say.

Jim
Jim
5 years ago
Reply to  paul walter

I love the way some academics publish “commentary”. Is that what you do when your analysis reveals nothing?

derrida derider
derrida derider
5 years ago

For a complete contrast, my favourite macroeconomic abstract is as follows:

Is GDP an ergodic time series and should we care?

Yes and no.

paul walter
paul walter
5 years ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergodic_theory

It is disciplinese. The people who promulgate and understand the writing are going to be high IQ, logic dominant specialists.

The best the run of the mill person can hope for from this point is that interlocutors like Parish, Quiggin and Gruen or intelligent msm workers like Greg Jericho, say, remain willing to interpret and render to comprehensibility the aims and implications of intense abstract stuff, what is trying tobe solved and what various vested interests will make of such theorising, say in the context of Rudd’s fiscal stimulus programs in the real world of meltdowns, inefficiency and eventual, consequent, human life and suffering.

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

Nicholas
What’s your take on “Science on the Verge ” ?
And in particular this:

“displacement occurs when an organization engages with an issue, but substitutes management of a representation of a problem (such as a computer model) for management of the represented object or activity. (2012)

john Walker
john Walker(@johnrwalker)
5 years ago
Reply to  john Walker

Nicholas
I am only about one fifth of the way through it.
So far , it seems that policy based evidence making, is both a hot topic and far more widespread that I had realized .
I had previously thought of it as being a specialty of those who do ‘cultural policy’.

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago

I’d translate that as “attempts at social change from the underclass have failed, let’s change the rules”. Optimistically that means achieving social change in new ways, but they seem to be leaning towards “let’s define what we do as ‘achieving social change’, shall we?” Very millenial-as-derogatory-term cliche.

I have definitely read worse, as part of a BA in what is now Gender Studies, and amusingly the explicitly post-modernist parts were not the worse of it. There were times when I did a word at time, or phrase at a time, translation in an attempt to puzzle it out. Some of it was nigh on newspeak, and at times the definitions would change in the course of the argument. For a while there was even a fad for long, incomprehensible titles to go with the even longer, less comprehensible abstracts. My contribution, such as it was, was more prosaic “Do bisexual feminists challenge a dominant ethos of lesbian queerness?” which sparked a lively discussion when published. One editor mentioned that the clear title possibly led to unusual willingness to discuss out of sheer relief :)

Moz of Yarramulla
Moz of Yarramulla
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

No, I wrote ~1800 words in very simple terms specifically because I wanted to bring to the surface a fight that was happening in the wider community. There were some grossly unhelpful things being said, but you can’t really expect to have an academic journal publish “now, children, be nice to one another”.

Sorry, I meant to contrast my brutal engineer-speak with the “Towards a re-analysis of conventional inter-gender relation norms and expectations in physical world events where non-typical presentations of feminist dialectic regarding interrelationships between established body politic analysis of discourse and emergent reclassification of interpersonal understandings between less strongly gender-preferential sexualities”. I trust that is clearer?