8 posts from June 2012

June 28, 2012

Civil Religion


By Karen Sternheimer

For most people, the word “religion” connotes one of the major organized faiths humans have practiced for centuries. Religious traditions typically involve a sacred text, holidays and rituals, and deeply held beliefs practiced within a congregation. Sociologist Emile Durkheim noted that religion helps to create solidarity, and is marked by distinguishing the sacred from the profane.

But we also practice another form of religion, often without our awareness, which sociologists call civil religion. In his 1967 article, “Civil Religion in America,” sociologist Robert N. Bellah wrote of how American ideals have taken on a role similar to those of traditional religious symbols in the United States.

Continue reading "Civil Religion" »

June 25, 2012

Thinking Sociologically on Vacation

clip_image002By Sally Raskoff

Don’t forget to keep using your sociological imagination and skills when you are on vacation! When you travel, using a sociological perspective can help enrich the experience and deepen your understanding of the places in which you have been visiting.

I recently came back from a trip to Hawai’i. I used to live in the islands and return often so I’ve not felt much like a tourist there. However, it’s hard to escape the tourism industry as luaus, surfing, snorkeling, diving, ziplines, and many other activities are advertised just about everywhere.

Tourism is a major part of the economy for the state of Hawai’i. Are the luaus and other activities part of what Hawaiian culture is all about? While surfing and certain forms of boating may have roots and an accurate historical base in the culture, I would guess that ziplines do not.

Continue reading "Thinking Sociologically on Vacation" »

June 22, 2012

Fashion and Race


By Janis Prince Inniss

I'm amused when I see Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View" strut out onto their set in their neutral shoes. Indeed, Hasselbeck's legs do look lengthened. Shepherd? She looks like she stepped in a big vat of Pepto-Bismal. We share the same fate...neutral in the context of the U.S. looks like neither of us.

Continue reading "Fashion and Race" »

June 20, 2012

Everyday Sociology Talk: Guns, Rap, and Crime

Karen Sternheimer interviews Jooyoung Lee, a sociologist at the University of Toronto and author of the forthcoming book Blowing Up: Rap Dreams in Los Angeles.

For more videos, see www.youtube.com/nortonsoc

June 18, 2012

Fifth Anniversary of Everyday Sociology Blog!

We have now been blogging about sociology for five years. Thanks to all of our readers for joining in the sociological conversation! Here's some info about the blog for those of you new to our site.




For more video, go to www.youtube.com/nortonsoc

June 14, 2012

Sleeping Through College

ksternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

There is little that is more humbling to a college professor than seeing someone yawn or even doze off during class. I’ve seen this happen during lively class discussions, videos, games and while using other classroom technology to try and keep things interesting.

Sometimes I’ve asked the student individually what was going on, and sometimes I have gotten reasonable answers. One student told me he worked as a paramedic during the night shift to pay for school. Another said she was adjusting to a new medication that made her drowsy.

A few times, repeat dozers who were failing the class came to see me to ask what they could do to improve their grade (I kid you not). With a straight face, I tell them that consciousness may help them grasp the material better.

Most students don’t literally sleep in class, but I suspect many people figuratively sleep through college.

Continue reading "Sleeping Through College" »

June 11, 2012

The Impact of Stereotyping

imageBy Sally Raskoff

After reading my previous blog on stereotyping, a student recently asked, “Aren’t there some things that are true about stereotypes?” Many would agree that each stereotype has some “truth” to it.

The short sociological answer to this question is, of course, yes, there are people who live up to those stereotypes about different groups. There are probably some people who fit whatever stereotype you can think of, (e.g., blond women who are not so smart, Asian Americans who are smart).

The problem lies with how stereotypes over generalize about an entire group and blind us to those characteristics in others and other characteristics in the stereotyped groups.

Continue reading "The Impact of Stereotyping" »

June 04, 2012

Hispanic is Not a Race

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

Although race in the U.S. Census is based on self-identification, Hispanic is not among the official racial categories. Therefore, no matter how many people refer to the shooting of Trayvon Martin as one of an African American teenager by White or Hispanic George Zimmerman, they are still mixing-up apples and oranges. No matter how much speculation there is regarding Zimmerman’s race, one thing is sure: His race is not Hispanic.

Continue reading "Hispanic is Not a Race" »

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