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Fine on Sturgeon

Summary:
Sociologist Gary Alan Fine is probably best known for his ethnography of role-playing games.  But he’s also written the amusing “Ten Lies of Ethnography.”  Wittiest passage: Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon allegedly noted in response to claims that most science fiction is of poor quality that “90 percent of science fiction is crap, but then 90 percent of everything is crap.” Following Sturgeon’s “law,” 90% of all ethnography is crap. Although we should dispute the numbers and should be wary of transforming quality into a dichotomous variable of “crap/not crap,” the point remains.

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Sociologist Gary Alan Fine is probably best known for his ethnography of role-playing games.  But he’s also written the amusing “Ten Lies of Ethnography.”  Wittiest passage:

Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon allegedly noted in response to claims that most science fiction is of poor quality that “90 percent of science fiction is crap, but then 90 percent of everything is crap.” Following Sturgeon’s “law,” 90% of all ethnography is crap. Although we should dispute the numbers and should be wary of transforming quality into a dichotomous variable of “crap/not crap,” the point remains.

Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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