Friday, March 31, 2006

damn, liberal, trouble-making sociologists

Vietnam 2 Preflight Check.

where is David Horowitz when you need him???? Or those Bruin Alumni folk????
social control and institutions

can't say i disagree with this.

read this today and had to wonder about a couple of things...first, talk about utilizing human science to inform interventions; second, you know that these folks are collecting data on the outcomes of these strategies — I wonder if anyone will ever see the results? right? i mean, if they are doing this in the name of science (and i can't imagine someone with a behavioral science background NOT being at least VERY tempted to collect data), where do they publish the findings? seriously, if anyone knows, i would love to read about this; curious to see how they frame their ethics and their humanistic philosophy. hmmm, something tells me that they didn't have to get IRB approval to gather these data, either, if that is indeed what they are doing (in addition to the interventions, I mean).

i just wonder what some of the article titles would be...

"On the efficacy of extreme illicitation of fear response as a means of extracting information from unwilling subjects" or something of that nature; seems like the title alone would belie the violation of scientific ethics.

brief summary of what they are doing from the referenced (above) article:

"Now, just in case you've been living on Pluto for the past year or so, BISCUITS - Behavioral Science Consultation Teams - consist of military psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral scientists, and other health care professionals. Their role, it has been charged by former Guantánamo interrogators, is to advise the military on ways of increasing psychological duress on detainees, sometimes using their medical records to find ways of exploiting their fears and phobias, to make them more cooperative and willing to provide information. In one example, published in the New York Times, 'interrogators were told that a detainee's medical files showed he had a severe phobia of the dark and suggested ways in which that could be manipulated to induce him to cooperate.'"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

just !#$%^ do it!!!

my responses to three introductory questions from an e-conference i am participating in:

Q1 RE: related terms for the method?...I think the focus shouldn't be on the method and said definition, it should be on the outcome of the application of the method. WHY are we engaging in sustainability work? What is the purpose? I think that this is worthy of inclusive, definitional work, but defining the process that allows us to get to the outcome is secondary, if necessary at all. The difference, IMO is between an academic exercise (do we really need more of those?) and tangible outcomes.

Q2 RE: different trajectories?...this is where Luis' framework and the above suggestion come in. Having a clear, stated goal, an agreed upon framework and a commitment to adhere to that framework is what is necessary. Getting disparate people togther is not inherently problematic; in fact, it should be a strength. Entrenched difference only becomes a problem when project members do not adhere to the commitment to the framework.

Q3 RE: new form of science? new skills?...I don't think it matters what it is and what it is called - that is for a much later analysis and definitional process. What matters is whether or not it successfully pulls off the intended outcome. As to skills, sure there is necessity for different skill sets, and I would think that having people from different backgrounds would bring different skill sets to the project. The only new skill that I would forsee would be the ability to temporarily suspend prejudice (and ego as Luis says) and consider new ideas, new perspectives, etc. That and keeping the final outcome in mind when doing any work would be the only new skills that I could imagine.