Job opportunities — The COVID generation: Identifying risks and protective factors for young people’s pathways through the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland

For the project “The COVID generation: Identifying risks and protective factors for young people’s pathways through the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland”, the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS) and the Institute of Sociology at University of Neuchâtel are recruiting:

– A post-doctoral researcher (80-100%) in Lausanne

– A scientific collaborator (50%) in Neuchâtel

Application deadline: 10th of December.

Intro to sociology as cartoon

Daniel Burnier and colleagues have just published a cartoon to introduce sociology as a discipline using a cartoon. The cartoon is available in French.

The cartoon is both a personal account of the main author, and a general introduction to the discipline. Contrary to PhD Comics, this book isn’t about academia, but much more a reflection about what sociology can contribute to the world — the usefulness of the discipline. This introspective focus on what the discipline can do for society more broadly may be something sociologists like doing, but the book doesn’t stop there.

We get an introduction to several (male) key thinkers and many sociological topics like gender roles, social movements, or poverty. I was happy to see the key thinkers banished to the appendix because I’m still struggling with any presentation of a discipline by individuals rather than their thoughts.

Given that the story is told by a male protagonist, I was glad to see an explicit section on female sociologists — but honestly it felt a bit like an afterthought. Perhaps the (personal) storyline made it difficult to do otherwise?

The kind of sociology presented is sociological theory and qualitative research. While this is certainly part of sociology, many of us use experimental and quantitative approaches — and do not struggle that much to see usefulness in what we do (perhaps the occasional reflexivity would do no harm in those quarters…).

Despite these comments, I did enjoy this cartoon and honestly, there’s potential for an English version…

Why We Habitually Engage in Null-Hypothesis Significance Testing…

You should head over to PLOS to read this paper by Jonah Stunt et al. It’s the first qualitative study I’ve come across at PLOS, but it’s definitely worth a read to better understand why we’re still surrounded by p-values.

One thing I missed in the paper is a hint that we don’t have to engage in frequentists null-hypothesis significance testing. I realize that the authors are interested in the sociology of science here, but we have plenty of statements in the article how difficult it’d be to learn about alternative methods. It doesn’t have to be: We do have packages like rstanarm or software like JASP that do not leave much room for such excuses.

Stunt, Jonah, Leonie van Grootel, Lex Bouter, David Trafimow, Trynke Hoekstra, and Michiel de Boer. 2021. “Why We Habitually Engage in Null-Hypothesis Significance Testing: A Qualitative Study.” PLOS ONE 16(10):e0258330. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258330.

Living Together or Side by Side? New Study out now!

Our new study examines how residents in Switzerland perceive migration-related social change in their municipality, their place of work, and in public. We left the ivory tower and listened. The result is a detailed and diverse picture: Migration is perceived as part of social change more widely, but it’s not migration as such that evokes threat. Perceptions of threat and fear are a side-effect of wider social change and economic growth, such as changes to the built environment because of new buildings, cars and transportation, and a perceived impoverishment of social life. It is clear that a majority seek communities with local opportunities to meet and exchange, but many also recognize that the world changes.

The report is available in French (, German (, or Italian (

Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic

Here’s a document that deserves more attention: doing fieldwork in a pandemic, a crowd-sourced document initiated by Deborah Lupton.

Isolation measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 means that social researchers who conduct face-to-face fieldwork (interviews, focus groups, participant observation, ethnographies etc) are now faced with the challenge of either delaying or re-inventing their methods so that they can continue their research until these measures are relaxed.

Doing fieldwork in a pandemic