What is “humor” and what is “comedy”? Do these terms mean the same thing? Today we answer these questions with the help of Dr. Raul Perez, author of ‘The Souls of White Jokes’ and scholar of what exactly “funny” is and “funny” does. Tune in to learn about the purposes that humor serves in society, stretching back to feudal times to the current Cancel Culture era. And don’t forget to grab a copy of his book!
Humor, comedy, race, racism, discrimination, historical
We’re baaaaacck! Welcome to the start of our 5th school year together. (Yep, you read that right: *fifth* year!) We’re getting things going with a quick talk story session between Omar and Ellen about the symbolic meanings of life in 2022. Vaccines, Manti Te’o, masks, Liz Cheney, Britney Spears, Joe Biden– each of these things and people hold a plethora of meanings to each of us, and shape how we interact with them. Tune in to catch up with us, and see if you share the same meanings as us!
Symbols, symbolic interactionism, COVID-19, masking, politics, pop culture
- Vaccines are now available for young children.
- Watch the fantastic documentary, “The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist,” about catfished footballer, Manti Te’o here.
- And you can read the OG article about Manti here.
- Read about Liz Cheney’s loss in the 2022 primary elections here.
- Ellen feels bad for Britney Spears. But rather than link to some awful article, here’s one to her newest song with Elton John!
- Omar feels bad for Joe Biden. But rather than link to another awful article, here’s one to cute puppies.
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!
Princess, performers, Goffman, Disney, Identity theory, Identity
You can find the transcript for this episode here. Big mahalo to the princess herself, Kristin Newvine, for transcribing this episode!!
- Check out Kristin’s Context’s article, Princessing: The Magic of Impression Management
- Here is Kristin’s Social Science Princess Project:
- We talk about Erving Goffman’s “Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”
- We also have an episode on Goffman, which you can listen to here.
- Here is the clip of the Gaston prince performer rejecting a Disney goer.
- Curious about identity theory? Check out Sheldon Stryker’s work!
- Here’s a recent article from Vox about the life of a Disney princess performer.
- Kristen recommended the following to those interested in learning more:
- We discussed this Florida worker’s experiment testing the availability of work.
Did you know that contemporary and modern art aren’t the same thing? Come learn with us about the contemporary art world, how artists judge and value their own art and creative journey, and how artists represent or negotiate their creative vision. We invited Dr. Hannah Wohl, who recently published Bound by Creativity: How Contemporary Art is Created and Judged with University of Chicago Press to talk about her ethnographic work with contemporary artists. Dive with us into the art world and maybe spark that creativity to become an artist yourself!
Contemporary Art, Creativity, Popular Culture, Aesthetic Judgments
- Bound by Creativity: How Contemporary Art Is Created and Judged by Hannah Wohl
- SOC414 – “I just see blue’: What is art? (Guest episode)
- Damien Hirst
- Oscar Murillo
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
- For $84,000, An Artist Returned Two Blank Canvasses Titled ‘Take The Money And Run’
- Gary Alan Fine
- Wendy Griswold
- Katherine Bernhardt
- Contemporary art fairs
- B. Wurtz
- Found objects
- Art Worlds by Howard S. Becker
- Talking Prices: Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art by Olav Velthuis
- Talking Art: The Culture of Practice and the Practice of Culture in MFA Education by Gary Alan Fine
- Still Life: Ecologies of the Modern Imagination at the Art Museum by Fernando Domínguez Rubio
- Buyers of Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 Banana Defend the Work as ‘the Unicorn of the Art World,’ Comparing It to Warhol’s Soup Cans
- “Art markets in crisis: how personal bonds and market subcultures mediate the effects of COVID-19” by Larissa Buchholz, Gary Alan Fine, and Hannah Wohl
- NFT art: what is it, how it works and what it means for the creative industry
- #FreeBritney: Understanding the Fan-led Britney Spears Movement
‘Watchmen,’ the 1980s comic, has been adapted into a television series on HBO and a film. Which one is better? Brian Brutlag, from the Sociologist’s Dojo, joins our debate and explains how the comic has shaped the imagery and storylines of those that followed. We also discuss how capitalism recycles profitable plotlines and characters and how that cycle influences audiences’ interest. Tune in here and be sure to follow the Sociologist’s Dojo!
Pop culture, Watchmen, Capitalism, Superheroes, Anti-Heroes
Follow Brian and check out his podcast!
- Watchmen the Comic Book
- Watchmen movie official trailer
- Watchmen TV Show (HBO) official tease
- Ready Player One (novel)
- Before Watchmen comic book series
- Doomsday Clock the comic book limited series
- The History Of Silver Age Comic Books
- What’s The Deal With Comic Book Age Ratings?
- Kick-Ass, the comic book series
- The Boys season 1 trailer
- HBO’s “Watchmen” is great. Its comic creator Alan Moore wants nothing to do with it
- Biden White House Sandbags Staffers, Sidelines Dozens for Pot Use
- Joe Biden trips three times while boarding Air Force One
We’re back with a fun breakaway episode talking about monster artists and girl power! In light of recent revelations about Joss Whedon, we breakdown classic feminist girl power TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Is it really about female empowerment? Or is it just a masculinized vision of femininity? Join us to learn more as we rethink our favorite girl power heroines.
Girl power, feminism, popular culture, monster artists
- Joss Whedon’s ‘feminist’ shows all concealed toxic ideas about women
Me Before You? The Fault in Our Stars? Chicken Soup for the Soul? Popular culture representations of disability and the disabled community have shown us the dramatic sides of the disability status. How can we better understand disability? Guest star future-Dr. Hillary Steinberg joins us today to talk about the sociology of disability as well as her working in a children’s hospital. We outline the three conceptual models of disability, critique the popular culture and disability porn representations, and untangle labels such as ‘neurodivergent’ and ‘differently abled’. Join us to learn more about a field of sociology that isn’t often talked about!
Disability studies, popular culture, charity, sociology of disability
Follow our guest, Hillary Steinberg, and her work!
- American Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The three models of sociology of disability are medical, social, and crip politic.
- Feminist, Queer Crip by Alison Kafer
- The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability by Susan Wendell
- “Barriers to Cross-state Movement for Disabled People and Their Families: A Social Problem” by Brian R. Grossman
- “Becoming Disabled” by Rosemarie Garland-Thmson
- Chicken Soup for the Soul book series
- Disability and Society section of the American Sociological Association
- About the Institutional Review Board
- “People in Places” by Robert Zussman
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- ‘I’m not a thing to be pitied’: the disability backlash against Me Before You
- RJ Mitte of ‘Breaking Bad’ is Busting Stereotypes About Cerebral Palsy
- “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” TV show
- ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ Shows Getting Autism Right On TV Is Actually Pretty Simple
- Developmental Disabilities Heighten Risk of Covid Death (NYT)
- Dalton Stevens, graduate student at Syracuse University
- Jennifer Brooks, graduate student at Syracuse University
- Brittney Miles @ Twitter – Sociology of Black Girlhood
- The Private Worlds of Dying Children by Myra Bluebond-Langner
- Feminist disability scholar, Laura Mauldin
- “Race and Disability: From Analogy to Intersectionality” by Angela Frederick and Dara Shifrer
- “Life-Course Transitions Among Adolescents With and Without Disabilities: A Longitudinal Examination of Expectations and Outcomes” by Carrie Shandra
- “The First Sexual Experience Among Adolescent Girls With and Without Disabilities” by Shandra & Chowdhury
- “When Getting a Job Is Mission Impossible” (University of Toronto Magazine) featuring the works of David Pettinicchio and Michelle Lee Maroto
- “Barriers to Economic Security: Disability, Employment, and Asset Disparities in Canada”by Maroto and Pettinicchio
- “‘Like, Pissing Yourself Is Not a Particularly Attractive Quality, Let’s Be Honest’: Learning to Contain through Youth, Adulthood, Disability and Sexuality” by Kristy Liddiard
- The Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies
- “Oregon becomes the first state to decriminalize small amounts of heroin and other street drugs” (CNN)
The music industry is a fascinating setting to understand the power of pop culture AND political economy. (Yup, like that Karl Marx kinda of political economy!) So Dr. David Arditi joins us to explore how power and institutions influence the music we listen to, and the art that musicians create. We discuss self-censorship, Soundcloud, commercialization, Bhad Bhabie, and more! Tune in here, and go check out Dr. Arditi’s book ‘Getting Signed: Record Contracts, Musicians, and Power in Society’!
Popular culture, music industry, political economy, commercialization
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!
Mahalo nui loa to Laura Kerr for helping us transcribe this episode! We heart you! Read the full episode here.
Popular culture, society, music, entertainment, globalization, soft power, anime