SOC123-Spranng Break Mini Episode


The SB team have been busy giving you new episodes each week over the course the academic year, but as most of you are well aware… SPRING BREAK IS HERE! And we need a break. So, this week will be a mini episode where we give some recommendations on sociological WATCHING for you to do while we’re on vacation for a couple weeks. (Still read books though!) We will be back on April 4th, so we won’t be gone for too long. Also– don’t forget to do our survey on our website and we’ll send you some Social Breakdown gear .


  1. Penn’s Recommendation
    1. Mind Hunter
    2. The People vs. OJ
  2. Omar’s Recommendation
    1. Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee)
    2. Mad Men (also on Netflix)
  3. Ellen’s Recommendation
    1. Black Mirror

Take our survey to get a sticker!

SOC122: PhD’s Guide to Research Methods


We continue our PhD’s guide series with a broad overview of sociological research methodology. WAIT! Don’t fall asleep! We talk a ton about concepts and theories, but how do sociologists come up with the evidence to back them up? How do we do our research? This episode will give you a little insight into how. We cover the basics of qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as discuss the ethics of human research. Whether you like numbers or words, statistics or stories, there’s a method to suit your mode of thinking! Join in as we discuss the Nuremberg trials, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and a run down of the basics of sociological research.


sociology, sociological imagination, methodology


  1. On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman
  2. Good summary and follow up to the aftermath of this book (NYTimes)
  3. Victor Rios harsh criticism of book in book review
  4. Amazing easy-to-read primer on multiple regression analysis. A 5TH GRADER CAN READ IT. Every sociologist needs this book
  5. Here’s a fun crash course on sociological research methods
  6. Institutional Ethnography–Lecture by the founder, Dorothy Smith


▪ data are reduced to numbers and statistical analyses are commonly


▪ research tool tends to be reliable

▪ results of research are more generalizable to larger and other populations

▪ cannot study individual units of analysis in depth

▪ studies large populations broadly

▪ commonly used methods of data collection used are:

✓ survey

✓ experiments

✓ content analysis


▪ data are text or visual images

▪ can study populations that are hard to find (snowball sampling)

▪ results tend to be accurate

▪ studies a small number of units of analysis in depth

▪ research results generally are not generalizable

▪ commonly used methods of data collection used are:

✓ participant observation (aka ethnography or fieldwork)

✓ historical research

Discourse analysis

Institutional ethnography


SOC121 – ‘X’ Number of Asians: The Model Minority Myth


The Social Breakdown team is at it again! This time we’re talking about the myths of the model minority. It’s important to break down this myth, because we live in a world of identity politics where we fight over who gets to speak for whom and how we represent ourselves within institutions. Who is the model minority, and how did this term come to be? What social pressures defy or reproduce stereotypes? And what problems does this myth create for other people of color? Join us in our conversation on the model minority and the taken-for-granted notions of this myth. We have our eyes on you, Silicon Valley!


model minority, tokenism, upward mobility


  1. History of term ‘model minority’
  2. The Professional Burdens of Being a ‘Model Minority’
  3. Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton?
  4. The real secret to Asian American success was not education
  5. ‘Model Minority’ Myth Again Used As A Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks
  6. Silicon Valley’s Forgotten Minority
  7. Jay Z & Kanye West – Murder to Excellence lyrics
  8. How Trump’s latest affirmative action move uses the Asian “model minority” as a prop
  9. Suicide among Asian-Americans
  10. No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life (Princeton University Press)
  11. The model minority is losing patience
  12. The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans
  13. The White Space–Elijah Anderson

SOC120-A PhD’s Guide To Conferences


Conferences… A little awkward, pretty informative, and occasionally monotonous. They’re a fact of life for those of us in academia! This week we delve into what conferences are, why you should attend, some of the main sociology conferences, and most importantly some DOs and DON’Ts of going to conferences. Listen to our suggestions, and then let us know if we missed anything by Tweeting or Facebooking us @socbreakdown!


sociology, conferences, phd guide


Upcoming Conferences

  1. American Sociological Association, Aug 11-14
  2. Society for the Study of Social Problems, Aug 10-12
  3. Pacific Sociological Association, March 28-31
  4. Hawaii Sociological Association, Feb 24-25
  5. International Sociological Association’s “World Congress of Sociology”, July 15-21.

Why attend conferences?

  1. Schmoozing/Networking
  2. To learn new things!
  3. Meet your academic superstars
  4. To add to your CV/resume
  5. To get feedback from colleagues

Conference DOs

  1. Show up early and don’t make a ruckus!
  2. Practice your presentation at least 3 times!
  3. Sit in the front and ask questions!
  4. Make sure you have all your tech stuff set up if you’re doing a PPT! Have it on a thumbdrive, in your email, and on your computer.
  5. Breathe quietly plz. Thank you.
  6. Enjoy yourself! Explore the city/area where the conference is held, eat all the good food, and get drinks with fellow scholars! Balance work and play.

Conference DON’Ts

  1. Ask self-centered “questions”, where you’re really just bragging and not asking a question!
  2. Go over time! Respect your fellow panel members and your audience.
  3. Be shy or intimidated by other people, or the schools they come from! You are fabulous, worthy, and have something to contribute.
  4. Be a creep. Read the social cues!

SOC119-Mom is the Panopticon: Modern Day Surveillance


Triggered by the U.S. senate reauthorizing section 702 of the FISA act, our conversation this week focuses on privacy and surveillance. With the internet, social media, and all of our new technology, do we have privacy anymore? We start the episode off talking about the classic sociological concept of Jeremy Bentham’s ‘Panopticon’. We also discuss the various ways (and reasons why) our government surveils us, how we tie morality in with privacy, and the consequences of doxxing and revenge porn. Tune in to hear how everyone is watching you!


surveillance, panopticon, privacy, modern technology


  1. Senate passes FISA Section 702 reauthorization (CNN)
  2. House Extends Surveillance Law, Rejecting New Privacy Safeguards (NY Times)
  3. What does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?
  4. Michel Foucault’s Discipline & Punish (1975) chapter on Panopticism
  5. The 10 Biggest Revelations From Edward Snowden’s Leaks
  6. Julia Angwin’s Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance
  7. Chapter 1 of Dragnet Nation
  8. ‘Dragnet Nation’ looks at the hidden systems that are always looking at you
  9. How ‘Doxxing’ Became a Mainstream Tool in the Culture Wars
  10. Revenge porn: the cyberwar against women
  11. Chrissy Chambers: Revenge porn almost killed me
  12. YouTuber wins damages in landmark UK revenge porn case
  13. Third person linked to 2014 iCloud hack that exposed explicit images of dozens of celebrities
  14. 143 million compromised Social Security numbers: everything you need to know about the Equifax hack
  15. ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Online Could Spread
  16. – audiobooks that support independent bookstores
  17. Nintendo Labo

SOC118: Love Struck or Love Sick?


As SZA likes to croon, “LoOOOoovvveeeee, long as we got loooovvVVEEeee.” And that’s this week’s topic! In this episode we explore what happens in our brains when we are struck with love, how sociologists like Charles Cooley and Theodore Kemper see love, and how love can be used as a tool of social control. To better understand this intense emotion, we also discuss Georg Simmel’s important concept of the Dyad. Do you agree with sociology’s view of love? Tune in to hear our discussion!

P.S. Happy consumerist Valentine’s Day, everyone! Xoxo– The Social Breakdown Crew


love, relationships, dyads


1. Biography of Georg Simmel

2. “Dyads and Triads” by Georg Simmel (1950) from The Sociology of Georg Simmel

Dyads are marked with: 

Triviality which “connotes a certain measure of frequency, of the consciousness that a content of life is repeated, while the value of this content depends on its very opposite– a certain measure of rarity” (p. 125).

Intimacy– Trivial acts lead to feelings of intimacy between the dyad, and “is based on what each of the two participants gives or shows only to the one other person and to nobody else” (p. 126). Simmel writes that it is these displays that make an intimate relationship, so “intimacy is not based on the content of the relationship” (p. 127).

3. Love and the Brain” from Harvard University’s Neurobiology Dep

4. Rihanna’s song “Love on the Brain”

5. Charles Cooley’s (1922) “The Social Self” in Human Nature and the Social Order

6. Erich Fromm’s (1955) The Sane Society

Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self.”

“In the experience of love lies the only answer to being human, lies sanity.”

7. Victor Seidler (1998) article called, “Masculinity, Violence and Emotional Life” in the book Emotions in Social Life

“We know how easily declarations of love can operate as forms of control within intimate relationships, as if the declaration is itself supposed to make the issues and conflicts disappear. Love can operate as a form of control. The words can be hollow and empty because they have become a ritualized response.”

8. Commodification of Valentine’s Day example: On Valentines Day we spend $19.7 billion on heart-shaped nick-nacks!

9. Doxxing Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC who pushed for the dismantling of Net Neutrality

SOC117-The Forgotten Founding Father: W.E.B. Du Bois


Ever wonder why sociology emphasizes fieldwork, quantitative research, and participant observation? Or who challenged the notion of the ‘armchair theorist’? In recognizing Black History Month, we pay homage to the often ignored, great modern sociologist, W.E.B. Du Bois. Using the book, The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology (2015) by Dr. Aldon D. Morris, we discuss the legacy and contribution of Du Bois and retell the story of the origins of modern sociology. While faculty and students are gradually incorporating the work of Du Bois in their research and syllabi, the overall discipline of sociology has not yet fully acknowledged Du Bois’ work and contribution as the father of modern American sociology. Tune in to hear the convo!

Be honest, frank and fearless and get some grasp of the real values of life…READ  SOME GOOD, HEAVY SERIOUS BOOKS just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself.”  -W.E.B. Du Bois [emphasis added].


Black History Month, Du Bois, double consciousness, social sciences, sociology


  1. The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology by Aldon D. Morris 
  2. The Philadelphia Negro (Du Bois 1899) 
  3. Souls of Black Folk [Double Consciousness] (Du Bois 1903)
  4. Short animated video on Souls of Black Folk 
  5. Lecture from Aldon D. Morris: W.E.B. Du Bois at the Center: From Science, Civil Rights Movement, to Black Lives Matter (2016) 
  6. Current issue of the sociology journal titled, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. This issue features several studies focusing on Du Bois. At the very least, check out the abstracts!
  7. Du Bois and Race Conflict: Crash Course

SOC116-Constructing Race and Black History Month


February is Black History Month (BHM), which means… we gotta talk about it! This week we dig into the history behind BHM, talk about the founder of the holiday (the fascinating Dr. Carter Woodson), and tackle the many critiques and debates surrounding the month. Like, why the heck is BHM on the shortest month of the year?! Why do we usually only celebrate a select few Black figures this month? Is BHM a productive event? Oh also, did you know that race is a social construct? That’s right! Join in to hear the conversation and let us know what you think!

Episode Corrections: 

Omar: I meant to say melanin and NOT melatonin when discussing the social construction of race.

Omar: Barrack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was an American anthropologist. She is not from Germany. In fact, she lived in Hawaii and studied at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Though I said “I think,” I was wrong. [We all should have known that!]


race, racism, black history month, social construction


  1. What is a “Social Construct”?
    1. An idea or concept that is created and accepted by members of a society. These are ideas that are not “natural” or universal across all cultures and societies.
  2. “11 Things That Are Social Constructs” (2016),  Jane Paolantonio
  3. What We Mean When We Say ‘Race Is a Social Construct’”, in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2013)
  4. Article from King and Brown (2014) “Once a Year to be Black
  5. Article from The Atlantic by Melinda Anderson (2016), “Black History Month in Schools– Retire or Reboot?
  6. Biography of Carter Woodson, the “Father of Black History
  7. NPR report on Marian Andersen, “Denied A Stage, She Sang For A Nation” (2014)
  8. Biography of bad-ass Bessie Coleman
  9. Biography and work of poet Audre Lorde

SOC115 – I Do (Not): Marriage and Family in the 21st Century


We’re baaaack! This week we’re discussing two major social institutions that are in the midst of serious change: First, the Family! How does sociology look at the family unit? How is the family used as a tool of socialization? What about those ‘non-traditional’ families? Second, that thing that to many of us symbolizes the start of a family– Marriage! We talk about the economic benefits of getting married, our own personal takes on marriage, and the gradual but very real deinstitutionalization of marriage. Listen, learn, and let us know what you think!


Marriage, Family, Socialization


  1. Different types of marriages:
    1. Monogamy involves a family with one wife and one husband.
    2. Polygamy involves multiple spouses.
    3. Endogamy involves marrying a person with similar social characteristics
      1. The Chinese phrase “Men Dang Hu Dui”, or “The doors must match” is a cultural example of endogamy. As Chao Yang in Television and Dating in Contemporary China writes, the phrase “‘Men Dang Hu Dui’ [is] behind traditional arranged marriage, in which being introduced to a marriage partner from a family with similar social rank was the norm” (p. 118).
    4. Exogamy involves marrying someone with different social characteristics
    5. Bigamy is when you marry another person when you’re already married to someone else
  2. ‘Modern Family’ TV show
  3. ‘Sister Wives’ TV show
  4. Brigham Young, famous Mormon polygamist
  5. 2013 Pew Research Poll that found 88% of Americans marry for love. Awww. Of course this is just one study, but it’s Pew so it’s legitimate!
  6. Cook’s 2015 article on the economic benefits of marriage, “For Richer, Not Poorer: Marriage and the Growing Class Divide”
  7. Amanda William’s 2013 article, “Is Marriage Now Just a Middle-Class Institution?”
  8. Amanda Hess’ 2013 article, “Marriage is the New Middle-Class Luxury Item”
  9. Jeanna Smialek’s 2017 article,“The Decline of Marriage is Hitting Vegas Hard”
    1. Marriage has become a clear dividing line in a stratified country. Its decline is most pronounced among those who didn’t go beyond high school, as better educated people tend to marry each other. America’s working and middle classes are faring badly, and the research points to unraveling families as one cause.”
  10. Deinstitutionalization
    1. Definition: “A weakening of the social norms that define partners’ behavior.”
    2. From Andrew Cherlin’s  2004 article, “The Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage”
  11. Ritual
    1. Definition: “any regular pattern of interaction.” Something that is considered “normal”, “regular”, or “the norm”.
  12. Trump calling Haiti and African countries “shitholes” (despite the fact that the largest shithole on this planet is Trump’s mouthhole) (Washington Post)
  13. Senate Passes Bill to Extend Key Surveillance Program” from the Washington Post
  14. What is a VPN–Virtual Private Network

Save the date! Season 2 Premiere!!

Hey everyone,

The SBR team here – we are delaying the start of season 2 by a bit because the new semester is busier than we thought it would be! Season 2 will be premiering on January 24th! Save the date, and in the meantime, check out our previous episodes if you really miss us!

As always, please leave us a review on iTunes. We just broke 3,800 downloads, which is HUUUUUGE!! Thank you for all your support! The more you like, share, subscribe, and review us, the closer we are to stardom!

All the best,

The SBR team