Tony Waters

Tony Waters
Leuphana University Lüneburg

PhD.

About

160
Publications
150,306
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Introduction
I am a Guest Professor at Leuphana University, Lueneburg, Germany. Formerly I was at Payap University, Chiangmai Thailand, and California State University, Chico. I have strong interests in research, writing, and teaching about migration, development studies, social theory, etc. Currently I am focusing on Thailand and Burma, though I will soon return to my long-term interest in the German sociologist Max Weber. California State University, Chico (1996-2021).
Additional affiliations
January 2016 - present
Payap University
Position
  • Faculty Member
September 2012 - July 2013
Leuphana University Lüneburg
Position
  • Professor
September 2007 - June 2008
Zeppelin University
Position
  • Professor
Education
September 1989 - June 1995
University of California, Davis
Field of study
  • Sociology

Publications

Publications (160)
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This is a review the role American CIA agents played in the development of American foreign policy after World war II.
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This is a book review of Samson Lim's book "Siam's New Detectives."
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M. R. Kukrit Pramoj wrote Farang Sakdina in 1957–1958 as both a theoretical critique of western development planners, and the Marxist critics of Thai society like Jit Phoumisak. Kukrit’s critique was that both used only European examples to prescribe development policies for Thailand. By this he meant that the Americans insisted on modernization th...
Article
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Why did the Myanmar peace process fail? An op-ed piece ciritiquing the western-led peace process which collapsed on February 1 2021.
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The cultural integration of international students in Thai Higher Education (Thai HE) is spurred by a government initiative known as Thailand 4.0, and has raised the educational bar. It is a lucrative move; increased university costs and access to home countries' courses ensure capable international students now seek affordable degree education in...
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Thai Higher Education (Thai HE) is changing, due to international reform. This paper presents data collected in a longitudinal study carried out in Thailand during 2017–2018 using the US version of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and qualitative interviews. We offer a case study about the cultures and engagement of three groups of...
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Op-ed about the Rohingya refugees stuck in Cox's Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Book
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I am one of the editors on this collection of essays regarding migration to, from, and within Myanmar. I was also co-author with Ashley South of the Introductory essay.
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We re-evaluate Burmese history from the perspective of Thai philosopher Prawase Wasi who asserts that the basis for society is not simply individuals but the "self-forming group. " He discusses the essential nature of a self-forming group which is embodied in the Thai Buddhist concept of taam, which are sacred virtues emerging from self-organizing...
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Op-ed about the problems of nation-building in Myanmar and Afghanistan.
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This is a book review of Peter Reid's book "Every Hill a Burial Place." The book is about a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania who was prosecuted for murdering his wife in the 1960s.
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Commentary on American foreign policy in Myanmar after the February 1, 2021 coup.
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This is a book review of a well-done ethnography of trans-national famliies in a northeastern Thailand in the early 2000s.
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This is a commentary on the role of history in the Myanmar/Burma peace negotiations.
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A nice story about a Shan teenager in the 1950s, how he became "Shan" during the bad times in Burma, and what this might mean for peace in Myanmar today.
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This is a provocative article about the sociology of law, and the evolution of laws against genocide. The thesis is that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's presentation at the Hague in defense of Myanmar played a positive role in making such law more broadly applicable.
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Book Review of Charmaine Craig's novel "Miss Burma."
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Batman's Butler philosophizes about British colonialism.....
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This column is about the effects that foreign aid in Myanmar has on the capacity of the Burmese people to "practice politics." It is an op-ed in The Irrawaddy.
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Rong Wongsawan (1932-2009) was a major Thai writer during the late 20th century. He wrote primarily about social life in his native Thailand, but one of his favorite subjects was California where he lived, wrote, and bartended in the 1960s. The story presented here is about his trip to California in 1976 to show his new wife Malee where he had spen...
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This paper explores empirically Edward T. Hall's assertion about the role of musical elements, including rhythm recognition and what are called "ear worms" in popular culture. To test Hall's assertion, data were collected from the United States, Germany, Tanzania, and Thailand in 2015-2017 using a 26 brief "song intros." Data were also collected fr...
Technical Report
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This report is about our research regarding the integration of international students at Payap University. We used standard survey instruments with Chinese, International and Thai students to evaluate international interactions between students, and reactions to the Thai system from International and Chinese students.
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This is a story about when I went to California's prisons with my colleagues, and was talked to lifers, including one of whom was in Administrative Segregation. He was a cheerful lad, whose favorite observation was that things "Could be Worse!" This is a fun essay about the nature of the human spirit even in the worst of places. It was published in...
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The article is about refugee repatriation policies of the UNHCR.
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This is about the thoughts of the social theorist Kukrit Pramoj regarding democracy in Thailand and England, as published in his book Farang Sakdina in 1957/1958. https://www.thesociologicalreview.com/searching-for-classical-social-theory-in-thailand/
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Yangon's INGOs are full of consultancy reports which offer "professional" opinions about conditions in Myanmar. NGOs, INGOS, and UN agencies investigate transitions regarding democracy, environment, federalism, ethnicity and, of course, gender. These are the subjects that donors are interested in-and thus willing to pay consultant companies tens of...
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Critique of INGO workers in Yangon. Published in Irrawaddy of Yangon.
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Book review of a biography of first President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
Book
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This is Chapter 2 in my book "Max Weber and the Problem of Modern Discipline." Please also read Chapter 1!
Book
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Chapter 4 from my book "Max Weber and the Problem of Modern Discipline."
Chapter
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CHapter 3 from my book "Max Weber and the Problem of Modern Discipline." This chapter uses modern Myanmar and Congo as examples of how discpline works (and does not work) to order modern society. Chapters 1 and 2 are also on my Academia.edu and Researchgate.net sites. Please ask your library to order a copy of the real thing!
Book
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This is chapter 5 of my book Max Weber and the Modern Problem of Discipline. It is the chapter wihere the sociological looks at the consequences of the psychological conditioning that our society shapes us with. Please urge your library to purchase the book!
Book
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This book is specifically about sociologist Max Weber's (1863-1920) ideas regarding discipline. Weber defines discipline as the intrinsic justification people use to submit to authority. Weber makes the case that modernity is equated with the internalization of discipline in which the people shape themselves to the authority of rationalized institu...
Conference Paper
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Thai Philosopher Prawase Wasi has proposed a model of society which includes a Base, Stupa, and "Taam." The Base is the "self-forming groups" that are the basic building blocks of society. This creates a "Taam" which are the values, etc., that hold the self-forming groups together. The relationship between the Base and Taam is held in place by soci...
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An opinion piece written for the Irrawaddy Times about the problems associated with refugee repatriation from Bangladesh to Myanmar.
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Book review of a very interesting and creative book. Published in Indonesia!
Conference Paper
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This research analyzes how the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) of 2015 in Myanmar was constructed and implemented. The conclusion focuses on the Challenges and Opportunities for permanent peacebuilding in the Republic Union of Myanmar.
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This is a book review of Rodney Stark's book "The Triumph of Faith"
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This is a book review about Shane Strate's book about how Thailand lost territory to the French and British in the late nineteeth and early twentieth century, and the narrative the emerged to "explain" what happened. The book does a particularly good job describing how Siam/Thailand dealt with its border with French Indochina, in particular.
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This paper summarizes the career of Thai writer 'Rong Wongsuwan. A translated portion of his book "Astride the Iron Dog" is included here in the form of a oral reading. The subjects dealt with include 'Rong's views of generational strife in America, poverty, the art of drinking whiskey, and Buddhist understandings of sin and merit in the context of...
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The Mla Bri of northern Thailand are a small group of hunter-gatherers who settled into settlements in the late twentieth century. One of the four places they settled was Ban Bunyuen. In 2013, a demographic survey of the settlement was undertaken. This was combined with mortality data from the last 15 years to describe the changing demgraphics, and...
Conference Paper
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‘Rong Wongsuwaan (young man!) is a major Thai writer from the second half of the twentieth century. His published work began in the 1950s with a photo-essay of the people living in Bangkok’s dump, and continued until his death in 2009. And through it all, he signed his name as “young man!” in the belief that he had stopped aging at age 28. As with...
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This is book review of the reports of the Special Rapporteur for Religious and Belief at the United Nations.
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Book Review of an interesting historical novel about Ho Chi Minh's stay in Thailand in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was in Thailand for about 1.5 year.
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A classic definition of social inequality comes from the sociologist Max Weber, who wrote that there are three fundamental types of inequality. The first is based in the marketplace and is “social class”. The second, and more important distinction, is based in estimations of honour that Weber called in German Stand, which traditionally is translate...
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Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are important distinctions made by classical sociologists including Max Weber and Ferdinand Toennies. Gemeinschaft refers to the most elemental type of society, founded on feelings of group identity. Gesellschaft societies are mediated by the impersonal rational marketplace. All societies have a mix of Gemeinschaft and...
Chapter
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Prisons are far from my life. My wife and I selected a place of immense natural beauty in Northern California to raise our family with many mountains, streams, and lakes that afford hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, and skiing; all healthy and active things to do with children. I saw my children in a place of beauty every day. Their small town sc...
Chapter
This book reflects a favorite teaching strategy Bill learned from reading Richard Elmore (2011). At the end of a course, Bill likes to ask students to respond to the following prompt, “I used to think … and now I think ….” This kind of reflection becomes even more interesting when students reframe their current understanding of problems and issues...
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AB 900 had a strange mix of goals—those from the prison system and from the educational establishment. Central though is the dream of “evidence-based research” that dominated discussions in public administration in the 2000s.
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The first decade of the twenty-first century was challenging for corrections in California as prisons were caught in a paradox of using overcrowded facilities designed to punish criminal misdeeds, while at the same time they were charged to rehabilitate inmates in a fashion that reduces future law-breaking. Vocational education courses offered in p...
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Gaes (2009) conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship between prison-based education programs and post-release outcomes. His analysis assesses if, how, and why adult-basic education, GED programs, and vocational training programs affect post-release recidivism and employment rates. Gaes’ analysis showed that inmates who participated in any type...
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Supervision of our research at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was assigned to a consultant from the Research Division, even though our project was under the Correctional Education Division. This, in effect, gave us two bosses at the CDCR, as well as a nominal third boss at UC Davis who handled the accounting betw...
Chapter
I am proud of my experience and abilities as an interviewer as I began this project. I have spent 9 years as a human resources (HR) director and Assistant Superintendent in a school district where my most important responsibility was developing processes for the selection and development of new teachers and support staff. To accomplish this goal, I...
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The passivity of the education administrators was at first striking, but I came to understand it as a normal response to a system where the concept of safety, as defined by custody officials, always holds sway. Custody was in charge and they held all information confidential. Lives could be at stake, they dramatically whispered.
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Based on this thorough evaluation of the 12 vocational education courses and 19 classes, several recommendations are offered. The recommendations come not only from the researchers’ observations but also from the interviewees who were asked to offer suggestions that would make vocational education more efficient and effective.
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The purpose of this evaluation was to determine whether the 12 vocational education courses in the study help to reduce recidivism among students. This occurs in the context of a recidivism rate that currently stands at 67.5 % over a 3-year period after release according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CDCR (2010). T...
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This book is about an evaluation rooted in evidence-based research that failed. Not only did the evaluation fail, but the findings it was supposed to highlight never materialized, and the program we evaluated disappeared in the flurry of budget cuts that occurred following the recession of 2008–2009. However, one of the highlights of the 3-year eva...
Chapter
We were brought to the prison by our guide, a former vocational education instructor who had been promoted to be a system-wide vice principal (VP) at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) headquarters in Sacramento. On the drive down, it became apparent that he despised inmates and saw them as always conniving, plotting...
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Chapter 10 is the “Results” section of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) report and contains extensive quotation from inmates, teachers, and CDCR administrators about vocational education in California prisons. The Results section is focused to responses to the CDCR’s 12 research questions. Of these questions, the m...
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One of the office services classes we observed was taught by an experienced instructor who combined excellent management skills and modeled the kind of professional relationship inmate students would find from a supervisor in a contemporary office setting. She had designed the classroom to take advantage of office technology as a key facet of curri...
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This essay begins in February 2009 and picks up again in November 2011. In both months, I met and talked with prisoners in California who had been sent to prison with a sentence of “Life Without Parole” or LWOP in the acronym-plagued prison culture of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). LWOP is the most severe penalt...
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At the first prison we visited for this study, we came upon a greenhouse. We were visiting the landscaping class to see what kinds of inmates were enrolled, how the teacher managed class, and what materials she had on hand. The teacher mentioned that a greenhouse was at the prison but could not be used yet because it was not assembled. I asked the...
Chapter
This evaluation of vocational education in California’s prisons necessarily required multiple methods to answer the research questions posed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the general limitations inherent to collecting data in a prison environment, and limitations posed by the type of data the CDCR could prov...
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We went into this evaluation with the hope of doing a good job and providing the evidence “decision makers” need in order to make sound evidence-based decisions about curricula and vocational education. This, in turn, would be focused by the “criminogenic” needs detailed in the Expert Panel’s (2007) report (see Chap. 6, p. XX). During the evaluatio...
Book
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We did a study about vocational education in California's prisons in 2008-2010. This book summarizes the results of the study, but more importantly is about our experiences doing "evidence based research" in the prisons of California. The stories told here are both personal and academic. The conclusions focus on the problems in inherent to doin res...
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This book explores California’s prison system in the context of vocational education reform. For prisons in the early twenty-first century, ideologies of evidence-based management meant that reform efforts to change the purpose of prisons from punishment to rehabilitation through vocational education required “evidence” to justify policy prescripti...
Book
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Chapter 2 explains the rationale for our book, which is about the Prison Vocational Education system we reviewed in Califonrnia Prisons. As the title says, we are concerned about the uses and misues of evidence based research.
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This article is a personal commentary about experiences teaching acrossnational and disciplinary borders in the United States, Tanzania and Germany. Highlighted arenational differences in learning, teaching, testing and writing. The article concludes that theferment in such“provincial”universities where the author taught is likely to drive develop-...
Book
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Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society rediscovers Max Weber for the twenty-first century. Tony and Dagmar Waters' translation of Weber's works highlights his contributions to the social sciences and politics, credited with highlighting concepts such as "iron cage," "bureaucracy," "bureaucratization," "rationalization," "charisma," and the role of...
Book
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This is our translation of Max Weber's classic essay "Charisma and Discipline." The final version is in our book Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society. Your library should buy the whole book! It is truly one of Weber's greater essays.
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Max Weber’s contributions to the social sciences remain at the heart of how we speak about ethics, status, ethnicity, class, bureaucracy, and politics. His definition of the state as being “the legitimated monopoly over the use of coercive force in a given territory” is a staple of journalists and social scientists alike. Weber is also credited wit...
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Every translation requires adjustments, and this is true here as well. German is a language ideally suited to philosophical discourse. Definitions are well known, precise, and understood—by German speakers. This is the case with English, too, but not to the same extent or with the same emphases, which is why we keep words such as Gemeinschaft and G...
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Max Weber’s academic writings about the nature of politics, government, bureaucracy, and social structure are, we believe, timeless. But his explicitly political writing directed toward aiding the German war effort of 1914–1918 is bombastic and at times whiny: it was directed at the emotions of his day and is not so timeless, which perhaps explains...
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The questions Weber asks are, “Why and under what circumstances will the people submit? And on which intrinsic internal legal justification, and what external means does domination rely?”
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This essay is about the roles honor, prestige, and Stand play in the organization of society. Weber wrote that prestige and the accompanying justification of Stand underpins how people organize themselves using the visible markers of rank. In the modern world, though, this can be understood only in the context of the social stratification of social...
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“Discipline and Charisma” underpins Weber’s understanding of the rationalization of modern life. As such, it sets the stage for his essay “Bureaucracy,” and also, more generally, “Politics as Vocation” and The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In “Discipline and Charisma,” Weber explicitly asks how it is that large groups of humans sim...
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“Bureaucracy” is the essay where Weber develops his ideas about rationalization to the greatest extent. In doing this, he builds on his earlier writings about social stratification and discipline. What he describes is a world that becomes mechanistic—both in the private or public sector. Weber’s point is that the purely technical advantages of the...
Book
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This is Chapter 7 of our book "Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society." It is a translation from German to English of Weber's classic essay "Politics as a Vocation." In my view, it is one of the most important essays about the nature of politics ever written. Included are Weber's defition of the state as a monopoloy over the use of coercive power i...
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This is a new translation of Max Weber's classic 1921 essay, "Bureaucracy."
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“Mirror neurons” describe complementary affective neural activity that occurs in the brains of two different primates because they are both doing or observing the same action. Empathy, sympathy, and other emotional responses involving “taking the role of the other” are inferred to be the consequence of these emotional capacities. Mirror neurons wer...
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A book review that is an ethnography of Ho Chi Minh City, and the rapid growth there.
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Since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, a huge number of the world's farms have come under the control of large landowners, many of them owned by corporations. These corporations make profits selling cash crops demanded by global markets in fruit, vegetables, grains, coffee, tea, fiber crops, and a host of other agricultural commoditie...
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The Mla Bri are a small group of nomadic hunter-gatherers (about 400) living in northern Thailand who since the 1990s have begun to settle in semi-permanent villages. Eugene and Mary Long are missionaries who have lived near the Mla Bri since 1982. Between 2005 and 2008, there were ve fatal suicides in this group, including four males and one femal...
Book
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The story of how American schools became massive bureaucracies. And while they will remain so. The sociology underlying it reflects on the fact that modern people are always dissatisfied with the schools, and the teachers in the schools. This frustration plays out in the "school battles" which are a normal feature of local and national politics eve...
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There are formal and informal curricula in schools. The formal curriculum is typically spelled out in the form of standards, goals, objectives, rules, laws, and other bureaucratic markers that Durkheim described as pedagogy. But the pedagogy also includes an implicit hidden curriculum as well. The hidden curriculum is focused on reproducing society...
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In conventional science, a theory is proposed, and a prediction made. If the experiment is successful, the previously irresolvable resolves itself, as it moves toward the predicted equilibrium. This is the basis for controlled experiments in a laboratory or other environment controlled by the scientist. Meaning that, based on particular observation...
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“Seeing Like a State” is a concept that was developed by James Scott who pointed out that … state simplifications, the basic givens of modern statecraft, were, I began to realize, rather like abridged maps. They did not successfully represent the actual activity of the society they depicted, nor were they intended to; they represented only that sli...
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Competition for status privilege in the broader society—what some call the “latent sorting function” of schooling, is perhaps the deepest purpose of the hidden curriculum. In the United States, this sorting system is ostensibly meritocratic and assumed to be rooted in valid and reliable measures of smartness, achievement, productivity, and other me...
Chapter
Like all other school systems, the United States’ is rooted in values emerging out of a history and the dominant ideology. Among them were the habits of individualism, utilitarianism, and egalitarianism described in chapter 2. These values make for a coherent ideology in the abstract, but in bureaucratizing them, the logical conflicts between being...
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There are three million teachers in the United States, 70–100 million parents, and more are grandparents, all interested in children in different ways. To begin with, each of the parents focuses their hopes and dreams on one or two, but not many more, of the 50 million children attending the K–12 schools. Each one of the teachers are focused on 20,...
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In this final chapter it is appropriate to return to the blueberry ice cream story by Jamie Vollmer. For in this story is encapsulated the limits to how schools are used to reform society in a country that values utilitarianism, equality, and individualism all at the same time. More so than other stories told here, the blueberry ice cream story tel...
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This book is about two things. First, it is about the fact that modern schools everywhere take dependent, impulsive, illiterate, and stubborn five-year-old children, and create predictable, compliant, literate, and docile adults. Every modern society routinely and efficiently does this in a process lasting about 12 years. Every modern society does...
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I have lived, worked, or studied in Germany, Tanzania, Thailand, and the United States. Each of these countries has a system of mass public education, which the government and people believe is the basis for the future that will come, just like Durkheim wrote. But in each there is also dissatisfaction with the existing system, and a frustration wit...

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