The Social Breakdown is on hiatus for the remainder of 2023!

Aloha! Thanks so so much for checking in and listening to our show. We are always grateful knowing that some use (and hopefully laughter) is coming from this labor of love.

2023 has been packed with an overwhelming amount of obligations, priorities, and adulting for us– all things that get in the way of doing fun things, like this podcast. There just ain’t enough time in the day! So, unfortunately, we will be on hiatus for the remainder of this year. Our goal is to get back to producing and running in 2024, perhaps with a new show format…? We shall see!

Anyways, mahalo nui loa again for being here, looking at this page. It means the world to us knowing that people like you are aware of our show and you hopefully enjoy it.

Much love,

The Social Breakdown crew



Do you want to be a better Public Scientist? Do you want to enhance your skills in sociological analysis within and outside the academy? Do you want a place to discuss, vent, study, and analyze “graduate school stress” and what to do about it? Do you want high level research engagement and turning your wonderful ideas into digestible content for the public? Do you need professional development skills or just someone/group of people to just help you THINK?! Join the Social Breakdowns first ever SOCIOLOGY MASTER CLASS hosted by Omar Bird. 

Please see the Google Form link below to sign up! First 10 people to sign up will be included in the first round! More information about scheduling will follow!


SOC512 – Ministry, Religion, and the Sociological Imagination (Guest Edition)


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!


Religion, church, ministry, institutions, social work, sociological imagination, COVID-19, higher education


  • Check out our previous episode SOC511: Intro to Religion!
  • Carly shouted out La Salle University’s campus ministry, which you can read about here.
  • Learn more about Catholic social teaching here!
  • Did you know that President Biden is the second Catholic president in U.S. history?
  • The Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests were key discussion starters for Carly’s students. Read about them here!
  • Carly recommended checking out the work of Father Richard Rohr.
  • She also recommended Just Universities by Dr. Gerald Beyer.
  • History and Presence by Robert Orisi is also an excellent book for folks who are interested in how a sociologist can study/engage with religion.
  • Paul Rudd was named People magazine’s 2021 Sexiest Man. Carly, Ellen, and Penn would like to know his anti-aging regimine please!
  • Do you organize your bookshelf by color

2022 Social Breakdown Transcription Project

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] We thank you in advance for even considering it!

We are featured in ASA’s Teaching Sociology!

The show has officially made it– at least, “made it” sociologically!

We’re super honored to have The Social Breakdown reviewed in the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Sociology by Christine Croft. Reading reviews–formal and informal– really are what keeps this show going. So, mahalo nui loa to all who share the show with others, and write such encouraging words like these.

SOC 501 – “You’re a donkey!”: Food Media and Violence in Kitchens


Food media is relatively new but its popularity is without a doubt. Popular food shows such as Hell’s Kitchen have propelled chefs to fame, but at what cost? In this episode, Ellen and Penn discuss their recent viral (can we use that word?) article on how food media normalizes violent behavior in commercial kitchens. Food media that glorifies violence from psychological to sexual may have an influence on how violence is perceived in the workspace of the kitchen, ultimately making it seem ‘normal’ and at times, even necessary as a tool to manage the stress of the occupation and ensuring productivity.


Violence, normalization, commercial kitchens, workplace violence


  1. Ellen and Pennʻs article – “The Normalization of Violence in Commercial Kitchens Through Food Media”
  2. Kenji Lopez-Altʻs IG post that made us famous
  3. His book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
  4. Our interview on New York magazine’s Grub Street column! “How Celebrity Chefs Warped Our View of Real-World Restaurant Abuse “I realized, this is abnormal.””
  5. Study Reveals How Shows Like Hell’s Kitchen Are Making The Restaurant Industry Worse
  6. The ‘idiot sandwich’ skit from The Late Late Show with James Corden
  7. Check out our previous podcast episode on violence: SOC110 – Violence: Nature VS Nurture
  8. The Catcher in the Rye and the shooting of John Lennon
  9. Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
  10. Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen by Harris & Giuffre
  11. Curious about how discomfort and heat has been link with increased aggression and violence? Check out these two studies:
    1. Hot and Crowded: Influences of Population Density and Temperature on Interpersonal Affective Behavior” by Griffit and Veitch
    2. Hot Years and Serious and Deadly Assault: Empirical Test of the Heat Hypothesis” by Anderson et al.
  12. Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work by Gary Alan Fine
  13. Naked ‘Nevermind’ baby sues Nirvana for ‘child pornography’
  14. Here’s our article again in case you missed it

New York Magazine’s Grub Street Interview

Ellen and Penn got the awesome opportunity to talk with Alan Sytsma at Grub Street about their article on the normalization of violence in kitchens through food media. Their interview is titled, “How Celebrity Chefs Warped Our View of Real-World Restaurant Abuse.” Check it out here!

SOC408 – Gentrification Through Food (Guest Edition)


The way neighborhoods are transformed as investors, capital, and newcomers arrive cannot be understood without talking about cafes, lattes, food security, avocado toast, and race. Dr. Alison Alkon and Dr. Joshua Sbicca join us this week to discuss how food is both a gentrifying force and gentrified itself. The conversation was initiated by a new edited volume by our guests (and Dr. Yuki Kato who could not make it) titled, A Recipe for Gentrification! Tune in to learn more about how neighborhood foodscapes change, and how these changes warrant sociological analysis. All you food and environmental justice peeps, this one’s for you!


Food, gentrification, sociology, class, race, neighborhoods, urban, food justice, environmental, community gardens


SOC406 – Pre-election Special: The Politics of Higher Education


Over the past three years, those of us in higher education have become more and more aware of the role politics play in academia. And on July 6th 2020, things came to a head when the Department of Homeland Security announced that international students who take only online courses in Fall 2020 were required to transfer schools, find in-person classes to take, or leave the country. Roughly a week later, DHS rescinded the order. So, we have our friend and colleague, Nathalie Rita, with us to discuss the role of politics in the academy, the role of the academy in politics, and the precarity of international students in the United States. Tune in to listen to our special pre-election episode, and please GO VOTE!


Higher education, politics, election, international students, immigration


SOC402 – Intro to Sociology of Education (Guest Edition)


This week we sat down with Dr. Mary Kate Blake, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology from Valparaiso University, for a rundown of sociology of education. What is the sociology of education? How is education a structural component of society? Why is it so important to the economy and the labor market? We discuss the impacts of high school counselors, the journey of going to college, and of course, what education is like during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sociology of education, college, labor market, COVID-19


We send a big thank you to Meghan Nevil for transcribing this episode! You can read it here.


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