Psychology

Alcohol is not just in our stories — the stories that kiciwamanawak [Cree for white settler Canadians] first told about us that some of us continue to tell and believe. You see, alcohol is also in kiciwamanawak stories, the stories they tell about themselves. However, it is told much differently: they are never “the lazy, […]

{ 1 comment }

Recent developments (before the US election) have left me worried that there is a broken culture in Toronto environmentalism, and perhaps the environmental movement more generally. Erosion of democracy First — Toronto350.org and (while it existed) UofT350.org were founded on a model of open and participatory decision making, where all volunteers are members who have […]

{ 2 comments }

I have generally been skeptical of anti-capitalist environmentalism for two main reasons: the added difficulty involved in changing our economic system and the possibility that an alternative economic system might not be more sustainable. We have a tough enough fight on our hands, trying to create a sustainable world, even if we aren’t also trying […]

{ 2 comments }

For the upper echelons in society inequality often morphs into a feeling of entitlement, which can then translate into actions that further undermine social trust and common purpose. Over the past decade, groundbreaking research by behavioural psychologists illustrates how inequality shifts states of mind. In other words, there is a certain psychology to wealth and […]

{ 2 comments }

While the Occupy Wall Street movement stole headlines for the latter months of 2011, it ultimately fizzled given a lack of agreement among its members on a concrete agenda and its unwillingness to engage — even minimally — with existing political institutions. Twenty-first-century Americans — and the same might be said for citizens of other […]

{ 1 comment }

Dr. Jennifer Welsh’s lecture tonight about the challenges faced by liberal democracies — including the psychological, political, and social stresses arising from extreme wealth and income inequality — was highly interesting and I took detailed notes, both for a forthcoming response here on my blog and for incorporation into my PhD research project. I was […]

{ 0 comments }

[James] March and his colleagues, Michael Cohen and Johan Olsen, developed an extremely important perspective on organizational behaviour, with the infelicitous title of the “garbage can model,” which seeks to explain how complex organizations make decisions under conditions that differ radically from those that reign under rational models. According to the model, such “organized anarchies” […]

{ 0 comments }

Staying at Oxford after my degree and often revisiting it in the late 1950s, I occasionally glimpsed W.H. Auden around town… He invited me to visit, and I would sometimes go to his apartment on St. Mark’s Place for tea. This was a very good time to see him, because by four o’clock he had […]

{ 1 comment }

Conversing with my friend Nada about in-group dynamics, the psychological property of agreeableness, and group cohesion, she raised the matter of the difficult psychological disjoint between the change which activists desperately desire in the world and the practical realization that they generally aren’t achieving it. There have been moments of triumph for some social justice […]

{ 15 comments }

Life has suddenly become exceptionally lonely. August is always a trying time in a PhD program. The lack of any real income since spring is naturally biting, and I have always had trouble dealing with the heat. There’s a breakdown of social structure and support, with no classes to teach or take, and friends and […]

{ 1 comment }