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In Uncategorized on February 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm
미식축구 통해 창조와 폭력의 신화 재연하는 미국인

강인규 (foucault)

 

  

미국 지역 언론의 슈퍼볼 결과 보도. 미국 스포츠는 강한 지역적 토대를 갖추고 있다. 본래 소수 대학생들의 참여스포츠였던 미식축구는 대중매체와 더불어 대중적인 ‘관람 스포츠’로 발전했다.

슈퍼볼

위의 사진을 보자. 같은 날 같은 시간대 <뉴욕타임스> <보스턴글로브>, 그리고 <로스앤젤레스타임스>의 웹사이트에 실린 사진이다. 세 언론은 이달 초의 슈퍼볼(Super Bowl) 경기 결과를 알리고 있다. 이 사진을 통해 미국의 어떤 점을 알 수 있을까?

 

분명한 것은, 올해 슈퍼볼에서 뉴욕이 보스턴 소속 팀을 이겼다는 것이다. <뉴욕타임스>가 ‘자이언츠’의 우승 소식에 숨이 넘어갈 듯 기뻐하는 사람들을 첫 머리에 실은 반면, <보스턴글로브>는 절망한 모습으로 드러누워 있는 뉴잉글랜드팀 선수의 모습을 보여준다. 17 대 14로 패배한 결과를 전하는 <보스턴글로브> 기사의 제목이 간결하면서도 극적이다.

 

“끝.”

 

한쪽은 환희의 비명을 지르고 다른 한 쪽은 세상이 끝난 듯 누워있는데도, 미 대륙 서쪽 저편의 <로스앤젤레스타임스>는 아주 차분하다. 해당 기사를 찾으려면 하단의 스포츠면을 뒤져야 한다. 앞의 두 언론이 경기 결과로 죽고는 반면, 로스앤젤레스의 언론은 동부팀의 경기에 그다지 열정적인 반응을 보이지 않는다. 말 그대로 ‘강 건너 불’을 보는 듯하다. 

 

사회통합 기제로서 미식축구… “미국 스포츠=미국 사회”

 

  

미식축구는 미국에서 가장 인기 있는 운동 경기일뿐 아니라, 가장 ‘남성적인’ 스포츠이기도 하다. <풋볼 읽기>의 저자인 마이클 오리아드는 미국 언론이 미식축구에 가장 자주 붙인 수식어가 “남자다운(manly)”이었다고 분석한다.

ⓒ UNC Press

미식축구

위 사진이 말해주는 것은 미식축구가 강한 지역적 기반을 가지고 있다는 사실이다. 미국은 지리적으로 광범위하고, 문화적으로 이질적이며, 인종적으로 다양하다. 미국 전역에는 각 지역을 대표하는 운동팀이 있고, 미국인들은 이들을 응원하는 가운데 공동체의 일원이라는 사실을 배운다.

 

미국은 다양한 문화적 배경의 이민자들로 구성되어 있다. 여기에 개인의 개별성과 독립성의 가치를 지속적으로 강조해온 곳이 미국 사회다. 이런 나라에서 각 개인들을 엮어 사회 속으로 통합하는 일은 중요하고도 어려운 과제가 아닐 수 없다.

 

미국에서 이 사회 통합의 역할을 하는 것이 스포츠·영화·텔레비전 등의 대중문화다. 미국에서 이 분야가 세계적인 경쟁력을 갖춘 산업으로 발전한 것은 결코 우연이 아니다. 이들은 단순한 문화상품이 아니라 핵심적 사회 제도의 일부이기 때문이다. 

야구와 농구, 그리고 미식축구는 모두 미국을 대표하는 스포츠지만, 그 가운데서도 미식축구가 차지하는 비중은 매우 크다.

 

미식축구는 이미 1970년대부터 야구를 제치고 가장 대중적인 미국 스포츠로 자리 잡았다. 이것은 단순히 운동에 대한 선호의 변화만을 뜻하는 것이 아니다. 이 변화의 과정은 미국 사회 구조의 변동과 새로운 정체성의 등장을 의미한다.

 

미식축구는 단순히 인기있는 스포츠에 그치지 않는다. 이 종목은 현대 미국 사회에서 ‘남성성’을 대표하는 정체성의 한 축이 되었다.

 

미식축구, 야구를 제치고 ‘남성성’의 상징이 되다

 

1960년대까지만 해도 미국에서 가장 인기 있는 운동은 단연 야구였다. 특히 야구는 미국의 아버지와 아들 사이의 남성적 유대 관계를 상징했다. 아버지와 아들이 공을 던지고 받으며 대화를 나누는 장면은 친밀한 부자 관계의 동의어가 되었다. 여전히 적잖은 미국 남성들이 야구에 대한 깊은 향수와 추억을 간직하고 있다.

 

그러나 1970년대 이후 미식축구는 급격히 성장한 반면, 야구의 인기는 서서히 줄었다. 2005년 여론조사에 따르면 미국인 가운데 프로 미식축구를 즐기는 사람은 전체 인구의 34%고, 대학 미식축구 팬은 13%다. 미국인의 절반 가까이가 미식축구를 가장 좋아하는 경기로 꼽은 것이다. 이에 반해 야구를 꼽은 사람은 14%에 머물렀다. 이런 변화에는 여러 가지 이유가 있다.

 

  

미식축구의 한 장면. 이 경기의 인기 상승과 ‘남성성’의 상징 구축에는 대중매체의 영향이 크게 작용했다. 다른 경기에서 난폭함과 폭력성은 경기 외적인 요소지만, 미식축구에서는 내적인 요소일 뿐 아니라 경기의 핵심적 요소이기도 하다. 언론은 흔히 과격한 경기를 ‘훌륭한 경기’로 보도한다.

ⓒ Wikimedia Commons

미식축구

첫 번째는 텔레비전의 영향이다. 1950년대를 지나면서 미국 가정의 텔레비전 보급률이 급격히 높아졌다. 야구는 정해진 시간이 없이 경기가 끝날 때까지 지속되고, 진행 속도가 느리며, 텔레비전 화면으로 극적인 장면을 연출하기 어려운 경기다. 게다가 야구 시즌인 여름은 가족들이 집 안보다는 밖에서 보내는 시간이 많아 시청자를 확보하기 어려웠다.

 

이에 반해 미식축구는 짧은 시간에 ‘화끈한’ 모습을 빠른 전개로 보여줄 수 있어 텔레비전 중계에 안성맞춤이었다. 게다가 미식축구 시즌은 집 안에서 보내는 시간이 많은 가을과 겨울이어서 자연스럽게 텔레비전 문화와 결합했다. 브라운관 위에서 건장한 육체가 과격하게 부딪히는 모습은 야구보다 훨씬 더 극적으로 ‘남성성’을 구현하는 것으로 보였다.

 

야구는 날씨가 나쁘면 경기를 미루기도 하고 중단하기도 하지만, 미식축구는 그런 ‘나약한 모습’을 보이지 않았다. 선수들은 빗속에서도, 눈 속에서도, 진흙탕에서도 뒹굴었다. 이렇게 미식축구는 자연스레 남성성의 상징이 되었다.

 

학교에서 여학생들의 선망의 대상은 공부 잘하는 우등생이 아니라, 건장한 체격의 풋볼 선수다. 학교 팀의 쿼터백은 언제나 염문을 뿌리고 다니며 인기를 독차지한다. 두꺼운 안경을 쓴 ‘범생이(nerd)’들은 이런 스타 선수들을 부러운 눈으로 바라보기 일쑤다.

 

물론, 나중에 더 많은 연봉을 받을 것이라고 스스로 위로하지만, 젊은 학생들에게 미래가 현재만큼 중요할 리 없다. 게다가 잘 나가는 미식축구 선수의 연봉은 의사나 변호사와 비교할 바가 아니다. 그 때문에 아들을 둔 미국 부모들은 한 달에 몇 만원 하는 학습지에는 손을 떨면서도, 수십만 원짜리 운동복과 장비는 아낌없이 사 준다. 

 

  

슈퍼볼 우승팀에게 주어지는 트로피. ‘빈스 롬바르디(Vince Lombardi)’ 트로피라 불린다. 슈퍼볼 1, 2회를 우승으로 이끌었던 그린베이 패커즈의 코치를 기리기 위해 그의 이름을 붙였다.

ⓒ Wikimedia Commons

빈스 롬바르디

‘개척’의 폭력, 자본주의의 규율… 남성성이 위태로울 때 ‘남성적 스포츠’ 발전

 

미국은 오랫동안 ‘개척’ 시대와 농경 사회의 전통을 유지하면서 육체노동에 남성성의 의미를 부여해왔다. 그러나 산업화와 더불어 이들이 도시의 생산 시설에 투입되면서 남성의 정체성은 위기에 직면했다. 기업의 위계적 조직구조는 남성성의 핵심인 개별성과 독립성도 위협하기 시작했다.

 

야구와 미식축구 같은 운동 경기는 잃어가는 남성성을 확인시키는 수단이었다. 남성성이 가장 위태로울 때 ‘남성적 스포츠’가 발전했다는 사실은 흥미롭다. 이것은 남성성이라는 것이 자연의 산물이 아니라 허구적인 사회적 구성물임을 보여주기 때문이다. 남성다움이 타고나는 것이라면, 잃을 것을 우려할 필요가 없다.

 

테오도어 루즈벨트 대통령은 19세기 후반 미식축구를 ‘청년들이 삶을 단련하는 기회’라고 치켜세우며 적극 권장했다. 미식축구가 ‘사회훈련’이라는 그의 평가는 정확했다. 이는 개인의 능력을 발휘할 기회를 주면서도 조직과 함께 움직이도록 가르쳤기 때문이다. 이렇게 미식축구는 독자적으로 행동해온 노동력들을 자본주의 사회 속으로 효과적으로 편입시켰다.

 

  

올해 슈퍼볼 경기가 열렸던 피닉스대학 스타디움. 슈퍼볼에서 ‘볼’이라는 말은 풋볼 경기장이 ‘사발(bowl)’처럼 생긴 데서 유래했다.

ⓒ Wikimedia Commons

슈퍼볼

로저 로슨블랫(Roger Rosenblat)은 <미국 사회와 가치>라는 책에서 “미국의 스포츠에는 미국 사회가 고스란히 녹아있다”고 말한다. 더 나아가 “미국의 스포츠가 곧 미국 사회”라는 것이 그의 주장이다.

 

미국 사회가 철저히 시장 중심의 상업문화를 중심으로 발전해왔다는 점에서 그의 주장은 타당하다. 미국은 대규모로 조직화된 스포츠를 가지고 있지만, 체육부와 같은 정부 기관은 존재하지 않는다.

 

미국의 스포츠를 관장하는 것은 돈줄을 따라 움직이는 시장 논리다. 이렇게 상업화한 미국 스포츠는 절묘하게 지역적 소속감과 결합한다. 미국인들은 자신이 속한 지역의 운동팀 티셔츠와 모자를 열심히 사주며, 경기가 있는 날이면 경기장에 가거나 텔레비전 앞에 둘러앉아 광고주들의 물건을 먹고 마신다.  

보고 먹고 사고… 닭 날개 4억5천만 개, 30초 광고비 25억 원

앞의 슈퍼볼 보도에서 알 수 있듯, 미식축구는 언제나 미국 언론의 중요한 이야깃거리다. 멋지게 공을 받거나 방어진을 뚫고 질주하는 선수의 모습은 이미 19세기부터 미국 언론에 등장했다. 과거에 미식축구는 소수의 대학생들이 교정에서 몸을 던져 참여하던 스포츠였으나, 미디어의 힘을 업고 대규모의 ‘보는 스포츠’로 탈바꿈했다. 이 사실을 가장 극적으로 보여주는 것이 슈퍼볼이다.

 

미국 역사상 가장 높은 시청률을 기록한 텔레비전 방송 15개 가운데 절반 이상이 슈퍼볼 중계였다. 매년 초가 되면 미국 전역은 축제 분위기가 된다. 2월 첫째 주에 열리는 슈퍼볼 경기를 보기 위해 매년 수백만명의 미국인들이 대형 텔레비전을 사고, 다리를 뻗고 편하게 눕는 ‘레이지보이(La-Z-Boy)’라는 대형의자를 들여놓는다.

 

먹어 치우는 음식량도 어마어마하다. 이날에는 미국에서 추수감사절을 제외하고는 가장 많은 음식이 미국인의 입 속으로 들어간다. 가장 인기있는 음식은 피자지만, 최근 들어 닭 날개 ‘윙’의 소비도 급격히 늘었다. 올 슈퍼볼이 있던 한 주 동안 미국인이 해치운 닭날개는 무려 4억5000만개다. 감자 칩과 맥주· 청량음료 소비 역시 막대하다.    

  

슈퍼볼은 사실상 미국의 비공식적인 명절로 자리 잡았다. 이날을 위해 많은 사람들이 텔레비전과 가구를 구입하며, 일 년 가운데 두 번째로 음식을 많이 먹는 날이기도 하다.

ⓒ 강인규

슈퍼볼

슈퍼볼 시청자들의 수도 매년 늘어, 올해 1억에 가까운 사람이 텔레비전으로 경기를 지켜보았다. 눈길이 많이 쏠리는 만큼, 물건을 팔기 위한 광고주들의 노력도 치열하다. 시청자가 늘면서 광고 단가도 계속 오르고 있다. 올해의 경우 30초 광고 비용이 평균 25억 원을 넘어섰다.

 

광고비가 비싼 만큼, 기업들은 이 행사를 위한 텔레비전 광고를 별도로 제작한다. 사람들의 이목을 끌기 위한 기발한 광고가 많아, 그런 광고를 보기 위해서라도 텔레비전을 켜놓을 가치가 있다. 대기업의 광고가 주종을 이루지만, 한 해 투자할 광고비를 30초에 쏟아 붓는 모험을 하는 소규모 업체들도 없지 않다.

 

나이아가라에서 39분간 떨어지는 물을 한 번에 ‘쏴~’… 역시 ‘슈퍼’볼

 

기업들이 슈퍼볼 광고에 투자하는 돈과 열정이 효과가 있는지에 대해서는 의견이 분분하다. 광고는 흔히 경기의 절반이 끝난 하프타임(halftime)에 집중적으로 쏟아진다. 보통 프로 미식축구 경기의 중간 휴식 시간은 15분이지만, 슈퍼볼은 그 두 배인 30분이다. 광고를 조금이라도 더 넣기 위해서다.

 

그러나 이 시간에 많은 사람들은 화장실에 앉아있기 일쑤다. 투입되는 음식량이 많은 만큼 ‘산출량’도 만만치 않은 탓이다.

 

1억에 가까운 시청자가 동시에 변기에 물을 내리는 상황을 생각해 보자. 이 때 하수구로 쏟아지는 물의 양은 가공할 만하다. 에이에프피(AFP) 보도에 따르면, 이 때 흘러나오는 물은 나이아가라 폭포에서 39분간 떨어지는 양이라고 한다. 이 때문에 낡은 하수시설을 갖춘 지역에서는 쉬는 시간을 피해서 화장실에 갈 것을 권하기도 한다.

 

‘변기 괴담’ 말고도 슈퍼볼의 별명은 많다. ‘피의 일요일(Bloody Sunday)’이 그중 하나다. 경기로 흥분한 사람들이 주먹다짐을 하는 횟수가 늘어난다는 것이다.

 

하수도 재앙이나 ‘선혈주말론’이 실제적 근거가 없다고 믿는 사람들도 많다. 그러나 괴담이 사실이라도, 슈퍼볼의 ‘경제 효과’에는 도움이 될 것이다. 변기 펌프와 반창고의 매출은 증가할 것이므로. 누가 피를 흘리든 간에, 미식축구에서 폭력은 필연적 요소다.

  

슈퍼볼은 그 막대한 규모로 인해 여러 신화를 낳았다. 쉬는 시간에 전국의 시청자들이 동시에 하수도로 내려 보내는 물은 나이아가라 폭포에서 39분 동안 쏟아지는 물의 양과 맞먹는다고 한다.

ⓒ 강인규

슈퍼볼

미식축구 통해 폭력의 신화 재연하는 미국인

미식축구 역사가인 마이클 블리아드(Michael Bliard)는 미식축구의 인기 비결을 ‘필연적 과격(necessary roughness)’에서 찾는다. 다른 스포츠에서 과격함이나 폭력은 경기를 저해하는 요소가 되기 쉽지만, 미식축구에서는 빼놓을 수 없는 필수적 요소이기 때문이다. 미국 언론은 과격한 경기일수록 ‘멋진 게임’이었다고 칭찬하며 환호한다.

  

미식축구의 사회문화적 의미를 분석하는 종교학자 조지 프라이스의 저서 <시즌에서 시즌으로>. 그에 따르면 미식축구에 내재된 폭력성과 긴장은 ‘개척’ 시대에 벌어진 폭력적 침략과 정복의 재현이다.

ⓒ Mercer University Pres

서부개척

미식축구의 종교적 함의를 추적해 온 조지프 프라이스(Joseph Price)는 미식축구의 폭력성을 ‘개척’ 시대의 침략 행위와 연관 지어 분석한다.

“이 경기의 목적은 영토의 점령이다. 팀은 외지인의 땅을 침공한 후 그 곳을 끝까지 가로지르는 것으로 점령을 완수한다. …(중략)…미국인은 이 경기를 통해 창조의 신화를 극적으로 표현할 뿐 아니라 미국 자신의 신화, 즉 영토의 폭력적 침공과 점유의 과정을 재연한다.” (조지프 프라이스, <시즌에서 시즌으로> 139쪽)

“미식축구가 있다는 건 참 다행스런 일이야.” 오래전 친구에게서 들었던 우스갯소리는 이렇게 시작한다.

“왜?”

“저런 ‘떡대’들이 경기장 대신 거리를 어슬렁거리고 다닌다고 생각해 봐.”

맞다. 경기의 기원이야 어쨌든, 이왕 폭력이 쓰일 바에야 거리나 전쟁터보다는 운동장이 낫다.

New tech, new ties: How mobile communication is reshaping social cohesion

In Book, New Media on February 27, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Ling, R. (2008). New tech, new ties: How mobile communication is reshaping social cohesion. The MIT Press.


Preface
Acknowledgements
 
1. Mobile Communication and Ritual Interaction: The Plumber’s Entrance
2. ICT and Tension between Social and Individual Impulses
3. Durkheim on Ritual Interaction and Social Cohesion
4. Goffman on Ritual Interaction in Everyday Life
5. Collins and Ritual Interaction Chains
6. Ritual as Catalytic Event
7. Co-Present Interaction and Mobile Communication
8. Mobile Telephoney and Mediated Ritual Interaction
9. Bounded Solidarity: Mobile Communication and Cohesion in the Familiar Sphere
10. The Recalibration of Social Cohesion
 
Notes
Bibliograhy
Index
 
Review
“I turn to Rich Ling first when I want to get beyond hype and conjecture regarding the social uses and impacts of mobile media. His new book is a milestone. Anyone who wants to know how our use of mobile phones is changing our social lives should read this book.”
–Howard Rheingold, author of Tools for Thought, The Virtual Community, and Smart Mob

“This book connects classical sociological theorists such as Durkheim and Weber to the contemporary phenomena of mobile communication. While mobile messaging is mostly banal and apparently uninteresting, it reveals a need previously provided by ritual, to enrich everyday life by connecting its practices to notions of the sacred or the nouminous. Under the regimes of modernity, ritual has been debased and the sacred consigned to the sphere of spirituality. But the practices of everyday life still have to provide meaning and purpose for most people and the mobile phone is its unpretentious purveyor. Rich ling brings us back to the classical theorists by reminding us of the importance of finding significance in the ordinary.”
–Raul Pertierra, author of Txt-ing Selves: Cell phones and Philippine Modernity

Book Description
The message of this book is simple: the mobile phone strengthens social bonds among family and friends. With a traditional land-line telephone, we place calls to a location and ask hopefully if someone is “there”; with a mobile phone, we have instant and perpetual access to friends and family regardless of where they are. But when we are engaged in these intimate conversations with absent friends, what happens to our relationship with the people who are actually in the same room with us?

In New Tech, New Ties, Rich Ling examines how the mobile telephone affects both kinds of interactions–those mediated by mobile communication and those that are face to face. Ling finds that through the use of various social rituals the mobile telephone strengthens social ties within the circle of friends and family–sometimes at the expense of interaction with those who are physically present–and creates what he calls “bounded solidarity.”

Ling argues that mobile communication helps to engender and develop social cohesion within the family and the peer group. Drawing on the work of Emile Durkheim, Erving Goffman, and Randall Collins, Ling shows that ritual interaction is a catalyst for the development of social bonding. From this perspective, he examines how mobile communication affects face-to-face ritual situations and how ritual is used in interaction mediated by mobile communication. He looks at the evidence, including interviews and observations from around the world, that documents the effect of mobile communication on social bonding and also examines some of the other possibly problematic issues raised by tighter social cohesion in small groups.

About the Author
Rich Ling is Senior Researcher at the Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor and Adjunct Research Scientist at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone’s Impact on Society.

Source: http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/ci/cmcs/publications/books/2008/new%20tech.html

Biases on Identity Politics

In Politics, Psychology on February 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Black man vs. white woman
Hillary Clinton contends with gender stereotypes, and Barack Obama with racial ones. Which bias runs deeper in the American psyche? The answer does not bode well for Clinton.

THE BOSTON GLOBE
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Since Sen. Barack Obama emerged as a serious challenger to Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, the primaries have become, in part, a referendum on whether Americans are more prepared for a woman or a black man in the White House.

The voting has been parsed for signs that the candidates are drawing supporters beyond their particular “minority” demographic. Over the past month and a half, feminist pioneers Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan have both published essays arguing that Clinton would have long since sewn up the nomination if not for the stubbornness of our national sexism.

And when Clinton’s primary victory in New Hampshire last month caught everyone by surprise, some analysts suggested that the polls had been so wrong beforehand in part because voters in the overwhelmingly white state had been reluctant to share their true, race-based reservations about Obama.

The discussion so far has been rather short on data. There have been surveys asking whether Americans would vote for a black or female candidate for president — according to a December 2007 Gallup poll, 93 percent and 86 percent, respectively, say they would. Those answers should be interpreted with some skepticism, however, because people are often unaware of their biases and don’t tend to reveal them honestly in surveys.

But turn away from the campaign trail, and toward the laboratories where psychologists work, and a fascinating portrait of the primaries emerges. For decades, researchers have been studying bias — how it arises, how it changes, how it fades away. Their work suggests that bias plays a more powerful role in shaping opinions than most people are aware of. And they suggest that the American mind treats race and gender quite differently. Race can evoke more visceral, negative associations, the studies show, but attitudes toward women are more inflexible and — to judge by the current dynamics of the presidential race — ultimately more limiting.

“Gender stereotypes trump race stereotypes in every social science test,” says Alice Eagly, a psychology professor at Northwestern University.

It would be a gross oversimplification to reduce the Democratic race to the white woman versus the black man. Factors such as Obama’s eloquence and inexperience and Clinton’s policy mastery and her association with the ambivalent legacy of her husband have played a larger role in how the race has been talked about. And indeed, this presidential contest can be seen as the country’s attempt to lurch beyond a blinkered, monolithic identity politics.

But in a campaign in which it’s hard to find many substantive policy differences between the leading Democratic contenders, it’s notable how well the psychological research on bias predicts the race we’ve seen so far. Obama’s ability to disarm the initial reservations of an increasing number of white voters as the campaign has progressed — especially over the past couple of weeks, in his string of 11 straight primary and caucus victories — fits with the findings of bias researchers that racial bias is strikingly mutable, and can be mitigated and even erased by everything from clothing and speech cadence to setting and skin tone.

As Clinton has discovered, gender stereotypes are stickier. Women can be seen as ambitious and capable, or they can be seen as likable, a host of studies have shown, but it’s very hard for them to be seen as both — hence the intense scrutiny and much-debated impact of Clinton’s moment of emotional vulnerability in a New Hampshire diner last month.

As the race moves toward the possibly decisive March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio, Clinton and Obama will have to continue to negotiate the complex demands of campaigning for an office that has been held by an unbroken string of 43 white men. But while this presidential campaign has proven a stage on which these issues can dramatically play out, they also run deeply through the rest of our society. And if the ample literature on bias shows anything, it is that, for all the difficulties Americans have with race, it may prove that attitudes about women are the hardest to change.

Prejudice influenced by context

When psychologists talk about bias, they use three technical categories: stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Stereotyping is cognitive bias, the tendency to ascribe to people a set of traits based on the group they belong to (e.g., “black people are good at sports,” “Jews are cheap”). Prejudice is an emotional bias, disliking someone because of their group identity. And discrimination is how we act on the first two.

Sexual prejudice isn’t terribly common — male chauvinists don’t dislike women, they just have particular ideas about their capabilities and how they should behave — but with race, stereotypes tend to go hand-in-hand with prejudice.

Many studies have shown the prevalence of negative associations among white Americans toward blacks. Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard and Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington have done influential work showing that most whites, whatever their professed racial attitudes, are quicker to associate positive words with images of whites and quicker to associate negative words with blacks. The test they developed, the Implicit Association Test, or IAT, has become one of the most common tools for measuring bias.

Joshua Correll, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, measures bias in a more dynamic way, looking at associations with danger. In one set of studies he had mostly white participants play a video game in which they had to make split-second “shoot/no-shoot” decisions based on whether the figure on the screen was holding a gun. Most subjects, he found, were more trigger-happy when presented with an image of a black man.

But follow-up studies have also shown that these biases can be sharply reduced, and in some cases even erased. When participants, for example, are shown images of well-liked black public figures before taking the IAT, their anti-black biases disappear.

“We’re finding that racial stereotyping and prejudice are extremely contextual,” says Correll. “You can see real reductions in prejudice, and sometimes it actually reverses,” crossing over into a sort of stereotypic affinity.

And this, Correll argues, works to the advantage of someone like Obama. “You look at Obama, and he represents himself incredibly well,” Correll says. “There are a whole lot of contextual cues that tell us this is someone you don’t need to worry about.”

Some of the most dramatic work in racial bias mitigation was published in 2001 by John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, evolutionary psychologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and their then-student Robert Kurzban. In their study, they presented participants with a series of images of people, each with a sentence that the person in the image had supposedly said. Later on, the test subject would be asked to recall who had said what.

What they were after were wrong answers. The ways in which test subjects misattributed quotes betrayed the categories by which they grouped people. Subjects, for example, were far more apt to misattribute something one black man had said to another black man, rather than to a white man or to a woman.

Surprisingly, though, the researchers found that they were able to get people to stop paying attention to race by showing images of people wearing one of two colors of T-shirts, paired with quotes that gave the impression that the T-shirts correlated with membership on different “teams.” In response, test-takers started grouping people on the basis of the T-shirt color rather than their skin color, confusing T-shirt “team members” of different ethnicities with each other.

The researchers didn’t see a similar effect for gender. According to Tooby, “People can cease to notice ethnicity as a factor in how they conceptualize somebody in a way that they don’t seem to be able to with gender.”

Gender stereotypes more stubborn

There is work suggesting that implicit gender stereotypes can also display a degree of mutability, at least among women. Still, psychologists specializing in gender bias say that many studies have shown how strong a force gender stereotyping is.

In one particularly telling strain of research, two sets of participants are asked to comment on something, perhaps a résumé or a speech. To one audience, the person involved is described as a woman, to the other as a man. Time and again, male participants (and, in some cases, women as well) judge the résumé more harshly if it is a woman’s, or say the speech was strident if given by a woman but assertive if given by a man.

Women in these studies are typically judged to be less capable than men with identical qualifications, but it’s not impossible for them to be seen as competent. The problem is that if they’re understood to be capable, the majority of respondents also see them as less likable.

“The deal is that women generally fall into two alternatives: they are either seen as nice but stupid or smart but mean,” says Susan Fiske, a psychology professor at Princeton.

Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at Northwestern, suggests that the durability of gender stereotypes stems in part from the fact that most people have far more exposure to people of the opposite gender than to people of different races. As a result, they feel more entitled to their attitudes about gender.

“Contact hasn’t undermined these stereotypes, and it might even strengthen them,” she says. “Many people don’t believe seeing women as kind or soft is a stereotype. They’re not even going to question it, because they think it’s a good thing.”

Tooby takes a more biological view. As he argues, in the prehistoric environment in which our brains evolved, race had no meaning — no one could travel far enough to meet anyone who didn’t look like them. Gender, on the other hand, meant a lot. It predicted what someone’s status would be, what their priorities were, whether they were a potential rival or partner.

Indeed, the only other trait that we notice as strongly as gender, Tooby points out, is age. Clinton is 60 years old, Obama 46. And no matter who wins the Democratic nomination, the face-off against the 71-year-old John McCain might introduce a whole new aspect to the identity politics of the campaign.

Source: http://www.statesman.com/search/content/editorial/stories/insight/02/24/0224bias.html

Morality: 2012

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Morality: 2012

May 7, 2007

The social and cultural psychologist Jonathan Haidt talks with Henry Finder about the five foundations of morality, and why liberals often fail to get their message across. From “2012: Stories from the Near Future,” the 2007 New Yorker Conference.

Source: http://www.newyorker.com/online/video/conference/2007/haidt

How to Teach Research Ethics

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Both of us, independently, have been “victims” of research misconduct – plagiarism as well as fabricated data. One day, while venting about these experiences, we agreed to co-teach a very practical graduate course on research ethics: “Research Ethics for the Life Sciences.” The hope was that we could ward off future problems for us, our profession, and, ultimately, society. Ethical misconduct is a big crisis in science. No longer are misdeeds buried in journals; they often make for international headlines.

Our dean and department heads were enthusiastic. They must have realized that while we were reminding them of a problem, we were also willing to step up and accept the challenge of making a difference.

Neither of us are ethicists, though that didn’t seem to matter. At first blush, bioethics, a field unto itself, might be included in a research ethics course for graduate students. But, we had more than enough ground to cover in our one-hour, one-day-a-week, 8:00 am course without including bioethics content. First and foremost, we wanted our students to learn and discuss the best practices in our fields of research. Twelve students enrolled in our experiment, a pragmatic and experiential course that primarily consisted of case study discussions.

We decided to focus on the areas where graduate students, technical staff, postdocs, and even established scientists run into trouble: plagiarism, authorship, grantsmanship, peer review, research misconduct, image fraud, whistle-blowing, conflicts of interest, patenting, and as a special topic, women in science. (See our syllabus under “teaching” at http://plantsciences.utk.edu/stewart.htm.)

The first homework assignment was to find plagiarism. They did. They found gratuitous cases, and some not so black and white. Here we parsed through what is acceptable and not acceptable from a scientific standpoint. More importantly, we discussed, rather than lectured, about best practices and what happens when shortcuts are taken. So it went for the entire semester.

For those of you who’d like to teach your own courses, here’s a bit of what we learned:

Team up with another faculty member. As coinstructors we often had disparate opinions; sometimes we agreed, and sometimes we debated. The students appreciated hearing the range of opinions from us and from their peers.
Case studies are a powerful tool. They personalized real events and problems. They helped us all empathize with wrongdoers and victims, roles we’ve found ourselves in from time to time.
Teach best practices in your discipline, and not just general issues of right and wrong. Keep it practical.
Have fun. Sometimes we felt like some of the examples could be condemning – with us being the condemned. Did I plagiarize when I recycled text from my own writing? These instances don’t sound like much fun, but the students observed that we all make mistakes and we’re all human. Don’t be afraid to laugh.
Keep class size small, with a limit of 20 students. In larger classes, shy students might not feel comfortable with sharing.
Don’t focus on morality. Focus on ethics. One of our students thanked us for that specifically.

We look forward to teaching this class again. Feel free to “plagiarize” our syllabus. Teaching this course should count toward teaching (obviously), research (making it more efficient and productive by keeping open lines of communication/expectations of staff and students), and service (to your colleagues and profession). We bet it will be the best course you’ve ever taught.

C. Neal Stewart, Jr., is professor and Ivan Racheff Chair of Excellence in Plant Molecular Genetics at the University of Tennessee, where J. Lannett Edwards is associate professor and graduate director in the Department of Animal Science.

Source: http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54226/

Can blogging about your research-in-progress help feed the ideas pipeline?

In Journalism, New Media, Science on February 20, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Crowdsourcing for science? Posted by Alison McCook
[Entry posted at 20th February 2008 01:42 PM GMT]
Comment on this blog

Last night, I and other attendees of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships 25th Anniversary Symposium in Boston were introduced to an interesting idea, courtesy of Clive Thompson, science writer extraordinaire for Wired and other outlets: Write blogs to get ideas.

Source: http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54344/
It’s a basic concept. Thompson — a surprisingly dapper (for a writer), well-coiffed, quick-talking presenter — explained that he constantly feeds his blog, collisiondetection.net, because blogging is “highly promiscuous” — meaning, you blog and link to another blog, then that person links to you in a future post, and so on. You find out who’s linked to you (technorati.com ), check them out, and see other blogs by like-minded people, who might think about something you’d never considered before.

Journalism is a bit like science: If someone works on your same idea and publishes first, your work is practically for naught. However, Thompson convinced his editors at Wired to let him post online some information about a column he was working on, asking for reader comments. He received nearly 15,000 words from readers and 65 emails — suggesting examples that illustrate his idea, or something else to think about.

Which made me think: Should scientists be doing more of this? As in, you’ve got a question you’d like to research, but you’re not sure how best to conduct your experiment. Why not ask the scientific community? We’ve written about moves in this direction, such as Nature Precedings. Would scientists participate without poaching?

We’ve also done some of our own experiments about crowdsourcing — notably, a feature last September that asked readers how they thought tenure should change, which received over 100 comments.

Thompson had all sorts of interesting ideas about how to get — well, ideas. For instance, in front of the audience, he logged onto his profile on twitter.com, which operates under a practically inexplicable premise, and asked: “Does anyone have a question they want to ask a room full of science journalists?” Twenty minutes or so later, he checked back and found six or so questions, including our opinion of the new movie “Jumper.” One question, however, came from “Hermida” — Alfred Hermida, an assistant professor at the graduate school of journalism at the University of British Columbia, who was in the audience and scheduled to speak today (February 20). His question: “Why aren’t they on Twitter?”

By the end of Thompson’s one-hour presentation, Hermida had posted a blog about the talk on reportr.net.

CNN Producer Says He Was Fired for Blogging

In Journalism, New Media on February 17, 2008 at 1:50 am

It’s an interesting topic to look at how journalists use/perceive blogs with a goal to compare US and KOREA.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/cnn-producer-says-he-was-fired-for-blogging/index.html

Moving Beyond Gore’s Message: A Look Back (and Ahead) at Climate Change Communications

In Journalism, Science, Uncategorized on February 17, 2008 at 1:27 am

Matthew C. Nisbet January 9, 2008 — Washington, D.C.

http://csicop.org/scienceandmedia/beyond-gores-message/

Understanding citizen perceptions of science controversy: bridging the ethnographic—survey research divide

In Journalism, Politics, Science, Uncategorized on February 15, 2008 at 2:57 am

Matthew C. Nisbet School of Communication, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016, USA, nisbetmc@gmail.com

Robert K. Goidel Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University
Using the contemporary debate in the United States over embryonic stem cell research as a test case, we outline a theoretical framework that points to the central impact of value predispositions, schema, political knowledge, and forms of mass media use in shaping public perceptions of science. In the process, by proposing an alternative approach to the dominant science literacy model, we address the existing divide between survey-based and ethnographic studies. Analyzing nationally representative survey data collected in the US in the fall of 2003, our findings suggest that value predispositions related to Christian conservatism and social ideology, along with schema related to abortion and reservations about science, serve as primary influences on citizen evaluations of embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning, while our measure of issue-specific political knowledge had no statistically significant impact. In addition, after all controls, attention to newspaper coverage along with various forms of genre-specific entertainment television use have unique influences on citizen evaluations, suggesting that the mass media provide an important part of the social context by which citizens judge controversial science. Other survey results since our data collection in 2003 lend support to our findings. Religious and ideological values appear to filter the influence of information disseminated by scientific institutions. We conclude by discussing future research that connects findings from ethnographic studies with survey-based approaches.

Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 16, No. 4, 421-440 (2007)

Measuring Deliberation’s Content: A Coding

In Article, Politics on February 14, 2008 at 3:42 pm

By Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Abstract

This paper details a content analysis scheme to measure the quality of political deliberationp in face-to-face and online groups. Much of deliberation research studies the outcomes of deliberation, but there has been a lack of analysis of what groups actually do when tasked with deliberating.

The coding scheme was developed out of the theoretical literature on deliberation and further enhanced by the empirical literature on small groups, deliberation, online political talk, and conversation analysis. Strict standards for creating coding schemes were followed to ensure a valid and reliable coding process. Results of the coding of deliberations on the topic of public schools suggest that participants produced a fairly high level of reasoned opinion expression, but not necessarily on the topic which they were asked to deliberate. It is hoped that the code scheme can be utilized by practitioners and researchers of political and social deliberations.

KEYWORDS: Deliberation, Content Analysis, Deliberative Theoryhttp://services.bepress.com/jpd/vol3/iss1/art12/.