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Archive for August, 2010

The Sociology of Everything – Panhandling

August 31, 2010 by and tagged , , , ,

It is an obvious thing to say that economic exchange do not exist in a vacuum. They are embedded into the social structure and cultural norms and scripts. Examples of this abound… Over at the always excellent, but not updated often enough for my taste!, Economic Sociology, Brooke Harrington discusses panhandling variations depending on the […]

Posted in Culture, Economic Sociology, Embeddedness, Poverty, Sociology, Teaching Sociology | 1 Comment »

Durkheimian Social Fact – Comparative Religiosity

August 31, 2010 by and tagged ,

Via Gallup, A 2009 map reveals the same trend: This is another good example of how social determinants of behavior are more significant than individual traits as well as Durkheimian social fact. There are a lot of social factors that influence the level of religiosity in a population. The article mentions poverty being a factor […]

Posted in religion, Teaching Sociology | No Comments »

They Took a Vote and then Stoned Him to Death

August 30, 2010 by and tagged

Let’s see if this gets as much outrage as the cat-dumping lady. Here is the story: In May 2006, 20 year old William Modolo was tortured for three days before being stoned to death by six people (four men, two women, aged from 25 to 53). Their trial for torture, rape, acts of barbarism and […]

Posted in Mass Violence | 1 Comment »

The High Costs of Poverty

August 30, 2010 by and tagged

This interesting item via Javier Aparicio on Twitter reminded me of an older article on the hidden costs of poverty from a while back that details all the many ways in which the poor pay more for goods and services: “You don’t have a car to get to a supermarket, much less to Costco or […]

Posted in Poverty | No Comments »

The Information Society – It Has Glitches

August 29, 2010 by and tagged , ,

From Medium Large: Real question though: if anyone can be a producer of information, how do we validate the accuracy of said information? The mechanisms to spread information far and wide are neutral when it comes to truth value. So, can we really speak of information society (content) or is it more accurate to stick […]

Posted in Humor, Networks, Technology | No Comments »

“Why is it so important to know how society affects us?”

August 29, 2010 by and tagged ,

That is a question Daysha R. Lawrence got from a student. That’s a good question. I’ll try to answer it and I hope my fellow socbloggers will give it a shot as well. 1. Because these social influences are real. They are complex and they do affect us in many different ways. They are part […]

Posted in Sociology, Teaching Sociology | 1 Comment »

The Visual Du Jour – It’s Crowded in Here… Or Maybe Not

August 29, 2010 by and tagged

Via Boing Boing, variable density: It is a nice visual, but, of course, one understands that populations are not evenly distributed across a given territory. Australia, for instance, is way more crowded on the coastal areas than one the central, more desert-like areas. As a rule, rural areas have a much lower density than metropolises. […]

Posted in Population | No Comments »

Stigma 101 – The Visible Injuries of Class

August 28, 2010 by and tagged , , , ,

[Shameless borrowing and modification of a classic for the title] This Guardian article does a good job of summarizing the many ways in which the poor are dehumanized, degraded and more generally stigmatized in discourse and policies (the many hoops they have to jump through and the many degradations they endure to get help): “Undermining […]

Posted in Ideologies, Poverty, Social Inequalities, Social Stratification | No Comments »

Dehumanization 101

August 27, 2010 by and tagged ,

Two things are more or less bound to happen once a group of people dehumanizes another one, beyond their exploitation. One: they simply become objects, as opposed to human beings, and therefore their any human trait becomes inconceivable, simply out of bound. Take this, for instance: Which of course, is highly reminiscent of this: In […]

Posted in Human Rights, Racism | 1 Comment »

Smoke Patterns

August 27, 2010 by and tagged , ,

One of the tricks of teaching introduction to sociology is to get students to give up the idea that “everybody’s different” (they’re not) and everybody behaves based on psychological and individual motivations, or rather that these psychological and individual motivations are socially-based… hence the usefulness of Durkheim’s social facts in our conceptual toolkit. If my […]

Posted in Health, Sociology, Teaching Sociology | 2 Comments »

The Visuals Du Jour – Inequalities and Low-Paying Jobs

August 26, 2010 by and tagged ,

Via Mark Thoma (the original link does not work for me, somehow), here are results of the deliberate policies to shift wealth upwards: And this even more dramatic graph: As Chuck Marr notes: “Tax policy is one of the best tools we have to help offset the troubling trend of growing inequality. Unfortunately, the Bush […]

Posted in Social Inequalities, Social Stratification | No Comments »

The Surveillance Society – Mobile Edition

August 25, 2010 by

Oh dear: “As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses and airport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets. American Science & Engineering, […]

Posted in Surveillance Society | No Comments »

What Sociologists Study

August 25, 2010 by and tagged

Since students have sometimes difficulty figuring out what exactly sociology does, I created this little presentation to give them interesting (at least in my view) and highly readable (for freshmen / sophomore, non-major) sociological studies. Any additional suggestions welcome (for some reason, the dang thing won’t center properly): What sociologists study

Posted in Teaching Sociology | No Comments »

First, Deviance, Then Stigma, Then Degradation Ceremony – Cat Dumper Edition

August 25, 2010 by and tagged , , ,

I have blogged about this yesterday. After the visible deviance, the strong social reaction (death threats via Facebook… that’s gonna make Todd Krohn warm up to Facebook!) and stigma (the woman was outed within hours of her deed), now comes the more or less obligatory shaming ritual, or, as Harold Garfinkel would call it, degradation […]

Posted in Social Deviance, Social Sanctions, Social Stigma, Sociology | 1 Comment »

Let Me Rewrite That Headline More Accurately…

August 25, 2010 by and tagged , ,

The Guardian: “Atheist doctors ‘more likely to hasten death’” Let me fix that for you… “Religious doctors more likely to prolong the suffering of terminally ill patients.” Oh, and then, there is this little jewel: “Doctors who are atheist or agnostic are twice as likely to take decisions that might shorten the life of somebody […]

Posted in Health, Health Care, religion | No Comments »

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