“The domestic governing body of sociology”?
June 5, 2011 § 3 Comments
The Disgruntled Sociologist has been perusing the ASA’s amicus brief (pdf) in the Wal-Mart case – subject of so much lively debate over on orgtheory and scatterplot about whether the ASA was right to file the amicus brief, whether it was a good amicus brief, whether sociology was under attack in the Wal-Mart case, etc. (Yes, TDS peruses such things just for kicks.)
This post is not meant to relaunch those debates. (For the record, TDS’s answer to all three questions is no.) Instead, TDS wishes to highlight the following intriguing sentence from page 6 of the amicus brief (emphasis added):
The domestic governing body of sociology is the American Sociological Association (ASA) which organizes professional conferences, establishes rules and norms for professional researchers, publishes the discipline’s flagship journal and several specialty journals, and defines the discipline.
(Andy Abbott and others may wish to dispute the bit about the flagship journal, but let us leave that aside.)
What does “domestic governing body of sociology” even mean? In what sense is sociology being governed? And which king or queen granted the ASA this charter?
And the ASA “defines the discipline”? Funny, TDS would have thought that sociologists define the discipline through their work – for better or worse. Does this mean that the ASA has a checklist somewhere that can be used to determine whether someone is really a sociologist?
Guess that large (and growing) share of sociologists who are not members of the ASA are guilty of practicing without a license. Oh, the horror.
Seriously, it is quite horrifying that the ASA would include such a description of itself in a legal brief.