SOC128 – The Dark Web (Part 2): The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


We’re back to the deep and dark web! This week we’re looking at the positive (and innocuous) aspects of the dark web. While it may be a place for illicit trade, the dark web is also a space for free speech and anonymity, and people are taking advantage of this by creating anonymous social networking sites and speaking out (and whistleblowing) on important issues. Tune in to hear us discuss the power and moral implications of being able to be anonymous online!


technology, the dark web, society


  1. Refresher on what the Surface, Dark, and Deep web is from TechWorm.
  2. New York Times’ own report on being available on the Tor network
  3. Robert Gehl’s article on Culture Digitally, “Legitimizing the Dark Web: The New York Times’ Tor Hidden Service” from Nov. 17, 2017
  4. Robert Gehl’s (2014) article titled “Power/freedom on the Dark Web: A Digital Ethnography of the Dark Web Social Network”
  5. The Hacker Manifesto
  6. Guardian article, “The Key Moments from Mark Zuckerberg’s Testimony to Congress”
  7. 7. Article on social implications of Japanese population w/ graph, “Defusing Japan’s Demographic Time Bomb”


SOC127: The Dark Web (Part 1): The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


The surface web, deep web, and dark web! What are they? What’s the difference? And what are the social implications of having these different areas of the internet? Since these are such hefty questions, we’ve split this topic into two episodes! In this episode, we’re going to explore the seedy, nefarious side of the dark web: the Silk Road, murder-for-hire, and illicit trafficking. Tune in to learn more about the internet and its many layers!


dark web, internet, technology


  1. “A Beginner’s Guide to Tor: How to Navigate Through the Underground Internet” from Digital Trends

  2. “Legitimizing the Dark Web: The New York Times’ Tor Hidden Service”  (By Robert Gehl)

  3. Difference between the Clear/Surface, Deep, and Dark web (By Douglas Karr)

  4. “Playpen: The Story of the FBI’s Unprecedented and Illegal Hacking Operation” (By Mark Rumold)

  5. Federal Authorities Take Down Being a Haven for Online Prostitution” (By Joseph Tanfani)

  6. Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize for his album, ‘DAMN’
  7. Kanye West’s twitter account (in case you want to read his exchange with John Legend)
  8. Kanye’s song, “Lift Yourself” (the news story).… poopity scoopity! Here’s the song if you want to listen

Below are some good infographics and screenshots of the Dark Web


SOC126-Medicalizing Behavior: Common or “Abnormal”?


Since 2000, which marked the national Human Genome Project (HGP), society has seen a shift in the process of medicalization–and we are here to talk about it! What is “normal” versus “abnormal” child behavior? How has society continued to explain human behavior in biological, genetic or medical terms? How does the pharmaceutical industry influence this process? Join us for the conversation on this week’s episode!


medicalization, deviance, genetics


  1. Terminology brief and short article on the medicalization of deviance
  2. The Medicalization of Deviance: From Badness to Sickness. Prominent sociologist, Joseph Schneider. (Handbook of Sociology of Deviance 2015)
  3. The Problem with Race-Based Medicine--TED Talk with legal and medical scholar Dorothy Roberts
  4. The Medicalization of Society (Full Book pdf) by Peter Conrad
  5. ADHD Fictitious Epidemic (2 minute video)
  6. ADHD as a difference in cognition, not disorder–TED Talk Student Competition Winner
  7. Lecture on medicalization from Peter Conrad
  8. National Human Genome Research Institute

SOC125: Conformity, Whaddup?

This week we’re dipping our toes into the field of Social Psychology by exploring the concept of conformity. What is it? What do we risk if we don’t conform? And what are some social structures that influence us into conforming? Tune in to hear our conversation and remember to check out our website ( for more sources and articles on this topic!


conformity, social psychology, micro-sociology


  1. Elliot Aronson’s The Social Animal
  2. Soloman Asch’s 1950’s Conformity Experiment and here’s some good video footage!
  3. Deutsch and Gerard (1955) article, “A study of normative and informational social influences upon individual judgment”
  4. A more recent article from Stanley Milgrim on “Nationality and Conformity” in the Scientific American
  5. A great example of social conformity in action from the TV show, “Brain Games”

Breakaway Episode 2-The Middle Finger


This week, Ellen and Penn get together to discuss one of their favorite gestures in a breakaway episode: The middle finger! Using work by Jack Katz, they explore why we flip the bird, what a “well-flipped” finger looks like, and the history behind flicking people off. It’s phallic, offensive, and Ellen thinks it’s funny to do in family photos.

Did you know you can reach the sources we cite in each episode at Yup, check it out!


culture, emotion, flicking, flipping, jack, katz, middle finger, profanity, sociology, swearing


  1. Jack Katz, “How Emotions Work” (his section on the well-flipped finger is in Chapter 1)
  2. BBC article, “When Did the Middle Finger Become Offensive?”
  3. New York Times article on why we should curse, “The Case for Cursing”
  4. Article by Richard Stephens, “Swearing Is Actually a Sign of More Intelligence – Not Less – Say Scientists”

SOC124-Life is but a Stage: Goffman and Dramaturgy


“Life is a performance!” Have you ever heard that phrase? Well it’s super dramaturgical! Today we explore the work of Erving Goffman, a micro-sociologists who pioneered the notion that we have front stage and back stage performances (aka dramaturgy). Join us as we discuss what a performance is, the many roles we play, and what happens when your performance is perceived as fraudulent.


dramaturgy, goffman, micro sociology


  1. Erving Goffman biography
  2. “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” by Erving Goffman
  3. Cool video intro into Goffman and Dramaturgy from BBC

Other books by Goffman

  1. Asylums
  2. Stigma
  3. Interaction Ritual
  4. Forms of Talk
  5. Erving Goffman’s daughter Alice Goffman’s book “On the Run”

SOC123-Spranng Break Mini Episode


The SB team have been busy giving you new episodes each week over the course the academic year, but as most of you are well aware… SPRING BREAK IS HERE! And we need a break. So, this week will be a mini episode where we give some recommendations on sociological WATCHING for you to do while we’re on vacation for a couple weeks. (Still read books though!) We will be back on April 4th, so we won’t be gone for too long. Also– don’t forget to do our survey on our website and we’ll send you some Social Breakdown gear .


  1. Penn’s Recommendation
    1. Mind Hunter
    2. The People vs. OJ
  2. Omar’s Recommendation
    1. Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee)
    2. Mad Men (also on Netflix)
  3. Ellen’s Recommendation
    1. Black Mirror

Take our survey to get a sticker!

SOC122: PhD’s Guide to Research Methods


We continue our PhD’s guide series with a broad overview of sociological research methodology. WAIT! Don’t fall asleep! We talk a ton about concepts and theories, but how do sociologists come up with the evidence to back them up? How do we do our research? This episode will give you a little insight into how. We cover the basics of qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as discuss the ethics of human research. Whether you like numbers or words, statistics or stories, there’s a method to suit your mode of thinking! Join in as we discuss the Nuremberg trials, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and a run down of the basics of sociological research.


sociology, sociological imagination, methodology


  1. On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman
  2. Good summary and follow up to the aftermath of this book (NYTimes)
  3. Victor Rios harsh criticism of book in book review
  4. Amazing easy-to-read primer on multiple regression analysis. A 5TH GRADER CAN READ IT. Every sociologist needs this book
  5. Here’s a fun crash course on sociological research methods
  6. Institutional Ethnography–Lecture by the founder, Dorothy Smith


▪ data are reduced to numbers and statistical analyses are commonly


▪ research tool tends to be reliable

▪ results of research are more generalizable to larger and other populations

▪ cannot study individual units of analysis in depth

▪ studies large populations broadly

▪ commonly used methods of data collection used are:

✓ survey

✓ experiments

✓ content analysis


▪ data are text or visual images

▪ can study populations that are hard to find (snowball sampling)

▪ results tend to be accurate

▪ studies a small number of units of analysis in depth

▪ research results generally are not generalizable

▪ commonly used methods of data collection used are:

✓ participant observation (aka ethnography or fieldwork)

✓ historical research

Discourse analysis

Institutional ethnography


SOC121 – ‘X’ Number of Asians: The Model Minority Myth


The Social Breakdown team is at it again! This time we’re talking about the myths of the model minority. It’s important to break down this myth, because we live in a world of identity politics where we fight over who gets to speak for whom and how we represent ourselves within institutions. Who is the model minority, and how did this term come to be? What social pressures defy or reproduce stereotypes? And what problems does this myth create for other people of color? Join us in our conversation on the model minority and the taken-for-granted notions of this myth. We have our eyes on you, Silicon Valley!


model minority, tokenism, upward mobility


  1. History of term ‘model minority’
  2. The Professional Burdens of Being a ‘Model Minority’
  3. Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton?
  4. The real secret to Asian American success was not education
  5. ‘Model Minority’ Myth Again Used As A Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks
  6. Silicon Valley’s Forgotten Minority
  7. Jay Z & Kanye West – Murder to Excellence lyrics
  8. How Trump’s latest affirmative action move uses the Asian “model minority” as a prop
  9. Suicide among Asian-Americans
  10. No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life (Princeton University Press)
  11. The model minority is losing patience
  12. The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans
  13. The White Space–Elijah Anderson

SOC120-A PhD’s Guide To Conferences


Conferences… A little awkward, pretty informative, and occasionally monotonous. They’re a fact of life for those of us in academia! This week we delve into what conferences are, why you should attend, some of the main sociology conferences, and most importantly some DOs and DON’Ts of going to conferences. Listen to our suggestions, and then let us know if we missed anything by Tweeting or Facebooking us @socbreakdown!


sociology, conferences, phd guide


Upcoming Conferences

  1. American Sociological Association, Aug 11-14
  2. Society for the Study of Social Problems, Aug 10-12
  3. Pacific Sociological Association, March 28-31
  4. Hawaii Sociological Association, Feb 24-25
  5. International Sociological Association’s “World Congress of Sociology”, July 15-21.

Why attend conferences?

  1. Schmoozing/Networking
  2. To learn new things!
  3. Meet your academic superstars
  4. To add to your CV/resume
  5. To get feedback from colleagues

Conference DOs

  1. Show up early and don’t make a ruckus!
  2. Practice your presentation at least 3 times!
  3. Sit in the front and ask questions!
  4. Make sure you have all your tech stuff set up if you’re doing a PPT! Have it on a thumbdrive, in your email, and on your computer.
  5. Breathe quietly plz. Thank you.
  6. Enjoy yourself! Explore the city/area where the conference is held, eat all the good food, and get drinks with fellow scholars! Balance work and play.

Conference DON’Ts

  1. Ask self-centered “questions”, where you’re really just bragging and not asking a question!
  2. Go over time! Respect your fellow panel members and your audience.
  3. Be shy or intimidated by other people, or the schools they come from! You are fabulous, worthy, and have something to contribute.
  4. Be a creep. Read the social cues!