This week, we’re bringing the PhD’s Guide series back to cover research ethics! Nowadays, researchers must carefully balance the potential knowledge a study can collect with the potential harm they may cause to the people participating in studies. But that definitely hasn’t always been the case! The treatment of Henrietta Lacks and studies like The Tearoom Trade are perfect examples of research ethics gone wrong. Tune in to learn more, and check out our website (thesocialbreakdown.com) to read about the various studies we discussed in the episode.
What do we mean by research ethics?
Ethics is concerned with issues of right and wrong, the choices that people make, and how they justify them. Research ethics is a balance of potential knowledge – the goal is to increase knowledge – and potential harm – the goal is to minimize or eliminate harm. (Paraphrased from George Ritzer’s textbook, Introduction to Sociology)
It is about that time of year! Time to wind down, take a break, and enjoy the holidays. It is also time for the Social Breakdown Team to collect our thoughts so we can get ready for our return in January! We all hope you enjoyed the first half of Year 2. Join us for our mini episode where we discuss some good holiday gifts for all you grad students. (Parents and friends you should listen too!) Have a wonderful end to 2018 everybody. See you next year!
Our last-minute holiday gift list for the grad student in your life
In honor of Penn, a nice plannerto help the grad student in your life remember due dates, readings, and to stay on track.
Helpful software that will make your student’s life easier, like Evernote, or help them with analysis like STATA, NVivo, Microsoft Access and SPSS. Do check with your student’s university IT dept, because there is usually a cheaper student rate available for these programs!
A gift card to a fancy restaurant or tickets to a concert/musical/play/comedy show. Giving the grad student in your life an opportunity to go out and enjoy themselves for a night at a place or show that’s normally out of financial reach is a guaranteed A+ gift.
A business casual outfitfor conferences, or just parts of one (i.e. slacks, blouses, shirts, jackets, whatevs.) Help them impress future employers. Doesn’t gotta be pricey, doesn’t gotta be name brand, it just needs to be fly and biz casual!
The ever faithful Amazon gift cardto help cover the cost of books for classes and other everyday items that they may be in need of.
Gifts for their fur babies: Treats, toys, or a beautiful holiday outfit for the loving pet in their life. (Sorry, not sorry for loving to dress up our pets.)
We’re using our understanding of the three schools of sociological theory to breakdown deviance and crime this week. What is deviance? What is crime? How are they different? How does society create the definitions of what is a deviant behavior and what is a criminal act? We discuss power and inequality, as well as look at deviance and crime through the lens of the three schools of sociological thought – structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Check out our previous episode on the three schools of thought, SOC207, if you haven’t already so you understand our discussion today! Thanks for listening and please give us a rating, too!
1) Expectation of a norm (or “mores” i.e., thou shall not murder, thou shall not steal for personal gain, intended or unintended violence towards children etc.)
2) Violation of a norm
3) Personal and/or societal reaction to the norm being broken (informal and/or formal sanctions)
Deviance is a socially defined construct and refers to any action, belief, or human characteristic that members of a society or a social group consider a violation of group norms for which the violator is likely to be censured or punished.
We quote Howard Becker (1963), saying, “Deviance is not a consequence of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the [creation and] application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’ ” This comes from his book, Outsiders.
Are you Black Friday shopper, like Penn? Or are you ambivalent, like Ellen? This week, the ladies of the Social Breakdown get together for a breakaway episode on the history of Black Friday and the many sociological purposes of holiday shopping. What does seasonal overconsumption do to our emotions, pocketbooks, and the environment? How are sales used to shame shoppers and bury environmental reports cough cough Trump administration cough? Tune in here to learn more!
Black Friday, shopping, holidays, consumption, consumer culture, materialism, overconsumption
Here’s a good (and free) place to start on the work of Thorstein Veblen, an American economist and sociologist who theorized the concept of ‘conspicuous consumption.’ This is his most notable work, “The Theory of the Leisure Class.”
This week we go back to the basics by introducing the three schools of sociological thought – conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic interactionism. Knowing these three schools is a must for any aspiring sociologist. Join us as we discuss how Marx theorized the process of social change through conflict, why Durkheim believed society needed religion in order to function, and why people interpret the symbolic significance of guns differently. Which school of thought do you subscribe to?
Sociology, theory, social theory, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, structural functionalism
Hi everyone! We are taking a short two week break for fall break, since we are getting bogged down with prepping for the end of the semester. We will be resuming our regularly scheduled releases on November 28! Keep an eye out – we got some great topics coming up – from monster artists to deviance and crime!
Thank you for your support as always. We look forward to coming back soon!!
This week, Penn and Ellen breakdown an interesting phenomenon that occurs often on social media – context collapse – when various segments of your social network (friends, family, acquaintances, employers, and complete strangers) are muddled together into one big audience. How does a social media user as yourself negotiate the multiple imagined audiences of the social network? From self-presentation tactics such as censorship and compartmentalization, we discuss the complex ways we navigate the online social life.
For our Halloween spooktacular, we present to you an episode on human aggression! AhhHHHH! This week we’re defining what aggression is, how it is different from violence, and where aggression stems from. Is it an innate trait, as Freud believed, or is it socially learned, as many sociologists argue? We end our talk discussing how we can reduce aggression in ourselves and others. Tune in, learn, and don’t forget to give us a rating wherever you’re listening from!
We’re building off of last week’s episode on sex and gender and breaking down the more complex ideas of intersectionality and feminist thought. How do you define intersectionality? What is feminist thought? And how can you apply these concepts to how you think and behave in your everyday life? (HINT: Be aware of your privileges, y’all!) We also talk about the amazing scholars– like Patricia Hill Collins, Meda Chesney-Lind, and Kimberle Crenshaw, to name a few– who have founded these important concepts. Tune in to learn more!
Kimberle Crenshaw interview by the National Association of Independent Schools where she defines Intersectionality as: “Intersectionality is a metaphor to understand how the multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and how they create obstacles that are often not understood with our conventional ways of thinking about anti-racism, feminism, or whatever social justice advocacy structures we have. Intersectionality is not a grand theory, it is rather a prism to understand various types of social problems. For example, African American girls are suspended 6 times more than white girls, and this is probably a race AND gender problem. Not just a race problem or just a gender problem. So I encourage people to think about how the conversions of race stereotypes or gender stereotypes might actually play out in the classroom, between teachers and students, students and students…and so on.”
In Renzetti & Cruan’s book Women, Men and Society they write, “Patriarchy is a system of social stratification, which mean that it uses a wide array of social control policies and practices to ratify male power and to keep girls and women subordinate to men”
Lastly, how can you apply intersectionality in your everyday life, according to the Social Breakdown crew? Be aware of your privileges and how they may affect or be affected by the social context you are in!