How a liberal learned to respect conservative thinking and accept the fact that, yes, the right is happier than the left By Catherine Caldwell-Harris Photo by Jessica Scranton What It Means When You Dye Your Hair Purple Should a something information technology specialist, by all accounts a competent employee, be able to dye her long, wavy brown hair purple without getting grief from management? That question was at the heart of the conversation at a recent dinner for a group of intelligent and age-diverse women. Download the complete MP3
Causality - What are causes, mechanisms, and the like? We casually refer to causes and effects in normal interactions all the time. We all conduct our lives — choosing actions, making decisions, trying to influence others — based on theories about why and how things happen in the world.
From the early stages of childhood we attribute causes, building a vision of the social and physical world that makes it understandable. Every action, every choice about what to do, is based on our anticipation of its effects, our understandings of consequences.
Analytical and scientific reasoning has a similar form, but requires that we approach causation more systematically and self-consciously. Analytical Task The general analytical problem. In this and other societies, women and men commonly dress differently.
Prepare a causal analysis that seeks to explain why women and men dress differently. Our analytical task this week is to attempt a "simple" causal analysis of a gender difference that is obvious but not often questioned - the way we dress.
The purpose of this exercise is to get us thinking about causality. To the degree that we can, we want to try to think of different kinds of causes based on varied ways of framing the causal question.
Realistically, one could easily write a book about all the possible ways of interpreting this causal question and answering it. We are just trying to develop some sensible insights in a couple pages.
The starting point of most causal analyses is a comparison. When we start with the general question "what causes X? Examples of such questions might be "why do people in group A do X more than those in group B? If we are trying to explain some phenomenon, X, then we need to identify variations in the likelihood of X or the rate of X, and look for potential causes that 1 vary across the relevant circumstances in a way that could explain X and 2 that we can connect to the outcomes for X in some way.
For example, with the gender distinctive clothing question, some ways to better specify the question and look at it through comparisons are: What causes individual conformity to the cultural pattern?
What induces women and men to conform to the expectations for dressing differently?
Whenever we observe a consistent pattern of social behavior, some common conditions or processes must be inducing people to act in a similar way. Figuring out what encourages conformity and discourages deviance allows us to provide a causal explanation.
Think about what happens to people who do not conform to the expectations about male and female appropriate clothing. And, just as important, ask why it is that people punish nonconformists. Here the basic comparison is between people who conform and those who do not, or between the reactions of people to conformity and nonconformity.
What causes differences in dress "codes" across cultures?
What circumstances could exist across societies that consistently produce gender differences in modes of dress? The clothing characteristic of each sex varies greatly across societies and time.
Clothing differs between "primitive" cultures and modern ones, between warm and cold climates, and between different parts of the world. But seemingly everywhere men and women dress differently.
How can we explain this pattern? Here the primary comparison is between cultures that have different clothing. Why do the expectations about clothing differences vary by context?
Why are gender differences in dress greater in some circumstances than in others? For example, both women and men may wear similar coveralls in a factory, but women and men generally wear dramatically different clothing to formal dances.
Our efforts to find causes behind any phenomena are improved by looking at variations. If male and female clothing is just a little different in some contexts but greatly different in others, we can usefully focus on what might produce this variance in gender differences.
Here the primary comparison is between contexts with greater differences in the expected clothing and contexts with lesser differences. While considering how to explain the differences in the ways women and men dress, it can also be helpful to think through ways that this pattern could be considered an example of a larger pattern.
The explanation for the broader pattern may be different or easier to develop. The gender differences in apparel and appearance adjustment more generally could be considered as one example of apparel differences that find groups defined by age, ethnicity, or region dressing differently.Over the past 20 years or so India, China, and the rest of East Asia, experienced fast economic growth and falls in the poverty rate, Latin America stagnated, the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa regressed.
(and accept the fact that, yes, the right is happier than the left). I have long called myself a social conservative. I think it is very important to have standards for behaviour (etiquette) and defined roles. The problems with this system is not that it exists, but the lack of flexibility and the value placed on them.
Over the past 20 years or so India, China, and the rest of East Asia, experienced fast economic growth and falls in the poverty rate, Latin America stagnated, the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa regressed.
This guide stresses the systematic causal analysis of gender inequality. The analytical questions raised and the readings listed consider why and how gender inequality arises, varies across and within societies, persists over generations, produces conformity by individuals and institutions, resists change, and sometimes changes dramatically.
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The world is a better place than it used to be.
People are healthier, wealthier, and live longer. Yet the escapes from destitution by so many has left gaping inequalities between people and nations. In .