March 27, 2015

Ask a Sociologist

Have a sociological question for our bloggers? Ask us and it may appear as part of a future post!


I have to do an article for one of my classes. Can you give me an idea on a relevant Topic I could write on? I has to be one Page long.

why social theorists seem to disagree others more than agreeing others?

We see, hear and read it all the time, don't we, especially in the American media - "black woman", "black female", " black man", "black male", "black boy", "black girl", "white woman", "white man", "white female", "white male"?

The habit has been imported (in the case of Britain and other European former colonial powers, re-imported) and imitated to some extent, in some other sections of the media around the world, including parts of the British media, not least the BBC, although you don't generally hear/see the terms "male"/"female" in reference to man or woman.

I happen to be a man of African descent, British-born of west African parents, so, in my coinage, British Afroic (or African British/British African), and as such, the focus of my blog today is primarily the African-American community.

When I look at Twitter, Blog Her, Colorlines, and many African-American websites, and some TV programmes I notice a lot of regression from the term African-American to "black" or "Black", chiefly amongst African-Americans themselves.

Why on earth would a population choose to go back from using a perfectly respectable term African-American, which simultaneously reclaims and states with dignity both ancestral lineage and the trauma of displacement to using one, "black", that was given by transatlantic European and European-descendant human traffickers and enslavers in various languages and embodies the very brutalisation, denigration, violation, theft, dehumanisation, deprivation, humiliation, degradation and murder that they wrought?

The long and arduous journey made physically, spiritually and in name by millions of my fellow people of African descent in the USA from being African through the epithets "blacks"/"negroes"to "Negroes" or "Coloured people" in the aftermath of that to "Blacks" after the Black Power movement of the mid-1960s to early 70s, to African-American , has always been a source of pride for me, and the likes of me here in the UK. It would seem a crying shame to undo it all.

Yet what I lamentably observe is an insidious and increasingly open and inexplicable regression or backslide from African-American to "black", the two terms now seemingly being used interchangeably, and the latter as shorthand for the first. Why is this? What happened?

Why the apparently growing appetite for self-denigration in calling oneself "black" or "Black" when you know that:

(a) first and foremost this was a racist and pejorative term applied by enslavers as part of the general subjugation that came with the trafficking and enslavement of Africans

(b) the "black"-"white" dichotomy is a false, crude and over-simplistic dichotomy applied by those same colonist enslavers, to imply two life forms at opposite ends of the spectrum, knowing very well that no European or person of European descent is "white" and no African or person of African descent is "black"

(c) in stark contrast, every care is taken, by African- and European-American citizens alike to ensure that other population groups in America and around the world are accorded the dignity of being described in heritage-respecting terms, e.g. Latino and Arab-Americans, and those populations, who themselves in the past were assigned "colours" by Europeans and European-Americans, e.g. Native Americans (formerly referred to as "Red Indians"), East Asians and Asian Americans (formerly called "the yellow races" or "yellow people").

(d) everyone knows that how a person is labelled is integral to their self-esteem, and positive self-esteem is essential for creativity and success in life. I can't see how it can be good for young children, growing up hearing themselves being referred to as "black" , with all the negative meanings of this word.

Why are so many African-Americans not entitling themselves to or insisting upon the same consistent dignity for themselves? "Black" is not a race in any language; no colour is. Comedians don't help here, but why are so many serious African-American online media outlets using this kind of language? If you stop and look, and with a bit of thought and insight it does not take much analysis to see that the "n" word and "black" are one and the same: black = negro and the "n" word derives from this. They are negative and pejorative, and as heinous as each other when applied to humans. They all do a disservice to Africans and the African diaspora.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this , especially so from female perspectives.

I'm currently running a campaign known as the bLack of Respect campaign(BORC). In the website's forum under the title "Reasons to be cheerful - giving back "black" " I have listed all the negative meanings of the word "black" , among other articles.

Can you please make a blog about everything that is going on with Baltimore right now. I would like a sociological frame work to understand the situation.

How does socioeconomic status or class effect one’s educational experience?

Hello I recently graduated for a college that did not provide the best education. Unfortunately the classes didn't require any "studying" or even attendance for that matter. I really enjoy sociology and I am very happy to have majored in it. I do however feel that I do not have a strong foundation. What books, resources, tips do you recommend for someone who is looking to go to Graduate school for sociology. How can I better myself as a sociologist?

Is there anyway that we will never have discrimination of any type? I mean with the recent ruling on same sex marriage. The Christian bakery being forced to pay for a lesbian couples problems as a result of refusing to bake a wedding cake for them. Making that cake was firmly against their Christian beliefs. Now they are being punished for it. Musilm bakery's refused to make cakes for same sex couples and nothing happened. All of the recent issues with white police officers and black people. Nothing is hardly ever reported when those tables are turned. There are several other topics but the point is this, Can we even have laws and exist as a functioning society without having laws that discriminate against someone or some group? No matter what it seems that someone will be discriminated against? Is discrimination a "necessary" part of society?

I am lucky to have stumbled upon this blog. My question might not be the one that has anything to do with the recent concerns of the society but it certainly has with me. I attained Masters in Sociology way back in 1989. Then life happened. I got married, had kids, changed the field and worked in construction office management. But now that my girls are all grown up I would like to touch bases with my first interest Sociology. But I have no idea on where to start from. I would like to go into Market research sociology. I am ready to go back to school if required. Any suggestions?

Every society is concerned about fostering moral character in children and forming responsible citizens. Controversy often accompanies these interests because adults do not always agree about what moral character is and how to cultivate it. Considering the concepts studied in Moral education, discuss what exactly do children need to learn in order to be engaged citizens and how do children develop moral character through school system and lived experience?

I have two questions which came in my exam:
(1) How is objectivity different from value neutrality? Discuss with reference to Weber's views.

(2) How can we use reference group theory to understand fashion in the society?

I had a question about the sociology of sexuality. I have met various people who say their sexuality changes throughout the life course. Some who say their sexuality changes based on social interactions or social settings.

I am a first-year grad student trying to plan a sociology event for our freshmen NY studies group. I would like to do this event on gentrification in NYC. I have no idea who i could ask to come speak or maybe a documentary i could show? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

India--there is a great documentary called My Brooklyn that addresses gentrification in NYC.

What are you views on gender discrimination in the workforce? May you please complete this survey in response to this question. The survey is confidential and your answer will be considered in a sociology investigation project.

Please explain independent and dependent variables in both quantitative and qualitative research.

Dear Sir! What is means by social control?

I'm doing a research paper and I need a sociological theme for, how has the internet changed the way we eat. thank you so much!

America, amongst many other countries are dependent on nuclear energy, but this is clearly unstable, as seen with the Fukushima incident. Rather than using this horrific event as a sort of wake up call, most countries brushed it off and continue to rely on nuclear energy. Germany had a different approach though, when they decided to slowly wean themselves off of nuclear energy. They hope to be completely independent from it in the upcoming years.
I was curious how you would interpret the different approaches seen between America and Germany. Both are industrialized cultures, but while America worked on covering up the damage, Germany took a more progressive path towards prevention of another incident. Do you think this could cause conflict in the future between Germany?
Why do you think Germany had such a different reaction after Fukushima?

hi, what are the tenets of moral panics?

I would love to read both a macrosociological and microsociological analysis of perceptions towards fitness trackers, their growing usage amongst members of western societies and the pervasive fitness culture that surrounds us. What would be some of the major factors that have resulted in a growing fixation with the 'fit' body and can anything be done to alleviate stigmatisation of the fat (often automatically perceived as unhealthy) body.

I'm interested in teaching Sociology in the future. Lately I've been interested in race relations and started reading a book that looked interesting but has been a hard read so far. How often do you find that you have to plow through a book that is not a "page turner" when you are doing research?

I have to do an article on effects of tabcoo factries in urban areas????Plz help me

Please make a blog post about the recent police violence against people of color. I am really and truly at a lost. I come to this blog for a sociological understanding and perspective.

@concerned citizen: we have done several posts on police violence in the past; if you go to the search box on the left side and type "police" you will see many listed. But thanks for the suggestion; we may certainly do another one soon!

Is it possible to be a politically conservative sociologist?

I'd love to be able to address this issue in the HS Sociology class I teach. I'd especially like it if the essay was written by a practicing sociologist who is politically conservative. Even better would be the views of multiple sociologists who have a variety of political views. To me, the conservative emphasis on individualism creates a tension with Sociology that I think would be interesting and valuable to address with my students.

I did try a little searching on here and other places first, but I didn't find much.

I have recently been totally devastated by the movie 'The Road'.

As a sociology student, I was wondering if this movie was a true reflection of the human condition.

What does sociology have to say about the nature of humanity, outside of our familiar social institutions?

There was an article here in 2009 about how great being a sociologist was, and that the wall street journal listed it as one of the best jobs.

fast forward to 2016 and things seem to be a bit different. With adjunct and instructor positions becoming the norm rather than the exception, and almost no job growth projected by the BLS within the next 10 years, does it make sense to pursue a doctorate or even a masters in sociology anymore?

I teach high school sociology. Many of my students are interested in the very broad question "Why do people commit crimes?" I am looking for a reasonably succinct answer to this complicated question.

To what extent, if any, do you consider a new offering of sociological thought relevant and worthy of consideration if the initial offering of it comes from someone outside of the field or who is otherwise not specifically credentialed as an academic of sociology?

Another way to ask: Can John Doe off the street present a sound theory and have a hope of it being considered without Mr. Doe being Dr. Doe or Professor Doe?

Bonus question: Do you think your answer would hold true for any field of academia?

I am currently writing an essay in my English class about what we want to do when we graduate next year. I would like to go into the sociology field and was curious if you could answer the following:

1. What is a typical day like for you?
2. What are the usual hours you work?
3. What are the best parts of your day?
4. What are the most challenging parts of your day?
Thank you so much in advance!

Canada is poised to legalized recreational marijuana next year. Like Colorado, Washington and several other states, prohibition has been around for close to 100 years. We have lived under an umbrella that tells us that marijuana is bad and should be avoided. We are in a transition period. Marijuana has been a banned drug complete with stigmas and negative perceptions. We are moving out from that umbrella and going under a new one that says marijuana is good, sanctioned, valued and even upheld as a panacea for any conceivable illness. We will be giving up established and known norms for new ones that have yet to be formulated. Can sociology illuminate this journey given that some people are ready to embrace this change while others fear it and legalization is not supported by 40-45% of the population?

How to deal with social implications caused by social media like facebook, instagram or twitter

This is so fun! What a great idea. Also I love how authentic you seem to be. Your style and passion for blogging is contagious. Thank you for sharing your life!

I've been thinking a lot about the origins of the company holiday party, and how it's come to be this seminal moment of adult life. I'd love to hear about where it came from, and have that related to what we know about celebrations, workplaces, and mixing private and public life.

Thanks for your post! I think there are many other people who are interested in them just like me! How long does it take to complete this article? I have read through other blogs, but they are cumbersome and confusing. I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share! Good luck!

Let’s talk racism. My wife and her family believe that blacks can’t be racist because they don’t have the power to oppress another group of people. From a sociological aspect this is the belief. But I’ve found inconsistencies in that idea. First would be the fact that blacks do have the power to oppress other groups depending on where you’re located. Take Africa for example. In parts of Africa blacks are the majority in volume and in political power. So it’s very possible for blacks to be racist. Just as by that definition whites can’t be racist in North Korea because they hold no power over there at all.

So, just to clear the air, the idea that prejudice+power= racism is based on location and isn’t limited to any one ethnic group. It’s limited to minorities (of whatever ethnicity), correct?

So, I play on Xbox (though I notice this in the gaming community in general), and I've noticed something odd with usernames (also called gamertags, battle tags, or other variations of -tag or -name) which are chosen by the users of online gaming services. Many create names that include references to animals, but pandas are way disproportionately represented (at least three times more frequent than the next highest animal reference), followed by penguins. I've asked many of these people, and they all say they didn't consciously take the frequency of usage or fad into consideration. This seems to be a pattern with charisma and association with the pacifism of the particular animal. My hypothesis is that this partially has something to do with the humorous irony of being "killed by" some sort of absurd panda or penguin (hypothetically-
"tipsyPenguin" or "angrypanda" for example) in addition to the creatures being so "charismatic." What do you think, sociologists?

if possible for you please help me to beat Panic Attack

As of March 6, 2018, President Trump still claims that Russia had "no impact on our votes" in the 2016 presidential contest. A common inclination is to counter this with a call to reasonableness or intuition: "this much meddling must have had some affect."

How would sociologists go about testing Trump's claim? Can sociology contribute anything to an understanding of how the flood of Russian troll activity affected individual or group voting? Are there experimentally validated models for how negative news claims can affect voter behavior? Is there a way of measuring deviation from expected behaviors?

In other words, is there an empirically grounded approach that can move us away from just swapping opinions on the consequences of Russian involvement in the US election process?

I love how authentic you seem to be. Your style and passion for blogging is contagious. Thank you for sharing your life!

oh, Canada is poised to legalized recreational marijuana. We have lived under an umbrella that tells us that marijuana is bad

I have a very specific question! I was told recently that in the 2000's or thereabouts, a team of researchers working for UNESCO did a project studying cross-cultural images of "the other," examining how cultures around the world and across continents depicted outsiders in visual arts as monsters, frightening, ugly, etc. The study was apparently published as a book, possibly as part of something called the "decade of diversity." This study was mentioned to me off the cuff and I haven't been able to find it online.

I was wondering A) If you were aware of this particular project, or B) if you're aware of similar projects detailing how we humans seem to persistently represent those not like "us" in a negative light? Thank you!

Such great infromation you have put on your blog post. I really appreciated it.

I would love to see a blog about gay men and this idea of "mean girl culture" because there has been a few non-academic articles that I've read about why gay men are so mean to each other, but I'd love to see it examined from a sociological perspective. I personally think that it has a lot to do with ideas about power and status, which as a marginalized group they have traditionally been denied for so long causing dynamics relating to the concepts of power, status, and self-esteem to manifest within their own community.

I love the way you wrote the blogs. It's really informative thanks for sharing your blogs!

The result of women´s liberation is lack of family values and, more importantly, neglect.
Nature dictates the role of motherhood, men have other responsibilities. A career woman who decides to have a family essentially takes on three full time jobs (wife, mother, career.) Theoretically, eight hours a day per each job. Obviously this is impossible, yet there are many who insist on trying to re-invent the wheel. It doesn´t take two incomes to raise a family it takes, most of all, planned parenthood. Plus, love and devotion. Anyone who thinks differently is either selfish and/or living beyond their means. I think most would agree that women on welfare are in no position to have children. If you can´t afford to take care of yourself, you can´t afford to have kids. That applies to everyone! I mean children are the most important responsibility in life, aren´t they?
If I had the resources I would like to know the statistics on divorce, teenage pregnancy, crimes and minors, drug use and minors, etc. since the ERA in 1972. I know for a fact the majority of teenage pregnancies happens between the hour of 2pm and 6pm (after school and before the parents are home from work.)
Is there anyone else concerned about our children?

I am doing a dissertation on - representation of women in selected Indian-English fiction from 2010-18.My objectives are to find the representation of the women protagonists and to find out if the gender of the author affects the way in which he/she writes about women. All the previous works are based on a gender stereotype approach. Hence I am not able to formulate a codebook for my content analysis. Can you please help me on how to actually carry out my research.

This was a well structured post and I appreciate you for choosing a unique writing style here

My father passed away last year and my mom has had a hard time with her physical and emotional health. My question is regarding her sudden personality change? She went from a sweet lady who was compassionate and bright to a woman who is angry at the world. She is now suddenly racists, homophobic, xenophobic and watchs Fox News non stop which just makes her more scared and angry at the world. How can you tell if your aging mom is slipping into dementia or is brainwashed? I know she's grieving but my mother says some pretty horrific stuff now that she never said or thought before. I can't convince her to stop watching the news, I can deal with a difference in opinions, that's what America is best at, but a sudden personality shift is scary. Was she just hiding it and is now more brazen in her bigotry or is something more going on? She has many health issues that keep her home bound on oxygen but none of them are neurological. I want to support her and care for her but it's so hard when she just wants to argue and fight over current events. Please help! Thanks

It is often considered unethical to buy sexual services because it is thought that the need for financial stability should not be a reason for having sex. We tend to look down on any affluent person who uses their financial status to convince someone to have sex with with them. It is thought of as an abuse of power, because sex is supposed to be consensual, and consent relies on the ability to say no. We also, for similar reasons, tend to look down on the poor person who marries for money. Given this context, how can a poor student, financing his education with credit cards, make a genuine decision about whether or not to establish a relationship with a rich man? It appears to me that, no matter how nice and caring the rich man is, we may never know what the poor student would have chosen, had he been better off financially (had he had a choice). The only way to eliminate money as a factor in the decision is to redistribute the money and create equality. When this doesn't happen, we have two options: Either make it socially acceptable to explicitly marry for money, or make it common knowledge that a genuine relationship between upper class and working class people is impossible.

Is there any hope for a genuine inter-class relationship? His rich and unempathetic friends, his "jokes" about social justice being whining from people who are unwilling to "put in the work", his (survivorship, ableist) biases, fundamental attribution errors ("willpower") and blindness to privilege is suffocating, despite his insistance that he votes socialist and is aware that our society is broken.

very good

Dear sociologists
I have some questions please.
What is a social phenomena?
are riots, protests, demonstrations social phenomenon?
what is a security phenomena?
are there steps or processes for a social phenomena to become a security one?
I am looking forward to hearing from
Samir Salameh

hello. i have some questions that I would like to have answers too.
1.) who is to blame for the standards that men hold against women?
2.) is a universal health care needed?
3.) is caring for a child more important than who raised the child? (lgbtq)
4.) Why is there so much hatred towards the LGBTQ community in the church when you are supposed to love everyone?
5.) Is there a difference between cultural diversity between countries?

How does hierarchy get built into the systems of natural and social inequalities?

Illustrate how socialisation and social control complement each other.

Great Information, Keep it up!

Dear sociologists
I have some questions, please.
What is a social phenomenon?
are riots, protests, demonstrations social phenomenon?
what is a security phenomenon?
are there steps or processes for social phenomena to become a security one?
I am looking forward to hearing from
Grace Lily

Could you comment on possible explanations for the unprecedented 30% spike in the homicide rate in the United States in 2020, even as violent crime overall rose by only 5% and property crime fell by 8% (">>

Hello, I am writing a paper about the Paparazzi their function in society, if it is normalized stalking and harassment stuff like that. I have to add a sociological perspective to it, but I do not know what to write. Would you be able to give me some pointers?

I'm writing a sociology paper on the "connection between religion and ecology." Any help?

Hello and thank you.

My question involves classes created by government and media. In the past year since covid began the push for vaccination by governments has given traction in creating two classes of people. Those who are vaccinated and those who are not. My observation is that between government ie: politicians and bureaucrats with assistance from mainstream media countries have been divided into the two groups mentioned. The government in its marketing efforts have provided vaccinated people reasons to shun and even ridicule those who are unvaccinated. Hence there is a creation of these two classes of people. The government has also penalised those unvaccinated people by restricting entry to venues or making it difficult to participate in everyday activities while allowing the vaccinated freedom to travel and enter venues. Some companies have banned unvaccinated people from their venues or services. Am I correct to say that there are now two new social classes around the world and the government, businesses and one class discriminates against the other class? Thank you.


I was wondering what the research says about whether children of LGBT parents perform well in school.

What jobs do Sociologist really do and where do they get employed? I have been asked this questions several times, and I don't have an answer for the questions.

Why do Anglo countries like the US and Canada have a culture of shaming young girls for their interests? For example, when a young American girl has feminine interests, she is considered "shallow" by society, but if she takes interest in something masculine, she is seen as a "pick-me".

1. When a society is stratified based on social status what is that called in sociology
2. Does social class gradient indicates educational attainment, coping skill or neither?

As a sociology hopeful (I want to eventually get a PhD in it) what is it called when a sociologist is already part of a group they want to study? I suppose participant observation is closest but I began to enjoy imagining which fictional characters would make the cutest couples, and so fanfiction, fanart, and fandom subculture in general is already near and dear to my heart. Do I just have to have value neutrality if I pursued this as a study? (Shipping think how Team Edward vs Team Jacob was a big thing when the Twilight franchise was out)

I'm an Adjunct Lecturer teaching sociology in NYC. Do you know of any memoirs written by sociology professors that pointedly speak to sociological issues? I have found a few, Honky, by Prof. Dalton Conley, that takes on race and class inequality. Tastes Like War, by Prof. Grace Cho, explores the sociological imagination. I've even come across Peter Berger's memoir, but it's not really speaking so much to sociological concepts. Would you happen to know of other memoirs that speak to sociological issues? If so, great. Thank you for thinking about this question. John

How popular are social networks among different social groups?
How do social networks influence educational processes?

After studying gender and sociology, I feel like ultimately, gender is a political issue. How will sociologists think about it?

If you are in high school, what can you do know if you are considering being a sociologist? Do you recommend any books to read for an introduction to sociology or any companies to keep an eye on for a potential career?

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