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Oh, So Now, Everybody’s A Sociologist of Zombies (Or Is It Zombie Sociologist?)

October 23, 2009 by and tagged , ,

Denis Colombi read my previous post on the sociology of Zombies and decided to take a crack at it using French sociological approaches. So, of course, the obligatory Bourdieusian zombie sociology:

For those of you who are (incomprehensibly) French-illiterate, let me translate:

“Zombification is a class phenomenon characterized by a zombie habitus that generates classed and classing dispositions. These strongly contribute to social reproduction, insofar as the superior classes, using symbolic violence through the social institutions they control, are in a position to disqualify behaviors inherent to zombified classes. Recent research, though, shows that one can find zombies in the upper classes: these zombies are characterized by a cultivated approach to brain consumption and by a self-to-self distinction (one does not eat just any brain in just any situation). Therefore, the general class model is never questioned.”

Or, the equally unavoidable methodological individualistic approach:

[God it's as bad as I remember it from college.]

“One can only understand zombies through the restitution of the ‘good reasons’ they have to become zombies, making it therefore appear to be rational behavior. Therefore, the choice to become zombie or not is a function of a rational calculation based on expected return from this transformation. The aggregation of these behaviors translate into emergent effects, that is, the reduction of number of non-zombified humans, which, in turns. reduces the benefits of zombification. One can therefore call this zombification inflation, equivalent to that of educational credentials.”

Colombi is also a big fan of Granovetter, so here goes:

“What can we learn from Mark Granovetter’s sociology? Basically, that social sensitivity to zombification does not depend upon members’ proximity but upon the existence of weak ties through which zombie character becomes easily transmissible. These ties guarantee a level of trust which reduces individuals’ capacity to make the right decisions in the face of this problem. If we can speak of the strength of weak ties, it is essentially from the point of view of the zombies.”

And last but not least the Boltanski approach!

“Hence emerges a new city, the “brain city”, in which individual action is justified by the curse by which one feels burdened. It emerges especially in situations of conflict where a small group is forced to justify its existence in a large wooden house lost in an improbable country while villagers demand with insistence and sometimes physical violence that they explain their presence on their territory. We now need to move from zombie critical sociology to a true critical sociology of zombification.”

All of you who learned sociology outside of France, consider yourselves blessed! See what we had to suffer through??

I’m sure someone has already submitted a book proposal on this! Will there be a new ASA section with its own sessions at the annual meeting? Giving out funky T-shirts to recruit new members?

Posted in Humor, Social Theory, Sociology | 1 Comment »



One Response to “Oh, So Now, Everybody’s A Sociologist of Zombies (Or Is It Zombie Sociologist?)”

  1.   XavierM Says:

    It’s not focused on this topic, but french sociologist Nathalie Heinich’s last book “le bêtisier du sociologue” has some relevant developments :

    http://www.decitre.fr/livres/Le-betisier-du-sociologue.aspx/9782252037317

    See also a video of Nathalie Heinich explaining why she made that book :
    http://www.klincksieck.com/livre/?GCOI=22520100192430&fa=complements

    Reply

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