Secondly, the humanist writing here finds it cumbersome, to say the least, to wade through sociologese
in too many of the articles before arriving at meatier substance.
He notes that there's "plenty of data"--some of it from the prominent social scientist Robert Putnam--demonstrating, in Putnam's words, that "people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to 'hunker down'--that is, to pull in like a turtle." Diversity, in sociologese
, is negatively correlated with social capital.
Still he uses language in ways that makes historians despair of sociologese
. For example: "By 'congregation' I mean a social institution in which individuals who are not all religious specialists gather in physical proximity to one another, frequently and at regularly scheduled intervals, for activities and events with explicitly religious content and purpose, and in which there is continuity over time in the individuals who gather, the location of the gathering, and the nature of the activities and events at each gathering" (1-2).
Predelinquent, though having considerable currency in sociologese
and legalese (e.g., predelinquent boys/homes/behavior/crimes), has not yet made its way into general dictionaries, and it doesn't even make the "list words" at pre- in most dictionaries.
Yet both accounts are personal stories (despite Dalton Conley's occasional lapses into sociologese
), and as such they force the reader to make sense of the are of a life--to imagine what it's like to live Dalton Conley's double life, at once honky and proto-intellectual; or what it means for Michael MacDonald, watching his brothers and his friends senselessly killed, to stick it out in Southie.
It sounds like criticism by bottom-shelf sociologese
The more alive, or real, the story, the more it seduces the mind or, in sociologese
, the more effectively it performs its identity-rescuing functions.
In a certain sense the problem is disciplinary and cultural: academically trained in sociology and psychiatry Bergen writes a kind of sociologese
, and he thrives on the fashionable truths of pop psychology.
(How it affected their family life is only vaguely and glancingly mentioned.) In the somewhat stilted sociologese
Sonnenstuhl tends to favor, the sandhogs "experience their intemperate drinking rituals as the means for constructing and reconstructing their sense of community.
It helps to have a routine." Mostly, though, the people get smothered in sociologese
. About Jack, Rosenthal writes that "loss of financial and social support may combine with what earlier theorists called 'drift' toward a milieu where drinking is not censured." Lisa is among those who "consider leaving their housed situation because of dissatisfaction with their lives...
His is a complicated argument, and as a clinical and research sexologist I found myself lost more than a few times in the sociologese
(a glossary would have helped).
There are some deadening phrases couched in sociologese
, with which reviewers based in England will surely have much fun, but they do not take away from the basic interest of the book.