We do a quick breakaway this week on a fun topic – boybands! Why is J-Pop and K-Pop so globally popular? What’s the difference between American, Japanese, and Korean boybands anyway? K-Pop is known for their perfectly choreographed and intricate dancing with pitch perfect singing; while J-Pop aims to be your boyband next door. But you might be surprised to learn that they arose out of very different sociopolitical contexts! Each genre has quite an interesting history in relation to trade, economy, and globalization. We discuss the idea of soft power, and how various industries use their cultural products to become a cultural force around the world. Keywords Boybands, consumption, popular culture, JPop, Kpop
In this episode, the team tackles one of the most sensitive topics within current social discussions – reproductive politics. Using Rickie Solinger’s seminal book Reproductive Politics, we discuss how the women’s bodies have become a site of public political struggle, thereby, determining the level of personal autonomy and privacy available to women. We highlight an aspect of Solinger’s work on fetal personhood, and how the rights of the fetus have been constructed, in some ways, in conflict with the mother’s rights.
*NOTE: This episode was recorded last year in 2018 (hence, the breakdowns are old), but we did not want to release it until we had covered the umbrella topics around reproductive politics. For a primer on episodes to listen to before this episode, check out the following:
The Social Breakdown Team is at it again with another really important topic–Women’s Health! On this week’s show Omar and Ellen will be having a discussion with Alexandra, a current University of Hawai’i at Manoa PhD Student, medical sociologist, and a practicing doula! What is a doula? What is midwifery? Join us for the conversation as Alex gives us a brief but important tour of women’s health, mythbusting the differences between being a doula and a midwife, and much more.
Women’s health, feminism, intersectionality, gender, childbirth, medical sociology
Other episodes we’ve released that relate to the sociology of women’s health:
Oparah and Bonaparte’s Birthing Justice, which looks at indigenous and women of color’s experience of childbirth, capitalism in childbirth, racism and obstetric violence from mother’s, doulas, and midwives point of views.
This week, we have a guest speaker on to give an introduction to migration studies. This topic has a lot to do with current events such as DACA, The Wall, and various other immigration policies. Tune in to learn more about how Sociology approaches these issues, and how we are all living in an imagined community – a concept put forth by Benedict Anderson to highlight the ideological project of ‘culture.’
We’re getting theoretical this week and tackling Orientalism, a concept and book by the fantastic Dr. Edward Said. If you’re taking a higher-level sociology, anthropology, history, or poli sci class, chances are you’re gonna hear “orientalism” thrown around! What is heck is it? (Hint: It ain’t a rug, a fast-food take out place, or the way to describe how someone looks!) What is its connection to imperialism and colonialism? And how has it influenced scholarship and research in the past and present? Tune in to learn more and be sure to give us a rating!
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.”