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May 20, 2006

Even More Science (Kinda-Sorta): Social, Ahem, Scientists Meet To Expound Upon "The Significance of the Sock"

Social, ahem, scientists are keenly aware of their image as do-nothing goofballs who are doing as much genuine science as your average gas-station attendant. (At least the gas station attendant works with pumps and stuff.)

But they're not going to change that image soon when they're producing "scientific scholarship" like this:

"I will present five short stories that tell us about different doors, giving insights into the way their existence is intertwined with the lives of the people that pass through a door, stand close to a door, loiter in the vicinity of a door, are afraid of not getting in through a door, and, finally, those that have a hard time getting out of the door," German academic Lars Frers says in his introduction to the work he will present for the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association.

His primer on what he calls "doorology" explores the ambivalences of the human experience, specifically those produced in interaction with doors.

Doorology? Five short stories -- works of fiction -- that involve doors?

This is science?

The paper reflecting on the sock, which is to be delivered by Australian textile lecturer Alana Clifton-Cunningham, chronicles the diverse images and purposes of the lowly foot cover, from its role in a uniform signifying status, to an essential part of the Korean burial process signifying comfort en route to the afterlife, to a site for a corporate logo as pride of place on the ankle.

"Whilst the sock plays a somewhat silent role, it has been revealed that it is quite a significant part of our everyday dress. The sock has metamorphosed from the stocking to the sock which is now a fundamental part of most people's wardrobe."

Ummmm... yes, I concede the sock is "now a fundamental part of most people's wardrobes." I'm not sure how that's science, though.

One paper is about the eating of cheese as some sort of social signifier, and the adoption of upscale "foodies" of peasant forms of cheese. Actually, that's not necessarily an absurd topic to research; how we live and eat and such is a valid subject for academic study. Not sure how that's science either, though.

Thanks to Darwin's Moustache, who is still banned, but keeps sending me tips anyway.


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posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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