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Re: Bad Social Science & TF

Posted by Margaret Mead on June 21, 2005 at 09:12:33

In Reply to: Re: Bad Social Science & TF posted by Perry on June 20, 2005 at 20:59:32:

The issue of excluding former members from NRM studies would make an interesting paper. From a methodological standpoint, it certainly poses a threat to validity.

The Amish aren't exactly an NMR, but we wouldn't know what we do about the Amish custom of "shunning" if anthropologists who study this group decided to limit their sampling to the shunners and not the shunees. Yet NRM academics will routinely report information about boundary relations between current members and former members of NRMs without interviewing a complete sampling frame.

Grandpa's Ghost has got it right: Not only are these academics compromised by money, they are also compromised by having "gone native" through FFing.

Some, like Chancellor, are compromised by a desire to maintain their access to the top leadership. In a way, I can't completely fault him for this. If Chancellor was perceived as the least bit antagonistic or hostile, he would lose access to the top leadership. As long as that door remains open, he can hope to be a positive influence for change (I suspect). Chancellor's biggest failing as an academic, imo, is his penchant for drawing conclusions beyond the scope of his methodology, research findings and professional expertise.

Well, I should add that Chancellor is a bit sloppy about documenting his sources. He tells the story of EP's Phillippines caper, but doesn't tell the reader where he obtained his information. From current Family members who were there at the time? From the newspapers? From PI police interviews? From Grandpa's Ghost? If I were writing a critique of Chancellor's book, that is the type of thing I'd focus on.