The last several months of writing my dissertation (Beyond Reason: Reconciling Emotions with Social Theory) were one of the high points of my life so far. I experienced a fountain of creativity and energy, and felt truly blessed to have the opportunity to express ideas so dear to my heart in a systematic and rigorous way.
I entered the Berkeley Sociology Department in the fall of 1990. The first few years of my education at Berkeley were entangled with the anxiety of the Gulf War, the trauma of the Oakland Hills firestorm, a labor strike to demand collective bargaining rights for AGSE, and graduate student protests over a controversial faculty hire. I sought temporary relief from these events as an editor for the Berkeley Journal of Sociology and as a member of one of Michael Burawoy's legendary Participant Observation seminars.
I never intended to be an academic, but I always saw my Ph.D. training as a way to inform committed activism with the broad range of social insights that a Berkeley training was especially useful in instilling. My research, since turned into a book called 'Net Loss: Internet Prophets, Private Profits And The Costs To Community' (published by Penn State Press in 2002), was a way to analyze how changes in technology had shaped and been shaped by broader policies effecting economic inequality in society.