SOC509 – LGBTQ Caregiving (Guest Edition)


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


SOC313 – To Err is Human: A Look at Medical Error


Medical error– defined as unintended or failed plan of actions related to treatments– is an understudied in medical sociology. Patient harm from medical error can occur at the individual and systemic level however, and it might shock you to learn that it happens more often than not– it’s technically the third leading cause of death in the United States! Listen to our discussion on what societal factors contribute to medical error. Leave us a rating and review if you enjoy our podcast!


Medical error, medical sociology, medicine, hospitals, doctors


  1. Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US
  2. Deaths and Mortality (CDC)
  3. “To err is human”: a report from the institute of medicine
  4. Choosing Your Words Carefully: How Physicians Would Disclose Harmful Medical Errors to Patients
  5. Databases, legal records, websites used to gather details on doctors
  6. A Conceptual Model for Disclosure of Medical Errors
  7. Health Care Ratings and Reports

SOC303 – The “Myth” of Mental Illness


Join the SB team as we talk about the “myth of mental illness,” a phrase coined by psychiatrist and medical sociologist, Thomas Szasz. Today we will be comparing the ideas of mental health and illness as “problems with living” to the medical model. As sociologists we are not anti-medicine or anti-doctor, but we do feel it necessary to use our perspective breakdown the essence of psychological functioning and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as the gatekeeper.


Mental illness, mental health, medical sociology, medicine, stigma, shame


You can find the transcript for this episode here! Big mahalos to Dr. Stacye Blount for helping us transcribe this one!!


  1. Thomas Szasz the Psychiatrist.
  2. The Myth of Mental Illness: 50 years later by Thomas Szasz 
  3. Szasz Under Fire: The Psychiatrist Abolitionist Faces His Critics
  4. According to the American Psychiatric Association, Mental Illness is..
  5. Sociology, on the other hand…
  6. Changing brain chemistry after trauma
  7. Overcoming the stigma of mental illness
  8. What is Neurodiversity? 
  9. What is Neurodiversity from an Autistic perspective (Video)
  10. Halloween and that “special candy”
  11. The Illusionist Magic Show
  12. SOC126: Medicalizing Behavior–Normal or “Abnormal”
  13. The Life Course Perspective. Classic and contemporary medical sociological theory 
  14. History of DSM and the most current edition–DSM 5
  15. Suicide Prevention Hotline

SOC 214 – Reproductive Politics: The Body as a Site of Political Struggle


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:

  1. SOC109 – Illness & Morality: A Look at Medical Sociology
  2. SOC126-Medicalizing Behavior: Common or “Abnormal”?
  3. SOC204 – The Spectrum: An Introduction to Sex and Gender
  4. SOC205 – The Matrices of Oppression: An Introduction to Intersectionality
  5. SOC 213 – Doulas and Midwives and Women’s Health, Oh My!

Reproductive politics, fetal personhood, autonomy, sex, gender


  1. Reproductive Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know by Rickie Solinger (2013)
  2. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler (2015)
  3. The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity by Michael Marmot (2005)
  4. Breastfeeding in public is finally legal in all 50 US states
  5. Roe v. Wade: The Constitutional Right to Access Safe, Legal Abortion
  6. Does the GOP tax bill introduce anti-abortion ‘fetal personhood’ legislation?
  7. Abortion after the first trimester
  8. Induced Abortion in the United States
  9. Trump just basically said he’s anti-childbirth
  10. The Criminalization of Bad Mothers (New York Times)
  11. State Laws on Fetal Homicide and Penalty-Enhancement for Crimes Against Pregnant Women
  12. Unborn Victims of Violence Act
  13. Woman whose rapist was granted joint custody of child speaks out
  14. How can US rapist win joint custody of victim’s child?
  15. Ronald Reagan, The Silent Scream and the Slow Rise of Fetal Pain
  16. Abortion in the US: Five Key Facts
  17. Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients in 2014 and Changes Since 2008
  18. Waiting Periods and the Rising Price of Abortion

SOC109 – Illness & Morality: A Look at Medical Sociology


Is health a privilege or a right? As a society, how do we come to understand health and its social origins and outcomes? Though medicine has been understood as a social science that dates back to Hippocrates–the Hippocratic Oath–medical sociology is not even 70 years old yet! The climb to intellectual legitimacy and sound research is recent. When it comes to matters of stress, food, doctor-patient interactions, racism and sexism, medical sociologists have a lot to say and a lot to do…come join us as The Social Breakdown begins its journey in everything health!


Sociology, medical sociology, health, policy


  1. The Importance of the Study of Medical Sociology (Charles McIntire 1991) 
  2. Quick brief on medical sociology of the last 50 years (Rosich and Hankin 2010) 
  3. The Anti-Vaccine Generation: How Movement Against Shots Got Its Start (National Geographic 2015) 
  4. The sick role by Talcott Parsons in The Social Systems (1951) 
  5. A doctor’s “people skills” affects patients’ health (CBS News 2014) 
  6. Cultural Competency in Healthcare 
  7. Losing culture on the way to competence: the use and misuse of culture in medical education (Gregg & Somnath 2016) 
  8. National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care (US Department of Health and Human Services 2001) 
  9. Emergency department workers face high stress, burnout (Reuters 2016) 
  10. Freakonomics’ series on Bad Medicine
    1. Part 1: The Story of 98.6 
    2. Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations 
    3. Par 3: Death by Diagnosis 
  11. Doctors told to dispense with confusing medical jargon (The Guardian 2014) 
  12. Global Life Expectancy ranking and data (World Health Organization 2017) 
  13. Why Sharing Your Progress Makes You More Likely To Accomplish Your Goals (Fast Company 2015) 
  14. The Psychology Behind a Grocery Store’s Layout (Notre Dame College 2013) 
  15. Surviving the Sneaky Psychology of Supermarkets (National Geographic 2015)
  16. Access to healthy foods worse in poor areas (Reuters 2009) 
  17. The cost of organic food (Consumer Reports 2015) 
  18. The Word as Scalpel: A History of Medical Sociology (Bloom 2002)

    “A doctor can damage a patient as much with a misplaced word as with a slip of the scalpel.”

  19. From Social Structure to Gene Regulation, and Back: A Critical Introduction to Environmental Epigenetics for Sociology (Annual Review of Sociology 2013) 
  20. 2018 Open Enrollment
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