Stuffs! We’ve all got ‘em, and we all like to accumulate them– unless you’re Ellen. This week, we’re exploring how sociology makes sense of our material culture. What is the relationship people hold with the tangible objects we collect? What meaning do we attach to these items? And why is it that Penn cares so much about her Washi Tape collection and Omar licks his shoes?! Tune in here to learn more about stuffs and where the state of stuffs is going as the world becomes digitalized and we begin to interact with virtual objects more and more.
Material Culture, Collections, Senses, Symbolic Interactionism
Why can’t we pick our nose in public? We’re back this week with our series-not-a-series “Don’t Ask a Sociologist!” We talk about what norms are – it’s a word you hear a lot but Sociology has a specific definition. What purposes do norms serve in our society? Where do we learn norms from? Join our gang for your dosage of Sociology!
In a world with rapid changes to technology from the advent of photography to camera phones to social media and the Mark Zuckerberg’s “metaverse,” there has also been an emergence of other ways of revealing aspects of our world. One is Visual Sociology. Please join us for our conversation with the media scholar and sociologist Dr. Patricia Prieto-Blanco, whose work uses photography and visual analysis to find meaning among diasporas and migrant communities and families. How can sociologists use images they find and create to learn more about our social world? Tune in for this fun conversation!
Research methods, visual sociology, photography, audiovisual
Rieger Award Program for outstanding work by graduate students in visual sociology, the Prosser Award Program for outstanding work by beginning scholars in visual methodologies, and the Anticolonialism & Antiracism (ACAR) Award Program for outstanding work by researchers and activists who use visual methodologies or advance visual activism through their work
We’re continuing our trek through religion this week with the help of Carly, a trained theologist with a keen sociological imagination. Carly helps us understand how religion can be applied in our everyday lives, particularly within the realm of higher education, through a sociological lens. How is sociology used by ministries to understand how private troubles are evidence of public issues? And, we understand how sociologists make sense of religion, but how do those within religious institutions make sense of it? Tune in here to learn more!
The gang finally tackles a topic we’ve been nervous about – religion! We rely on Emile Durkheim’s seminal book The Elementary Forms of Religious Life to guide us through this complex but fundamental aspect of human society. We discuss concepts related to religions from Durkheim’s perspective from social fact, rituals and symbols, the sacred and the profane, collective effervescence and more. What functions does religion serve in society? Why and how is it necessary for collective identity and social life? Tune in to learn more! And if you get upset, just blame Durkheim and not us!
Hooked on shows like TLC’s “90 Day Fiance” or “90 Days the Other Way”? Well, this episode is for you! Dr. Julia Meszaros from Texas A&M Commerce joins us to discuss her research on the romance tourism business, more commonly known as the “mail order bride” industry. She describes the social, economic, and class-based forces that push women and men to engage in this industry. Tune in to learn more!
Romance tourism, tourism, international dating, mail order brides
We’re back with our (Don’t) Ask a Sociologist series, where we try to answer seemingly simple questions from listeners! This week’s question is: What is “agency,” and how is it different from “structures”? These are two words we tend to throw around willy-nilly, so let’s break both down together! If you have your own question to ask, don’t be shy and send it to us. We’d love to try to answer it!
We define agency as the ability of people to act on their own accord and independence
Structure is the patterned systems of society that impact and assign the choices (or opportunities) available to individuals.
Here’s a helpful article from 1998 by Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Miche that answers the question, What Is Agency?
Here’s that Devil Wears Prada scene Ellen was talking about!
Curious about the illusion of choice in consumer brands? Look at this.
On today’s episode, Ellen and Omar speak with G.J. Hodson M.A. (he/they/she) on LGBTQ caregiving. Those who identify as LGBTQ are a growing segment within the caregiving population, and unsurprisingly little research has been done on them. As GJ takes us through their personal journey and research, we see how this new world within sociology can help us make sense of how the United States’ population grows older, and the impact of the pandemic on caregiving. Join us to hear more!
LGBTQ, caregiving, aging, medical sociology, social work
One of our goals has always been to make sociology as accessible as possible. And in the world of audio, the way to do that is to provide listeners with transcripts of the show. But with over 100 episodes, transcription is daunting!
So, we need your help.
In 2022, we’re kicking off the Social Breakdown Transcription Project, and asking fans and listeners to help us out. We’ll be running our episodes through automatic transcription software, but need help cleaning up what the software spits out. Anyone who helps us clean up two episodes worth of transcripts will be sent a Social Breakdown t-shirt and stickers in thanks, and will be credited on our site.
If you’re interested in participating in the project, please do let us know! You can email us at socbreakdown [at] gmail.com. We thank you in advance for even considering it!
Aloha mai kākou, we take a local perspective today with special guests, Brandon from Kamehameha Schools and Lisa from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who walk us through a new radical study aiming to change the traditionally deficits-based narrative about the Native Hawaiian people to one of strength and resiliency. Drawing from the Kūkulu Kumuhana dimensions of Native Hawaiian wellbeing, we discuss the ʻImi Pono Hawaiʻi Wellbeing Survey 2021, from which a number of local organizations have analyzed and published numerous briefs, including ones on COVID-19 impacts in Hawaiʻi and more. Be sure to check out our website for great links that support indigenous research as well as a vocabulary list of all the Hawaiian words used in the episode!
Native Hawaiian Wellbeing, Kūkulu Kumuhana, Indigenous Frameworks, Culture, Data