Jun 042021

Apologies to anyone visiting here who was confronted with links to lotteries, flashing signs, and even (shudder) literal bells and whistles. It’s (by my count) the third time my site got hacked since it went up in flames earlier this year.

Why, I hear you ask, would anyone bother? Why go through the trouble of hacking a site with only a handful of visitors to install some dubious adverts that will persuade exactly zero people to click/buy/sign up?

Sorry, we got hacked again 1
I always wanted to use one of these images. How stupid of me.

Because it is no bother at all. Because these attacks are not at all personal – like spam comments and emails, they happen automatically, with zero marginal costs. Even if a single person clicks on the evil link, it was worth the minimal effort.

And because I’m a failed sociologist, as opposed to a failed computer scientist, these attacks are bound to happen again. See you then.

May 232021
Sunday afternoon in Germany is the perfect time for contemplation, because there is absolutely nothing else to do. If you want to worry about catastrophic events slightly further in the future than climate change, listen to this wonderful episode of Big Picture Science about the end of everything 😱
https://podcastaddict.com/episode/122602694 (podcastaddict.com)
May 222021
Filip Vostal thinks that slow scholarship is basically Goop for the academy. I think he is onto something
Four reasons slow scholarship will not change academia by   (Impact of Social Sciences)

For several years the slow scholarship movement has gathered an international following in advocating for a more conscientious slower form of academic work. Arguing against this blanket rejection o…

May 102021
Inglehart, Maaßen, Le Pen: two links I liked & one that makes me sad 2

I’m sad to hear that Ronald Inglehart has died. Hero worshipping is worse than useless, and great man/woman theories are just very bad sociology of knowledge. Having said that, Inglehart had an impact on the field of comparative political sociology that is hard to overestimate. He was enormously productive, and his work is cited far and wide. Inglehart’s publication list kicks off with an APSR article in 1967 that discusses backlash against European integration. In 2021 alone, he has/had one article in SMR, one in Party Politics, and a book with OUP. I’m sure that more of his manuscripts, which others now will have to revise, are currently working their way through the system.

Inglehart wrote about big ideas and about trends that swept the globe. He had a penchant for discovering (or reframing) issues that subsequently became hot, and shaped the way generations (hey, pun!) of social scientists thought about social change and its roots. What made this interesting was that he always linked these ideas to actual data.

Neither the data nor his interpretations were uncontroversial. In the mid-1990s, Bürklin, Klein & Russ claimed that his critics had already “filled libraries” refuting his claims about the silent revolution, and that was probably literally true. But the man ploughed on, unperturbed.

I have only seen Inglehart once, from afar, half a lifetime ago when he was doing a whistle-stop tour of European universities promoting (I think) Modernization & Postmodernization, so I have no personal memories of him. But many others who knew him as a friend, collaborator, teacher, mentor, or even as a fellow parent from camp are paying their tributes.

Inglehart, Maaßen, Le Pen: two links I liked & one that makes me sad 3

Germany’s former top domestic spy is a controversial person for various reasons. In 2018, he left his office under a cloud (in fact, narrowly escaping a promotion) and has been commented on political issues from the sidelines ever since then. Now, a regional CDU chapter in Thuringia has selected him as a candidate for the upcoming Bundestag election. Almost everyone is unhappy, and the discussion is going on as we speak.

In Brussels, Politico is speculating about the future of the French National Rally (formerly the Front) in a world where Marine Le Pen retires from politics or is pushed out of the party. In my view, that speculation is premature, but see for yourself.