December 18, 2003

· Sociology

I just finished a writing up a 500-word entry for a forthcoming Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, edited by Jens Beckert and Milan Zafiroski. (I was only about a year late. You’d think the blogging would have made 500-word chunks easy to churn out.) While reading the boilerplate in the contributor’s agreement, I came across the following clause:

2 (a) … The Contributor further warrants that the Contribution contains nothing obscene, libellous, blasphemous, in breach of copyright or otherwise unlawful …

All well and good, except that my allocated entry is “Sacred.” As you will all remember from your social theory class, Durkheim’s view is that religion is a collective representation of the social structure. “Society awakens in us the feeling of the divine.” This is not likely to get a nihil obstat from many religions.

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.



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