7 posts from October 2012

October 29, 2012

You Might be a Marxist (Part II)

Peter_kaufmanBy Peter Kaufman

One of my first Everyday Sociology posts was titled You Might be a Marxist. In this post I made the point that despite the overwhelmingly negative connotations attached to Karl Marx in the United States, many of his ideas prophetically describe our current socio-economic realities. In fact, many of us might consider ourselves “Marxists” if we really understood some of his analytical conclusions. The tremendous social insight we get from Marx is the reason why he is widely considered to be one of the founding figures of sociology.

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October 22, 2012

Sociology of Music

WynnBy Jonathan Wynn

Of all the singing shows on television, I find NBC’s The Voice particularly charming. If you haven’t seen it, here’s how it works: a bunch of contestants audition to join a team led by one of four superstars. Each team leader is a respected star in their music genre: CeeLo Green as the epitome of R&B, Christina Aguilera is the standard-bearer for Pop, Adam Levine serves as the tattooed Rocker, and Blake Shelton is the rugged representative for contemporary country music. Green, Aguilera, Levine and Shelton pick their “teams” through contestant auditions, hoping to mold the raw singers into talented artists.

What is Sociological About Music?” William Roy and Timothy Dowd answer this question by saying, among other things, that we could examine the interactions between musicians and fans, the passion of audiences, the way certain people play particular instruments, the communities that support, produce and transmit music, or how particular scenes develop and change. One of the more straightforward ways to think sociologically about music, or really any art form, is to think about how conventions of art genres are formed and reinforced from person to person (a la Howard Becker’s classic Art Worlds).

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October 18, 2012

Surviving Sociology Midterms

SternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

Are you about to take midterms in a sociology class for the first time? If so, here are some tips for how to think sociologically, which will help you on any format of exam you might be taking.

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October 11, 2012

Everyday Sociology Talk: How Does the Internet Shape Cities?

Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, discusses the role the internet plays in shaping urban life.

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

October 08, 2012

Women, Gaming, & Violence

WynnBy Jonathan Wynn

What happens when a woman wants to study images of women in the gaming world?

Anita Sarkeesian’s blog, Feminist Frequency, is a great resource for anyone thinking about gender in media and technology. Her YouTube clips on female types in movies are short, pithy, and smart. Sociology has a long history of analyzing different constructed typologies, something I wrote about here, and Sarkeesian’s video about the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope (think Natalie Portman in the film Garden State) is as good an example as any of how characters are crafted and reproduced in the digital age.

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October 04, 2012

Group Projects and Sociology

SternheimerBy Karen Sternheimer

Are you now, or have you ever, participated in a group project for a class? If so, you have been learning more about sociology, even if you weren’t taking a sociology class.

Group projects are also a good way to learn about the process of conducting research. Many large-scale projects involve collaboration and teamwork. For researchers who work with surveys, writing the survey, distributing it to respondents, and analyzing data is something frequently done with others. The large data sets that sociologists often use, like census data or the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports are create by large teams of researchers who must work together to discover major social trends.

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October 01, 2012

Mobile Apps and Research Methods

By Sally Raskoff

Every now and then new technology will change something that humans do in very radical ways. We've been collecting information from people scientifically with surveys, interviews, and observations by using paper and pen, then computers, and now, potentially, mobile apps.

Recently a new phone app, the Kinsey Reporter was introduced that collects data from users on sexual behavior. Just a few hours later it was pulled from the marketplace by the university that houses the Kinsey Institute, developer of the app.

Alfred Kinsey revolutionized the scientific study of sexual behavior, and the Kinsey Institute has continued generating much research that helps us better understand human sexuality. However, the issue of collecting good quality data on sexual behavior continues to be a challenge.

Enter mobile apps, which allow those who are interested to download the app and proceed to enter incidents and opinions about their sexual experiences.

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