4 posts from December 2020

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.

Continue reading "“On Your Time”: First Generation College Student's Reflections" »

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?

Continue reading "What are Gaps in the Literature?" »

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.

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

December 07, 2020

COVID Babies: Boom or Bust?

Todd SchoepflinBy Todd Schoepflin

Back in April, there was speculation as to whether the coronavirus would lead to a baby boom, the premise being that people are home more than usual because of the pandemic, which could lead to an increase in baby- making activity. It was also thought that regular access to contraception might be interrupted.

However, at the time, sociologist Philip Cohen predicted a baby boom was highly unlikely, offering this explanation: "So even if a few people accidentally or on purpose decide to have a baby now, they will probably be outnumbered by the lost births from people meeting less, having sex with non-residential partners less and deciding now is not a good time."

Continue reading "COVID Babies: Boom or Bust?" »

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