9 posts from December 2011

December 29, 2011

Life after Your Sociology Class

ksternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

As I write, another semester is coming to an end. Students are getting ready for finals, frantically trying to finish work for all of their classes. All too often students turn in their final papers and exams and never think about the subject matter of their courses again.

Here’s the thing about sociology: as long as you plan on living within a society, among small groups or with other people, the material is always relevant to your everyday life (yes, even your statistics class).

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December 26, 2011

Encountering Strangers in Public Places: Goffman and Civil Inattention

wayne mellingerBy Wayne Mellinger

Instructor, Antioch University

To live in the city is to live in the presence of strangers. For those of us living in cities, passing strangers on busy streets is unremarkable. We rush to our next appointment, preoccupied with our own thoughts, navigating through the crowded sidewalks. On “auto pilot,” we don't even think about our many brief encounters with unknown others in public spaces.

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December 22, 2011

Thinking Sociologically About Advertising

imageBy Sally Raskoff

I love showing the film, Killing Us Softly to my students. Jean Kilbourne does a great job of showing us the advertising in societal context and how it is a mirror of objectification. She shares her vast collection of ads from many years and explains how their patterns illustrate how our society objectifies women in the service of maintaining our definitions of femininity and masculinity--and gendered power structures.

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December 19, 2011

Tweeting and Social Theory

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

clip_image002Cooking was probably my first hobby. No kiddy dishes for me though; I apprenticed at age eight with “grown-up” dishes like rice and Pork Chow Mein. Decades later, cooking is still one of my favorite ways to spend time. You understand, then, why I love watching cooking shows on TV. I have my preferences going back to one of the originals TV chefs, Julia Child. However, for the past year or so, I have had a new favorite on Food Network. I love several things about this program. The chef is palpably passionate about food and that comes across loud and clear. I don’t remember what dishes he cooked the first time I watched the show, but I detected a Caribbean accent. I saw that the show was filmed in Canada, and since I have a cousin with Caribbean roots who lives in Toronto—well more importantly, she is a veritable “Who’s Who in Toronto” I asked her about the chef. Indeed, she knows him and so we chatted about how much I like his show.

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December 16, 2011

How our Modern Lives Reflect “Old-fashioned” Theories

image By Lace Gilger

Sociology Major, Murray State University

Being a sociology student has radically affected the way I think. I knew this was going to happen. My teachers all warned me that enhancing my critical thinking abilities was a major goal for them. I took my first class in sociology in my freshman year. At the time I simply believed I was taking one of those “easy A” classes. The first class I went to immediately changed my plans for school. It was one of the few times I had ever been excited to be in a class. I kept thinking yes, yes, I hear what you’re saying and I’m pretty sure I think the way you do. I couldn’t believe that hundreds of years ago, there were people thinking about the things we are still dealing with today. The very idea shocked and excited me. I left that first class and immediately declared my sociology minor. I believe that class caused a door to shut behind me, making sure that I would forever think above my personal situations.

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December 12, 2011

Welcome Back: Adjusting to Civilian Life after Military Service

imageBy Sally Raskoff

Our country celebrates Veteran’s Day each year, but how many people are really aware of the issues that veterans face upon return from their service? How can we make sense of those issues sociologically so that we can see how military service affects people and society?

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December 08, 2011

Symbolic Interactionism on the Road

ksternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

For those of us who live in car-centered communities, driving is both an individual and a social process.

The individual part is most obvious: we have to concentrate on where we are going, on the other cars, and the road conditions. We might prefer to listen to music, wear sunglasses, and decide which route we would like to take.

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December 05, 2011

The Similarities Project

Peter_Kaufman_Bio_PicBy Peter Kaufman

We all need food. We all need water. We all need air. We all have parents. We all have organs. We all have blood. We all need love. We all get sad. We all get annoyed. We all have friends. We all have hearts. We all need to learn. We all like to clip_image002laugh. We all feel pain.

These are just some of the responses that were generated last month when I took a group of college students to participate in The Similarities Project with a class of third graders.

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December 01, 2011

Gender and Organizations


By Sally Raskoff

clip_image002As the Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates their hundredth year, girls across the country continue to join the organization. Membership rates have fluctuated over the years, but along with the Boy Scouts they continue to serve our society by providing youth activities and opportunities for community service. Kids who join Scouts develop their skills in many different areas by participating in games, camping, sales, and community service activities.

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