SOC314 – Family Demography and Intergenerational Solidarity Theory (Guest Edition)


Sociology is obviously concerned about connecting private troubles to public issues, as C. Wright Mills once said. Sociologists are also deeply interested in the relationships between people, and the intimate relationships we have with family members. This week, we have a fantastic guest, Dr. Sarah Patterson, who is helping us make sense of these connections. Sarah will be talking with us about families, family demography, and Intergenerational Solidarity Theory. What makes families work or struggle through their interactions? And do families promote positive social solidarity among all its members? Come join us for the conversation!


SOC309 – PhD’s Guide to Relationships


It’s almost the most romantic day of the year – good ol’ V-Day. While the gang has looked at family and romantic relationships from a sociological perspective, we’re taking an inner deep dive into ourselves this week with a PhD’s Guide to Relationships! Graduate school is a weirdly autonomous yet lonely time, so this week we discuss our experiences with managing romantic and platonic relationships while balancing a full course load, TA/GAships, and of course, writing a dissertation. Tune in to see how we do it and remember, you’re not alone!


Relationships, romance, friendship, graduate school


Here are the tips we covered this episode that we’ve found particularly helpful in our own lives. Hope they are for you, too!

  1. Find a person that is equally busy and tired. No explanation needed– you’re both tired and just happy to grab a bite to eat together every now and then.
  2. Communicate how busy you are! Explain to loved ones that you’re crazy busy, and give them actual concrete examples, like, “Sorry I’d love to, but I have 2 books to read, one response and a bunch of grading to complete by Monday.” Just saying, “I’m busy, I can’t,” can make it seem like you’re using school as an excuse to avoid them, rather than it being a real issue that’s getting in the way of you spending time with them.
  3. Purposefully make time for them. REAL ASS TIME, QUALITY TIME– not time where you’re staring into the screen of your phone or computer 50% of the time. Try not to be distracted and enjoy your time with your fam, BFF, or significant other. Another tip to this is to schedule a routine time for that person.
  4. Talk to them about your research! Don’t bore them or use them as a test audience for your next conference presentation, but try to include them in what your brain is consumed with right now. Plus they might make some poignant observations that you can use! 
  5. Invite them to your grad student events. In Hawaii, we have beach days and BBQs where we gather, eat, drink, gossip, and play with our dogs. Bring your partner, friend, parent, sibling, or whoever! This will give them a glimpse into and appreciation for your grad school existence.
  6. Understand that every relationship requires work. It’s a two-way street baby, and you both need to give, so you can take. So, do your part and make sure your other half is doing theirs. Hold each other accountable!

Quick breaks:

SOC118: Love Struck or Love Sick?


As SZA likes to croon, “LoOOOoovvveeeee, long as we got loooovvVVEEeee.” And that’s this week’s topic! In this episode we explore what happens in our brains when we are struck with love, how sociologists like Charles Cooley and Theodore Kemper see love, and how love can be used as a tool of social control. To better understand this intense emotion, we also discuss Georg Simmel’s important concept of the Dyad. Do you agree with sociology’s view of love? Tune in to hear our discussion!

P.S. Happy consumerist Valentine’s Day, everyone! Xoxo– The Social Breakdown Crew


Looking for the transcript?! Check it out here. And big mahaloz to Sara Avila for helping us transcribe this one. We appreciate you!


Liking, love, relationships, dyads, Valentine’s Day, Symbolic Interactionism


1. Biography of Georg Simmel

2. “Dyads and Triads” by Georg Simmel (1950) from The Sociology of Georg Simmel

Dyads are marked with: 

Triviality which “connotes a certain measure of frequency, of the consciousness that a content of life is repeated, while the value of this content depends on its very opposite– a certain measure of rarity” (p. 125).

Intimacy– Trivial acts lead to feelings of intimacy between the dyad, and “is based on what each of the two participants gives or shows only to the one other person and to nobody else” (p. 126). Simmel writes that it is these displays that make an intimate relationship, so “intimacy is not based on the content of the relationship” (p. 127).

3. Love and the Brain” from Harvard University’s Neurobiology Dep

4. Rihanna’s song “Love on the Brain”

5. Charles Cooley’s (1922) “The Social Self” in Human Nature and the Social Order

6. Erich Fromm’s (1955) The Sane Society

Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self.”

“In the experience of love lies the only answer to being human, lies sanity.”

7. Victor Seidler (1998) article called, “Masculinity, Violence and Emotional Life” in the book Emotions in Social Life

“We know how easily declarations of love can operate as forms of control within intimate relationships, as if the declaration is itself supposed to make the issues and conflicts disappear. Love can operate as a form of control. The words can be hollow and empty because they have become a ritualized response.”

8. Commodification of Valentine’s Day example: On Valentines Day we spend $19.7 billion on heart-shaped nick-nacks!

9. Doxxing Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC who pushed for the dismantling of Net Neutrality

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