The large-spirited, learned, and sharp-witted organizers and contributors to this collection of essays have come to understand that I have quite mixed feelings about Festschriften and have dodged them for as long as possible. Why? Well, there are two reasons. The first reason is that such performances risk becoming a classic example of what I have elsewhere called “the public transcript.” The form tends to suppress dissent in favor of praise and filters out the “backstage” chorus of criticism and parody that accompanies, and should accompany, any body of work in social science. The second reason is that such celebratory events tend to occur at the dusk of a scholar's career, and, simply by summing up a trajectory of thought, resemble an intellectual funeral. “Well, that's that; what on earth does what he wrote add up to?” Since I flatter myself that I may still have a few novel and interesting things to say, things that may change my epitaph, my inclination is to not show up at the premature wake.

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