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Thread: Monday November 7, 2005 noontime (Sociologists) question from Michaelskis

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Monday November 7, 2005 noontime (Sociologists) question from Michaelskis

    I was going to post a different question, but there is an older thread with a similar idea, so here is my back up question for today.

    Market trends, location theories, push / pull factors of cities, and social trends of demographics. These are all things that Sociologists will try to explain using quantitative and qualitative data, but why?

    Why do Sociologists try to explain everything under the sun? Do you think that they are right? What are your thoughts on this?
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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    Cyburbian
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    I think it ties in with the historian notion that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. From a sociological perspective, it is not enough to just know history, but to truly understand history and the social condition in terms of causality. By understanding the roots of our social condition (poverty, gender inequality, etc.), we are better equipped to make policy decisions that better address these conditions. (Obviously, my bachelor's degree is in sociology!)

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    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Part of it is the difference between what people do as individuals and how they act as a group. Whether the group is a family, a community, a demographic, a mob, a nation, whatever, they all act differently than each individual member person does or would. Sociologists try to address those differences, the forces that cause groups of people to act in ways different from individual persons.

    As planners, I think we can compare this to NIMBYism or "Last one in, close the door" attitudes. People display cognitive dissonance, wanting conflicting things that can't coexist.

    Sociologist see the same differences in the individual versus the group.

    Let's face it, people are fascinating things to study.
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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Much of this is definitional. Most academic disciplines have a tendency to consider themselves to be the central focus of All Human Knowlege From Which All Wisdom Springs and sociology is no different in this regard. Legal scholars will point to the fact that no facet of human society is unaffected by the law, anthropologists claim as their territory no less the sum of all human activity, mathematicians go one better and claim the entire universe and all known phenomenon can be explained with math!

    I think its a matter of describing/explaining the very same things merely from different theoretical bases.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I work at a statistical agency that produces the best employment data avaliable for our state. I've used a number of data products from both public and private sources, and I can say that I have serious questions about the validity of all of the data.

    Consequently, I hold many of the claims of data miners etc. that they can work miracles with those data, predict the future, etc. highly suspect. I don't understand all of the math involved but I feel that I don't have to. When you know you're putting bad data in and produce forecasts that end up being wrong 4/5ths of the time, no amount of fancy math is going to change the fact that you're not capable of doing the things you think you can do.

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    I don't really understand your question. I think there's a natural human desire for knowledge. Why should sociology be any different from the quest for understanding in mathematics, biology, or kinesiology?

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    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    At least sociology measures things which can be measured such as demographics, economic factors, and social factors. I always hated in planning how we have tried to make mathamatical equations for push & pull factors which cannot be quanitifed. I have a problem with trying to take something which cannot be "measured" and tyring to make it a science, use the numbers to explain the theories.

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Sociology fascinates me. I must be a soicologist because I always believe my notions to be correct and think I can explain everything under the sun. But I think most of sociology is making careful observations about the human world around you and coming to your own conclusions. So, I guess a lot of it is opinion-based, with occassional facts thrown in.
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    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Much of this is definitional. Most academic disciplines have a tendency to consider themselves to be the central focus of All Human Knowlege From Which All Wisdom Springs and sociology is no different in this regard. Legal scholars will point to the fact that no facet of human society is unaffected by the law, anthropologists claim as their territory no less the sum of all human activity, mathematicians go one better and claim the entire universe and all known phenomenon can be explained with math!

    I think its a matter of describing/explaining the very same things merely from different theoretical bases.
    And then there is STAN.
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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    And then there is STAN.
    Sorry, but even the field of Stannology permeates everything....e.g. the law - 'would it be legal for the municipality to say I was not on break - I did after all have a sanwich in my hand as I surfed Cyburbia'...sociology - 'studies confirm that employees will spend 68% of their time surfing when they should in fact be reviewing plans'..... mathematics - let S equal lost labor, C equal time spent on Cyburbia taking the square of the sum divided by the ratio for enforcement cases a Stan takes a kickback versus ones where he doesn't we can calculate the.....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian
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    What? Sociologists? That bunch of lazy bums are the kings of All Human Knowlegde? You have to be kidding me... Geographers on the other hand have the key for most of Human Knowledge, espacially if it's regarding spatial infomation... and I think everybody know that everything can come down to location...


    Now, really all sciences are important, to the same extent.... so more important are multidisciplinary activities, that can't make one or another sicence more important.

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