Stuffs! We’ve all got ‘em, and we all like to accumulate them– unless you’re Ellen. This week, we’re exploring how sociology makes sense of our material culture. What is the relationship people hold with the tangible objects we collect? What meaning do we attach to these items? And why is it that Penn cares so much about her Washi Tape collection and Omar licks his shoes?! Tune in here to learn more about stuffs and where the state of stuffs is going as the world becomes digitalized and we begin to interact with virtual objects more and more.
Material Culture, Collections, Senses, Symbolic Interactionism
Politics, politics, politics– what a fascinating part of our society that feels all-consuming sometimes. This week we’re going to explore politics using a Symbolic Interactionist lens and the fantastic work of Dr. Murray Edelman to make sense of what’s going on in our state and federal governments every day. Is politics an earnest attempt at changing our society for the good? Is it just a spectacle meant to distract us? Or maybe somewhere in between? Tune in here to learn more and stay healthy out there!
For a refresher on what Symbolic Interactionism is, check out:
Edelman argues that politics is made up of two types of symbols:
Referential Symbols: “economical ways of referring to the objective elements in objects or situations: The elements identified in the same way by different people. Such symbols are useful because they help in logical thinking about the situation and in manipulating it” (Edelman 1967:6).
Condensation Symbols: “evoke the emotions associated with the situation. They condense into one symbolic event, sign, or act patriotic pride, anxieties, remembrances of past glories or humiliations, promises of future greatness: some one of these or all of them” (Edelman 1967:6).
Kellyanne Conway’s misleading ignorance of where COVID-19’s name comes from can be read about here.
Ellen’s sci-fi obsession was recently quenched with VOX by Christina Dlacher, which has relevant themes about the power of language in politics
Other great dystopian sci-fi books surrounding politics and power? The Power by Naomi Alderman, The Handmaid’s Tale & The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, and many many more. If you wanna geek out or have more recommendations, contact Ellen!
We’re using our understanding of the three schools of sociological theory to breakdown deviance and crime this week. What is deviance? What is crime? How are they different? How does society create the definitions of what is a deviant behavior and what is a criminal act? We discuss power and inequality, as well as look at deviance and crime through the lens of the three schools of sociological thought – structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Check out our previous episode on the three schools of thought, SOC207, if you haven’t already so you understand our discussion today! Thanks for listening and please give us a rating, too!
1) Expectation of a norm (or “mores” i.e., thou shall not murder, thou shall not steal for personal gain, intended or unintended violence towards children etc.)
2) Violation of a norm
3) Personal and/or societal reaction to the norm being broken (informal and/or formal sanctions)
Deviance is a socially defined construct and refers to any action, belief, or human characteristic that members of a society or a social group consider a violation of group norms for which the violator is likely to be censured or punished.
We quote Howard Becker (1963), saying, “Deviance is not a consequence of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the [creation and] application by others of rules and sanctions to an ‘offender’ ” This comes from his book, Outsiders.
This week we go back to the basics by introducing the three schools of sociological thought – conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic interactionism. Knowing these three schools is a must for any aspiring sociologist. Join us as we discuss how Marx theorized the process of social change through conflict, why Durkheim believed society needed religion in order to function, and why people interpret the symbolic significance of guns differently. Which school of thought do you subscribe to?
Find a transcription for this episode here. Mahalo nui loa to Toni Atwell for transcribing this episode! You rock!
Sociology, theory, social theory, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, structural functionalism