css.php

Author Archives: Greg Narr

Socjournal

I’m not sure how many sociology journals are online. I found this one through searching google for “online sociology journal.” It was the 9th item in the search, so that seems to be evidence that they are rather rare. This is what they say about their mission:
“Founded January 28th, 2010, the Socjournal is a new media journal intended to offer sociologists a window into the world of new media communications. Recognizing that traditional scholarly publication in traditional scholarly journals is limited, slow, and isolated (i.e. sociological research remains hidden behind an academic wall that is impenetrable to most people), the Socjournal aims to bring sociology to the world by providing blog space, regular columns, and academic reports designed to popularize and disseminate the fascinating world of sociological research.”
As this blurb states, this journal started online, and as far as I can tell it is completely open access. This journal is intended to popularize sociology. In their submissions section they have many tips on how to write for this journal. Here is an interesting tip:
“If your paper has an “abstract” and an “introduction” and maybe a “discussion” and a “methodology” section, use it for toilet paper. Papers like that are designed to turn readers off and obscure what you have to say behind a rhetorical wall of pompous and overcomplicated verbiage. The goal here is communication and not obfuscation or ego aggrandizement.”
The submissions are also supposed to be 2-6 pages long. So this isn’t an academic journal. Here is a snippet from the first article on the site:

“Common as it has been for humans to segregate their societies on the basis of barely perceptible racial and ethnic distinctions, has there ever been a dog park that discriminated on the basis of fur color? EX: No black dogs allowed!?Judging from the human infatuation with canines of every size, shape and color–not to mention zoos, conservatories, and pet stores stocked with every imaginable critter–it is safe to conclude that humans are perhaps the world’s most enthusiastic supporters of, with one caveat, genetic diversity. Of course, that one caveat is highly consequential. Remarkable as the human enthusiasm for diversity may be among non-human species, among our own species, humans tend to deplore diversity. That is, to put it mildly, a rich irony.”
This seems like a pretty interesting line of reasoning. What is lost in this journal, it seems to me, is the credentials. I’m willing to guess that writing for this journal is not seen as quite as impressive as getting published in a more standard academic journal. I’m not privy to the debates about sociological rigor, but I can speculate that there aren’t enough citations, numbers, and jargon in these articles to be considered rigorous academic work. This, of course, is the whole point of the journal, to popularize insights that get muddied in the process of turning interesting ideas into sociology. It seems to me that these kinds of formats will become more popular in the future.