Archive for June, 2009

Book Review – The Spirit Level

June 29, 2009 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Inequality is bad for us, individually and socially. So say Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better (with extensive website). Do you love scatterplots? I hope so because the book is chock full of them, establishing correlations between high levels social inequalities and high levels […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Consumerism, Corporatism, Culture, Economy, Education, Environment, Health, Health Care, Networks, Public Policy, Social Capital, Social Exclusion, Social Inequalities, Social Institutions, Social Interaction, Social Privilege, Social Psychology, Social Research, Social Stratification, Socialization, Structural Violence, Sustainability, Symbolic Violence | 2 Comments »

Tales of Child Soldiers

June 29, 2009 by and tagged ,

Having defeated the Tamil Tigers, the government of Sri Lanka is left with hundreds of child soldiers to rehabilitate. For anyone who has read P.W. Singer‘s book, Children At War, the stories will seem very familiar: BBC NEWS | South Asia | Dark tales of Tamil ex-child soldiers via kwout Go read the whole thing.

Posted in New Wars | No Comments »

Inequality Kills

June 28, 2009 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

It also produces a variety of other social problems, which I will explore in a longer post tomorrow. In the meantime, sociologist Goran Therborn distinguishes between three types of inequalities, all with deleterious effects (hat tip to Mike Buhl for this): The Killing Fields of Inequality | via kwout And then goes on to […]

Posted in Globalization, Health, Health Care, Poverty, Public Policy, Social Exclusion, Social Inequalities, Social Privilege, Social Stratification, Sociology | No Comments »

The US: Failed or Rogue State?

June 27, 2009 by and tagged , , , , ,

That is the question asked by Josh Harkinson over at the Blue Marble: Is the U.S. a Failed State? Or Just a Climate Rogue? | Mother Jones via kwout It’s an interesting notion indeed, also in light of the massive financial crisis. One could perfectly argue whether corporate money and corporate media played a part […]

Posted in Corporatism, Economy, Environment, Failed States, Hollow States, Sustainability | 4 Comments »

“Childbirth is Much More Difficult”

June 27, 2009 by and tagged , , ,

Here’s to breaking a patriarchal stronghold: Female gondolier ends 900 years of Venetian discrimination | World news | The Guardian via kwout

Posted in Gender, Patriarchy, Sexism, Social Discrimination | 2 Comments »

Saskia Sassen on Reforming The Overgrown Executive Power in Democratic Systems

June 26, 2009 by and tagged , , , ,

The problem? The new executive politics: a democratic challenge | open Democracy News Analysis via kwout Saskia Sassen identifies six trends that have led to growth in power of the executive branch relative to the legislative branch: "The growing power of particular state agencies because of corporate economic globalisation: the treasury, the federal reserve, the […]

Posted in Economy, Global Governance, Globalization, Politics | No Comments »

Blood Diamonds of Zimbabwe

June 26, 2009 by and tagged ,

Children forced to mine Zimbabwe diamonds | World news | via kwout Of course, Mugabe kept control of the police and military… which means reform is very unlikely. And military control over the diamond mines means that the potential revenues that should flow into government coffers are being siphoned into the pockets of Mugabe […]

Posted in Corruption, Mass Violence | No Comments »

Social Stigmas That Kill

June 26, 2009 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Burned alive in Kenya: BBC NEWS | Africa | Horror of Kenya’s ‘witch’ lynchings via kwout This is horrifying, of course, but it is even more so to see how casually people who have participated in these lynchings behave afterward and how just a touch of rationality could put a stop to this: BBC NEWS […]

Posted in Collective Behavior, Human Rights, Indigenous Populations, Institutional Racism, Mass Violence, Nationalism, Precarization, Prejudice, Racism, Social Discrimination, Social Exclusion, Social Stigma | No Comments »

“A Deeply Alienated Life”

June 25, 2009 by and tagged ,

The wall-to-wall, cliched-ridden television coverage of Michael Jackson’s death is useless and annoying. Better to turn to the Very Public Sociologist: A Very Public Sociologist: Marxism and Michael Jackson’s Death via kwout He means “alienated” in the Marxian sense, of course. Go read the whole thing.

Posted in Media, Social Theory | No Comments »

“Self-Immolation is The Worst”

June 24, 2009 by and tagged , ,

The liberated women of Afghanistan: IRIN Asia | Asia | Afghanistan | AFGHANISTAN: Anargul, “Self-immolation is the worst” | Gender Issues | Hear our voices via kwout

Posted in Gender, Patriarchy, Sexism | No Comments »

The Return of Blood Diamonds?

June 24, 2009 by and tagged ,

BBC NEWS | Africa | Blood diamond scheme ‘is failing’ via kwout As Global Witness puts it: combating conflict diamonds – campaigns – global witness via kwout Many other groups have already warned of the problems with the Kimberley Certification Process. Even one of its initiators has sharp words for it. Exclusive: The return of […]

Posted in New Wars | No Comments »

The “Talibés”: The Lost Boys of Senegal

June 23, 2009 by and tagged , ,

If you missed this story, please read it (I’ll provide some translation below for the non-French readers). Les enfants perdus du Sénégal – Libération via kwout A "talibé" ("talibanized" seems the closest translation I can think of) is the term used to describe the beggar children who populate the streets of West African countries such […]

Posted in Mass Violence, Patriarchy, Religious Fundamentalism | No Comments »

The Sociology of Twitter

June 23, 2009 by and tagged , , ,

Since the media and blogosphere has been all, well, a-twitter about Twitter, it is not surprising to see explanations for the phenomenon cropping up. Context Crawler dug up this video on the topic:

Posted in Media, Networks, Sociology, Technology | No Comments »

Sociology of the Body: The Incarcerated Body

June 22, 2009 by and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Le Monde has a very interesting (and interactive) feature on the impact of incarceration on inmates’ perception of (and relationship to) their body along with the bodily transformations that incarceration involves. Le corps incarcéré LEMONDE.FR | 22.06.09 © The corporal trajectory, as described by men and women inmates, includes several broad categories of bodily treatment […]

Posted in Human Rights, Social Deviance, Social Institutions, Social Interaction, Social Research, Social Stigma, Social Theory, Sociology, Surveillance Society | No Comments »

Taking Gated Communities and Gentrification to A Whole New Level

June 22, 2009 by and tagged , , , , ,

How about an entire canton? Swiss offer millionaires a haven away from the poor | World news | The Guardian via kwout Zygmunt Bauman noted previously that it is an obvious trend for the super-rich to voluntarily segregate themselves from the rest of the population and live in their own quasi-country (Richistan) and operating on […]

Posted in Economy, Social Discrimination, Social Exclusion, Social Inequalities, Social Privilege, Social Stratification | No Comments »

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