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January 11, 2021

Binging Bob’s Burgers: Social Class, Shrimp Cocktail, and First-Generation College Students

LT Rease author headshot LT Rease author headshotBy La’Tonya Rease Miles and Colby King

La’Tonya Rease Miles is the Dean of Student Affairs at Menlo College

Have you been binge watching any particular shows during the pandemic? We were talking recently about how we have both been watching Bob’s Burgers with our families. 

If you have not seen Bob’s Burgers, take a look at this one-minute clip from earlier this year which shows the family operating their burger shop in a socially distanced way.  In the clip, the owner’s children create a song about their boredom.

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January 08, 2021

Come Together: Applying Durkheim's Ideas to the Capitol Siege

Author photoBy Karen Sternheimer

I am struck by one photo in particular from the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol. It is a picture of members of the House of Representatives sheltering in place in the House chamber. Rep. Susan Wild lies on the floor, mask down, eyes closed, and appears in distress. Her left hand is on her chest; Rep. Jason Crow reaches out and holds her right hand. (You can see this image and the video of them recounting their experience here.) This picture reveals the fear members of Congress felt during these tense moments. Facial expressions range from apprehension to terror, with many members sitting and lying on the floor.

The most striking part of this picture highlights the connectedness between colleagues Wild and Crow. This is a very human image of one person reaching out to comfort another. But it also a very sociological image, one that highlights the interdependence we share (see Todd Schoepflin and Peter Kaufman’s previous posts for excellent discussions of interdependence).

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Socially Made and Essential 

Todd SchoepflinBy Todd Schoepflin

Backing out of my driveway to head to the grocery store, I’m careful to avoid hitting the garbage tote at the end of the driveway. It’s garbage day. Workers from our town sanitation department are like mail carriers—they won’t be stopped by rain, sleet, or snow from doing their job. It snowed last night, so I’m driving out of my neighborhood on streets plowed by town highway workers and onto a road plowed by county plow drivers.

When I arrive at the store, I see carts in the parking lot that will be collected by a worker and brought inside the store. Upon entering the store, I see someone working in the floral department, while other employees are stocking produce. This store always has an abundance of fruits and vegetables. I think of a video I saw on Twitter posted by United Farm Workers, showing incredible skill level by farmworkers.

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January 04, 2021

What is Peer Review?

Author photoBy Karen Sternheimer

Within scholarly work, the gold standard is to publish in an academic journal that is peer reviewed. Books published through academic publishers also undergo peer review. This means that before anything is published, experts in the area of study read the manuscript and decide whether it should be published.

Here are some of the basic facts about the peer review process in sociology:

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December 28, 2020

“On Your Time”: First Generation College Student's Reflections

Colby King author photo Colby King author photo E_Miller
Colby King author photoBy Colby King, Mo Swint, Emma Miller, and Wren Bareiss 

Mo Swint and Emma Miller are sociology majors at USC Upstate; Wren Bareiss is an Associate Professor of Communication at USC Upstate

If you’re among the first generation in your family to get, or on your way to getting, a college degree, you’re not alone.

Dr. King was the first in his family to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and he has written about his first generation college perspective here for the Working-Class Perspectives Blog. He has also written here at the Everyday Sociology Blog about how useful it can be for first generation college students to find models of success that they can follow, and about how building diverse social networks while in college can be a really valuable exercise, especially for first generation college students. The four authors shared their stories as part of a panel at Class Action’s annual First Generation College Student Summit, which was held remotely on Saturday, November 14.

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December 21, 2020

What are Gaps in the Literature?

Author photoBy Karen Sternheimer

I’m sure you’re familiar with the word “gap.” People might take a “gap year” in their education, maybe between high school and college or between college and graduate school. A gap year is essentially a fancy way of saying you are doing something else and pausing your education.

There might be a gap between a window and a wall, which means that there is space between the two objects, and maybe a draft or a leak depending on the weather.

We might consider a more abstract definition of a gap, such as the gap between expectations and reality, which can produce social unrest, according to one popular theory. The gap between our own personal expectations and reality can shape the way we make sense of our relationships and achievements.

If a gap is a break, or space between thing 1 and thing 2, what is a gap in the literature?

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December 14, 2020

Risk, Crime, and The Military: How Risk-Taking May Impact Outcomes for Soldiers with Criminal Records

Jenny Enos author photoBy Jenny Enos

Sociology Doctoral Student, Rutgers University

Sociologists have long sought to understand what drives people to break rules or laws, both formally (breaking a law upheld by a particular governing structure), and informally (breaking unwritten rules of societies or groups ), or what we refer to as “norms.” Particularly since the 1980s, crime has also become an increasingly prominent issue in U.S. politics with multiple candidates – the latest example being Donald Trump – running on a platform of being “tough on crime.”

A major theoretical approach to understanding criminal behavior frames crime as a form of risk-taking. Under this framework, scholars have argued that people commit crimes in pursuit of excitement or as a way of escaping the mundaneness of everyday life. In an effort to explain why crime is often concentrated in lower-income and marginalized communities, some research taking such an approach reasons that working-class or impoverished individuals may have “boring” lives and little access to socially acceptable outlets for excitement. Of course, such arguments have been criticized for being class-biased and for lacking consideration of how middle-class and even wealthy individuals engage in criminal risk-taking behavior, too. Instead, criminal risk-taking is now mostly considered a personal orientation rather than a class-based characteristic, and risk remains a key component in the study of crime for many scholars.

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