News and Features

Awesome social science on the web: #TDOPicks of the Week

Editor’s Note: On Fridays (formerly Sundays) we bring you #TDOPicks – our picks for the best social science features we’ve found on the Internet this week. We feature a variety of content aimed at both the layman and the social science professional. Tell us what you’re reading or watching by tweeting @theDailyOpium with #TDOPicks or posting links on our Facebook page.

We also apologize if new content has been scarce the past few days. We’re currently working on a new schedule to facilitate our delivery of your daily fix. Stay tuned!

“The Shy Grammar of Tagalized English,” Leloy Claudio, GMA News

Historian and Ateneo de Manila professor Leloy Claudio speculates on the reasons for the pervasiveness of the subjunctive mood (ex. “would” or “could”) among Filipino English speakers.

“Like many of our linguistic tics (I once wrote about our obsessions with titles), I suspect the one in question has antecedents in our colonial history. I’ve been trying to pick up Spanish recently, and I’ve discovered that the subjunctive mood is more common in that language than in English (consider ‘Me gustaria…’ or ‘I would like to…’).”

“Writing Ethnographies that Everyone can Read,” Kristen Goodsee, Anthropology News

An anthropologist makes the case for returning to the now-disused but more accessible literary style of writing ethnographies (a type of immersive social science research):

“Like lawyers writing business contracts so convoluted that only other lawyers can decipher them, it sometimes seems that scholars have intentionally developed “academese” in order to insulate their work from the scrutiny of those outside the discipline.”

“Tropes versus Women: Damsel in Distress (Part 2),” Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency

Feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian continues to unpack misogyny in video games in the second installment of her outstanding YouTube series. In this video, she expands on the use of the “damsel in distress” trope:

“Their good life,” Jules Robins, Aeon Magazine

This article talks about the increasingly widespread practice of state-funded psychotherapy – particularly, . Is there perhaps a limit to state-sponsored happiness?

“The stakes are high: for the workers of [Improving Access to Psychological Therapies] [(IAPT)], this is a bold new experiment in bringing free therapy — and potentially a happier life — to millions of people who might otherwise never have got help. But some private therapists worry that the new service has been overhyped, and might give talking therapies a bad reputation with individuals and governments. Others say that the intimate, one-on-one relationship of psychotherapy is unsuited to the cold bureaucracy and number-crunching of a state-based system such as Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). And why does IAPT mainly offer CBT [cognitive-based therapy], while ignoring other therapeutic approaches?”

“Perhaps Culture is Now the Counterculture: A Defense of the Humanities,” Leon Wieselter, The New Republic.

Editor of The New Republic Leon Wieselter speaks at the commencement ceremonies at Brandeis University, making an impassioned case for the continued relevance of the humanities (which include the social sciences, of course):

“Do not believe the rumors of the obsolescence of your path … You are the representatives, the saving remnants, of that encounter and that experience, and of the serious study of that encounter and that experience – which is to say, you are the counterculture. Perhaps culture is now the counterculture.”