Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

The Curse of Malcolm Gladwell

with one comment

I just began reading Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, Blackberry Moms and Economic Anxiety by New York University chair of sociology Dalton Conley. It’s quite interesting so far, and I’ll probably have more to say about after I’ve read a bit more (I’m only on chapter 2). But at this point, what strikes me most is Conley’s tendency to pause in the middle an otherwise perfectly legitimate observation and give it a buzzword. Combining work and leisure becomes “weisure.” The “rocky marriage of consumption and investment” is needlessly termed “convestment.” It totally takes you out of the flow of ideas and makes you want to scrowbodo (scream and throw book down). Why is this necessary these days? Can you imagine if previous generations of sociologist writers had done this? ‘Yeah, I just finished reading Prethics and the Spirit of Capitalism. Weber’s stuff about the numopar is totally rad.’


Written by Elizabeth

February 13, 2009 at 11:46 am

One Response

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  1. At least the sociologists have the presence of mind to use new words which bear some relationship to their referands. Anthropologists use the same threadbare jargon to refer to 12 billion different things. We are the Salvation Army of the social sciences. “Hmmm, don’t know what to call this…but it involves domination…and the state…ooh! Hegemony! That’s always a favorite.”


    February 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

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