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 planner to 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 outfit for 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 card to 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!
Deviance, Crime, Criminology, Social Construction
- Listen to SOC207 – Three Schools of Thought where we introduce sociological theory so you understand how we break down deviance and crime!
- The Three Steps (or Stages) of Deviance
- 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.
- Laws and gum in Singapore
- “How Lefties First Gained Acceptance” (Time)
- A quick video bio from The School of Life on the Structural Functionalist that we cited this episode, Emile Durkheim
- Quick intro to Symbolic Interactionism
- Prohibition is a great example of the criminalization and decriminalization of a behavior because it wasn’t accepted by most of American society as deviant. Here’s a summary of prohibition from Ohio State University.
- “Flying While Muslim (Quartz), an article on racial profiling
- 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.
- Intro to Labeling Theory
- We also cited these older episodes of ours, so check them out if you haven’t already!
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.”
- “A Brief History of Black Friday” (Mental Floss)
- “What’s the Real History of Black Friday” (History)
- “Black Friday Brawl Videos are How Rich People Shame the Poor” (Washington Post)
- “Stop Shaming Black Friday Shoppers” (Racked)
- “The Energy 202: Trump Administration’s Release of a Climate Report on Black Friday didn’t bury the news” (Washington Post)
- “Death of Small Businesses in Big Cities, Explained” (Vox)
- “Banning Straws and Bags Won’t Solve our Plastic Problem” (World Resources Institute)
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
- Definition of social theory
- Understanding Social Problems, 5th ed by Mooney, Knox, and Schacht, 2007.
- A fun and short video from Crash Course titled, “Major Sociological Paradigms” that may help better understand the three theories
- Conflict – Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto
- Conflict – Arlie Hochschild’s The Managed Heart
- Structural Functionalism – Talcott Parson’s The Social System
- Structural Functionalism – Emile Durkheim’s The Division of Labour in Society
- Symbolic Interactionism – Herbert Blumer’s Symbolic Interactionism
- Symbolic Interactionism – George Herbert Mead’s Mind, Self, and Society
- Symbolic Interactionism – An excerpt from Charles Cooley about the Looking Glass Self
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.
Context collapse, internet, social media, identity, imagined audience, Facebook, Twitter, censorship
- “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience” by Marwick & boyd (2010)
- “One Size Fits All: Context Collapse, Self-Presentation Strategies and Language Styles on Facebook” by Gil-Lopez et al. (2018)
- Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think (Engadget)
- Younger users flee their parents’ favorite social network, Facebook, at surprising pace (Chicago Tribune)
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!
Aggression, perception, psychology, violence, nature, nurture
- Elliot Aronson’s The Social Animal has a whole chapter on human aggression
- “Temperature and Aggression: Ubiquitous effects of heat on occurrence of human violence” by Anderson (1989)
- “Violent Video Games and Aggression” by Ferguson (2008)
- “Is Human Aggression an Instinct or Something Which We Learn?” by Golsharifi (2015) which outlines the longstanding debate over the source of aggression
- Crash Course video on Altruism and Aggression
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!
Intersectionality, feminism, feminist thought, gender studies, privilege
- “Race, Class, Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection” by Patricia Hill Collins (1993)
- 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.”
- Kimberle Crenshaw TED talk on “The Urgency of Intersectionality”
- Patricia Hill Collins bio on the American Sociological Association website
- Chesney-Lind, Meda. 2006. “Patriarchy, Crime, and Justice: Feminist Criminology in an Era of Backlash.” Feminist Criminology 1(1):6–26.
- 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”
- Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation by Beth Richie (2012)
- 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!
Gender and sex– They appear to be the same thing, but in reality they aren’t! This week we dive into the differences between gender and sex through the lense of sociology using work from Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir and other recent research. How have our notions of gender and sex changed over the years? Where are these two concepts headed? And how do our own identities influence the way we behave, feel, and think? Tune in to find out! (And come back next week for our follow-up discussion on feminism and intersectionality.)
Gender, Sex, Social Construction
- Judith Butler’s (1990) Gender Trouble is one of THE foundational texts if you want to get into gender and sex.
- Simone de Beauvoir’s (1949) The Second Sex is another key text to explore, as Butler builds her theories off of de Beauvoir’s work. It is in The Second Sex where de Beauvoir writes the famous line, “one is not born a woman, but, rather, becomes one.”
- New York Times article by Claire Cain Miller (Sept 14, 2018), “Many Ways to Be a Girl, But One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules”
- A pamphlet from the National Partnership for Women and Families that reports the following on the national gender wage gap:
- “Nationally, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $41,977 while the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $52,146. This means that, overall, women in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $10,169.”
- Duncombe and Marsden (1998) chapter “Stepford Wives and Hallow Husbands” in Emotions in Social Life
- Some interesting articles about femininity and the female gaze:
- Articles on the consequences of toxic masculinity: