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February 26, 2024

Here’s a Tip: It’s about Inequality

Karen sternheimer 72523By Karen Sternheimer

Many news stories about inflation have focused on tipping—sometimes called “tip-flation.” If you haven’t read any of these stories, you’ve probably paid for something when a tip screen came up, recommending a certain percentage for gratuity in addition to the amount due.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey of nearly 12,000 Americans, respondents perceive that the pressure to tip has increased in recent years. Nearly half of respondents said that whether to tip depends on the situation, and 40 percent said that they didn’t like when tip amounts are suggested. The most common times when more than half said they left a tip included servers at sit-down restaurants, a hairdresser, and food delivery. Respondents were less likely to tip taxi or ride share drivers, or at fast casual restaurants or coffee shops.

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February 19, 2024

Professor Period to the Rescue!

Thumbnail_Picture - Lisa SmithBy Lisa Smith, Douglas College, Department of Sociology and Menstrual Cycle Research Group

“Does anyone have a pad? A tampon!? 50 cents?”

I was sitting in the stall of a women’s restroom during the intermission for a concert, when I heard the familiar refrain. As a menstruator (because not all people who have periods are women and not all women have periods), I could relate to the urgency in my fellow menstruators’ voice.

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February 12, 2024

Ethnomethodological Conversation Analysis

Wayne mellinger author photoBy Wayne Martin Mellinger

Everyday talk-in-interaction is the medium through which our identities are enacted and our relationships are negotiated. It is often through situated activities such as talk that the practical problems of our lives get resolved, the tasks of our workplaces get completed, and the business of society gets managed. Talk-in-interaction is a fundamental mechanism through which culture is enacted, providing the very infrastructure of social institutions. Everyday talk-in-interaction is indeed the fundamental site of human sociality.

Conversation Analysis (CA) is an approach to studying everyday social interactions which focuses on how participants in a conversation collaboratively build meaning and organize their interactions through verbal and non-verbal behaviors. It closely analyses the moment-by-moment unfolding of social life through close examination of ordinary social interactions. These fine-grained studies, now done in a wide variety of social situations and institutional settings, are revealing the basic structures of interaction as experienced in concrete instances of social life.

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February 05, 2024

Community Development Studies in Sociology, and What Sociology Offers Students

CKing headshot 1 4.3 Calvin-odhiambo IMG_5518

By Colby King, Calvin Odhiambo, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Lizabeth Zack, Professor of Sociology and Department Chair, University of South Carolina Upstate

The recent decision by the Florida Board of Governors to exclude Introductory sociology from the list of courses that fulfill the social science general education requirements for Florida public college students has sparked discussions highlighting the vital role of sociology in academic curriculum. Stacy Torres wrote here about the life-changing role sociology course can play in students’ lives.

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January 29, 2024

Gender, Sexuality, and Social Exclusion

Karen sternheimer 72523By Karen Sternheimer

Recently politicians have continued attempts to police gender and sexuality through the passage of laws that seek to exclude and punish. It is important to consider why the attention to other people’s gender and sexual practices are part of public and political discourses, and why some people are the target of social exclusion.

For context: while laws attempting to limit transgender rights have dominated the last decade, criminalizing same-sex relationships is not by any means new, although new laws have been passed around the world in the past few years. Human Rights Watch maintains a list of criminal codes outlawing same-sex relations around the world dating back to the nineteenth century. Many laws criminalizing LGBTQ people were passed in the middle of the twentieth century. Why?

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January 24, 2024

AI and Sociology

Jonathan Wynn author photoBy Jonathan Wynn

My inbox received two very kind and curious emails from students this semester. One was to our listserv, expressing remorse and solidarity for someone who had a death in the family. The second was a note of gratitude for my teaching this semester. The instincts behind were kind. Both students wanted to share meaningful feelings with our community in the first case, and with me in the second. They were interesting because they were both written entirely by AI.

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January 17, 2024

Florida, Don’t Deprive Public College Students of the Opportunity to Develop their Sociological Imaginations

Stacy Torres author photoBy Stacy Torres

Even though I’m a professor, sometimes I fantasize about going back to college. Everyone should have the chance to experience that electric feeling of discovery. General education requirements exposed me to worlds I scarcely imagined as the first person in my family to go to college. I remember the thrill of encountering new subjects such as philosophy, theology, Spanish literature, art history, ancient Greek and Roman history. Like many high school students, I’d never had the opportunity to take classes in the social sciences, including anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology.

I could have never predicted an introductory sociology course would change my life.

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