Tag: sociology of thinking

Expedia just emailed me for the sixth time this week, with the majority of the emails containing attention grabbing emojis in the subject lines, in a way I had never seen before:  I’m not sure what happened this week. Does Expedia have a new marketing strategy? Have I been algorithmically marked as a customer they’re […]

Fascinating to discover the existence of this at Rutgers – course outline here! Welcome to our class on the Sociology of Thinking! This semester we’ll explore sociology’s contributions to our understanding of the way we think. By focusing on families, organizations, professions, ethnic groups, religious groups, and other “thought communities” rather than on individuals, this course […]

We subsume such a wide array of phenomena under the category of ‘interaction’ that we sometimes risk obscuring the diversity within this category. One important way in which interactions differ is in how energising, or otherwise, they are to the participating actors. Some interactions can be draining and tedious. Others can have a negligible impact upon us. Others still […]

Earlier this week I read Solo by William Boyd. The idea of a new James Bond novel wouldn’t have appealed to me if it had been written by anyone other than Boyd and it lived up to my expectations. One curious aspect of it which I wasn’t expecting was the prominence of James Bond’s internal […]

I listened to an interesting podcast earlier, in which the psychologist Eldar Shafir discusses the ‘tunnelling effect’ produced by scarcity. This is how Oliver Burkeman describes their argument: “Scarcity captures the mind,” explain Mullainathan and Shafir. It promotes tunnel vision, helping us focus on the crisis at hand but making us “less insightful, less forward-thinking, less controlled”. […]

While reading Randall Collins for my other project, I was suddenly struck by how relevant it is for the sociology of thinking. I must engage with this properly: Do we not have agency? it is a matter of analytical perspective. Agency is in part a term for designating the primitives of sociological explanation, in part […]

How much time do you spend talking to yourself? If you put the question this way, it often makes people uncomfortable. An alternative phrasing: how much time do you spend engaged in “directed conscious thought”? This is what Tim Wilson et al investigated in a new paper published in Science. It’s exactly the sort of […]

In recent months I’ve been slowly working through some of Jeffrey Alexander’s work. I’m interested in what cultural sociology has to offer as I begin to try and extend my PhD research on internal conversation & biography into my planned post-doctoral work on the sociology of thinking. However I’ve found Alexander’s work slightly hit and miss, occasionally […]

If one stands back from the day-to-day demands of professional routine, it becomes clear that an intellectual trajectory is not organised in advance, we do not begin by surveying the intellectual ground before deciding upon a line of enquiry; rather, as Hans-Georg Gadamer might put it, we fall into conversation; our starting points are accidental, […]

Again I find myself somewhat repelled, though perhaps with less justification than in the previous lecture. The second lecture opens with the pronouncement that “we modern men presumably have not the slightest notion how thoughtfully the Greeks experienced their lofty poetry, their works of art – no, not experienced, but let them stand there in […]

Following on from this enormously thought-provoking paper by Richard Swedberg on the sociology of thinking, I’ve decided to return to Heidegger for the first time since I was a philosophy student. I really struggled with Heidegger and ultimately justified giving up conditional on the promise that I would one day learn German and read the […]

Richard Swedberg begins his paper Thinking and Sociology by recognising that there may be “good reasons” why these two things are rarely discussed together. Though “all of us think” and “we all know the intensely private character of our thoughts”, these thoughts are fleeting and ephemeral when considered next to things that we say and things that we know. […]