Archive for March 15th, 2010
Those of you who have chosen sociology as a discipline should have had some individual comments from Cathy on your reading. Here are some more general comments for everyone to think about:
1. Most have chosen a mix of books ranging from the general (e.g. Giddens Sociology) to the advanced (Castells Networked Society). It is probably helpful to refer to at least one of the more basic introductory texts as well even if the specific ones look like they are more ‘on topic’ – this is because the module is about understanding what (if anything) the broad disciplines might have to offer.
2. Some of the better blogs are starting to critically appraise what they are reading. I would expect masters level students to be able to do this even when working outside their home discipline- so would encourage critical thought around this reading. i.e. just because it is in the text book does not mean it is right /useful. Within sociology there should be examples of very different/conflicting viewpoints about the same phenomena…and I would like to see some assessment of the arguments.
3. As the blogs progress hopefully they will begin to refine their questions. Many of the topics are helpfully broad at the start but the reading should help reframe the questions. I found it easier to direct this by thinking ‘how does the discipline understand x (my topic) in the offline world and how would it explain x on the web’. It is worth noting that most of the disciplines and reading will not necessarily be directed at the web.
4. the thing that is not coming across at this stage which I would hope to see in later posts is the potential areas of debate/challenge/conflict between the disciplines. Do the two chosen disciplines sit neatly next to each other and offer no challenges to each other? I’d like a sense of where the gaps are in a discipline compared with another, or the strengths of one discipline compared with another; and of any fundamental areas of disagreement (e.g. is identity explained by individual psychology alone???)
Overall I enjoyed reading the blogs – I’d encourage you to keep them going.