Anna Nicole Finally Reaches Target Weight…


NASSAU, BAHAMAS—Former stripper turned Playboy Playmate turned reality-TV star Anna Nicole Smith has overcome her longtime struggle with obesity, at last reaching her target weight of 125 pounds, sources said Monday.

“Anna’s been through a lot,” said Florida Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin, who became visibly emotional as he spoke to reporters. “But I think it’s fair to say that she hasn’t been this happy in years.”


Live Blogging: Seminar in Sociological Theory #8 or 9?

Giorgio Agamben –

Agamben’s text State of Exception investigates how the suspension of laws within a state of emergency or crisis can become a prolonged state of being. More specifically, Agamben addresses how this prolonged state of exception operates to remove individuals of their citizenship.

When speaking about the USA Patriot Act, issued by the United States Senate on October 26, 2001, Agamben writes, “What is new about President Bush’s order is that it radically erases any legal status of the individual, thus producing a legally unnamable and unclassifiable being. Not only do the Taliban captured in Afghanistan not enjoy the status of POW’s as defined by the Geneva Convention, they do not even have the status of people charged with a crime according to American laws (Agamben, pg 3).”

Many of the individuals captured in Afghanistan were taken to be held at Guantánamo Bay without trial. These individuals were termed as “enemy combatants.” Until July 7, 2006, these individuals had been treated outside of the Geneva Conventions by the United States administration.


Hughes – variety of settings that fall under a category (sport) – what are the common features that are the same?

“cooling out the mark.”

What an interesting phrase! Google led me to this 1952 article by Erving Goffman. He starts with the perspective of professional con artists. In their jargon, “cooling the mark” out refers to techniques designed to prevent the mark, or victim, from calling the police or otherwise making his loss public. The cooler (the con man assigned to this task) can use various approaches: He can emphasize the embarrassment involved, he can emphasize the hopelessness of trying to recover the lost money, he can encourage the mark to see the con as a learning experience, and so forth.

From there, Goffman moves to a much broader view of how people deal with their losses, which Goffman sees as primarily a problem of helping people reconcile their internally held identities with facts. He sees the same basic dynamics in handling an angry customer, in rejecting a suitor, or in firing an employee.

The problem we encounter as sociologists doing ANT is not the start/stop – but how do you not stabilize? Don’t look for centres in which things eminate and work their way down (to flatten). Foucault flattens the panopticon – Governor is another point in the panopticon.

There are no findings, but the reassembling of a network. Reassembled –

Live Blogging: Marking 220 Exams

The Goal: To Mark 220 Exams for the Sociology of the Family course I TA for in Calgaryby 10:15 PM.

6:24 At this point, I have graded about 80 or so? I am in the windowless office, and I have the new LCD Soundsystem album CRANKED. I have no idea if anyone is on the 9th here with me, and if they are, it is loud enough that they might come and tell me to turn it down.

6: 28: When my family finally disowns me, I am changing my last name to “Gagatek”

6:35 Is it possible that I haven’t been obsessed with this record yet? I think I just had to jam it really, really loud to fully appreciate it…

6: 40 Is it just me, or do men with extremely tiny, obbsessively neat PRINTING scream “Serial Killer in Training”?

6:45 “The time has come / the time has come / the time has come today” Repeat x220

7:18: A few hours in… it doesn’t even seem like the pile is any smaller. This makes me feel “emo”

7:24 Genius! I am working in the windowless office, lined with empty desks. I have a “rolly” chair, and I am marking the exams, and then alphabatizing them at the same time, but instead of working through them, now that I am about half-way through, I am counting how many down in that letter group (so, I have marked 7 exams for students with the letter “M” – I count down how many M’s come before (say, 3) and then count the stack to three, and drop the new one in – Rinse, repeat. Efficiency!

8:10 I am noticing the pile going down, but there are endless distractions right now… Destroyer is playing LOUD –

Don’t spend your life conceiving
that the widows won’t get sick of their grieving

9:00 – somehow there are no more left? Sweet. An hour and some to kill…

Live Blogging: Seminar in Sociological Theory #??? (what day is it again?)

Discussion on the rationale for grading: pointing out deficiencies. Start with 100%, and lose from there.

Doing writing as a “trial” – which is, taking your B+ first draft, and turning it into an A+ third draft. Building on your own argument, taking it further… finding a way to just give it that extra.

Where do you stop… when you hit the end.

Pg 44: Habitus is troubled usage, if we imply some kind of force. The wrong way of using it is similar to how Durkheim uses anomie…

Looking for mediators where each point can be said to fully act.

59: concatenations of mediators…

footnote p.209: Marcell Maus is sick… watches the “girls” and how they walk. Recognizes the universal gate, in that they have all watched the same movies. When he goes to Paris, sees it there. Evoking Habitus, not as a force, but a habit, a learned way of using and disposing your body. Holding arms, swinging hips. Analyzable. For Latour, something worth studying because you can actually SEE it.

SHOW it to me!!!

“This is why Habitus, freed from social theory, is such an excellent concept” (p. 209). Think of Habitus like equiptment. I can see it, take notes. What are the mediators vs the intermediaries.

Good Bourdieu behaves ethnomethodologically, when he is treating it like equiptment. The bad Bourdieu is when he is generating theory, actors as a generic entity, that “mediate” “actors” “within fields.”

Don’t need to throw away stuff from the last seven years… becomes a matter of understaning training…. The more deeply committed you are to the sociology of the social, the less you will get ANT.

Get rid of the term “actor?” as it implies a locus of determination? Defends the hyphen of actor-network – only an actor in a network. Only talk about relations of power. If we are talking about power, we are inventing a force.

Anomie: give Durkheim needs his due. Even though he may have been a lousy sociologist (quit using anomie as if it actually fricking explains anything). Yet, he was onto something… the way people felt at the begining of the 20th Century – it captures a discontent. With the classics, there is something to be learned from them. They were people of their times. Profoundly in touch with their times that was profound. In the same way that certain poets could feed back towards a culture, a time.

Habitus: Husseral, Maus, Merlot Ponty, Elias… then Bourdieu.

Equiptment and subscriptions: (208-210).

Instead of, say “narrative habitus” —- narrative equiptment. Have to maintain subscriptions in order to maintain the equiptment. To find something deeply engaging. An “aquired taste” – never aquired the plug in for rap… etc. Need to replace our vocabulary of like, don’t like, “that’s no good” – I never got the equiptment, and/or I haven’t maintained the  subscription.  There is a moment when you make a descision whether you want it or not — selection/evaluation. Too much going on out there; plug in enables capacity of vision and division is that even though we can liberate habitus of social theory, but it keeps sucking us back towards …. Bourdieu should have taken this criticism seriously.

Its watching you and me…

I was pointed to THIS today. Full length movies, with no download, no fuss. They have a pretty good television selection as well. New stuff… I am watching the classic Seinfeld episode “The Wink” right here in my shitty office. “PULP CAN MOVE BABY!”

Live Blogging: PhD Theory Class #8

Reassembling the Social:

P. 141: When your informants mix up organization, hardware, psychology and politics… don’t break it down into neat little pots (“themes”) – try and follow the link they make between those elements, which would have looked impossibly distinct with old Sociology. Trace those associations.

Treat writing as a trial.

IE/ANT “line of fault” – is it doing what it is supposed to do (Y/N)? Even if it is, is it too expensive in the cost of participating? These are more IE than ANT; to go in an ANT, it doesn’t work. ANT – uncovering the controversies. IE assumes presupposition – a “lived experience” which is something ANT isn’t interested in.

ANT is not so much a sociology of technology. Looking at innovations, something “new” happening. If you don’t, it will be hard, as the associations are harder to trace. You need the ethnomethodological “disruption” – you have to mess people around.

Latour and Social Theory:

102: Social forces play the role of being what has to be postulated, and what, for many reasons, has to remain invisible. For Durkheim: Social Solidarity, has the complicated role of explaining EVERYTHING. The only interesting part is how you get to the answer. There is only one way to get there. Social solidarity, at the same time, remains invisible.  Based on imaginary substances. Instead of tracing the networks, he jumps to imaginary forces (egoism, anomie). Both explain suicide, and that which suicide explains.

P. 71: Describing Weber’s interpretive project; starts off with distinction between behavior and action. Sociology then is the proper study of action. Durkheim macro / Weber micro, creating meaning. Weber then puts sociology on the side of the meaningful. Sociology relies on intentional humans. For Latour, this is wrong: don’t make that distinction, the question becomes “WHAT ACTS?” not what is the consciousness, what are the things that are acting. Weber: only humans can act. Latour leaves this open, and thus has little interest in typologies of meaning.

Work net: keeps ANT from network theory. We don’t want this to be confused.

ANT: How these multiple mediators are brought into association with one another. How their worknet aquires the name of capitalism. Weber does talk about this stuff, but in the wrong order, ending up without being able to go anywhere.

We’ve never really had an action theory in sociology, but a consious actor theory.

The issue of explanation (what theory is supposed to “do”).  Latour suggests a fundamental reversal. For the sociology of the social, generate a mass of effects.  (p. 130-131 – key pages). Sociology of the social, fewest number of causes that will generate the greatest number of effects. This is the history of sociology. Durkheim – solidarity. Weber – legitimate authority, Parsons agil; fewest numbers of causes, largest number of effects. Marx: only one cause, CLASS CONFLICT and that it is.

Moving into the PoMo; we see the same thing. To create typologies is to do this. Generate most possibilities. Sometimes, this leads to interesting ways to think. Yet, they postulate ways to live. Themes in Grounded Theory – combine to metatheory, coming up with a meta-language, which are proxy explanations. Make claims to represent explanations. They are being transmogrified; they end up having the same point. “Now that I understand the five themes of living with this illness, I now can explain the greatest number of effects in their lives” – what is grounded is that these themes remains unspecified. The description is truncated.

Latours notion of explanation:

If a description remains in need of an explanation, that means that it is a bad description. You just haven’t done it well enough (p. 137). As soon as a sight is placed into a framework, everything becomes rational much too quickly.

There is nothing left to be explained. Tolstoy describes so adequately, that everything else remains unponderable.

With theory, Latour might object to all purpose, all terrain methodology (note 126 on pg. 96). This is what C. Wright Mills objected to in “Sociological Imagination” – theory used without going under any change.

Do what you are doing, don’t always have to put a name on it.

Researchers should fall between the  egoism of the investigator becomes Newton, or the totalitarianism of Stalin.

“Critical Theory” – theory that pre-supposes actors Misrecognition. ANT/IE are on different tracks. As much as Smith wants to give actors credit, that actors just don’t understand “ruling relations” – cosmology land; even though they look similar, ANT would never allow for something like misrecognition.

The problem is that there IS sometimes misrecognition (Smith, Latour, Bourdieu); yet we can understand, subjects incapable of not knowing.

118: There is no rear world… that is what the 19th century were all about. Postulating the rear world, in which is making difference, but not observable.

The word “network” is dangerous because it is a concept, not a thing that is “out there” – networks as being “there” – instead of holding on to that word, call it work nets – trace the work that net people together.

A network is a tool to help describe (p. 131). The reclaiming of habitus, globalization – instead of imagining some “thing” that works on its own, if we concentrate on teh relay of actors as mediators – how they “hook up” with each other – then we are on solid ground.

So, what is a concept, and what is a good concept?

Latour’s revision of the social is that there is no society or social relm. All there is is translators that may generate tracable associations.

ANT is best when you have stuff that is tracable.

The translation does not transmit causality. Used to translate causality. Instead, translation induces two mediators into co-existing.

All this suggests three principles.

1) Principle of relativism: pp 95 – not the relativity of truth, it is the truth of a relation. Truth is always a relation (restating Heisenberg). Gives rise (116) to multiplicity. Deluze. It isn’t that we look at the world from different backgrounds; there are multiple objects. The waterbottle has multiple ontologies (not that there is multiple waterbottles).

2) Principle of multiple agencies  (166) “pluralverse” – what multiple agencies are involved here.

3) This brings us to symmatery of humans and non-human actors. We relate to each other through objects. It just doesn’t get that far; impoverished world, because tracing the ties that are handling the relay. It isn’t minds existing with other minds. 78 – can’t be a social science and pursue only SOME LINKS… like Mol’s pointing out that medical sociologists stop as soon as blood hits the scenes.

4)  Stick to the new definition of social as a fluid, visible only when new associations are being made (p. 79). That we will be able to see the fluid (from Garfinkel).

The unhappy realization is that there is no seperate sphere of theory as a distinct realm for some sociology (a “Theorist”) we have the occasion in a curricular slot (this class) then we end up wanting an all purpose, all terrain theory.

P. 130: in a bad text, nothing is translated is one to another because action is translated through them. Few causes, whatever effects you go study, using few effects you learned in “theory.” You can’t lose. Can you imagine where that is not applicable. And that what you feel you have a right to ask for.

Instead of theory, we need more details, NO MORE FRAMEWORKS! We jump to (INSERT X HERE). Latour wants to preserve the irrationality. the complexity. Momentary associations. War and Peace: moments of momentary associations.

The momentary is all there is!!!!!!!! (<— epiphinal moment).

Don’t want to create a mastery of a meta-narrative, with minimal causal factors… You can’t just get rid of stuff… it is all interconnected.