The public life of a dissertation

by Eszter Hargittai on March 20, 2004

It is not often that “a dissertation gets written up in the New York Times”: so I thought it was worth a mention here. Kieran has written here about Devah Pager‘s work earlier including a bit of context. Since Devah is a friend of mine, I would like to add that not only is she really smart and great at finding innovative approaches to research questions, but she’s also a delightful person. It’s wonderful to have people like her in academia and in sociology in particular using her talents to work on important questions… and it’s also nice to see good academic work get public recognition for a change!

Update: Be sure to check out Kieran’s note in the comments for more details about the public life of this dissertation.

Against equality of opportunity?

by John Q on March 20, 2004

Since I’ve argued previously that there’s a lot of confusion in discussions about equality of opportunities and of outcomes, I was interested by this story that UK Home Secretary David Blunkett has hired as special advisor on race someone named Matt Cavanagh, most notable for writing a book called Against Equality of Opportunity which says that employers should be permitted to engage in racial discrimination.

This interview with Cavanagh in The Guardian does not seem very promising – he comes across as the worst kind of contrarian[1] – but is not really enough to go on. So I was hoping someone with a subscription to the London Review of Books might send me a copy of Jeremy Waldron’s apparently favorable review. In case you’re worried about the sanctity of intellectual property, I am a subscriber but I’ve never registered with the website and don’t have the required address slip to hand.

Meanwhile, I’m confident that lots of readers (and probably other CT members) will be well ahead of me, so I’d welcome comments, particularly setting me straight if I have misunderstood Cavanagh (or Waldron).

fn1. That is, one who makes great play with contradictions in the conventional wisdom, does not put forward a coherent alternative, but nonetheless makes authoritative-sounding pronouncements on public policy.