SOC508 – Changing the Narrative for Native Hawaiian Wellbeing (Guest Edition)

Abstract

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!

Keywords

Native Hawaiian Wellbeing, Kūkulu Kumuhana, Indigenous Frameworks, Culture, Data

Sources

Hawaiian words in the episode (in order of use):

Hawaiian online dictionary 

  • Aloha mai kākou – greetings to all of you
  • Mahalo – thank you; gratitude
  • E kala mai – forgive me; sorry; apologies
  • Moʻokūʻauhau – ancestry; genealogy
  • ʻImi pono – to seek out fullness/completeness/balance 
  • ʻOhana – family
  • Kaiaulu – community
  • Honua – world, environment
  • Ea – self-determination
  • ʻŌiwi – cultural identity and native intelligence
  • ʻĀina Momona – healthy and productive lands and people
  • Pilina – mutually sustaining relationships
  • Waiwai – ancestral abundance and collective wealth
  • Kupuna – elders
  • Ke Akua Mana – spirituality
  • Mōʻi – King; chief; ruler
  • He Ali’i Ka ‘Āina; He Kauwā ke Kanaka – The Land is Chief; Man is its Servant
  • Kai – ocean; salt water
  • Wai – fresh water
  • Kūkulu – to build; pile up; a pillar
  • Kumu – the source (e.g., teacher); basis; main stalk or root of plant
  • Haumāna – students
  • Hana – the work; activity
  • Kūkulu Kumuhana – “the pooling of strengths, emotional, psychological, and spiritual for a shared purpose. A unified, unifying purpose.” (Source).
  • Naʻau – intuition; feelings; gut instinct
  • Kākoʻo – agree; support
  • Moʻolelo – story; tale; myth
  • Mana – divine power, among other things. (Read the book!).
  • Hoʻoponopono – to correct; the name of a traditional healing process (conflict resolution) to resolve issues within ʻohana 
  • Heluhelu i ka puke – read a book!

SOC507 – Princess Performers (Guest Edition)

Abstract

Are you a Disney fan? Have you ever seen a princess in the flesh? Well, this week we are joined by Kristen Newvine of the Social Science Princess Project, who talks with us about this world of character performance. We use Goffman to understand how adopting the identities of Disney princesses can actually influence performers’ everyday non-princess lives– from how they talk to how they greet children at grocery stores to how they sing when they’re encountering setbacks. Tune in and have a magical day! 

Keywords

Princess, performers, Goffman, Disney, Identity theory, Identity

Resources

SOC413 – Firearms in America (Guest episode)

Abstract

Guns are a hot button topic. They are imbued with politics, religion, masculinity, danger, safety, emotions, and more. Ellen was lucky enough to sit down with Dr. Benjamin Dowd-Arrow, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Health at Florida State University, and talk about the role firearms play in American society today. A trained medical sociologist, Dr. Dowd-Arrow helps us break down why guns are seen as a public health concern, and explains how the values we attach to firearms have evolved over the past 50 years. Tune in here to learn more!

Keywords

Firearms, guns, culture, America, public health

Sources

(Don’t) Ask a Sociologist Episode 1: What is Society?

Abstract

We’ve got a new series for you where we answer listener questions about sociology, theory, grad school, and more! So, in our inaugural episode we’re answering a HUGE question: How do you define “society”? Sounds easy, but trust us (and the ~20 min length of this episode), it ain’t! Tune in here to learn how we define society and its close connection with culture! And 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!

Keywords

Society, culture, politics, nation state, identity

Sources

SOC311 – Intro to Popular Culture: “It’s all about popular”

Abstract

We’re getting light-hearted in these crazy times and introducing you to the sociology of pop culture! In this episode, we use Dr. David Grazian’s work to explore what popular culture is and how it’s different from high culture. Then we make sense of culture’s role in globalization, and show how pop cultural products– like sitcoms, Taylor Swift songs, and anime– can act as forms of soft power. Tune in here to hear Penn and Omar nerd out on the intricacies of Naruto and Studio Ghibli, and to understand just how powerful and important pop culture is to our society!

Keywords

Popular culture, society, music, entertainment, globalization, soft power, anime

Sources

SOC211 – “It Ain’t a Rug!”: Edward Said’s Orientalism

Abstract
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!


Sources
  1. Edward Said’s book Orientalism (1978)
  2. Biography of Edward Said
  3. Biography of Nandita Sharma
  4. Contrapuntal reading (Oxford Reference)
  5. An article by Roger Owen (2012) titled, “Edward Said and the Two Critiques of Orientalism” from the Middle East Institute that outlines criticisms that have been levied against Said’s theories
  6. Interview with Edward Said where he discusses his background, orientalism, the Palestinian conflict and more.
  7. Edward Said on Charlie Rose (circa 1994)

Breakaway Episode 2-The Middle Finger

Abstract

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 www.thesocialbreakdown.com? Yup, check it out!

Keywords

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

Sources

  1. Jack Katz, “How Emotions Work” (his section on the well-flipped finger is in Chapter 1)
    1. https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/papers/goffman/20150303131604904.pdf
  2. BBC article, “When Did the Middle Finger Become Offensive?”
    1. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16916263
  3. New York Times article on why we should curse, “The Case for Cursing”
    1. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/smarter-living/the-case-for-cursing.html
  4. Article by Richard Stephens, “Swearing Is Actually a Sign of More Intelligence – Not Less – Say Scientists”
    1. https://www.sciencealert.com/swearing-is-a-sign-of-more-intelligence-not-less-say-scientists

SOC113 – Christmas Rituals & Traditions: Mariah Carey VS Chipmunks

Abstract

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to avoid it. Not only is it a day of celebration for Christian religions, but it has become commercialized and commodified for the sake of consumption and capitalism. Christmas also has a strong culture associated with it, full of rituals and traditions–from decorating the tree to gift-giving to singing in groups in front of people’s houses. Join us this week as we discuss these rituals, and get some tips from our amazing sociology gift guide!

Keywords

Christmas, rituals, traditions, religion, holidays, gift giving, culture, sociology, Emerson, Mauss, norms, Durkheim, Xmas

Sources

  1. The Penguin Definition of Sociology 
  2. Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life 
  3. Japanese bowing guide
  4. Trump mocked Obama for bowing to a Saudi king. And then he … (Washington Post 2017)
  5. Contributions To Churches Are Studied (New York Times 1994)
  6. Christmas Traditions and Customs 
  7. History of Christmas Trees 
  8. Mariah Carey – All I want for Christmas is You 
  9. Chipmunk Christmas playlist
  10. Marcel Mauss’s (1925) seminal essay on gift giving  “The Gift: The form and reason for exchange in archaic societies”

    “That when an object is given as a gift, it becomes inextricably tied to the giver. To make a gift of something is to make a present of some part of oneself.”

  11. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s (1844) essay “Gifts” 
  12. A Sociologist Studied Christmas Gifts, and Here’s What He Learned (The New Republic 2013) 
  13. Gift wrapping in Japan
  14. Sociology gifts
  15. Donate to a good organization. Check out some of these websites to make sure your charity is legitimate and effective! Charity NavigatorGiveWellBBB Wise Giving AllianceGuideStarCharity Watch
  16. Sorry Megyn Kelly, Santa Claus Isn’t White (Huffington Post 2017) 
  17. What Fox News Doesn’t Understand About Santa Claus (Slate 2017) 
  18. While Coca Cola did not create the image of the elderly Santa in his red suit and black belt and jolly smile, the company played a large role in shaping the global perception of Santa through commercialization and ad campaigns.

SOC104 – Consumption, Prosumption, What’s Your Function?

Abstract

What’s your favorite brand? Do you believe in retail therapy? What about how ‘a diamond is forever’? Consumer culture surrounds us in every aspect of our social lives, and is virtually impossible to ignore, especially with the development of the internet and new media technologies that bombard us with ads while providing us with the tools to be creative and powerful consumers. But are you, the consumer, being exploited by big name corporations? Join us to find out!

Keywords

Consumer culture, consumption, prosumption, internet, brand loyalty, exploitation

Resources

  1. Josie and the Pussycats (2001)
  2. “How Retailers Trick You with Their Amazing Black Friday ‘Discounts'”
  3. Production, Consumption, Prosumption by George Ritzer and Nathan Jurgenson (2010)
  4. Justin Knapp, the super Wikipedia prosumer
  5. Thorstein Veblen on conspicuous consumption

    Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure. As wealth accumulates on his hands, his own unaided effort will not avail to sufficiently put his opulence in evidence by this method. The aid of friends and competitors is therefore brought in by resorting to the giving of valuable presents and expensive feasts and entertainments.

  6. Definition of Exploitation from the Blackwell Encyclopedia

    Exploitation occurs when someone or something (e.g., a material resource, an opportunity) is used or taken advantage of. Social scientists are chiefly concerned with the exploitation of people and classes, who are generally considered exploited if they are required, by force or by circumstances, to contribute more to some process than they receive in return.

  7. Lil Yachty’s diamond chain of his own face
  8. Adam Ruins Everything on the De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” marketing scam
  9. Blood Diamonds (Time Magazine editorial)
  10. “Escalating Sweatshops Protests Keep Nike Sweating”
  11. “Life and Death in Apple’s Forbidden City”, an article on Apple’s Foxcon factories
  12. “Yes, prisoners used to sew lingerie for Victoria’s Secret”
  13. Juliet Schor’s The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (1999)
  14. The Tiny House Movement
  15. The Minimalists on Minimalism
  16. Keeping up with the Kardashian pregnancies article

SOC103 – Status and the Paradox of the Celebrity

Abstract

Why does Kim K get to “break the internet?” Do celebrities reflect our exaggerated imaginations? Where does all that money go? Why does Woody Allen get to make movies and Ben Rothlisberger get to still play football? In this week’s we tackle Celebrity status and its presence in contemporary society. Trust us, there is no other status with this much power and mystery…let’s break it down.

Disclaimer: We apologize for misgendering Caitlyn Jenner. It’s never our intention to be disrespectful, and we recognize the importance of using the correct pronouns.  (08/28/2021)

Keywords

Status, Celebrity, American Culture, Popular Culture, Entertainment, Celebrity culture

Resources

  1. Short biography on Max Weber, one of the founding fathers of sociology
  2. Weber on Class, Status, and Power
  3. Jonathan Turner and Jan Stets’ (2004) The Sociology of Emotions – On Theodore Kemper’s theory on structure and emotions, status, and power.

    Within social situations, individuals possess relative power (authority), or the ability to tell others what to do, and status (conceptualized as prestige or honor rather than as a position in a structure).

  4. Quote from Kurzman et al.’s reading on Celebrity status

    “Celebrity is an omnipresent feature of contemporary society, blazing lasting impressions in the memories of all who cross its path. In keeping with Weber’s conception of status, celebrity has come to dominate status “honor,” generate enormous economic benefits, and lay claim to certain legal privileges. Compared with other types of status, however, celebrity is status on speed. It confers honor in days, not generations; it decays over time, rather than accumulating; and it demands a constant supply of new recruits, rather than erecting barriers to entry.”

  5. Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out
  6. Ben Rothlisberger’s wikipedia page, if you’re interested in the scandals discussed
  7. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List: Season 1
  8. Neal Gabler’s Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality (2000)- very good critical read on how real life drama (i.e. celebrity lives, reality tv shows) have become our primary form of entertainment
  9. American Crime Story: The People VS O.J. Simpson
  10. ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America
  11. Boston bombing movies – there are already two of them! Patriots Day and Stronger.
  12. Jennifer Lawrence and the gender pay gap in Hollywood
  13. Special Envoy Angelina Jolie for UNHCR
  14. Graeme Turner’s Understanding Celebrity (2013) – Evaluates the many taxonomies of “celebrity” and how the title has evolved with society and technology. He also devotes quite a bit of time to discussing how

    “the celebrity industry is one that spends a great deal of its time masking the fact that it exists at all.”

  15. Here’s a cool illustrated guide to Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. And here’s the actual text, if you want to dig deeper! (P.S. It’s actually pronounced GEE Debord!).
  16. Hell’s Kitchen
  17. Read the script for the “Our Town” play here
  18. Jay-Z’s website, his book  Decoded, his documentary TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, if you want to become like Omar
  19. Arashi’s wikipedia page and official website, if you want to worship them like Penn
  20. Forbes 2017 list of “The World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities List”, showing Kim Kardashian made $45.5 million and Jay-Z made $42 million.
  21. Kim Kardashian-West’s instagram page, if you want to fangirl like Ellen
  22. The Jay-Z produced documentary on Kalief Browder titled, “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” is on Netflix.
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