There no longer exists a theater of ideas in which artists or philosophers can perform the acts of the intellectual or moral imagination. In nineteenth-century England Charles Darwin could expect On The Origin of Species to be read by Charles Dickens as well as by Disraeli and the vicar in the shires who collected flies and water beetles. Dickens and Disraeli and the vicar could assume that Mr. Darwin might chance to read their own observations. But in the United States in 1979 what novelist can expect his work to be read by a biochemist, a Presidential candidate, or a director of corporations; what physicist can expect his work to be noticed, much less understood, in the New York literary salons? ("A Juggernaut of Words," Harper's Magazine, June 1979: pp. 12-13).Conditions have hardly improved in 2006. Now in the supposed "Information Age" six out of ten American households do not purchase a single book and one-half of American adults do not read one. Forty-one years ago in 1965 when the Gallup Organization asked young people if they read a daily newspaper, 67 percent said yes; in 2004, according to the NORC General Social Survey, roughly 20 percent answered affirmatively. And yet "they" say we are saturated with informational overload!
I am most interested in the potential of this cyberspace medium to inform and to generate discourse, to enhance information literacy, and to truly be a "theater of ideas." This site features commentary, data analyses (hey, we've become a "factoid" culture), occasional essays, as well as the requisite links, put together for courses taught by myself and my colleagues. If you do give feedback on one of the message pads scattered across these pages and wish a reply, please include your e-mail address.
And now for some sites to stimulate the sociological
(or, at a minimum, prepare one for Sociology Jeopardy).
EXERCISING THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION
This sociological tour through cyberspace has received a number of acknowledgements, as have some of its separate paths. Click here for some of the reviews of this entire tour package.
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