cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Tag: sociology

Ideas for soc projects

Canada doesn’t have an official food policy. In broad terms, how does the government deal with health? Does food figure into it? Are there federal programs? Provincial? Municipal? Grassroots in communities?
– immigrants’ health
– immigrants’ integration

North American diet tends not to be a balanced or healthy one. Is the health of immigrants better? Or is it poorer when they become strangers living in a new country?

– what populations have worst health in quebec/montreal? do different populations have different problems? along what lines does it make the most sense to study this? (ie. I imagine citizen status would be more appropriate than hair colour, for instance. how do race/ethnicity affect? gender? religion? age? education? which more than others? in what ways?)

I’ve thought about how I could garner support for public health from types who don’t value it for itself. One way is to point out that being unhealthy (in this case, being obese) is not only an costly problem, but a widespread one, too. Then maybe more money could go to treating diseases that aren’t preventable.


women’s health issues? look up others
breastfeeding as f(n) of culture

Thoughts during paper-writing

the importance of sociology
Often, in all aspects, from science to finance to theory, we forget/gloss over our own role in what we observe. Fligstein contests the market-driven theory of economic history that fails to recognize the importance of social processes therein. In medicine, in poverty, in employment, we leave out a fundamental part of the explanation, thus skewing our understanding of it. If we want to change the world, as we so often proclaim, in order not to botch it, let’s get it straight first.

How fascinating it must have been to live and study during the Enlightenment, a time when the world was only beginning to be opened up and science only starting to discover her secrets. Truth existed and could be found—how spectacularly awesome that must have been! Today, we go to university and pay good money to be trained in perspectives, in methodologies. In a postmodern world, we know that we know local, historical, socially constructed truths that will be out of fashion and replaced by the time our kids are studying. What lustre does such an offer have for seekers of truth? Not much. And so we settle for making money, writing poetry or having kids, without much caring for what life and the world are really about. Depressing.


Just got out of classical social theory class. Today, prof. gave a great lecture on Kant and Nietzsche.

Here are the notes:

-truth, morality, beauty –> all connected
-absolute truth exists and it is not merely social conventions
-human reason has the power to rise above individual interest to find universal truth and true morality
-Kantean idealism claims that there exists one Truth and one objective world that is ahistorical and acultural
-ignorance is dangerous
-what is enlightenment? emergence from self-incurred immaturity. that is, using one’s understanding without direction or courage. one must have the courage to use one’s own understanding, to challenge the illogical things we see in the world. we must DARE TO BE WISE
-dialogical relations develop understanding, and can elevate societies; theory and practice depend on each other
-volition –> debate –> active =/= automatic, passive, irresolution

-people are herd animals; there exist superior human beings. what sets these apart is determined by their will power to go beyond others
-the world is not what it is. rather, it is continually becoming something else
-looks back to ancient Greek culture and casts light on the aspect of this society that was ignored by the Renaissance: the Dionysian creativity and the balance between mind and body
-philosophy needs be historical
-there is no absolute truth; even so, the search for truth becomes embedded in our human nature
-although the scientific method is a manifestation of this search, belief in this system is simply another faith, similar to that of religion
-there is no single point from which truth claims can be made
-power decides truth. trust claims represents vested interests that the powerful convince others of
-“I am not a man. I am dynamite!”
-the ubermensch has Dionysian creativity that puts him beyond good and evil
-irrationality > science. imagination > logic.

Feel like dropping everything stupid I do (all the things that waste my time uselessly like Facebook, SASU, checking e-mails, getting caught up in the small details that gradually take over one’s life), in order to sit and read to get to the good stuff, get to the fiery ideas, the crazy ones that shake it up. Let’s get out and explore the implications of what’s being said here. It’s dynamite because this philosophy, this epistemology, added to the critical and proactive legacy of sociology is explosive. For some reason playing rugby makes itself felt as important. So does learning to play songs by silvio rodriguez. So does hanging out with people. Making contact with other critical, intelligent people with brilliant minds, spending time with them. Sharing stories, meals, and ideas: ideas to grow from, ideas to build on, ideas to break walls and change realities. Change what? To what extent? I don’t know, but better to try than not to.

I am by far the most terrible human being that has existed so far; this does not preclude the possibility that I shall be the most beneficial. I know the pleasure in destroying to a degree that accords with my powers to destroy–in both respects I obey my Dionysian nature which does not know how to separate doing No from saying Yes. I am the first immoralist: that makes me the annihilator par excellence.

Long live the WASP

Abolishing racism, like stratification, would imply not only stopping the harm it causes minorities but also letting go of the privilege it affords the majority. Subsequently, anything short of an overthrow of extant power structures will be but palliative measures.


Christine forwarded this to me:

Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture is a professional guide for Higher Education faculty and Student Affairs administrators, which rigorously examines college students’ use of online social networking sites and how they use these to develop relationships both on and off campus. Most importantly, Online Social Networking on Campus investigates how college students use online sites to explore and makes sense of their identities. Providing information taken from interviews, surveys and focus group data, the book presents an ethnographic view of social networking that will help Student Affairs administrators, Information Technology administrators, and faculty better understand and provide guidance to the “neomillennials” on their campuses.”

Interesting. I wonder about not just how social networking is used by students to forge their identities but also how social networking affects their sense of connectedness (heightened anomie due to less real connection? different conception of “real connection” engendered? lessened anomie because of messaging or having a high number of friends?), what effect this different process of developing identity has, how online and offline interaction affect each other, what psychological effects exist.

Maybe I need to go back to sociology.

Protected: Sofia, Sociologically

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I like anthropology and all but at the end of the day I don’t take it too seriously because it has many flaws–first and foremost being that it’s fundamentally a white man’s discipline. To assume that it’s completely sound is to lose the ability to question its faults and fall into another ditch propense to misunderstanding and ethnocentrism. To be unable to question the science leads to more stiff, outdated Truth that turns out to be wrong some time later.

I think that sociology that does not disturb shit is sociology that fails.