Developing my sociological identity

2 minute read

The about page of this blog states:

My current fields of interest lie in the intersection of a society and individual, as pertains to adults with cognitive disabilities and the professionals and institutions that support (or hinder, as the case may be) them

Now I feel it is time to amend that statement slightly, in light of what I’ve written on this blog so far, as well as my experiences a-quarter-and-a-bit of the way toward my master’s.

I still express an interest in the structural and institutional forces that define and guide the work with (and, in some cases, even care of) people with cognitive disabilities, as well as the (semi)professional status of those employed to perform these duties.

I’ve had cause to think about which ‘style’ of sociology to pursue in the near term. Within a week, I need to propose which of my lecturers I want for a counselor on my exam paper for this term.

One is very decidedly a systems theorist; another could cite Goffmann at you all day; one is deep into inequality of education; one looks at rational choice theories and social inequality.1

While I could find interesting topics, and write decent enough papers, in all four theoretical and empirical fields, a cursory search of this blog, as well as my own mind, makes it rather obvious that, as of now, I’m gonna go and try for the microsociology guy.

As for topics, that’s a pot that better start boiling soon. I’d really like to get a move on with the writing of this thing. Early trains of thought:

  • Our digital selves
    • Quantification of ever more aspects of life
    • is who I am who I tell Instagram I am?
    • did I really go running if my phone wasn’t on to record it?
    • microfame
  • Triggered!
    • whence does the next offensive act come from? who says it offended?
    • white persons burden // unasked for defense of minorities
    • cultural appropriation
    • disproportionate representation (knitting magazine in Finland… gonna have some white people. Cuz Finns are white.)
    • how woke is woke enough? can a (semi)public figure say ‘not my circus, not my ponies’?

The second one might have more legs, as a longer assignment. What are the terms of service regarding scraping Twitter and Instagram i wonder?2

Methodologically, this smells (as microsociology tends to do) of something mostly qualitative, with some form of observational/interview-ish/written record spelunking.

I’ll have to save my interest for dataviz and machine learning for another time, probably. Here’s hoping my proposal for machine learning as an elective next semester is accepted!

  1. These are, of course, very broad generalities. 

  2. The first one might slot in nicely as one of 4 shorter essays in my other course – on education as an institution – this year.