Sociology Today: June 06 2008

Just started today, I wrote another Sociology Today, trying to catch up on the news. I’m not sure whether or not this is going to be a daily section, but perhaps that would be a nice challenge, forming a nice way of selecting the news that is important to me and to structure it neatly.

Today’s Source: NRC Handelsblad

Rationalization: Gene-technology and mode of thought ((Gentech moet van slecht imago af, NRC-Handelsblad, 06-06-08, p. 6))

While the debate on the selection of embryo’s (see yesterday’s Sociology Today) is still roaring in the Netherlands, Piet Schenkelaars argues that gene technology should be relieved from its bad image. This closely connects to the question how technology and our means of food production connects to the way people think. According to Gerhard Lenski, with his ecological-evolutionairy theory, mode of food-production in societies has developed, strongly influencing the structure of society (division of labour) and mode of thought (more activistic attitude). Perhaps the possibilities delivered by gen-tech and the promise to increase food production even further will have strong influences on human thought and morality indeed.

Inequality: Migrant educational equality ((Toename afhakers in eerste jaar van HBO, NRC Handelsblad, 06-06-08, p.3))

There is always a lot of news on inequality. What to choose? Today I did not select the poor position of rejected refugees in South Africa, but a more positive development regarding inequality. Absolutely one of the more important issues in the newspaper today. But no, for today a somewhat more optimistic issue.

In a short article on the increasing number of students not completing their higher education, it is also mentioned that the number of migrants finishing a higher education is relatively increasing. So, their unequal education position is starting to become more even.

Cohesion: Troubles with the Antilles people? ((Toename overlast Antilliaan in R’dam, NRC Handelsblad, 06-06-08, p. 3))

According to the newspaper article, people living in the Dutch city Rotterdam have had more nuisances and problems with immigrants from the Antilles. Clearly, this connects to the main sociological question of who has contact with whom, and, more directly, who has conflicts with whom. It could however have been categorized under ‘inequality’ just as well, for to a large extent different patterns of criminal behavior can be attributed to differences in social economic position.

The reason that I mention it, is that I think that the headline on the article is misleading: it sounds like that these people have started to misbehave more seriously. But, according to the police, it is due to their changed policy: the police started using a zero tolerance policy. Thereby, the conclusion should be that we’re only talking about a methodological issue, not a substantive one.

One comment on “Sociology Today: June 06 2008

  • As with many putative moral problems, Stem cell research is morally regulated by the political right in order to take attention away from how many children their policies are killing elsewhere in the world. it seems to me that if more attention was placed away from this morally regulated topic in the form of re-framing, the ability to use this subject to divert attention would be taken away.

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