The launch of Globalisation & Work, the fantastic new book co-written by the Mrs was a one day event attracted sociologists from across the UK. At the suggestion of the Mrs I turned up for the last hour only and wandered in and the third word I heard was “patriarchy.”
At once I cursed myself for not bringing an official Mad Lefty Bingo scorecard for the assembled sociologists were on fire. Within a few minutes I would also have been able to cross off
Thatcher! (as in to blame for everything)
Racist ( UKIP, The Tory Party, The Daily Mail)
Fascist ( UKIP)
Racism ( what white folks do)
The Daily Mail (whipping up racism, to blame for everything that was not Thatcher’s fault)
Carers (folks who need to be paid more)
Public Sector workers (folks who need to be paid more)
Gideon (the lefty way of describing Chancellor Osborne)
The Occupy Movement ( cannot put a foot wrong…the future)
Austerity ( no need for it all the fault of…)
“The Fucking Tories” ( inherently evil)
Ed Miliband (a term of abuse for someone deemed very right wing)
Trades Unions ( needed to protect workers who are inherently….)
Exploited ( what capitalist, Tories, etc like doing)
Marxist Analysis ( still taught by sociologists even though history has shown that the old fool was just plain wrong and thus they might as well be teaching that the Earth is flat for all the good it does)
Bourgeois ( see above)
Minimum wage ( far too low and the Tory plans to increase it are all a trick)
Discourse ( not sure what that means but the word is always used by lefties).
Workers charter (a document making demands that will doom capitalism – hence a good idea)
Capitalism – wicked. Needs controlling/reforming/replacing with a better way
Workers Co-operatives – a good thing that these (State funded) folks should encourage.
I had a long chat with a colleague of my wife who seemed afraid that Wal-Mart was on the verge of establishing a global monopoly on retail but otherwise was a pretty sane (and very pleasant) individual. I sense that had I talked to some of the delegates I would not have been able to bite my lip.
At the end the chair/facilitator/chairwoman asked for questions. This provoked a raft of rants from the comrades. I was tempted to ask a woman who said “we need to show the alternative to austerity” why she thought there was an alternative to Britain not accelerating into bankruptcy but looking at my Mrs who was clearly the star of the day I decided that silence was the best option.
In case any sociologists are reading this I do have one question for you all. Economics, politics or political philosophy are seen as academic disciplines partly because there is a genuine ideological debate amongst practitioners. My economics tutor Roger Van Noorden was an arch monetarist, other tutors were Keynesians. There was a debate. Two of the philosophy tutors I had were respectively a Marxist and a supporter of the SDP but we were encouraged to read conservative tracts as well. The idea was that there was debate.
Yet in sociology there is virtually no debate. A Conservative sociologist is a rare species indeed. The debate about capitalism is thus framed as “how do you reform it or replace it” not whether capitalism could be improved by being less interfered with. That is just not debate at all. My question for any sociologists reading this is “if the only debate in your field is on how much of a leftie you are – how do you expect to be taken seriously as an academic discipline since you are. By definition, giving your students an imbalanced world view or do you just take it as a given that neo-liberal, conservative, capitalist thinkers are just wrong?”