Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gender Sociology has a strong academic bubble that repels reality

Well this research was interestingly worthwhile. Undoing Insularity: A Small Study of Gender Sociology’s Big Problem by Charlotta Stern. From the abstract:
In my experience as a sociologist, I see many ways in which gender sociology tends to insulate itself from challenges to its own sacred beliefs and sacred causes. The sacred beliefs are to the effect that the biological differences between the sexes are minor and that the cultural differences between the genders have little basis in biological differences. The scholarly findings that challenge the sacred beliefs come from anthropology, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, the neurosciences, genetics, biology, and many other fields. For many decades now researchers have amassed findings of differences in competitiveness, aggression, sexual interest, risk behavior, and many other traits, and differences in brain physiology and neuroimaging, by many different methods and approaches. I investigated a sample of top cited gender sociology papers to test my impression, and indeed the findings illustrate extreme insularity. It saddens me to see students and scholars fall into insular communities of highly dubious sacred beliefs and causes. I propose that gender sociologists strive to undo insularity.
Hard to summarize in the sense that her paper is clear, articulate, nuanced, and succinct. You would get more from reading the paper than my summary.

My observations from her paper:
1. Gender Sociology dominates the media discussions in ways that are pervasive and yet usually ill-thought through or even consciously considered.

2. The holy precepts of Gender Sociology have entered the discourse of the societal elite in a fashion that is often detrimental to all concerned.

3. Gender Sociology is differentially treated and not subjected to rigorous testing as befits a legitimate field of study.

4. When Gender Sociology is tested, its precepts generally fail scrutiny.

5. Gender Sociology is to a great extent, essentially wrong in its weighing of evidence and the conclusions it reaches. There are interesting and worthwhile outcomes from the field but they are few and far between.

6. The construct created by Gender Sociology is substantially detrimental to the well-being of individuals and society.

7. Part of the continuing discourse about Gender Sociology is due to its deep insularity and failure to address evidence contra to the ideological suppositions.
Stern's is an interesting, useful and balanced examination of the insularity of the field. Her findings (on a small data set) are that 75% of well cited research in the field from leading publications, fail to address contra evidence to the sacred precepts of the ideology of Gender Sociology and that this insularity and refusal to engage represents a severe limitation on the credibility of the field.

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