I read Peter Berger’s Invitation to Sociology a decade after its publication.
I was fascinated by his discussion of the sociological imagination and his characterisation of a sociologist as “a person intensively, endlessly, shamelessly interested in the doings” of other people. Peter suggested that the sociologist’s habitat is “all the human gathering places of the world” wherever people come together.
I liked the idea that a sociologist but for the grace of an academic title, is a person “who must listen to gossip despite himself, who is tempted to look through keyholes, to read other people’s mail, to open closed cabinets”.
The invitation extended by Peter has informed my interest in people’s social lives, particularly in the context of play, games and sport.
This weekend two stories have stirred my imagination. One involves Tom Donhou and the other Chris Rogers.
I was looking for another story on The Guardian online today and discovered Tom instead!
Tom’s story is shared in a film, Experiments in Speed, produced by Spindle Productions.
The video, 9 minutes 20 seconds in length, can be found here on Vimeo.
Tom has built a bike “purely for the purpose of going as fast as we can”.
The journey of discovery took me to the cafe look mum no hands that premiered the film has Tom’s bike on display.
Spindle Productions posted about the premiere:
we published the documentary to our Vimeo channel a week later. Within hours of the film going up it was shared through dozens of blogs and websites, such as The Times, Pinkbike, Bikerumor, Hypebeast and High Snobiety, catapulting the viewcount to over 150,000. What stunned us though was the email from Vimeo letting us know that they’d selected Experiments in Speed as a Staff Pick, meaning it was now on the homepage of Vimeo itself!
The video has been viewed 325,000 times and has a daily viewing figure of 25,000.
I think this is exactly the kind of gossip that fuels the sociological imagination.
Overnight, Chris Rogers became the second oldest Australian player to make a maiden test century.
I thought it was a remarkable innings in the context of the game and the day. I admire Chris’s professionalism and noted this tweet:
In a report of an end of the day press conference, Chris was quoted:
“After all this time you just don’t think that this opportunity is going to come up,” Rogers said. “I wanted to believe I was good enough but never knew. To get a hundred, that’s something that no one can take away from me, and I can tell my grandchildren about it now … if I have any.
Reflecting on his Ashes’ journey, Chris said:
It was emotional out there, that’s for sure. And it has been. Initially to get picked for Australia was amazing, but the nerves and the things that go with it … the Lord’s Test match, that was as low as I’ve been for a while, hearing the criticism coming in and feeling like you’ve let down your country. That hurts. To play well in the last Test and to back it up in this one means a lot to me.
Tom and Chris
In his Invitation to Sociology, Peter Berger proposes:
Sociology is more like a passion. The sociological perspective is more like a demon that possesses one, that drives one compellingly, again and again, to the questions that are its own. An introduction to sociology is, therefore, an invitation to a very special kind of passion.
I do think being open to stories about performance fuels this passion. Tom and Chris are great examples of how stories unfold. Both have made this a special Sunday for me … having spent much of Saturday night behind the sofa hoping for a Chris Rogers’ century against the odds. It was a holding-breath-kind-of-night that passionate sociologists love!