As soon as I get tenure, I promise to start writing a piece about the way that privilege and status hierarchies are are built and maintained to great effect in a discipline that ostensibly sees persistent inequality as a social problem. For now here are a few questions to consider when contemplating your position:
1. Was the presentation you gave invited or, way back in January did you have to submit a complete paper that competed for acceptance?
2.Do you attend the regular sessions where the people without invitations present their work or do you limit your participation to invited sessions, receptions and by invitation only events?
3. If you go to a section business meeting, do the organizers know you by name?
4. Do you volunteer to serve on selection and organizing committees, or are you asked to chair them?
5. Do editors of major syndicates take the time to chat with you about primordial book ideas or do you struggle to convince an editor to consider your completed manuscript?
6. Do you skip the employment service or use it as practice for informal look-see chats?
7. Can you email your favorite sociologist and feel confident they will write back?
8. That person you are citing, founder of a particular approach, did you have dinner with them yesterday, and are they hilarious after a few drinks?
9. Do you try to casually cover the institutional affiliation on your name tag?
10. Do unknown people know who you are or is it the other way around?
11. Do you know about the special events and parties that are not in the meeting program? Are you invited? Did you have to solicit the invitation?
I recognize this list of questions may sound like I see things as an in/out dichotomy. Not so. I see my own privileged position at the same time that I sometimes suffer the indignities of being a sociologist of relatively little consequence. I suspect that is the way it is for many of us.