Keith Haring creating street art in Japan. Photos by Juan Rivera, 1988.

“The context of where you do something is going to have an effect. The subway drawings were, as much as they were drawings, performances. It was where I learned how to draw in public. You draw in front of people. For me it was a whole sort of philosophical and sociological experiment. When I drew, I drew in the daytime, which meant there were always people watching. There were always confrontations, whether it was with people that were interested in looking at it, or people that wanted to tell you you shouldn’t be drawing there…”

“I was learning, watching people’s reactions and interactions with the drawings and with me and looking at it as a phenomenon. Having this incredible feedback from people, which is one of the main things that kept me going so long, was the participation of the people that were watching me and the kinds of comments and questions and observations that were coming from every range of person you could imagine, from little kids to old ladies, or art historians.”  - Keith Haring 

(Keith Haring: The Last Interview,” Arts Magazine, September 1990)
EBay Is Running Its Own Sociology Experiments

Who said humanities majors can’t work in tech?

For e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay, personalization is the name of the game. We live in an age where Internet pages are increasingly customized to individual users, all in the name of maximizing potential advertising or product revenue. EBay has been one of the companies at the forefront of this practice; back in late 2012, eBay launched a major redesign centered around Pinterest-like feeds. These feeds, which push content based on eBay search histories and browsing habits, now dominate eBay’s homepage.

Behind eBay’s customized homepage, app content, and landing pages lies the larger tale of a company transitioning from a traditional auction site to a middle person for brick-and-mortar companies in the digital world. This requires a staff of researchers–primarily data scientists and machine learning researchers, but also from the social science sphere–who can wed quantitative and qualitative research traditionally found in academia to the world of e-commerce. Elizabeth Churchill, eBay’s director of human-computer interaction and a veteran of Yahoo and Xerox PARC, has a unique mandate: Getting data scientists inside the heads of different kinds of eBay customers.

Churchill, whose academic background is in experimental psychology and knowledge-based systems, supervises a staff of three researchers and six interns. “One of things we have is different forms in data,” Churchill told Co.Labs. “Not just behavior data, but transaction data, a lot of data from interviews, surveys, and ethnographic work. We really do a lot of ‘experience mining’ to look at what the data doesn’t tell us, so we can find the questions we want answered. We drive ethnographic process by looking at data that exists in scale to sample the right people to talk to to find people to speak about what they do off eBay in their general life experiences, as well as what’s on eBay.”

By email, Churchill added that “We use data science techniques to classify activity types, use ethnographic research to dig deeper into the motivations behind these behaviors and to classify user types beyond the classic marketing categories, develop behavioral ‘traits’ that correspond to different shopping orientations and activities, and use our eBay data in the small and large to more deeply investigate onsite activities and develop predictive models.”

This means more than just the items that show up on the homepage or what auctions are most prominently featured in the mobile app.The emails users receive from eBay are shaped considerably by demographic information. “Demographic data is used most effectively for notifications and marketing campaigns, rather than algorithmic recommendations,” she added. A big part of this is using data about a user to figure out the sweet spot that will get them to visit eBay more often without annoying them.

Churchill added that, for her team, empathy being able to place themselves in the shoes of users who use eBay in different ways is the most important aspect. “I build multidisciplinary groups because understanding users’ emotional journeys means a mix of computer scientists, front end developers, game designers who look at gamification elements, and social scientists for ethnographic fieldwork.” In the world of commerce, data science needs all the data points it can garner to be useful. For researchers, this means embracing the social sciences as well.


Nutrition Sociology Seminar

Experiencing food in a different way - This was one topic of the seminar taught by Professor Brombach in the beginning of July here at the German Nutrition Society, Bonn. Participants had closed eyes while trying different foods. Professor Brombach tried to trick their mind by telling wrong facts about the tasted foods, e.g. that the spaghetti would be a dead insect. You can obtain further information by clicking on the pictures.


anonymous asked:

why is it in philosophy, philosophers can rationalize their way to getting the truth without having to back up their claims? In my philosophy classes we are told to use what we already know. Science specifically sociology uses data and experiments to back up their claims but yet with philosophy writing a theory is sufficient.. ? I guess I'm asking, how does philosophy gain its legitimacy in the world of academics if many philosophers just rely on theory?

Before answering your ask (and I fully intend to answer your ask), I would like to point out that this question is predicated on a couple of assumptions. The first is a general assumption that academic disciplines, to be legitimate, must be predicated upon the model offered by the STEM fields. To be more precise, the model that this ask is concerned with is the “scientific method,” broadly construed, and the variation on the scientific method that has come to prominence in STEM fields generally. Now, this was not always the case: STEM methodology used to be but one of many ways of approaching a discipline. However, as scientific realism rose to prominence, and science was taken to be the arbiter of truth, it’s methodologies became the bar by which the validity of a field was measured. This is a historical point, not an objective one.

The reliance on the “scientific method” for the validity of a particular field demands that knowledge in that field be produced according to certain “rules,” many of which are culturally determined and reinforced. Put another way, the demand for the conformity of a field to STEM methods is a demand for knowledge to be produced in ways that align with particular ways of cultural and social organization, which serve to reinforce a particular worldview. That being said, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are not aware of the numerous critiques of the grounding of STEM methodology in various systems of oppression, and the ways in which a demand to conformity to this methodology ultimately forces disciplines to act in service of those ideologies thy seek to resist.

Further, and this is the second assumption, it is not as though philosophy does not use the methodology that you are taking to be the mark of a valid discipline: some branches of philosophy engage in experimentation in exactly the mode that you are calling for. These philosophers actually are a major part of the reason why you can put forwards sociology as an example of a discipline that uses experimental data to justify its claims. To be brief, there was a moment, and it is one that philosophy is still struggling to escape from, where there was a movement to “scientize” philosophy. As the scientific method (ironically expanded upon by philosophers) became more and more the accepted way of doing things, and science itself was showing us more and more of the “truth” of the world, there was a demand that philosophy follow suit and take up the methods that it had a hand in developing and eventually lost control over.

Now, this moment resulted in the birth of a discipline that your might be familiar with: the social sciences. Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, even Economics all used to move in the same circles, trade on the same kind of political capital, but all that gradually changed as the prominence of science (and two World Wars) took center stage in the western cultural imagination. Actually, let’s look back at sociology. August Comte, the man who is credited with coining the term “sociology,” was foremost a philosopher of science; Herbert Spencer, philosopher of science; Karl Marx, trained as a philosopher (specifically a Hegelian, which is pretty clear in most of his work), which he later applied to economics; Emile Durkheim, classmate of Henri Bergson, read Comte, and taught philosophy for most of his career. In fact, Max Weber is the only one of the “founders” of sociology that did not explicitly train in philosophy and then apply it to his chosen subject.

To come back to your second assumption, the result of this “moment” was the splintering of sociology, psychology, and political science away from philosophy, and the carving off of certain areas from philosophy: aesthetics, ethics, morality, and other value fields that could not be measured empirically. In case you’re wondering, what I’m talking about is the rise of analytic philosophy as an attempt to maintain philosophy’s prominence in an increasingly scientific culture. The analytics, and those like them, actually sought to use mathematics, natural (and physical) sciences, and the results of philosophy’s children, to make philosophy “more clear,” which had the social effect of consigning philosophy to irrelevance. Now, you can find them mostly working in areas of language, where they attempt to reduce the world to merely language and/or objective facts. 

Your third assumption comes in the form of “philosophy,” which should have been obvious with the history that I’ve laid out above. What do you mean by philosophy? If you mean the stuff you learn in intro, the Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, then I can see how you get the impression of philosophy as “only” theory. In fact, there are several areas of philosophy whose concerns are purely theoretical, and remain so because the subjects of their inquiry are so historically or culturally broad that to do anything but theorize about them is all but impossible. If we’re going to be honest, these are the branches of philosophy that take up the materials produced by sociology, political science, and even the hard sciences and generate work around them.

The reason why I am asking is because the definition of theory and how theory is used changes from branch to branch, philosophy to philosophy. Critical Race Theory, for example, places theory at the center of its work, but is grounded in the lived experiences of African-Americans, particularly where interaction with the law is concerned. Theory, here, is not separated from practice, as CRT would fail (and, to be honest, it has issues) without it. The same can be said for feminist theory or queer theory, as both of these branches of philosophy are fundamentally grounded in the application of their work to the lived experiences of the people they’re concerned with. Further, something like the area of phenomenology relies upon lived experience, the application, in order to demonstrate it’s legitimacy.

This theory-as-practice notion is not new to philosophy: non-Western Philosophy has been doing this kind of work for centuries. Even John Dewey and his pragmatism demanded an application to lived experience as part of his philosophy. In fact, Dewey is a great example: his theories of education are still taught in education courses. Much of what we take to be the core of pedagogical theory is the result of John Dewey’s work on pragmatism and education, and the way in which education cultivates good individuals. Now, it can be said that Dewey’s aims in his education theory have yet to be accomplished, but that does not deny the fact that they are operative in the world that you and I live in.

There is actually a fourth assumption buried in your question, that simply “writing a theory” is enough to justify something in philosophy, when it really isn’t. This is where I’m going to actually start answering your ask, rather than explicating the history that led to you even being able to ask your question.

Theory, in philosophy, is almost always grounded in something observable. Now, various areas of philosophy have different criteria for what counts as “observable,” and you’ll see this if you put an analytic philosopher and a phenomenologist in the same room and ask them to explain why a chair is a chair. Some philosophers even make their living debating whether or not we’re even observing anything, which gets us into the question of whether or not everything in the world is happening in our mind, or if the observable world exists. That aside, philosophy begins with an observation and a question about an observation, around which theories are built, which come together to form a worldview. To support their theory, a given philosopher will engage in thought experiments, empirical testing (though not usually in the mode of other disciplines), and interpretation of the world according to the theoretical basis that they’ve developed.

One thing that you need to bear in mind  is that philosophy does not really explain the world, it makes an earnest attempt to describe the world, which is pretty much the same thing that the other sciences do. Our scientific laws, at ground level (and this is kind of aside the point) don’t explain conclusively the operation of the world, they provide more and more complex descriptions of things that we are observing. As we create tools that enhance our senses, our observations become more precise, and this precision is often mistaken for the discovery of an essential truth. Put another way, we don’t know why stimulant medications work for ADHD, or why anti-depressants work in some cases, because we don’t understand the operation of the things that these chemicals are working on. We can, however, observe changes in an organism in response to these chemicals and base our understanding upon this observation. Essentially, we have descriptions of events, but we do not know why these events happen.

Turning back to philosophy: a philosophical theory is not sufficient if it cannot adequately describe that which the theory is about. If you read Marx or Hegel or Kant or Confucius, they’re attempting to describe the possibilities that would result from a particular mode of organization. Philosophical theory, in the most general sense, offers a direction forwards, and the majority of a text is spent demonstrating the potential effects of this direction forwards, observations of a world without this direction, and providing justification for why this description of the world is more effective than another description of the world. If we are to draw a parallel, a similar structure can be found when Sociologists offer a theory based on statistical data (which is really just a description of the rate of occurrence of a given phenomena): the theory is just a better description of what is happening than other theories. Actually, the entire scientific project, if we’re going to be honest, is focused on providing increasingly better descriptions: it is only our tendency to take a description as truth, and our privileging of science that gives science it’s social and political force. And even then, that’s not enough.

Continuing on, because philosophy is rooted in the observation of a given phenomena (at least ideally; many philosophers get sucked into re-explaining another philosopher’s work), the “data” that philosophy uses to “back up” it’s claims is basically “what we know.” By “what we know,” generally philosophers rely upon things that they’ve observed as articulated through the filter of culture. Sometimes that culture is the “data;” other times, the way a particular culture moves is the data; still other times, the data is how entities move through the world in particular repeatable ways. What should be important here is the repeatable, that is, a philosopher sees something happening continuously and attempts to generate a description that articulates what is happening below the level of observation. This is how philosophy generated a lot of the sociological theories that people use to “explain” human behavior. A philosopher will see a pattern and seek to describe that pattern according to the worldview that they have adopted, or they will seek to expand a particular worldview to account for a particular new phenomena. This is not unlike a STEM person observing a new phenomena and then attempting to expand the current theories to account for it.

Put another way, the “experiments” that philosophy uses to provide data for its theories are all around us: the results are merely interpreted based upon the particular theoretical framework that the philosopher is operating in. Sometimes philosophers (like me) have to create entirely new frameworks in order to describe things that do not have any description within the field, or to describe things that are “unseen,” like privilege or patriarchy, two concepts that society owes to philosophy for better or worse. The experiments conduced to generate the theoretical framework that resulted in privilege, for example, was the history of suffering of women and people of color, and the repeated incidences of discrimination, and the endemic problem of the elevation of one group over another without rational justification. The back up for claims of privilege involves point out its operation n the world, in the lived experience of people, which is pretty much how most philosophy “backs up” its claims. Philosophy’s evidence, ideally, is within the world as we are experiencing it.

How does philosophy gain legitimacy if it only relies on theory? To be honest, it doesn’t. Philosophy does not, and has not, relied exclusively on theory for a long time. Still further, Philosophy‘s legitimacy is not derived from its reliance on theory, but form its ability to describe lived experience in a way that aligns with that lived experience. Further, philosophy’s legitimacy is derived from the way that other areas that do and do not identify themselves as philosophy take up the descriptions of the world that philosophy itself produces. Queer theory, for example, draws heavily upon the descriptions of the world articulated by Judith Butler and Michel Foucault among others. Critical Race Theory draws upon the philosophical work done by Franz Fanon, the field of epistemology broadly, and Feminism. Hell, Feminism itself, was philosophy until it got tired of its own marginalization and went elsewhere. In fact, much of the work done in early feminism came out of describing what was happening at the time, and how these phenomena were a response to particular structures.

In the past, philosophy’s legitimacy came from the fact that people coud not do the other work that is so privileged in modernity without philosophy. Now, one of the ways that philosophy maintains its legitimacy is not through its own work, but through the generation of descriptions that are then taken up and explored by other disciplines. It is through collaboration, through observing the world in ways that other disciplines cannot and will not due to their organization, that philosophy maintains its legitimacy. Further, modern philosophy’s legitimacy often comes after the fact, when the other disciplines find that they cannot ignore the observations about the world that philosophy has made and thus need to engage with them, either to refute them or to confirm them.

The fact that you’re even asking me this question means that philosophy is taken seriously enough that you’re driven to question it’s legitimacy.


Is behavior context based or morally driven? New video on The Stanford Prison Experiment - like, share, reblog and sub! / / @Jaded_culture 

True to Life Course Descriptions
  • Philosophy:White boys play devil's advocate.
  • Psychology:Neurotypicals give their two cents.
  • Sociology:Classists give their two cents.
  • Any Physical Education Course:Do you really wanna go down for failing a class called 'intro: walking, running, jogging'?

u ever feel like some of yr friends dont rly consider u a friend so much as a sociological experiment in how much they can manage to willfully augment your thoughts n beliefs

like is that #relatable or just me

anonymous asked:

Forward this anon to your 5 favourite blogs & fill in the name blanks (sociology experiment) (you can have the same person for multiple answers) (first names only!!) : 1. Name of person you know who is most likely to be a parent before they are 30: 2. Name of person you know who is most likely to gain fame: 3. Name of person you know who is most likely to leave their native country: 4. Name of person you know to be the "kindest": 5. Name of person you know to be the most "good looking"

Apart from number 1 I’m going to say me for them all

Why feminized societies will fail

The Female Imperative is too exclusionary to permit sufficient social cohesiveness.  From a VP reader in China:

An interesting experiment - I decided to test Vox’s idea that women working was bad for society and gender relations in general. I can get away with little sociological experiments occasionally as I am a [REDACTED] teacher in China. I teach high school boys and girls. The sample size here was about 12 girls and 9 boys. Recently we had “women’s day” here in the PRC and on this day at about 10am I brought in a bunch of snacks and drinks for the class. Teenagers are always hungry so when I busted these out I got their full attention. Since it was women’s day I assembled the snacks and drinks out on the main table and let the girls choose first. The foodstuffs here were packs of spiced meat, chicken feet (a favorite here), and various and sundry other things. Girls picked first - one bag each and one drink. They naturally took the best stuff on the first cut and the boys got what was left. An interesting thing happened.

The girls refused to share anything *except* with the two most popular boys in the class. Those two were pretty much free to travel between the desks eating as they wanted from whatever bag the girls had on their desks. The less popular boys either didn’t try or were flatly refused in a not very nice way. The best food here went to the two boys (and one in particular) who dominated the social scene while the remaining seven sat with their bag of lesser desirable foodstuffs.

Two days later with the same class I declared a boy’s day and broke out snacks again, approximately the same mix as before. This time however I allowed the boys to choose first and same as before, the first crew took the best things leaving the dregs for the rest. However, after everything was distributed the girls, all of them, visited and stuck near the boys with the best snacks. As the boys coming first were random, it wasn’t the two most popular that got to pick first. Overall though there was a far greater amount of mixing, the social scene was much more evenly distributed boys and girls, and moreover, everyone got to eat some of the best food. Even the gamma/delta/omega boys got female attention and begun to act a little more confident. They had something the girls *wanted* which inverted the power structure and made the girls nicer as compared to the observed harpy bitchiness encountered two days prior. There was a lot less snapping (which the girls engaged in on womens day when they had the food and a less popular boy wanted something) and what snapping existed was playful rather than malicious. Even the ugly girls got a share of the good stuff, exactly the reverse of the boys experience. I can easily state the overall happiness of the class was greater on this day then when the girls had first pick. In other words when the girls have the power - they don’t use it well and the whole class suffered. Nothing was even close to fair, and a super majority of the boys are left out doing nothing productive unless you consider sitting alone being resentful productive.

While I realize this is hardly on par with a real actual experiment with controls, white lab coats, etc. it was quite interesting to watch this play out on a micro basis. I don’t think it is a stretch to imagine that something akin to this is occurring in the outside world continuously. Let the boys pick first and they naturally and happily provide for the girls. This requires no coaxing or incentives. Let the girls have the power and they naturally shut out all but the most popular boys, leaving the rest to solitude. Everyone was a lot less happy also.

This, writ large, is exactly what we’re seeing develop in the West.   Ever wonder how polygamy got established in the Middle East?  Here’s a hint: it wasn’t because of the men, it was because of the women. Remember, it wasn’t the women who drove monogamy in the West, but rather, the Catholic Church.

It’s… rarely a good sign when someone responds to 101 level sociology or equivalent lived experience with “RED FLAG.” Prejudice against men and women absolutely doesn’t cut both ways – power dynamics and systemic prejudice are absolutely a thing, and absolutely matter. Jokes about men can potentially feed into toxic masculinity, but there isn’t the same social structure or prevalent attitudes necessary to make them equal and equivalent to misogynistic humor.  There’s no broad segment of society that legitimately believes men are inherently inferior, there’s no systemic power levied against men as a group. People have said “Misandry upsets people. Misogyny kills”, and that’s absolutely a valid comparison – not just on the literal level, but as a discussion of the power dynamics involved that make just personal discrimination inequal.

in the original gatchaman the villains were all part of the same organization which makes me wonder if the villains in crowds are part of one unit that's running sociological experiments on earth lol

23.7.15 | Interactive Storytelling: Fail Map…

This is the general outline of my interactive fail document. There is so much I want to interweave into my story, but with the limitations of Prezi as well as time, I think this is a good start.

I aim to try and reach out to other people to see my story as well as others who are currently or have been on the same path as something that is not a blight on a persons character, but can produce a unique strength of character and a wisdom and empathy that could not be had without such experiences.

To do this, I will research psychological and sociological perspectives on my experiences, as well as connect it to other well know stories of a similar nature.

I am not being specific right now about my topic - i’m saving that for my 500 word story on personal failure - but from the above mind map, its pretty obvious. 

Once again, in my mind I have a clear vision of this incredibly polished and diverse multimedia document that I probably won’t come close to producing in real life. I will, or at least want to, use film, sound recordings, video clips, images and testimonies, as well as research in my project. Some of the footage are from my personal archives which I hope I still have but fear I may have deleted as I changed my life.

I need to schedule my time to do this so I can produce the best work that I can, while learning the nuances of Prezi from scratch.

I absolutely think that grooming rituals and dress prime women to behave in a way considered feminine. I think this because of my own experiences and sociological studies 

But this is because of social factors, patriarchy. Women can only be primed to exist as feminine, no social system exists to prompt women to be like men. There are no social cues to prompt that behaviour 

Reaction: The Thread

This documentary was intense. It shaped the way I view citizen journalists, Reddit and Buzzfeed.

Anthony Reed is pursuing a graduate degree in sociology. He has experience with aggregating and interpreting data relating to criminology. He also moderated a thread on Reddit that covered the Boston bombings. As far as citizen journalists go, Reed was pretty responsible. His background in sociology helped him to make educated decisions about moderating the thread. If I were him, I would have asked someone who was more familiar with Boston, the marathon, or who was closer to the action to help moderate the thread with him. My only issue with what Reed did is that he took it upon himself to moderate data that he was pretty far removed from.

Chris Ryves is a writer. He became a moderator by chance. He was uninformed about the situation and was not trained to sort through this type of data. I feel that Ryves did what he thought was best in the situation. However, I think Ryves would have been better off by declining the offer to moderate. He injected himself into a situation which he knew nothing about and took a position of leadership. He meant well, but it is my opinion that his actions were irresponsible. 

^^^Images like this one circulated the Reddit threads moderated by Reed and Ryves. Users took it upon themselves to find the Boston bomber by meticulously searching through footage of the race. 

I don’t think that it is a website’s responsibility to censor user-generated content on the site. The court also came to the same conclusion in Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC. Jones was a teacehr who moonlighted as a cheerleader. Someone found out about her second job and posted nasty things on the Dirty World wesite. Jones sued Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC and lost. The court found that the website was not responsible for the speech within user-generated posts. 

I don’t think that Reddit should have closed the threads. 

Knowing who produces the news I consume is very important to me. I easily dismiss outlandish things that I read in the New York Post while I pay close attention to what happens in the New York Times. I imagine other consumers feel the same way. 

As a journalism student, I have learned to be skeptical and check facts and the sources reporting them. I know most of my friends and family do not take the same measures while sifting through the news. 

Originally posted by theletters2juliet

What do you think? Does it matter to you who is reporting the news? 

What are your thoughts on citizen journalists?