“Social science is just harder because the data is more unruly. As Albert Einstein once put it "understanding physics is child's play compared to understanding child's play".”—Why does social science have such a hard job explaining itself?
“I’ll give you the most logical conclusion kids are ditching Facebook—one that none of the articles I read on the Great Teenage Facebook Exodus mentioned. And the evidence that supports the theory is right there in the Piper Jaffray survey. But first let’s define Facebook. What is Facebook to most people over the age of 25? It’s a never-ending class reunion mixed with an eternal late-night dorm room gossip session mixed with a nightly check-in on what coworkers are doing after leaving the office. In other words, it’s a place where you go to keep tabs on your friends and acquaintances. You know what kids call that? School.”—Cliff Watson
“I have always been astonished by what might be called the paradox of doxa - the fact that the order of the world as we find it, with its one-way streets and its no-entry signs, whether literal or figurative, its obligations and its penalties, is broadly respected; that there are not more transgressions and subversions, contraventions and 'follies' [...]; or, still more surprisingly, that the established order, with its relations of domination, its rights and prerogatives, privileges, and injustices, ultimately perpetuates itself so easily, apart from a few historical accidents, and that the most intolerable conditions of existence can so often be perceived as acceptable and even natural.”—Pierre Bourdieu
“Power and patriarchy can’t afford women the possibility of quest, because within these structures women are valued as agents of social preservation and not agents of social change. You can go on a quest to save your father, dress like a man and get discovered upon injury, get martyred and raped, but God forbid you go out the door just to see what’s out there. And these are the tales of rape and death that get handed down to us.”—Green Screen: The Lack of Female Road Narratives and Why it Matters
Formal thinking is essentially the opposite of being here and now, in the present. Formal thinkers tend to come off as intelligent, perhaps distant. An example of highly formal writing would be an academic paper or nonfiction. Formal thinking is marked by speech patterns including high rates of large words; high rates of articles, numbers, nouns, and prepositions; and low rates of I-words (I, me, my), verbs, present-tense verbs, discrepancy words (would, could, should) and common adverbs.
Analytic thinking is making distinctions between things and searching to understand one’s world. Analytic thinking shows cognitive complexity. Analytic thinking is marked by speech patterns including high rates of exclusives (but, without, except), negations, (no, not, never), casual words (because, reason, effect), insight words (realize, know, meaning), tentative words (maybe, perhaps), certainty (absolutely, always), and quantifiers (some, many, greater).
Narrative thinking is at its heart storytelling. Narrative thinking is marked by high rates of personal pronouns of all types, past tense verbs, and conjunctions, particularly inclusive words like with, and, together.
(Keep in mind: no style of thinking is better than another.)
I don't know which is worse....
I just finished studying abroad in London. While there I took a sociology course (my major) with a male student who thought he was hot shit (academically speaking). He was giving a presentation on nationalism; here’s an excerpt:
Him: So, basically, nationalism and isolationism are synonyms.
[They’re not. If you need an obvious example, look at German’s nationalist policies in the early 1940’s]
Me: Uh, did you just say that nationalism and isolationism are synonymous?
Him: I said they were synonyms [last word dripping with distain].
I’m not sure which is worse: his grasp of social concepts, his grasp of the English language, his ego, or the fact that the male professor didn’t say a word.
“The word "family" (from Latin famulus: domestic slave) originally referred to a group of slaves belonging to one man, then, by extension, to all persons ruled by one man or descended from one man, and finally to all persons living together in a man's household, such as servants, wives, children, parents, grandparents, other close and distant relatives, friends, and permanent guests. These various meanings were still very much alive in medieval English. Indeed, well through the Renaissance the word "family" was used to mean either a body of servants, or the retinue of a nobleman, or a group of people related by blood, or a group of people living together. It was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the last two of these meanings were combined to describe a new social phenomenon: a small number of close relatives who lived by themselves under the same roof and who were also emotionally close to each other. By the early 19th century this usage had virtually replaced the others, and since then "family" has referred mostly to an intimate domestic group of parents and their children. Thus, we find that today the meaning of the word is both wider and narrower than it had been before. (The same semantic shifts at roughly the same time can be observed in the French famille and the German Familie.)”—
(part of my current research for a coming essay on the future of marriage)