“At what point is it okay to start talking about the root causes of these cases?”
“[Response]: this is not the time to commit sociology….”
verb: (commit, committing, committed):
1. to perpetrate or carry out (a mistake, crime or immoral act)
“This is not the time to commit sociology….” —Stephen Harper, in response to questions about the root causes of terrorism following the 2013 bombings of the Boston marathon and the arrests of two men accused of planning a terror attack on a VIA rail train.
2. to transfer something (or someone) to a state or place (e.g. a psychiatric hospital)
You should be committed for thinking that examining root causes might help us prevent terrorism!
adjective: pledged or bound to a certain course or policy; dedicated (e.g., a committed environmentalist)
Alas, I am committed to sociology and critical thinking. Bring it on!
—Oxford English Dictionary
We commit sociology here. This site is dedicated to examining root causes, social phenomena, and our place in this world. You are at an increased risk of engaging in critical and philosophical thinking by reading the material on this site. Users should enter at their own risk.
A SPECIAL WARNING FOR HEAVY USERS:
Recent studies have shown that heavy use of this site is correlated with a greater risk of committing random acts of sociology in everyday life. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to: a sudden increase in appetite for knowledge about issues such as poverty, racism, and environmental degradation; a marked increase in the desire for good data; a reduced tolerance for individualistic explanations for success or failure (e.g. she failed because she is evil); and/or a marked increase in the desire to help others in need, especially when coupled with the delusional belief that their struggles may be indicative of larger social problems rather than individual moral turpitude.
Random acts of sociology may lead users, in mild to moderate cases, to respond to friends’ and family members’ struggles with social or political commentary, referrals to recent research or data, and suggestions for collective action. Some also take interest in their communities, politics, or social change by voting, volunteering, or campaigning. In extreme cases, users may claim that they have enhanced, almost superhuman powers of insight, such as the ability to shift easily from one perspective to another in social situations, the capacity to see social patterns in everyday interactions and agency to make better decisions in life.
Friends and family members should be aware that there is no treatment or cure for committing sociology.
We are building a team of writers dedicated to committing sociology and philosophy in everyday life. Stay tuned as we grow….
Suggestions? Let us know! See the contact page.
This site was started and is sometimes curated by Anna-Liisa Aunio, a professor, mother, partner, daughter, friend, and citizen engaged in committing random acts of sociology since 2002. The inspiration for this commentary began with Stephen Harper’s public admonition not to ‘commit sociology’ in response to exploring the root causes of terrorism and, later, missing and murdered aboriginal women. It has since come to encapsulate ‘an expression’ for writers and academics who are committed to ‘public sociology’ and ‘public philosophy’–that is, writing for public and social purposes about social problems.
As such, we are, first and foremost, a collective of writers interested in writing together on social issues.