Cop Shows & Althusser's Law

d-m-c at d-m-c at
Wed Feb 3 18:59:37 PST 1999

>Charles: You are not reading my posts accurately. I'm saying that what I
am doing is statisitically good. I have a large sample of data on television shows. My objection is that Paul is making an unscientific objection, based on shows that might be exceptions to the generalization I am making, but some people seem to dispute Paul's facts. I don't have to watch every show. I have a big sample and other people's reports. I had not tried to speak about L&O directly, although now I have evidence on it from Paul and others, so of course I can speak about it.

Charles, since I have a deadline to meet and since I want to get Judy off the ground, this one is gonna be chalked up to coitus interruptus baby.


1. Every member of the population must have a chance to be in the sample. This is what RANDOM means. It doesn't mean to casually and randomly just sample people on the street.

2.The chance that each member of the population will be selected must be *known* Here we use probability theory to determine precisely the likelihood that a member of the population will be picked to be in the sample.

3. Members of the sample must be *indepedent* of one another; that is, choosing one member doesn't alter the probablity that another member will be picked for the sample. (in other words, you can't pick people on the street and then ask them to give you the name of their bestest bud cause usually people associate with people similar to themselves, who live in the same neighborhood , work at the same place, etc.

You can have the biggest N in the world garnered from your personal viewing and discussions with friends, family, and coworkers, but this isn't in any technical sense "statistically good" You have, in other words, a biased sample.

you can still make an argument about reliability and validity of your findings, but that your data is garnered from sound statistical procedures is not one of them.

CAVEAT: I'm not a big fan of statistical survey methods and believe that they're not useful to Marxist theory most of the time. They are good for tracking general trends and the like. But, statistical survey data deals in data about individuals, not groups. And Marxist theory, on my version, is fundamentally about groups--or in the lingo, classes. The one exception to that claim, is mathematical sociology which seeks to statistically model groups, rather than individuals.

So, your claims about your social location I recognize as an argument that is set forth to justify the objectivity of one's findings and arguments. I have misgivings about what you're saying, but that's for another thread at a later date. I'm such a tease, ya know Charles. Worth the wait though I think.

Smooches, Kelley

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